Chef Deb

9 Signs that You’ve Received an Email Scam

Sadly, an email scam happens to chefs all too often. They are especially rampant during the holidays. Hopefully you are not one who has fallen prey to their deception, but sometimes an email scam is disguised so well it is easy to mistake them for a genuine prospect. Nothing is worse than getting your hopes up that you’ve found a new client and later finding out that you got swindled.

The United States Personal Chef Association has been great about creating a community where chefs can report an email scam they receive so that the whole group can be aware. In my private coaching Facebook group, I also post any email scams that I receive as a heads up to other chefs. It also gives us a good chuckle, because some of them are just plain ridiculous!

However, it is no laughing matter when you get screwed over by one of these folks, so here are some signs that you’ve received an email scam:

9 Signs that You've Receive an Email Scam Chef Deb Culinary Business Coach

1) Poor grammar, sentence structure and weird punctuation 

For example:

“Hello, i will like to know if you are available for Catering Services? if yes, my father birthday is on the 11th of March 2017. and i will like to know if you do accept credit card payment?”

For example:

“Im Edward Custer,i would like to know if you will be available to cater for my Mums Birthday on 9th of Apr,I await your respons,hope you accept credit cards for payment?..”

2) Traveling from a foreign country 

Often, the person says they are traveling from a foreign country and that they are coming into town for a vacation with their family. They often specify your exact city or town. I have found that many of them say they are a deployed service member and are wanting to surprise their family with a party.

For example:

“Hi there, My brother and his wife currently live in Woodland Hills, CA, and for their Christmas present, I would like to get them a gift certificate for someone to come to their home and prepare them a lovely dinner on a mutually agreeable date . . . just wondering if this is something you would be able to do? And, if so, what would be the cost? I live in London, UK, so payment would either have to be through PayPal or credit card. Many thanks, Christine”

3) They profess to have disability 

Often times the scammers profess to have a disability of some sort such as being blind, deaf, etc.

For example:

“Since I am blind, I must use a courier service. It would be easier to pay you the courier fee for the food that they will pick up and then for the other errands as well for the party. I will reimburse you once you send me a total.”

4) They often forget the details about what their initial inquiry 

If you’ve ever followed up with one of these scammers (which hopefully you don’t) they often forget the details of what they originally asked you about. They will mix it up with someone else they are trying to scam.

5) They are either very vague or very exact in their details

I have found that they are either very vague when it comes to details or they are extremely detailed.

For example:

“I need to feed 35 people at $90 to $125 per person, buffet, with Caesar salad, grilled steak with chimichurri sauce, black and white cookies, etc.”

6) They normally quote their budget as being very high

Oddly enough, they often quote a very high budget to seem like a viable prospect. I have also found that they often want to pay you more than you are charging and then want you to reimburse them overage.

For example:

” I want you as my private chef to handle all the meals for this reunion and i so much believe that you can do me a perfect job below is details:
Classic Macaroni Salad Tomatoes and Mozzarella with Basil Vinaigrette Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette
Mini Crab Cakes with Avocado Mousse or Lemon Caper Sauce.
-25 person of my family members for each meals
– Budget: $6,000″
For example:
“Since I am deployed, I will wire you the money but will need to pay you over the amount to take care of the wire fee. What is your banking information?”
7) They want to schedule the service at a later date, normally a month out 
For example:
“I want you to be rest assured that all the payment will be paid along with your fee for your own service … Due to my work am not available to meet you until next month,i want you to make all schedule in order on the given date starting from 6pm to 9pm ,Expected family is about 25 members also how much do you charge for this type of service the full payment will be made right away with my credit card,thanks.
I look forward to read back from you.”
8) They return your email very quickly 
I have found that they return your email almost instantly, it’s almost as if they have created an automated follow up email.
9) The font size is not consistent
The font is usually a little off as if they copied and pasted a few emails together to create one email that they sent to you. Maybe 10 pt. font in one paragraph and 12 pt. in the other.
I hope that by sharing these signs and examples from real email scams I and other chefs have received, you will not be fooled or taken advantage of!