Fake Check Scam Strikes National Geographic Photographers


Photographers are no strangers to scams and they seemingly come in every form these days.

Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels.

But it’s always noteworthy when someone decides to target the very prominent members of our community if for anything else than to illuminate the rest of us on how wary we should be.

As the old saying goes, “if it is too good to be true, it often is.” 

A group of National Geographic photographers was targeted by a fake check scam wherein the sender encloses a check in lieu of services to be performed on the recipient’s behalf, in this case, airfare, “hair and makeup,” among other things. 

The recipient will deposit this check into their account and then, upon instructions from the sender of the check, will then deposit some kind of token amount into another, unrelated account. The sender’s check bounces but the recipient’s deposit clears and thus the latter out of what can end up being a serious amount of money.

Here's the scam email at this link.

PetaPixel reports that photographers George Steinmetz and Ira Block received just such an offer from someone purporting to be from the Women Charitable Trust (WCT) based in Stockholm. One photographer targeted by the scam deposited the check for $USD 190,000 he received and, instead of following the scammer’s instruction to deposit $USD 100,000 to a bank account in Hong Kong, this person decided to wait for the initial check to clear. Spoiler alert: It didn’t. 

Interestingly, PetaPixel reports that the same photographer spoke to the scammer on the phone several times, something you don’t often hear about in these stories that tend to rely upon social engineering and naivete to work. More interesting tidbits about the scam include the supposed benefactor behind this fake allegedly fake organization is none other than the fast-retailing giant H&M founder Stefan Persson’s wife, Carolyn Denise Florman.

Has anyone attempted this fake check scam on you? What about other types of scams? Let us know your stories in the comments below. 

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About Author

Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

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