Whether you are a professional Event Planner or existing or prospective client of Little Details, LLC planning a wedding, corporate, social or celebration of life event, I try to include everyone within my blog post content. However, recently I am seeing an unfortunate trend that affects all Event Planners: scams. Unfortunately, ill-intentioned individuals have no boundaries and are beginning to attack everyone and thing they can. Within the last few years, I have seen the following scam escalate with potential disastrous effects for any Event Planning company. The scam includes a seemingly potential client contacting you about planning their event. Most of the time the correspondence is only by email and the person is adamant for a variety of reasons that you can only contact them via email. Lately, they are also adding a phone call to almost reassure you that they are legit. As you delve deeper into determining the needs of a “potential new client”, things begin to unravel quickly, or maybe I just watch too much crime TV and Doctor Phil. Thus, I have seen a pattern that if, as an Event Planner you are not already aware, you may want to pay close attention too.
1. The potential client only wants to communicate via email. This client also is extremely resistant to an initial phone or video consultation. Please note there are many clients that prefer this method, but when you cannot schedule an initial phone conference call that is red flag.
2. Also when the request for email correspondence only is coupled with very awkward wording, meaning there is odd use of words and in the wrong syntax this is also another red flag. Many scams involve a robo -system or unfortunately, a person from another country creating email content.
3. The potential client wants you to assume all responsibility for not only paying contractors/vendors, but also want to list you as the originator. This request also includes a big balloon payment. Many companies run their businesses in terms of what works for them. For me, I do not assume any responsibility for listing my company as a client for a contractor/vendor service. There are times, for my corporate clients that they may hire me for additional services that I will need to subcontract out, but these are already established clients and relationships. Also for liability reasons, I do not assume paying any vendor for their services. I do not want vendors/contractors potential suing my company if a payment is not received or secured in a timely manner. However, if a client elects to tip a vendor for a job well done, I am more than happy to dispense the money the client provides. Again, this is what works for my Business model.
4. In addition to assuming responsibility for the payment and contract of other vendors, the potential scammers do not want any contact with them. This is a huge red flag. I have never had a client that did not want or need contact with the other vendors to ensure they are on the same page. Oftentimes, in the planning stages, there are times when the client and vendor must have contact. I would never restrict on purpose or by suggestion other vendors from not having contact with a client. I encourage communication with my clients and their vendors’ as I do not want to be involved in everything. I happily recommend vendors or assist in anyway with communication, but for my own sanity, I would never want sole communication with a clients’ vendor.
I hope this blog will bring awareness to an unfortunate scam that is gaining in momentum. As a professional Event Planner, I encourage you to trust your gut and protect yourself and your company. Happy Planning…scam free!