Tis the season… If you are like me, you have probably come across several email lesson inquiries that don’t sound quit legit in the last few months. Just in the last two weeks I think I’ve had 3 come through. When in doubt, it is probably a scam. Here are some tips that can help determine whether or not to respond to the email.
1) The grammar or spelling isn’t quite right. (These are the obvious one’s but some are not so obvious)
2) The inquiry is looking for a “tutor” for a short period of time with a lot of lessons in that short period of time (i.e.: 3-4 lessons a week for 3 months; on a holiday, etc…)
3) They want to pay you a lump sum up front. (what happens after this point is they will send you money for more than what you asked for. Then they will ask you to send them a refund for the difference back. The problem is there check will bounce before you realize it and they just made some money off of you.)
4) The inquiry sounds too good to be true. (i.e.:Homeschooler, wants lots of lessons, will pay for several months right away…)
5) The email sounds “staged”, not personable, no way to contact them other than email, refers to your services as music lessons or you as a music tutor instead of piano lessons, asks odd questions, etc…
If you get emails that may look a little suspicious (They just keep getting better and better)…
1) Don’t respond. I actually block their email from my inbox.
2) If you already responded and you find they sent you a check for more then the amount. Do not cash it! Chances are 99.9999% that it is not legit. (In the end scammers are all about the money)
3) Deal with local clients only. I ALWAYS meet my potential clients first for an interview and evaluation before taking any money.
4) Report the spam to the the Federal Trade Commission at email@example.com. Be sure to include the complete spam email, your ISP’s abuse desk. At the top of the message, state that you’re complaining about being spammed, the sender’s ISP. Most ISPs want to cut off spammers who abuse their system. Again, make sure to include the entire spam email and say that you’re complaining about spam.
5) I think this is most important: When in doubt trust your intuition! If something is coming off not quite right then it probably isn’t.