Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert
There are few more nuttier earthlings than the Bridezillas. Lovely women who go bonkers within 365 days of a wedding date. I blame the whole thing on Walt Disney. The groom to-be generally wants it over as soon as possible more so because he can’t believe how much it costs. Then the entire wedding industry preys upon the delirious couple and sucks them dry of what amounts to the sum of a nice, nice car.
Been there done that. Luckily my Bride didn’t go all Zilla on me. But that didn’t stop us from spending what could’ve been a West Coast Chopper in me garage. Pause….I’m nauseous….OK, I’m fine. I remember the day we went for “food tasting.” We ended up spending 5 figures on food. The single most expensive meal I’ll ever have. And we went out to eat after.
In Boston Mass, thousands of people were scammed by someone who modeled themselves after the weddings industry. They did exactly what the weddings industry does, but better.
Scammers set up a website advertising a bridal show luring brides and grooms to be and all potential vendors to sell them high priced stuff and services they don’t need. The event was supposed to be held at one of the largest convention centers in Boston.
Scammers answered the phone, took orders, set up a Paypal account and even had preliminary discusssions with the function facility.
In the end 6000 people were bilked for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The beauty of this scam is that it was all done online with no exchange of tickets or anything tangible. The scammers were ghosts operating virtually using legitimate life events as the ruse, going so far as to market and sell the event and just decided not to show up the day of.
I can see if you are a couple and spend 20 bucks for tickets online and then get stiffed. I’d probably get bilked in the same scam. But if you were a vendor and had to drop 3 grand for booth space, print out custom brochures, order plane tickets, book a hotel etc.; that would hurt.
In the least it would be to the benefit of the potential vendor to vet out the event production company to make a determination as to their credibility. A website presence isn’t the sole determining factor. Are they a member of the Better Business Bureau? Have they laid down a deposit with the function facility? How many events have they already done and where? Who else have they done business with in previous events? Before you go laying down hard cash, question authority. How much do you want to bet the scammer is a real wedding planner?
Protect your identity.
1. Get a credit freeze and follow the steps for your particular state. This is an absolutely necessary tool to secure your credit. In most cases, it prevents new accounts from being opened in your name. This makes your Social Security number useless to a potential identity thief.
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Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing Scamming the Scammers on Fox Boston.