On 11/29/2023 I received an email from a man that said he was in London and wanted me to coach his 17-year-old son, Brian, here in California. His son was working with a coach in London but was coming to Costa Mesa to live with his aunt for a while and he wanted to continue training.
Sounds great! We went back and forth via email to determine exactly what he wanted and what my rates were. Since this was a private client that was going to demand a lot of my attention, I told him $3,900.00 which included two months of TriDot personalized training.
He said he discussed it with his wife and that they were fine with the rate. Now, I have to say I was already skeptical at this point because the man claimed to be a real estate executive, but his writing was terrible (grammar and spelling). Okay, not everyone can write.
Then he told me that his assistant mistakenly wrote me a check for too much money, and he wanted me to refund him the difference (BIG RED FLAG).
We go back and forth numerous times on email (like, just cancel the check and make it out for the right amount, etc.) but he said it’s fine to cash the check and refund him the difference.
At this point I did some research and determined this TYPE of scam is very common, but I couldn’t find any cases of coaches being bilked out of money.
The check shows up and I’m careful not to touch it because I figured if the FBI wanted to investigate it, it would be easier without my fingerprints all over it.
The check wasn’t in the name of the person I was communicating with, and it was drawn on a bank in Arkansas! WTF?
I called the Arkansas bank and tried to speak to their fraud department, but the operator wouldn’t even put me through. Figures.
I took the check to my bank, and they told me this was a common means of fraud and not to cash the check (duh!).
I did an online report with the FBI but haven’t heard anything (actually, not expecting too either).
Moral: If you suspect it’s fake, 99% of the time it will be!