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North Texas Photographers Victimized by Classic Fake Check Scam


A Fort Worth special events venue has become the center of a classic fake check scam, this time aimed at local North Texas photographers. Unsuspecting photographers are told they have been hired to shoot an event at Fort Worth Country Memories when no such event has been booked.

Lynae Vosberg, the owner of Fort Worth Country Memories special events venue, found herself answering over a dozen calls from photographers attempting to verify an event they had been hired to shoot: a Howard Lee’s 50th birthday celebration.

“I really didn’t think anything about it until I got the third or fourth call,” Vosberg said to NBCDFW.

Vosberg says that while the date often changed, the story was always the same.

Photographers, like local Natalie Luna, say they were been mailed a check as a deposit for an event at the Fort Worth venue, but the value was for more than was agreed upon. The scammers would then tell the photographers that it was a mistake and to just deposit the check and send them the difference via a cash app.

“I was looking into the check and realizing that the check was set from Chicago, but the company that cut the check is in Oregon and his phone number is Florida,” Luna said.

This familiar scam goes by many names: the overpayment scam, fake check scam, or job scam just to name a few. The extenuating circumstances around the base of the scam vary wildly, but the core remains constant. The scam involves sending a victim what appears to be a real check that overpays an agreed-upon amount and that some of it needs to be repaid after the check is deposited. A similar scam was recently aimed at National Geographic photographers but involved a much more elaborate story.

In this case, the scam was pretty straightforward. Vosberg’s venue was chosen as the location for the fictitious event and local photographers who aren’t privy to how this scam works can easily be robbed. And while most photographers who get as far as calling Forth Worth County Memories to confirm the event find out it’s not real, that is expected. The failure rate of most scams is quite high, but those that do fall for it make continuing to try worth the effort.

Thanks to photographers like Luna who informed Vosberg what was happening, Vosberg was able to email the scammers to let them know she was on to their tactics.

“I’ve posted on all the different sites. There was even somebody that commented on one of the posts: Howard Lee? He’s been celebrating his 50th birthday for two years,” said Vosberg. “Obviously, he has been doing this for a long time and unfortunately probably will continue.”

While Vosberg may have stopped the scam at her particular venue, it’s more likely that the scammers have simply chosen a new venue to use at the core of the grift and continued with their efforts. The only thing that can prevent photographers from being scammed is knowledge of how these types of situations occur.

“I know I’m not the first, I’m not going to be the last, but I will try to be the loudest,” said Vosberg.

Image credits: Photos licensed via Depositphotos.