Those wonderful words anybody wants to hear when they are a small business owner: “I am interested in using your services!” Your heart starts racing and the pulse picks up on your new unsolicited email lead and you quickly grab your mouse to reply with all your information to start to close the deal. Whoa Silver, lets slow down and regroup!
Once you take a deep breath and try to keep your excitement in check, there are a few things you need to observe about this email or voice message:
* where did the email originate?
* how did they find your information?
* does the information appear to be legit or a little far fetched?
* are they in your area or are they “visiting”?
* are they offering you an ungodly amount for your services that no one has ever offered before?
These are just a few questions you should ask yourself before falling hook line and sinker. “How do you know?”, you ask. Well, because I was almost one of those that got taken to the cleaners!
With so many cons coming to light, these con-artists are stepping up their game and preying on any and everybody they can dupe. Always looking for that unsuspecting, honest person just trying to make a living and wanting to get their money without having to work for it. It is important to protect yourself and your business from these modern day poachers.
What follows is the first email I received with some words x-ed out to protect the people that are unaware their information has been wrongfully used:
I just saw your post as a pet caregiver on http://www.petsit.com and I’m hoping to talk with you more about it. How many years of professional pet sitting experience have you accumulated while working with Pets? Can I contract your services for my pet, a Samoyed dog by the name Bella? I shall be needing services starting from August 4th and would stretch till September 3rd. I’m flexible with start time but preferably between 10AM-11AM, when i will be off to work. At least a minimum of 1hrs daily, (MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAYS).
Services include walking, feeding and general care. You will be caring for her at my rented suite. Can you tell me your exact location (i.e the closest Major Intersection to your home) so I can calculate how close it will be to my rented suite and also to make further arrangements for the task. I look forward to reading from you soon.
So this seems pretty straight forward right? Well for starters I noticed at seconded glance that the spelling in his signature name and the spelling in the “actual” email address had an extra r in the name. But ok maybe that was the only way he could get that email address. I will let that one slide for now.
But then I received another email after I sent him a generic type of introduction reply. So here is the next email I received:
Glad to read from you and I really appreciate your concern. Your location works out fine for me. I’m coming down from Puerto Rico for a month inspection course with the Bureau of Investigation. I work as private investigator with the Puerto Rico Bureau of Special Investigations, a branch of the Department of Justice of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The headquarters of La Uniformada which is located at the Cuartel General (General Station House), 601 Franklin D. Roosevelt Avenue, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico.
My office is currently checking with Comfort Inn , the hotel was found conducive for my staying. I hope you are familiar with the place. I shall furnish you with the reservation details once it has been booked. Hence you shall be caring for Bella at my rented suite provided her comfort is guaranteed. I need you to understand that after the duration of this course I shall be heading back to my base with Bella for a promotion, so I need to perform excellently well. This might limit my attention towards her hence the reason I’m employing you for this task. Bella is a Samoyed dog that gets along with other dogs and she is also very friendly with kids. She’s very well, healthy and properly immunized. She visits the vets regularly and has no medical problem or whatsoever.
As we speak, my unit is on the field for a debrief assignment and we are not permitted to receive or make calls to avoid any distractions, Meanwhile i can be reached on 937-839-XXXX, I may not always be there to pick up due to my training schedule but i will definitely return your call when i am on breaks. You can text or email me as that will be the fastest and convenient means to communicate for now.
I would schedule you to care for Bella during weekdays only i.e Mondays through Fridays. Starting from 10AM when i will be off to work and you can offer her your care for 45min or an Hour at your convenient. I will be around on weekend and i will be caring for her personally. I’m offering $400 per week due to my budget. Will this work out?
The start date is 4th of August but after my arrival on August 3rd which is on Sunday, we’ll meet formally so that we can get familiar before you start with Bella. Moreover my superior is willing to have your Service Charge processed prior my arrival with Bella. Hence,I’m reviewing your application and I’ll let you know my decision immediately. In the meantime please fill up the Questionnaire below for immediate processing of your details:
———Best Time to call:
———Number of years as a pet sitter:
———Number of available reference:
Job duration of 1Month (Monday-Friday)
Start date shall be August 4th- September 3rd.
Advance payment of a week will be arranged for you as soon as you agree to the terms above.
– I attached both Bella and my pictures herewith so you can have a glimpse of us 🙂
The first flag was needing my full name and address. The second was offering what equals to $80 an hour and then some of the awkward language used. So I started my own investigation!
First I did a reverse lookup for the phone number which turned up being a land line in Ohio! Then I went on Facebook, Person lookup in Puerto Rico and no one by that name exist with the exception of gentlemen twice as old as the guy in the pictures that were sent. Next thing, I searched for the company he claimed to work for and Lord and behold the first paragraph of his email was copied and pasted from the website! When I didn’t send him the information he requested, he sent another email telling me I could trust him and it was TOTALLY SAFE!
Please do your homework and stick to the old adage ” If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!”