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Attention tutors! Please be aware
of a scam that targets tutors who post to this and
other websites, especially Craigslist!
You may be contacted by a scammer
who saw your announcement on this website, or on some other website
such as craigslist. Or, the scammer may have posted a message to craigslist
seeking a tutor that you responded to.
Examples of tutor scam emails are on this page.
Best way to avoid these scams: Do not make any
agreements with people who
do not live locally and can't meet with you in person, and
never wire money to anyone who first contacted you by email!
This is ALWAYS a scam.
Characteristics of Tutor Scams
- The email comes from someone who does not live locally;
often they claim to live in Europe.
- They typically use a common English-sounding
name (Smith, Jones, Morgan, Andrews, Wilson, etc.) ...
- But their grammar, spelling and punctuation
are usually poor, as from a non-English speaker.
- They have a son, daughter, niece, or nephew who will be in
your area and who needs to be tutored, usually for a short time.
- They want to pay you in advance for the entire block of
- There may be several rounds of email between you and the scammer, and you
may even speak with them on the phone.
How the Scam Works
This type of scam is called a "Check Overpayment Scam" because
the scammer sends you substantially more money than the agreed-upon
fee and asks you to send the excess to a third party. See this page
at the Federal Trade Commission for more info about Check Overpayment Scams:
- Once you and the scammer have agreed on a fee,
the scammer (or his "accountant" or "client" or "company")
will send you a cashiers check for
substantially more than the agreed-upon fee, typically $4000 too much.
- There will be a reason for the excess. Examples:
he is including the child's expenses while in the US, or
the nanny's wages, or someone in the US owes him money,
or his company can't cut a check for a smaller amount.
- The scammer will tell you to deposit the check at your bank,
and once his check has cleared, he will "trust you" to
send him (or a third party, such as the "nanny") the excess
via bank transfer, Western Union or the like.
- Your bank will accept the check as valid, because it is imprinted with a legitimate
routing number and account number and a real bank's name. So, a few days after you
deposit it, the cashier's check will clear.
(However, the check is actually going to bounce, as you'll find out later, but it takes
a couple of weeks before this happens!)
- Thinking you have the cash now,
you withdraw the "excess" from your account and wire it to the scammer as instructed
(or the child's "nanny", or some other third party).
- In 2-3 weeks, the scammer's check will be found to be counterfeit, and
your bank will ask you for the money back. So you've just paid
the scammer $4000 out of your own pocket, plus anything of your
own "fee" that you've already spent.
From: John Conroy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Math and Science tutoring from a Berkeley PhD (oakland lake merritt / grand)
Thanks for your reply regarding my inquiry.Am John Conroy from UK,my
15 year old Son (Mike) will be coming to U.S for his holiday,and he
is interested in having Algebra Maths / English Composition lesson
during the holiday.He is a middle school student,very brilliant ,
sharp and smart little boy.He will be meting you for 1 hour lesson
per day(3 times per week) either at you house or any nearest
library(Morning or Afternoon).I got a good and responsible nanny that
will relocate to your area to take proper care of him and also to
always drive him down to the location of the lesson.So please Kindly
get back to me the following:
1.Your charges per hour.
2.Total charges for 1 month that he will be taught one hour per day in
3 times a week.
Please i may not get back to you on time through mail,this is due to
the nature of my job.So mobile contact will be preferable.Waiting to
read or hear from you soon.
T:+44 702 405 4527
See more examples of scam emails,
from 2006 to the present.
Some links with more information, and where to file a complaint:
this page was last updated: Nov 11, 2012
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