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Arts Scam Letters - A Warning To Instructors!
Article by Pete Kautz 2008
Undoubtedly anyone reading this who has an e-mail account has gotten a spam e-mail telling that they have won a foreign lottery or asking for help in getting funds out of a foreign country in exchange for a percentage. These are well known scam e-mails.
Recently I've been getting a similar type of scam e-mail Aimed Specifically At Martial Arts Instructors! Here is one of them:
Compliment of the season to you over there.How are you doing today?My name is Karl Bayero from Sand ton,South Africa.I came across your email address when i was searching for an instructors in Karate or any form of martial art that you teach,i would like to know if you are available to take my colleague and i in a private lesson during our vacation in Chicago, IL ?We don't have any experience in martial art but we are really interested in it for self defense.How much do you charge per hour?We need to know this because we would be available 2-3 hrs a day and 3 times in a week.
I would appreciate a quick response to my inquiry,have a nice weekend and God bless.
Well, this got me talking to my friend Phillip Nearing in Chicago (a top notch Wing Chun instructor and all around good guy) and he related this tale:
I was approached by email in a similar manner about 3 weeks ago. The first letter was written in curious English and was an inquiry from a gentleman who was in "Peru" and who wanted his daughter to study with me privately for a month. I answered the email out of courtesy as there was no mention of money and explained the process and fees for joining my school. It would hardly qualify as the strangest inquiry I have received from legitimate or illegitimate sources over the years. The 2nd email contained the offer of paying a large sum and having me refund the difference. Recognizing this for what it was I turned the email address and the correspondence over to one of my students who is a detective and, at his behest, answered the email explaining how I do business. I led the fellow on a merry chase pointing out that I do not shuttle checks with students and suggested that if phone rates were high from Peru to the US he could always obtain a phone card. I insisted that if he wanted his daughter to train at my school then he must call me personally and follow my procedures. The exchange went on far longer than I thought it would as I received about 4 answers from the cheeky bastard. At any rate, it was good fun and we obtained a good deal of info. What will come of it I don't know.
Interestingly, some internet scam artists have specifically targeted the business of martial arts, probably because there are a few instructors who are desperate for money in difficult economic times. I would not at all be surprised to learn that some people had actually been taken in by this sort of thing.
So, instructors - be aware of this! Realize that anyone who's e-mail address has been tagged as "martial arts related" on the spammer lists will probably be in for such things. I get so much specifically targeted spam anymore for karate uniforms, federations in foreign countries, fight events - I've even gotten offers to buy lists of "300,000 martial arts e-mail addresses" as the spammers continue their evil cycle!
Stay sharp and all the very best,