Fitness Pros: New E-mail Scam!

DontGetScammed

Don’t get scammed by the newest rip-off artists.

Apparently these guys won’t quit trying to steal money. First it was general public emails and now they are targeting personal trainers and fitness professionals. The newest scam asks you to take payment for personal training by credit card. However, this is done through email or text because they are hearing impaired or they’re traveling abroad and they can’t meet with you in person. And the training is not for them, it’s for their children (usually early teens). Oh, (AND HERE’S THE SCAM), they will be taking a car service to your location and they have to pay the driver, but the driver only accepts cash payment.  So, the person pay you an extra $1,050 on the credit card and asks you to pay the driver $1,050 in CASH.

You’ve got to be kidding me! How stupid do you think I am? I’m not even getting into the detail of how exactly you get screwed, but you’ll be out $815.00 in cash (in this example) if you do this. The credit card payment will be pulled back and you’ll have a firm grip on an empty sack.

Need details? Ask me, but you don’t really need them. The following is an email exchange I had with one of these pricks. After the last exchange I never heard another peep from this guy. Notice the poor grammar and spelling errors:

Him: “Hi Im Robert i need a personal trainer for my 2 daughters they have been adding much weight lately and i believe with a trainer like you they can achieve a good and healthy body so i like to know if there any in-person training or exercise you can offer for the ladies I’m booking this on there behalf and as a surprise they are 19-22 I’m hearing impaired so we can only do text/email I only have my credit card, do you have a card reader to charge my credit card?”

Me: “I’m happy to help your daugthers. We can meet in person to discuss. I am trained in ASL and have no trouble communicating with hearing impaired.”

Him: “Thank you for your responds, as i have stated before I’m booking this on there behalf and this a surprise to them so lets do the booking and payment they are medically and physically OK no injuries or surgeries they want to lose weight and get in better shape i read about you on social media so let me have your best packages/deals, they will be training together and will be coming to you 3x a week for the session we can start with 15 session in total for both of them. I do understand consultation is important and the paperworks(waivers and liability forms) but as I have stated before this a surprise to the ladies so lets do the booking and the payments and on the first session/introduction the consultation would be done I would only be able to give you the card information manually to charge on your card reader all paperworks will be done by the girls on there first session.”

Me: “I will have forms available for your 2 daughters to sign on thier first session. Price for 15 sessions for 2 people working out together (partner training for one 1 hour workout) is $xxx.xx per session – total for 15 sessions is $xxxx.xx. Price for 15 sessions for 2 people working out individually (individual training 1 hour each, total 2 one hour sessions) is $xx.xx per session per person – total for 15 sessions  of $xxxx.xx
When would you lie the first session?”

Him: I’m OK with the price I will like to make the full payment with my credit card I would have paid the driver already but they don’t accept credit card except cash so I will like you to add an extra $1050 to the total cost the extra $1050 is for the charter bus driver that will be bringing the girls for the training and once the charges clears you will have the $1050 deposited to the charter bus bank account.” 
– I’m thinking: “Are you friggin kidding me? Ok, wise-guy, try this one…” –
Me: “The card needs to be with a bank in the U.S.. I would require bank name from which the credit card is issued, name on card, full postal mailing address for which the credit card is registered, expiration date, and cvv code on back of card. I will run the card once your daughters complete their first session and sign the necessary agreements. The driver will be paid after that time. 

When do you want your first session?”

Silence…

 

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23 thoughts on “Fitness Pros: New E-mail Scam!

  1. Simone

    Just got this email, the bad English ( and English is my second language) made me think it was wrong. Last email I said he needed to come to run the CC and have an ID with him and sign paper, no answer yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. outrunyourfork Post author

      Thanks for the follow up Simone! I’m glad you didn’t fall prey to this scam. There are some crazy scams out there. I’m pretty sure you won’t hear back from them.

      Have you had any other attempted scams? I used to get an email from a person asking to help expedite an international wire transfer. They were offering to pay me 10x what I sent them. Another one needed to expedite payment for a major surgery for their daughter. This one was from a friend’s email address and was really heart-felt. I actually felt bad ignoring it, but come to find out that someone hacked my friends email address!

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      1. outrunyourfork Post author

        Yes, I get emails and phone calls every so often. Same wire transfer like you. Or emails stating that my credit card has been stolen and I have to “click here” within 24 hours in order to avoid being responsible for these and subsequent charges. Lots of them. These SOB’s are pretty crafty.

        Always trust your instincts.

        Like

      2. houldcroftfitness

        I just wanted to thank you so much for creating this post when you did. I received emails and texts this very morning that left me with a bad feeling. Having been a victim of an overpayment scam this fall, I’ve been much more cautious and aware of possible scams. But this morning, I had an uncomfortable gut feeling about the communications I received. Thankfully, I listened to my gut and responded in a very similar manner as you did. I spent a brief period of time this afternoon researching possible credit card scams targeting fitness professionals. Low and behold, my jaw dropped when I started reading your post. I received the exact messages that you posted VERBATIM. I am so grateful to have seen your post here because it sealed the deal for me. It’s disheartening that there are so many crappy people out there looking to hurt others financially. With gratitude …

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  2. Ash

    So I received an email sort of like this one, through the TRX website, from an Amy Johnson. Please note that my TRX profile was not updated nor did I have a photo and there are other trainers in the area that had full profiles with a photo.

    Similarity with yours, the English was off and she says she will be in town during her sabatical.

    In a few of her replies she has disregarded my request to call her and then my request for availability. Instead she discussed her fitness level and what equipment she wanted to use etc etc, which if she’s at the level she says she is I question her need for a ten week program . I emailed her again asking for availability and letting her know the package costs and she answers but in again broken English and asks for the address on where to remit payment.

    I’m very skeptical about this “potential” client seeing as she left no phone number nor did she ask what area of the big city I’m in, etc.

    I recently updated my TRX profile and she emailed me the same introductory email but to my business address…

    I don’t know if I should ask for the payment information and tentatively schedule or just stop replying.

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    1. Dren

      Hmmm….I just got something from “Amy” as well.

      “My name is Amy Johnson.I saw your profile on-line while looking for a personal trainer.Kindly let me know your rate per session(60 minutes).I look forward to hearing back from you.”

      We’ve emailed back and forth, and I’ve set up 13 appointments.

      “Thanks for your reply.I will be coming to your area for my sabbatical leave in January.I am looking to initially schedule a total of 10 60 min sessions(preferably 2-3 sessions per week).I will prefer to come to your location for all sessions.I am interested in general workout.I’ll like to focus on functional fitness and strength training, incorporating the TRX,Dumbbells,Kettlebells,Bosu,Ballast Balls e.t.c.Please let me know your availability for late January and February.”

      “Thanks for your reply.Please see answers to your questions below.
      Have you done Pilates or TRX before? Yes
      Do you have any injuries or conditions that I should be aware of? No
      What other physical activity do you do on a regular basis? Aerobics and light exercises
      Is there a time of day that you prefer? Mornings or Early evenings
      … …
      I will also prefer to pay in advance.Let me know if this works for you.”

      I guess I’ll see what happens!

      Dren

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      1. outrunyourfork Post author

        Hi Dren, this could be legit. Just be wary of the potential client paying by check or credit card and then asking for any cash or check payment in return (whether it be refund, overpayment or the like). If they ask for refund on credit card, then process that refund in 14 Days. If they ask for refund in the form of a check, then ask your bank about potential check fraud and scams.

        Thanks for adding value here by sharing your experience. Please let us know the outcome so we can help more people. Thank you, Dren!

        Like

      2. Dren

        I haven’t heard back from Amy yet, but I expect to soon. I think “she” passed my name on to “Scott Carter”. I googled his email address, and found him out as a scammer (too).:

        Hello Teacher,
        My daughter is looking to learn pilate in your area. Are you currently taking new students, and if so, I’d love to hear about your pilate taught, experience, costs per hour, teaching location, etc. If not, I’d very much appreciate it if you could recommend someone else.
        I look forward to hearing back from you at your earliest convenience. Thank you for your time.
        sincerely,
        Scott

        I figure I’ll play with them for a little while. I wonder what would happen if I took their checks to a check cashing place?

        Like

    2. Dren

      Wow, I’m becoming quite popular! Now Albert Martinez wants me to teach his daughter Pilates!

      Albert Martinez
      Hello,
      I got your email from http://www.pilatesology.com, i need a private Pilate instructor for my adorable daughter maria who is 14 years old get PLEASE GET BACK TO ME WITH YOUR AREA ZIP CODE, if you are interested.
      Thanks

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. GeBo

    Now they are coming in as text messages. I just received it yesterday. I thought it was totally obvious. Similar to the Microsoft phone scams. These guys always want you to get more to help sweeten the pot. He has it quoted for 6 clients. He did give me names I have them booked. But I asked him for their email address so I can send them the liability form to be Docusigned. ^_~ Keep your business safe from scams and never take more than the services you offer. If he can’t pay the driver that’s his problem not yours. You are in a business of training, not money laundering and paying driver services. Thanks for posting this. It’s nice to be able to share and help educate.

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  4. Dren Winckleigh

    Amy has finally sent me a check, or rather her “associate”, Dirk Roberson, did. His return address is 1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy, Colorado Springs, which corresponds to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. She plans on being here after April 26. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. outrunyourfork Post author

      Surprised that this is still going on. There’s so many new scams now. Someone asked me to send them iTunes gift cards. Said they’ll pay me cash for them when I see them. … huh?

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      Reply
    1. outrunyourfork Post author

      Jordan, the charge eventually gets reported to the credit agency as a fraudulent charge. The processing company (in this case Square) reverses the charges and you have the money removed from your account or it sits as a receivable on your account. If it sits as a receivable item on Squares books, then it gets paid to square once you receive payment from other people. Check Squares policy on this.

      So… they pay you $500 in credit card. You give $300 cash to the driver. The charge is reported as fraudulent. The credit card company takes the money from your account. You lose $300 cash.

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      Reply
  5. Dren Winckleigh

    This time, it was “Joanna Smith” joanna123187@gmail.com who got my phone number from a fitness website. She’s moving from Chicago in 3-6 weeks and is looking for a trainer. She asked all sorts of questions about making her boobs and her butt better, would I take pictures and measurements, would I be able to tell if they were firm just by looking at them, etc. It was fun playing along with her.

    I haven’t heard back from Amy Johnson. I wrote back and said that I never received the cashier’s check. I told her that I saw the envelope in an email that I get from the post office with scans of the envelopes from my daily mail, but that it never arrived–it must have been lost or delivered to another address.

    I also haven’t heard back from Albert Martinez recently. I also toyed with him. He stated that his daughter was going to stay at an address close by. I googled the address to see who lives there and wrote back saying, “Oh, you must be friends with the Jones family. We’re having dinner tomorrow night. I’ll mention you.” A few days later, I wrote back and asked him to verify the address, as the Jones family didn’t know him. He also said that he would email a pdf of a check. I just needed to by check paper to print it on. I let some time go by and said that I drove all around town and couldn’t find any. He frustratingly said to just go to Staples and buy some. I wrote back and said that I finally found some, but I haven’t heard back yet.

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