I have mentioned more than a few times that I have been a professional commercial advertising photographer for a long time.  I have seen advancements in just about everything connected to professional photography.

Just when I thought I have seen it all, a request for a “project” came into my email box. It went something like this:

At the top was :  New message from David Davis.   I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to make an inquiry about your availability for an event scheduled on the 25th of January 2023.   I am in search of a photographer to capture 40 headshot photographs with a white backdrop at the end of this event.  Please let me know if you are available for this.

(Ok.  So far, so good.  This sounds like something I have done and could do.)

The email inquiry goes on:

However, This event is a seminar and will be held at this home address 203 S Long Ct, Appleton, WI 54914 and will commence at 12 noon till 5pm. You will be required to take 40 headshot photographs of all staff present at the end of this event and deliver both physical and digital copies to us.

Now I’m getting a little suspicious so I looked up the address on the internet:  201 S. Long Ct, Appleton, WI  54914.   This is what I found:
Rental house for sale in Appleton.
… so this could be the house that the group is all meeting at AFTER the event- maybe a staff member’s home?   The event is probably held somewhere else.  I’m still thinking MAYBE this is legit?
The email continues…

We prefer you print off site since it would yield better results. I will give you a location where you will deliver them once they are ready.

and the email inquiry concludes…

I will be needing your quotation for this at your earliest convenience.Thank you. Best Regards David Davis JONES MEMORIAL HOSPITAL 191 North Main Street, Wellsville, NY 14895 317-758-8739 Director daviddavis01122@gmail.com

I then looked up  Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville, NY…
Jones Memorial Hospital
What the heck!?   All the locations are there!  Maybe I’ll just give an astronomical cost estimate and see if they bite.  I could put up with doing 40 portraits in a house, having them printed and delivered for 4000 bucks!

I still smell a rat!

I called Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville, NY.  I got the main hospital receptionist.

Before I even finished the second sentence explaining my email inquiry from David Davis, she interrupted me with: “It’s a scam.  We know about this.  Do not respond to David Davis.  There is no David Davis here.”

I thanked her and sat back in my chair.    I wondered just how the scammer’s plan would have worked to benefit them.    I’m thinking it was in the printing phase of the scheme?  They would refer me to “their printer” to be pre-paid for the 40 prints,  get my payment info and there would be no job, no prints, no nothing.   They chose a vacant house that is for sale in Appleton as the location for the photo shoot. They chose a small hospital out east and a fictitious “director” of the hospital with a gmail address!

The erosion of confidence regarding the legitimacy of the job was a gradual process.  Nothing was misspelled.  The locations were real. The faults were in the details.

Incidentally, a week later I received an email requesting 40 portraits from a husband for a wife’s birthday party – at a home address in Green Bay.  The message indicated that he would not be present – it was a surprise for his wife.

I emailed back indicating that I would not be present either.

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