Wednesday, February 20, 2008

PSA for wedding planners: Scam alert

In addition to brides and grooms, I know a lot of wedding planners and vendors tune in to the Perfect Memories Blog. Today, I'd like to take a moment to warn them to be alert for email scams targeting wedding planners.

Similar to schemes targeting photographers and other consumers, this current scheme has been going on for at least the past few months and basically involves sending in a cashiers check for an amount greater than what you've billed them--and then asking you transfer the extra money elsewhere. The cashiers check clears into your account quickly, you transfer them the money, and weeks later your bank realizes the check was a fraud and deducts the amount from your account.

I received this scam just last week, and it immediately raised suspicions though I couldn't prove it was indeed a scam right away. A bride-to-be contacts you from somewhere in Europe (in this case Germany) saying that she and her fiance are moving to the U.S. and need help planning a wedding. See more details of the scam and a copy of the initial email wedding planners receive here. The minor details (name/date/location) change, but otherwise, everyone is receiving the exact same email.

Now, I occasionally receive legitimate inquiries from couples living abroad, who are usually in the military but returning home for a wedding. But in this case, something seemed off. I looked online for information about it after the first email, but at that point wasn't sure what exactly the spam was. Finally, the "bride" says that a cashiers check is on it's way--for over $3,000 more than the deposit. The extra money I'm to transfer with Western Union to their band, which will be flying in to perform from France.

What concerns me most about this is that they are basically asking wedding planners to do something we do on a regular basis: make a payment to a wedding vendor. With similar scams like the Nigerian Money Scam, the scammer is making a request that is so out of the blue, so odd or so "too good to be true" that it is obviously spam. But this isn't. And with so many young, new planners in the industry right now, I'm sure many people may be eager to secure a client and could easily overlook the warning signs.

And so my tips to planners to protect yourself from this and other scams:

  1. Do not accept cashiers checks. If you do, allow extra time after the money is cleared in your account for the check to be verified before touching the money (I've seen reports this may take two or three weeks or up to three months. . .that's enough for me to never accept one from anyone).
  2. Do not send money to a vendor you've never seen or heard from directly. And of course, do not pay any vendor you do not have a contract with.
  3. Protect your privacy. Be as smart a business person as you are a consumer, and do not provide passwords, bank accounts numbers, etc., to anyone.
  4. If it sounds suspicious, proceed with caution. Do online research to see if anyone else has received a similar scam. Insist on secure payments and if they balk, turn them away.
You can report Internet scams to the Internet Fraud Complaint Center, whether you fell victim or just received a suspicious email.

Learn how to become a wedding planner with books at the Perfect Memories Wedding Store.

82 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey...I have a new variation of this. This time they tried to pay with a credit card, wanting us to charge an extra $6500 and then forward that to a "Logistics Agent". Guy went buy the name of Patrick Emile from London.

Miss P said...

Yikes! I just got the same type of one and they wanted to pay with credit card, then it turned into putting more $ on the card and then sending money elsewhere. Please read below! I almost got scammed!!!
Hello,
Good to read from you. I am glad that you accepted to plan my
wedding. It is my first wedding and i want it to be a memorable event.
The reception should be in a 4 or 5 star hotel. As i do not know what
the guests might choose for their meals and drinks, a ll checks and
balances will be made with you on the final day of the booking, while
i wait for the contract for you and your finance to sign You will be
taking care of all this arrangements and decorations. The other
arrangements for the other guests will be handled by my logistic
agent. This wedding is been sponsored by my father and we have a
budget of $40,000, so I require first class services.

I am glad to tell you that we have concluded all payment
arrangements.I will send to you my credit card details that will
cover the deposit for you and other vendors you will be working
with..Moreover,we also made an arrangement with a logistics agent who
will take care of all the other guests logistics to include.

1)Accommodation
2) Flights
3) International Airport transfer
4)Transportation logistics during our stay

However,because of security reasons and confidentiality reposed on
you and because they do not have credit card facility,we have decided
that only YOU will have to handle the credit card information.

So,once you receive my credit card information,you are required to
charge the total amount of { 6,500 Pounds} then deduct your deposit
which is {2,000 Pounds}and send the balance of { 4,500 Pounds} to the
logistics whose information will be forwarded to you once this is
confirmed So confirm this and provide me with your

1. YOUR FULL NAME
2. ADDRESS
3. PHONE NUMBERS for office records.

You are also to deduct the visa fees and taxes involved in processing
this amount.PLEASE CONFIRM IF THIS ARRANGEMENT IS OK AND REPLY
PROMPTLY TO ENABLE US PROCEED. All other payments will be made
subsequently.


Dr Kerry Martins
(44)703-192-5981
34 MAPLE WAY
MELBOURN ROYSTON
HERTFORDSHIRE
SG8 6BD ENGLAND.

Anonymous said...

The Wedding Planner...
Hello! I actually received an email earlier this week with the same information and the same instructions. I felt like it was too good to be true. The guy went by "Dr. Kerry Martin from England".
Well I asked that before continuing we would need to do a phone consultation to dicuss details. He did not give me specifics, all he wanted to do is give me his card information. So be aware! The internet is a good source for getting brides but it seems it can get scam artist as well. Thank God I found out about this before I continued to do anything.

Lauren said...

This is so sad. I'm a new event planner and I was so excited to start receiving these emails. At first, I wondered how these international clients had found me when I was barely getting local clients. Now, I'm just angry. These people seem so nice and say "God Bless" and "Enjoy the pleasantries that come with this day" and "May the Lord keep you safe". I can't believe how far this thing spans. We're in Mobile, Al. Within two weeks of advertising on PartyPop.com, I've received the "Logistics Agent" (2), "Band" (2), and the "Cashiers check (2). Each one twice from different emails and different phone numbers.

Be careful,
Lauren

Kerline Docteur said...

I just got 2 of these types of emails today. The pathetic part is they were the same exact email with different names and wedding dates.

Shelly said...

I received this scam recently as well. I already had red flags raise up from the very first email. The couples' names' are Christine Handley and Leo Garry supposedly located in Australia wanting to relocate. The "band" that I was to send the money to emailed me back and made a mistake. Part of an email from another planner in Little Rock Arkansas was at the top of the email they sent me. I emailed her and we had the exact same stories but different locations. We have both reported "her" along with keeping all emails and the UPS package that the check came in.

I am a new planner and was thrilled to be planning a wedding so quickly. I am planning my mother's for March 2009 but this one was to take place in November 2008. Luckily, I called the bank to verify the account and funds on that were on the check of $7500. The account was real but there was a zero balance.

Please be smart when dealing with online inquiries!! It's sad that we live in a world where people are constantly trying to scam us!

Bliss Wedding Design said...

My company too just received these exact same emails from a Mr. Cross James Allen. Thank you for attempting to spread the word about these scam artists. I was shocked to find out that people would target wedding planners! I'm so glad I had suspicions before we began planning their wedding!

Anonymous said...

I just got a variation of this e-mail 3 days ago. This time they are using Catherine Jones and Jimmy Bucker living in Germany. They are using a rocketmail email account and just like someone else here this comes a couple of days after I signed onto advertise on partypop.com. At first I was totally excited but after a couple of communications became suspicious. BE CAREFUL! I am in Georgia.

Anonymous said...

Kerline-
Ditto!! This guy (or girl) is a real idiot!! I have a story about him which is very similar to the other posts but it would take too much time and this person has already wasted way too much of my time including the beautiful gum paste roses that I had started making for his "wedding Cake". But here is my response to his last email:
"Tony"-
Really????? Do you think our company is going to fall for this scam after realizing that it was a scam the first time?? You really are an idiot. Just google "cake scams" and you will see that everybody is on to your evil little scam including multiple police departments around the nation including the one that I had come to my shop. I can't believe you are stupid enough to email people with the same request more than once but with a different name. Yikes!! Get a real job and stop scamming us hard working innocent people who are just trying to survive in this dog eat dog world (you being one of the dogs)!!!!!!! And stop using God to appeal to people's emotions. That's your first mistake. He's watching you "Tony" or "Mike" or whatever alias you prefer to go by today. And you WILL answer to Him in the end. I can't believe that you were once an innocent baby.

Anonymous said...

If anyone hears from David Wheal or Loyce Philips, it is a scam. Beware!

Alan Wong said...

Just got an email like this which looks like the scam:-

My Name is Gregory Davis,

I am looking for an experienced wedding planner who will handle my wedding and arrange dinner for a group of people who will be attending the wedding Ceremony.Seven people will arrive 5 days before the wedding day.

The wedding is expected to hold on the 23th December,2008 and 25 to 40 guests are expected to attend. As i do not know what the guests might choose for their meals and drinks, i will make a prepayment as initial deposit for this booking via credit card once availability is confirmed by you.All checks and
balances will be made with you on 18th December 2008 which is the final day of the booking, You are to arrange for a Videography,Music Entertainment,Photography,Officiant/Priest & Church,cake,flowers and
hall.If there is any these items that is beyond your capability,you let us
know so that another company can handle it. Get back to me with your
response

as we don't have much time with us so that we can process our accommodation
within the region more convenient for you and us.

Best Regards,
Mr Davis,
109-113 Queen's Gate,
South Kensington ,
London , UK ,
SW7 5LR

Events On A Budget said...

Just recieved the same email!! wow 8 months later and they are still trying! I did call him and speak to him...had a bad feeling and his demeanor was not that of a normal groom :0) Glad I came and checked on line and found this post! He first started out with Dr. David Freeman and now switched over to Dr. David Wheal from UK. He mentioned the same thing about sending payment over to "Logistics agent".

Anonymous said...

Here's one I got today -
Oh dear, luckily I always check now...

Hello,

Thanks. I'm really very glad to hear from you. It's nice of you to respond to my inquiry. The wedding will be in your region Sydney.We have not decided on a wedding venue yet so we'll suggest your advice on that. It is the wish of my finance to get married in your area and I have to give in to her wish and due to the fact I do not have any one there, you will be responsible for all arrangements.

I will be arriving with my Fiancé 7 days before the wedding and I need you to also make arrangement for our accommodation. I will need you to book 2 double rooms for us for 7 nights and one honeymoon suite for the night of the wedding.

We have a budget of about $50,000 USD which includes payment for your fees, all the other vendors you will be working with and that of our logistic agent aside us, I am also expecting 30 to 40 other guest from UK, USA, Asia.

My fiancé decided that the theme for the wedding should be white and gold. For flowers, pink and red roses should be fine. She loves red roses and we'll want lots of them at the wedding. Please feel free to introduce any nice flower of your choice to make the atmosphere more beautiful. For music, a DJ or live band will be fine. We'll love to have fireworks or Light show. Please introduce some. If there be any more information needed from me, do let me know.

I am working with a logistic agent that will take care of their arrival and accommodation arrangements. I need this wedding to be a memorable one and if possible an outdoor weeding with lots of flowers and beautiful colours. It is a catholic wedding.

I need you to get back to me with a total estimate that will cover this arrangement so that I can make a deposit payment to enable you start arrangements as time is not on our side.

I'm presently in Iran for a world health organization program which will last for another month or two and the only means of payment that will be possible for me from here will be via my Credit card. I hope this will not pose any problem to you.

Get back to me as soon as you have the estimate so that we can start of all preparation for my wedding.

I await your response. You can call me anytime on 011 44-704-579-8736
Dr. David Wheal.

Anonymous said...

Dr David Wheal is also targeting Luxury Travel agencies in the Napa/Sonoma/Bay area. He contacted us today for us to plan his wedding in the wine country. He has a penchant for using ritzy London addresses in order to impress his victims. Travel agencies have been getting scammed for awhile now by these frauds. They want you to plan a trip, send you the cashier's check (for more than the trip) and then send them the balance. Always make it a point to make sure ANY check clears with your bank before you send any one money.

Elegant Events said...

I just received this one today....
This is the second email like this I have received with different names...

FYI..the phone # @ the bottom is the same as KERRY MARTIN...in another post....

Hello,
My Name is Dr William Markins, I am looking for an experienced wedding planner
who will handle my wedding and arrange dinner for a group of people who will be
attending the wedding ceremony. The wedding is expected to hold on the 7th
March,2009 and 35 to 50 guests are expected to attend. As I do not know what
the guests might choose for their meals and drinks, I will make a prepayment as
initial deposit for this booking via credit card once availability is confirmed
by you. You are to arrange for a Videography, Music Entertainment, Photography,
Officiant/Priest & Church, cake, flowers and hall. If there is any these items
that is beyond your capability, You let us know so that another company can
handle it. Get back to me with your response as we don't have much time with us
so that we can process our accommodation within the region more convenient for
you and us.

Best Regards,
Dr William Markins.
Phone +44 704 570 5366

************************************************

MY RESPONSE!

I am able to do all of the requests outlined.
However, I need to see a photocopy of picture ID for both yourself and your fiancee, to confirm validity.
I can not reserve a date based on an email request. I would need to have half of the total balance to reserve that date.

Also, what type of Medicine do you practice, as I am involved in Emergency Medicine here.....
I may know some of your colleagues!

Kindest Regards!

Elegant Events said...

FYI...the last guy actually called me repeatedly....and even woke me up @ 2am - 2 nights in a row!

Anonymous said...

Yo también lo he recibido y casi caigo como una tonta!cuidado!

Crystal said...

This is really sad to hear. I am glad that I searched for this scam though. We should get the word out to all planners somehow. I hope they catch these people giving Americans false hope in such a poor economy.
Here's a copy of the first e-mail I received:
Hi,

I am Roy Philip, I am in need of the services of a wedding planner to
help me plan my wedding/reception and arrange for dinner for my guest
who will be attending. Wedding is scheduled to hold on the 18th April
2009 and 25 to 40 guests are expected to attend. As I do not know what
the guests might choose for their meals and drinks, I will make a
prepayment as initial deposit for this booking via credit card once
you confirm availability. You are to arrange for a Videography, Music
Entertainment, Photography, Officiant/Priest & Church, cake, flowers
and hall.

Please do confirm this date and get back to me via my email.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Thanks,

Roy Philips.

19 Holland Park Avenue,
London, UK
W11 4UL


I have since been in contact with him and he has replied with long e-mails that seem legitimate. REPORT THEM ALL! Let's bring this to an end!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting your information. I just received a similar request and the email was almost word for word...and even used the same name as one of the above requests. The least this person could do would be to come up with a new name. Google is a wonderful thing!

Crystal said...

Just an update on this terrible person. In order to exact revenge, I have reported this guy to the WHO (World Health Organization) and the internet crime complaint center at http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx
I urge anyone who has tried to be scammed or has actually been scammed to go to these websites and submit a formal complaint. I currently am stringing this guy along and having him make a number of overseas calls to me in order for him to lose out as much as possible, but other than that I'm out of ideas. If any of you know anything else I can do to turn the tables, let me know.
I also encourage you to have this guy call you as well and just let it go to voicemail. International charges are very taxing. Maybe he'll just give up if we ban together.

Steven said...

This time Dr William Markins is on oil rig in Iraq wanting a wedding planner. Phone Number +44 704 570 5366 Thanks for the warning
Steven

Anonymous said...

This is the latest identity, on a google search, the phone number comes up the same as Dr Kerry Martins.

My name is Dr Eric Michael. I would like to know if you offer charter helicopter tours. I want to book for a tour around your city for my family during our vocational stay.

Preferred Date of Tour: 10th of Feb to the 14th of Feb 2009 (5days). The tour would be for one hour (12.00pm to 1.00pm) for each day. The trip is going to be for 4 passengers


1. MR. Frank William
2. MRS Lisa Michael
3. Nems Michael
4. Stella Michael


State the next available dates you have if the dates I seek for is not available. Also, confirm if you accept major credit card for your payment. I want you to give me the total cost for the 4days tour at 1hr per day.

Thanks for your anticipated Reply.

Kind Regards,
Eric Michael
Green Close Lane, Loughborough
Leicestershire le11 5As
United Kingdom
Tell: +44-704-570-5366

Anonymous said...

This must be spreading. I own a Subway restaurant and received an order for 300 subs and 600 bottled drinks, along with the request to pay for a refrigerated truck. Immediately, I checked online and found this scam.

All businesses need to watch out for this one.

sapp_info said...

I received an email from the so called "Roy Philip" with the exact same wording as previously listed, except for a different wedding date. I knew this was fishy and have also reported him to http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx

Thanks for posting these notices as I would have found out the hard way!

Jen said...

I am a new planner and was excited to receive a possible wedding booking. Red flags went up, but as I continued to ask questioned, seemed like they were on the up and up. But the more I asked, the more details they said, "no that's what we are paying you for".
Her name was Tessy Williamss and the groom was Scott Toler. She was from the RSA and he was French and nationalized German. They were relocating to the states to work at the coca cola plant.
They never asked to send money back to them from the check, but had booked a band from RSA that needed to be paid and they were too busy to mail that money to them directly.
So glad I didn't do anything with this.

Anonymous said...

This is one we got last week...


Dear Sir/madam

My name is Samson Smith, and it’s my pleasure to inform you about my upcoming wedding, which would take place on, July 4th of this year 2009, we have been making all necessary arrangement, but now we need the service of a Wedding Planner, for the day, I want you to get back to me ASAP, and let me know if the date is available, because the day is really near.

Sincerely
Samson & Joy


After I replied this is what I got...

Hello

I really appreciate your prompt response, I can see that you are really serious to provide us what we need, presently I and my fiancée are presently in England for our wedding shopping, but we shall be back to state in 2 to 3 weeks time, We want the best venues for Our wedding and we suggest you can assist us with checklist available with the receptions site, we need you to check all what we are going to need and compile all item needed before we are back to State, let us know the required Amount deposit to have our date secured for both packages & receptions, vendor’s & provisions. Our estimate guests are 80 and we’re hosting indoor wedding & civil ceremony on Saturday July 4th of this year 2009.

Our total budget for our wedding is $80k, Please we need you to let us know the first actual amount is need to be issue out to you as deposit for your full planning service and other urgent provisions and vendor's needed to be secured, We want this done ASAP to avoid delays, you can call us on (+447552483992) immediately you have receive this email to talk further with advice and assistance.

Is a very large wedding party and we also want indoor reception, because of the weather in July,

We believe we have given little information of what we want on our wedding to look like please response as soon as possible for details.

I want you to get back to us with what you have for us, so we can know where to start.

Sincerely

Samson & Joy

That's when I know it was a scam. So I didn't reply.

Anonymous said...

We have received two emails from a Dr Karl Baushe and now a Dr Michael Martins:

Both of which are of course a scam


Subject
My upcoming wedding






















My Name is Dr Micheal Martins,

I am looking for an experienced wedding planner who will handle my wedding and arrange dinner for a group of people who will be attending the my civil wedding ceremony.Seven will arrive few days before the wedding day. The wedding is expected to hold on the August 1st,2009 and 25 to 30 guests are expected to attend.As i do not know what the guests might choose for their meals and drinks, i will make a prepayment as initial deposit for this booking via credit card once availability is confirmed by you.


All checks and balances will be made with you on 29th July which is the final day of the booking, You are to arrange for a Videography,Music entertainment, Photography,cake,flowers and hall.If there is any these items that is beyond your capability,you let us know so that another company can handle it. Get back to me with your response as we don't have much time with us so that we can process our accommodation within theregion more convenient for you and us.



Best Regards,
Dr Micheal Martins,


14 Elizabeth Street,
Victoria London,
London, SW1W 9RB

+4470359 82872

Anonymous said...

I have been in this business for several years and just received this exact email from a Dr. Micheal Martins. I was skeptical because of grammer errors and lack of emotion involving a personal event. To probe a bit more I replied back. After his response I decided to look up wedding scams and sure enough my gut was right! It is a scam... do not fall for it.

Country Weddings said...

I also received an email - exactly the same from a 'Peter Woodgate'
I was dubious from the start but i couldnt figure out why he was so willing to pay me if it was a scam.

"I am Peter Woodgate, from London England. I am writing to get
information on wedding/reception venues and also so in need of the
services of a wedding planner.

Daisy and I are planning to have a wedding in October 2009 (any date
in October will be fine) and will require more information on this as
we plan also to have the wedding in your region. We are looking for a
venue and planner to help us plan our wedding/reception.

40 to 50 guests are expected to attend. Please advice on weather
conditions and the possibilities of rain.

Please note that you (wedding planner) is to arrange for a food,
Videography, Music Entertainment, Photography, Officiant, cake and
flowers, decoration etc.

Please do confirm this date and get back to me.

Thanks for your anticipated response

Best regards,
Peter Woodgate"

Michele Hobson said...

Hi, I got the same exact email for Peter Woodgate and Daisy. I am in Ontario Canada. At first, I was really suspicious, but he (whoever that person is) was very prompt in answering my emails and actually seemed to be involved. The main reason I was still doubtful was because he said he "was on a special project in Irag for the WHO" (too good to be true, right!). Sadly, when I asked him why he wasn't getting married in his own country, he said that his fiance's grandmother was from this area and that she passed away 4 years ago. "Daisy" was really attached to her and wanted to be 'close' to her when she got married. After looking into possible venues, I sent him a full quote with an invoice for the deposits needed and I told him that I would need these if he wished me to go forward. After not hearing from him in a few days, I just knew and googled "Peter Woodgate scam" to confirm! I am suspicious by nature, especially regarding internet scams, so all I wasted was my time, but still!!! It is so hard to breakthrough in this business to begin with, I just feel angry that idiots like that can get away with it!

Tara Blair/Sales Manager said...

I too, received an email from a "Peter Woodgate" and been emailing with him for the last week. We were/are at the final step of contract signing and he sent me the email about over the required deposit amount from the credit card and making out the rest to a "logistics agent".
I knew when we got the inquiry it was a little fishy but when he emailed me back with legitimate questions I thought this couple could really be planning something. Then, I google him. I'm going to send an email out to all my local vendor contacts now. Thanks for posting this blog!!

Stephanie said...

Wow! I too received a suspicious email from a "Peter Woodgate" claiming he would like to send me a check for $45,000 to cover the deposits and vendor payments. Unfortunately, this isn't the first scammer I've had to deal with. I have been trying to rent our house on craigslist and received emails from 2 supposed "perfect" applicants who were moving from another country. They were ready to have their company write a check for 1st months and security deposit - which is wonderful news to hear in this current economic state. But, they refused to send an application and their phone numbers were invalid. When I googled the phone numbers I discovered they were scammers! These individuals names are "Maria Ginson" and "Dr. peter Adams." Don't give these people any of your personal information!

eL said...

Hi! Thanks for posting this... I understand how they can scam wih cashier's checks, but I don't understand how this scam works if they ask a wedding planner to charge a credit card. How would that ever work since credit card companies have fraud protection?

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I am a planner in New Zealand, I have had two scams sent to me in the past week from the same people mentioned in your comments, I new it was a scam, but did the google thing as you do, and your blog popped up!! Thank you for concidering other planners, not only in the u.s.a but for us down here in N.Z. Renee, Inspired by love. x

Anonymous said...

They or he has stuck again! I just recently received an email from a guy who states him and his bride would like to get married here in the United States. It's been itching me that of all the places in the United States why choose here. Well I was like everyone else excited to have a client international. Well as in every other email he detailed his emails to me so to the point I have vendors lined up waiting on money. I think that is very bold and bad because we rely on each other for business in this business. Thank God one of my vendors called me back and asked me were I aware of the scam. I told him no but thought it was strange this guy wouldn't sign up for paypal. Then he told me to confirm I have virtual terminal. Well I confirmed virtual terminal info alright with a letter from paypal. The light bulb really came on when the paypal rep told me they would never say anything like that to someone. Also paypal showed there had been no one attempting to process a transaction. I have save every email this guy has send. He send me and called me with a credit card from a person that's now sponsoring them from here in United States. hmmm! So I called a friend of mine and both of us are searching the internet for information on this guy. When all is said and done the will be on the news as a heads up to others. New and Old Planners...

Here the original email itself:
My Name is Owen Wright, I am looking for an experienced wedding planner who will handle my wedding and arrange dinner for a group of people who will be attending the wedding ceremony.we would be arriving seven days before the wedding day.

The wedding is expected to hold Last week of September, guests are expected to attend. As i do not know what the guests might choose for their meals and drinks.

You are to arrange for a Videography,Music Entertainment, Photography,Officiant,cake,flowers and hall.If there is any these items that is beyond your capability,you let us know so that another company can handle it. Get back to me with your response as we don't have much time with us so that we can process our accommodation within the region more convenient for you and us.Payment Option is Credit card If you have a credit card Machine.


Best Regards,
Owen Wright

P.S. He has answered every email response. Even told me not to worry about attire they will be bring them when they come. I inquired about favors: ceramic mugs. When he called he told me his number was blocked. I accepted the call and it shows up on my cordless phone from Flushing, NY. I am a true believer of prayer, so I have prayed and God has shown me. So he is sitting on hold waiting on his funds to clear my account so I can forward his Logistics Team their money (which whom will be handling his transportation).

Daisy Chain Weddings said...

Hi everyone
Just thought you might like to know I've just received a scam email as well - this time the guy is going by the name Dr Eric Lichtenheld. He doesn't say where he is from, but as I am based in the sticks in Yorkshire, England (which is a pretty big county and I might just need the location narrowing down!!!), and I'd already read this blog, alarm bells starting ringing - thank goodness! Anyway, email is listed below for info.

My Name is Dr Eric Lichtenheld, I am looking for an experienced wedding planner who will handle my wedding and arrange dinner for a group of people who will be attending the wedding ceremony.Seven will arrive few days before the wedding day.The wedding is expected to hold on the 20th November,2009 and 35 to 60 guests are expected to attend. As i do not know what the guests might choose for their meals and drinks, i will make a prepayment as initial deposit for this booking via credit card once availability is confirmed by you.

All checks and balances will be made with you on 20th November which is the final day of the booking, You are to arrange for a Videography ,Music Entertainment,Photography,Officiant/Priest & Church,cake,flowers and hall.If there is any these items that is beyond your capability,you let us know so that another company can handle it. Get back to me with your response as we don't have much time with us so that we can process our accommodation within the region more convenient for you and
us.

Best Regards,
Dr Eric Lichtenheld.

Daisy Chain Weddings said...

Got another one folks!

From: davbks2@live.com
To: davbks2@live.com
Subject: Be My Planner
Date: Wed, 19 Aug 2009 12:38:15 +0100


Hello Admin

My Name is David Banks, I am looking for an experienced wedding planner who will handle my wedding and arrange dinner for a group of people who will be attending the wedding ceremony. We would be arriving seven days before the wedding day.

The wedding is scheduled to hold on last week of October 2009, guests are expected to attend. As i do not know what the guests might choose for their meals and drinks. You are to arrange for a Videographer, Music Entertainment, Photography, Officiating clergyman/Priest & Church, cake, flowers and hall. If there is any of this items that is beyond your capacity, you let us know so that another company can handle it. Get back to me with your response as we don't have much time with us so that we can process our accommodation within the region more convenient for you and us.

Payment Option Credit card? I hope you accept credit card payment.

The above is subject to adjustment. If there is any other thing that could be added to make the wedding unique, it will be welcome.

Great Regards

David Banks
43 Wimpole Street London
W1G 9SR,
LONDON. UK.
+447045721602

Petals Event Planning LLC said...

Just received the same email a few days ago, I am so grateful that everyone has posted here. I knew something was fishy but he was very responsive and asked the right questions, but most of all, he wanted to give me CC info, but after reading this, it all makes sense. First Email I recieved as follows

Hello,
>>>
>>> I am Mr. Webster Stephen ,I am based in Glasgow in the UK .I want to
>>> know if you can plan my wedding for the 7th of November 2009. I will
>>> be expecting about 35/40 international guests so do know you will be
>>> taking care of all food,drinks ,decorations and reception formalities.
>>>
>>> Note: All payments will be made by our sponsor via credit card,so do
>>> let me know your availability
>>>
>>> Thanks,
>>>
>>> Mr. Webster Stephen
>>>
>>> Phone no.+447011139357
>>
>
Makes me so angry that someone would prey on other honest hardworking people.

naeomi said...

I cant believe it we are a new photography company in NZ just started 1 May 09; I too received the same emails today they sent through a credit card with ID etc it didnt look right and I didnt feel totally good with it. They wanted us to swipe hrough for our wedding deposit plus the Logistic Agents fee of $15,000 and then bank it into a USA bank account. Thank goodness I found this site now Im so glad I didnt use the card details. Whewww Losers

Amanda said...

Hello Amanda,

Thank you for all your response so far,I am glad that you accepted to plan my wedding . It is my first wedding and i want it to be a memorable event. The Budget is for the wedding and travel arrangements for me and my fiance which is been handled by my logistic agent.Still can not specify the date due to her position right now but will get to you as soon as a specified date is placed.

I am glad to tell you that we have concluded all payment arrangements. Payments will be made in installments via my credit card. I will send to you my credit card details that will cover the deposit for you and other vendors you will be working with.

Moreover,we also made an arrangement with a logistics agent who will take care of all the other guests logistics to include..

1)Accommodation for us
2) Flights for us
3) International Airport transfer
4)Transportation logistics during our stay

However,because of security reasons and confidentiality reposed on you and because they do not have credit card facility,we have decided that only you will have to handle the credit card information.

I will be making a first deposit to you of £5,000 for you to start off with, subsequently, all funds will be sent So,once you receive my credit card information,you are required to charge the total amount of {£12,500 + bank charges} then deduct your deposit for you to start off with which is {£5,000} and send the balance of {£7,500} to the logistics whose information will be forwarded to you once this is confirmed. So confirm this and provide me with your

1. YOUR FULL NAME
2. ADDRESS
3. PHONE NUMBERS for office records.

You are also to deduct the visa fees and taxes involved in processing this amount.PLEASE CONFIRM IF THIS ARRANGEMENT IS OK AND REPLY PROMPTLY TO ENABLE US PROCEED.All other payments will be made subsequently.

Jonathan Moore
jonathamore01@yahoo.com
+44-704-579-5134

gardners9 said...

I was on the other side instead being taken in by the slick web site and talk of Mike Hough @ Kauai Island Weddings. Go to http://kauaiislandweddingsdisaster.com to see the damage this guy is doing to your industry. It will make you cringe. I now spend all my free time looking for more victims, getting justice for us victims, and a refund.

Gary and Patty
Edmonds WA

Anonymous said...

My Name is Shane and I am an Australian Photographer and have just received the suspicious scam like email, saying that they need to pay a logistics agent and asked if i could take receivership of the $10,ooo needed ( on top of my fee) and pass onto a 3rd party.
It looked very legit and sincere at first but now warning bells are ringing. Be aware

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aehb events said...

Just wanted to add that they're still at it....but have refined their game and grammer quite a bit. I was contacted about two weeks ago by a bride-to-be, 'Susannah Thierry', with the following message:

Good day!

My name is Susannah Thierry, i'm french by origin. I live and work in the UK (Manchester) with my fiance Charles Ronald Oliverio. My fiance and i are moving to the US because my fiance just got a new job in Cumberland County, PA which he'd commence on the 1st of August, 2010. Just before then we are getting married on the 16th of July, 2010.
We need your services to plan and design our wedding. Our wedding ceremony and reception venue is yet to be determined even though we'd like the wedding to take place in the same location because we are inviting just 100 guests which 80% of the guests are foreigners from the UK, France and other parts of Europe.
We are interested in a personalised/customised planning package according to our needs.
We were actually thinking of doing the wedding planning ourselves because we don't want to pay much extra for that but it's proven almost impossible because we are in a foreign country and we'd like to have all vendors booked now prior our arrival because it seems everything gets booked quickly in the US.
Please let us know if you can help plan our wedding ceremony and reception?

Enjoy a wonderful day!!!

All the best,
Charles & Susannah

Originally the hairs on the back of my neck went up, but she was smooth with her responses, sent information about their lifestyle, even sent a picture of them, and wasn't overly rushed in her responses.

She e-mailed me that they were in communication with the person handling their wedding funds here in the US that a money order was being sent UPS overnight and I would have my deposit the next day. That e-mail was the first one that said anything about transferring funds to their band in the UK, and the money orders were already in the mail. Sure enough, UPS package came with three money orders for $2700; I was to keep $1000 and send the other $1700 to the band in London via Western Union.

I went to the bank to deposit the orders, and talked with the tellers about the situation. Luckily for me, the one teller asked enough questions for me to stop my 'Oh my gosh, I'm so excited to plan this exotic international wedding train' and start thinking. I went onto the USPS Website, and you can verify if a money order is legit or not, and sure enough, these were fake. But, WOW, did they ever look real with the watermarks, fibers woven in to the paper and everything. So, thankfully, I stopped in time, but was hours away from being seriously screwed.

Just wanted to share the newest updates! Careful client shopping!

Lauren said...

I am so thankful for all these comments, as I received an email the other day that looked suspicious...we are a relatively new wedding planning company (also on PartyPop). I emailed the guy back and the response he sent to me is almost identical to some of these posts. He's going by the name David Roy this time, here is what he wrote:

Thanks. I'm really very glad to hear from you. It is the wish of my finance to get married in your area and I have to give in to her wish and due to the fact that I do not have any one there, you will be responsible for all arrangements.

My Fiancé (Janet Edward) and I will be arriving 7 days before the wedding and I need you to also make arrangement for our accommodation. I’ll need you to book 2 double rooms for us for 7 nights and one honeymoon suite for the night of the wedding 13th August 2010 (wedding date is flexible).

We have a budget of about $60,000 USD which includes payment for your fees, all the other vendors you will be working with and that of our logistic agent aside us, I am also expecting 60 to 80 other guest from UK, USA, Asia and Africa.

Below are other requirements we’ll need.

My fiancé decided that the colour for the wedding should be white and gold.

For flowers, majority of pink and red roses. She loves red roses and we'll want lots of them at the wedding. Please feel free to introduce any nice flower of your choice to make the venue more beautiful.

For music, a DJ or live band
Food, a buffet will be perfect.
3 or 4 tier fruit cake
Drinks: open bar
Wedding is a civil wedding
Civil marriage celebrant
Videographer for 3-4 hours
Photographer for 3-4 hours
Venue: out door or indoor
Bridal party: 2 bridesmaid and 2 groomsmen.
Flowers for bridal party
Accommodation for out of town guest (18 single or 13 doubles from for the wedding night only)

Wedding time: 4pm to 9pm.
Both the wedding and reception will be in same venue.

I need you to get back to me with a total estimate that will cover this arrangement so that I can make a deposit payment to enable you start arrangements as time is not on our side.

I'm presently in Iran for a world health organization program which will last for another month or two and the only means of payment that will be possible for me from here will be via my Credit card. I hope this will not pose any problem to you.

Get back to me as soon as you have the estimate so that we can start of all preparation for my wedding.

I await your response.
+44-70111-74814

Anonymous said...

I have had the same emails fro "Raymond Clarkson" David Roy. The grammar has improved, but they both wanted the same thing. I am in BC Canada, so it is definately still traveling around and happening.

Jorge Varela said...

Here comes again, this time they tried in Costa Rica!!! thank you for the blog!!!!! and I am glad we all were smart people!!!

Love from costa rica!!!!!



From: Eric Lichtenheld [mailto:ericlichtenheld@rocketmail.com]
Sent: Friday, May 14, 2010 2:08 AM
To: Irene Saravia
Subject: Confirm and keep me updated


Hello,
Thanks for your email.
Johnson’s Villa is the right accommodation for the guest. I wish to inform you that the money for the booking and other associated logistic needs have been paid and mapped out in the credit card account and the logistic agent do not have credit card processing facility that is the reason we are asking you to process the total sum of $10,000.00, deduct the deposit cost of your services which $2,500.00 and help us send the balance of $7,500.00 to the contracted Logistic consultant to enable them proceed with procurement of the logistic needs for the group.
I am fully aware that there are some tax involved in processing and transferring the fund, that is never a problem as you are required to deduct the fee from the credit card account as well.
Confirm this and get back to me to enable me forward the credit card details as agreed.

Thanks in anticipation of your positive response.

Cheers.
Eric Lichtenheld

Anonymous said...

Here's mine (after I replied):

However there are some things we will want for you to take care of for us immediately you receive the payment as our musical band deposit was included so they can be taking care of immediately,we have been discussing with them over time and they have made us understand they need their deposit so they can book us for our date as their calendar is filling up for the season so we will want you as soon as you receive the payment to deduct your deposit and get the musical band payment to them we will be providing you with their information soon so you can also get in touch with them.

We will very much appreciate your effort in making our day a memorable one and we assure you will have a friend forever we are thinking of getting a gift for our wonderful planner but we don't know what she will like please if there is something you will like for us to get for you do let us know,and as soon as you get your deposit we will like for things to be speed up.

Hope to read from you soon.

Lilly and Mike

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Anonymous said...

I revived one today. See below...
Too bad he signed it with his last name not is first. That was an easy tip off...

Hello,

My Name is Anderson Richard, I am looking for an experienced wedding
planner who will handle my wedding and arrange the reception dinner
for a group of people who will be attending the wedding ceremony.

The wedding is expected to hold on the 20th of Oct. 2010 and 25 to
30 guests are expected to attend. As i do not know what the guests
might choose for their meals and drinks, i will make a prepayment as
initial deposit for this booking via credit card once availability is
confirmed by you.

You are to arrange for a venue for the wedding (its a civil wedding),a place for the reception ,Video graphy, MusicEntertainment,Photography,cake and flowers.
If there is any these items that is beyond your capability,you let us
know so that another company can handle it.

Get back to me with your response as we don't have much time with us
so that we can process our accommodation within the region more
convenient for you and us.

Best Regards,

Richard

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Anonymous said...

These scams make it very hard for those people that are legit and really need someone to help them plan their big day! I wish there was some type of legislation against this. Here is the return email I received when asking for more details:
Hello ,
Thanks. I'm really very glad to hear from you.. It's nice of you to respond to my inquiry. It is the wish of my fiancee to get married in your area and I have to give in to her wish and due to the fact I do not have any one there, you will be responsible for all arrangements. I will be arriving with my Fiancee 7 days before the wedding and I need you to also make arrangement for our accommodation. I will need you to book 2 double rooms for us for 7 nights and one honeymoon suite for the night of the wedding 4th of December 2010.
We have a budget of about $52,000 USD which includes payment for your fees, all the other vendors you will be working with and that of our logistic agent aside us, I am also expecting 30 to 40 other guest from UK, USA, Asia. My fiancee decided that the color for the wedding should be white and gold. For flowers, pink and red roses should be fine. She loves red roses and we'll want lots of them at the wedding. Please feel free to introduce any nice flower of your choice to make the venue more beautiful. For music, a DJ will be fine. For food, a buffet will be perfect. If there be any more information needed from me, do let me know. The wedding is a civil wedding... I need you to get back to me with a total estimate that will cover this arrangement so that I can make a deposit payment to enable you start arrangements as time is not on our side.

Get back to me as soon as you have the estimate so that we can start of all preparation for my wedding.

I await your response.
Charles/Benita Anderson
Mobile: +4470457 68711
Office: +4470457 68738


Not a 100% sure that it's a scam but it's sounding more and more like one.

Thanks for your posts!

Anonymous said...

Scam emails:
Hello, I got your contact info from www.momentvile.com. My wedding scheduled for 12th Feb. 2011 and i need a wedding co-ordinator.If you are available ,get back to me for more details. Gabriel

-Red Flag #1 I did not have ads on this site

Anonymous said...

I am glad that you can assist us with all the planning of the wedding.My Fianceé and I will be arriving 5 days before the wedding and I need you to also make arrangement for our accommodation. I will need you to book 2 double rooms for us for 5 nights and one honeymoon suite for the night of the wedding 12 Feb. 2011.
We have a budget of about $85,000 which includes payment for your fees,all the other vendors you will be working with and that of our logistic agent aside us, I am also expecting about 50 Guests especially from Europe,USA,Africa and Asia.

We also decided that the color for the wedding should be white and gold.
For flowers: majority of pink and beautiful cascades of roses. Please feel free to introduce any nice flower of your choice to make the venue more beautiful.

For music, a DJ.
Food, a Continental dish buffet will be perfect.
3 or 4 tier fruit cake
Drinks: open bar
Wedding is a civil wedding,Civil marriage celebrant
Videographer for 3-4 hours
Photographer for 3-4 hours
Venue: out door or indoor
Bridal party: 2 bridesmaid and 2 groomsmen.
Flowers for bridal party
Accommodation for out of town guest(10 single or 5 doubles for the wedding night only)
Wedding time: 4pm to 9pm(A better suggestion from you will be considered).
Both the wedding and reception will be in same venue.

Anonymous said...

The wedding would be in PA jessy shore Pa.We already got a wedding dress and we do not have a marriage license yet.I and my wife are here together but she would arrive your city before me.We would love to proceed with the planning so that by the time she arrives there won't be much left.
If you have further questions please do not hesistate to get back to us.However,i will love to know what your intial deposit is so that i can make payments soon using my credit card.
Let us hear from you.
Gabriel

I will get back to you as soon as possible,i have been very busy here that is why u have not heard from me.Please do bear with me.
Gabriel

Thanks for your prompt response.Yes i do have someone handling international logistics but he can not take care of the invitations,but i have sent my fiancee an email telling her to contact someone who would handle that immediately.
we have also viewed Genetti Hotel and have approved of it for the wedding and reception.I will also draft a letter authorising the said transaction with the logistic agent.Concerning the vendors you can mail me their contracts for me to sign and get back to you after approval.I will send you the signed contract asap,i wanted to make sure we are on the right footing before we conclude all arrangements.

Finally,I will send you my credit card info ,you would charge 7,600 then deduct your deposit for now,which is {$519.25}, and send the balance of {$7,000 USD} to the logistics Vendor whose information will be forwarded to you once this is confirmed.

I want you to confirm the above so that we can proceed,as time is of the essence.

regards
Gabriel

Anonymous said...

I am very sorry for the late response,my job makes it that way...
Anyways,it's very Good to read from you. I am glad to tell you that we have concluded all payment arrangements. I will send to you my Visa credit card details that will cover the cost of deposit and the necessary arrangement for the Planning and every other vendor.
Moreover,we've also concluded arrangements with a logistics Vendor who will take care of all the guests logistics to include. 1) Flight bookings 2) International Airport transfer and Accomodation.
However, because of security reasons and confidentiality reposed on you and because they do not have credit card facility for now, I have decided that only YOU will have to handle the credit card information. So, once you receive my visa card information, you are required to charge the total amount of {12,604.25} then deduct your deposit for now,which is {$3,604.25}, and send the balance of {$7,000 USD} to the logistics Vendor whose information will be forwarded to you once this is confirmed.The remaining $2,000 should be used for deposit payment for any vendor from your side,further funds will be approved if you need more,ok.
So confirm this and get back to me so that i can send the card details and signed contract to you at once.
I'll wait to hear from you.

Regards,
Dr Unterbrink

Dresden said...

Oh wow...thanks for posting this up. I didn't even realize scams like this even existed. It's a frightening thought for one such as me, who had to deal with the wedding officiant and planners everyday. Thanks for posting this up!

Dresden said...

Oh wow...thanks for posting this up. I didn't even realize scams like this even existed. It's a frightening thought for one such as me, who had to deal with the wedding officiant and planners everyday. Thanks for posting this up!

Anonymous said...

I did a google search for the telephone number my email had, and it came to this long list of postings. My email is asking for 8 days of "off shore" fishing and accomodations for 5 peoples. (We have a charter fishing business).... so I guess they have moved on from weddings ... but still trying to scam

Bridget Powell said...

Just got a call from a Dorothy Stewart. She said she lived in Michigan and her fiance lived in Africa. His name is Tim Hudson. They wanted me to make all the arrangements. Said there was 20 people in their wedding party. His daughter was from Russia. Her wedding color was blue!!!!!! As you can tell from other posts online this is the biggest clue to the scam. When they wanted to pay my deposit with a cashier's check I ended the phone conversation. I told them i take cash or paypal. She said that might take a couple of weeks to set up. I then sent an email telling them that I will not pay any vendor directly. I haven't heard from them since I sent the email.

Long Island wedding halls said...

Thanks for the information. This is why it is vital to do thorough research on potential wedding planners in order to avoid being the victim of a scam.

"Tent rentals fan" said...

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Anonymous said...

I have had two of these scammers in the last 10 days. I knew they were scams so it didn't get far. The latest one was with Ramson and Kimberly from England. They are always weddings with a short lead time, have a large budget compared to how many guests they are inviting, and never mention the location, can't provide photos or phone numbers. It is the same m.o. every time. Be forewarned!

Anonymous said...

Ramson Taylor
ramsontaylor1@gmail.com

Hello,

Good to read from you.I am glad to tell you that we have concluded all payment arrangements for the wedding and will need you to kindly note the following information before we proceed with the wedding arrangement.

I will send to you my credit card details that will cover the cost of our booking,and the necessary arrangement for me and my guests.Moreover, i also made an arrangement with a logistics agent who will take care of all our traveling logistics to include.

1) Flights

2) International Airport transfer

3)Transportation logistics during our stay

However,because of security reasons and confidentiality reposed on you and because their credit card facility is faulty,we have decided that only YOU will have to handle the credit card information.

So,once you receive my credit card information,you are required to charge the total amount of {$15,000.00} then deduct your deposit which is {$5,000} and send the balance of {$10,000) to the logistics whose information will be forwarded to you once this is confirmed So confirm this and provide me with your

1. YOUR FULL NAME

2. ADDRESS

3. PHONE NUMBERS for records and card payment

You are also to deduct the card fees and taxes involved in processing this amount.
PLEASE CONFIRM IF THIS ARRANGEMENT IS OK AND REPLY PROMPTLY TO ENABLE US PROCEED.

NOTE:THAT I WILL SENDING YOU THE OTHER INFORMATION THAT YOU MAY REQUIRE.THEY WILL BE SENT AS SOON AS I GET YOUR REPLY TO THE PAYMENT/WEDDING ARRANGEMENT

Regards,
"SCAM ALERT"

Anonymous said...

Still at it! Here is the recent request I received from my Knot ad:
Please contact:

The Knot Member: Grace Nice

Email: gracenice18@ymail.com

Wedding Date: 9/17/2011

Expected Guests: 55-60

Telephone Number: 817-545-3159

Date: 8/13/2011

Time: 11:17 AM

Category: Wedding Planners

Member's request:

My name is grace and I live in texas but presently in Connecticut to take care of my grandmother. I'm a nurse, I give children Polio Vaccine and work for the WHO.I'll be coming over there soon to start my new job and I'll be getting married shortly after my arrival to my fiance Gray phillip who's a business contractor.

We will need a wedding/event planner/coordinator who can render a full wedding package service and who can make our event a glorious day because we require the best for the best memories of our loved ones and children in future and as a matter of fact we have made a good budget for the best on our wedding day.?Once again I felt really excited to hear from you. I'm pretty busy down here but I'll be more than happy to keep in touch with you so that we can proceed with all the necessary arrangement and also work on how to reserve the venue. You sound like a fit of what we are looking for and we'll definitely love to work with you If you can make all the arrangement before the wedding day.

Thanks

Grace & Gray

We conversed many times but here is a portion of another email which highlights the red flag:

Wedding cake is also part of the budget and our preferred cake flavor is fruit flavored but we can make a choice on that as well.Photographer is also an important part of the wedding that is a photo journalistic style of photography/storybook. Same as videography for both ceremony and reception.Our wedding colors haven't been fully decided yet but here are a few combination we would love to choose from, wine and pink, violet and blue, yellow and orange, white and sky blue.We are presently contradicting with a musical DJ here in Connecticut but we might need your support with a musical group or band.Decorations is also another important part of the budget ranging from lighting to flowers, centerpieces, table linens, candles with scents etc. Accommodation for all guests will be included in the services of the planner but the cost isn't included in the budget.Transportation for all guests will be included in the budget though that is shuttle from the airport to their various hotel rooms, from hotel to location if not in the same location as the wedding venue.Also, we recommend your full planning package which include contradicting with the vendors and reservation of the venues.

In that email the red flag was that the band was in Connecticut...just like all the other scams.

Other red flags: obviously not being local and wanting to do everything from abroad, the quick wedding date, the lack of punctuation and grammar and an overall feeling that her emails were "weird". I hope no one else falls into this scam.

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I have heard of this scam recently. How scarey!

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Chloe Moore said...

I'm a photographer and someone tried to do this to me through Wedding Wire sending me a $6,900 deposit for a $1,1000 quote and asking to transfer the difference via western union to the band's manager. Yeah RIGHT. I was immediately suspicious as no one ever asks this of their photographer but I can see how a wedding planner could run into problems with this. As a precaution I would make sure that you have talked to your couple on the phone and don't accept cashiers checks!

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Nicole said...

We just got this "proposal" from a couple in Manchester, UK. After checking all their credentials things seemed ok but just didn't sit right so we looked into scams and found this blog. Our email could be identical to those posted. Such a shame...