It is the one year anniversary when I nearly took leave of close to $2000 due to speaking scam.
I was stopped in my tracks when my very suspicious virtual assistant confirmed it was a scam. I blogged about my experience and I’m happy to see that nearly 150 comments later, that blog post is helping a small group of speakers, trainers and coaches avoid losing their money.
One of my buddies, Felicia Slattery, posted 6 Warning Signs You May Be Getting Scammed As a Professional Speaker. I added one more – strange use of English grammar. Some scammers are trying to conduct their scam in English – which, in most cases, is not their first language.
There are exceptions, of course.
For example, if none of the 6 yellow flags mentioned by Felicia are met and the person isn’t using the most perfect English, most likely, it is NOT a scam.
English is not their first language and they’re trying their best. I know how difficult it is to communicate in a language that isn’t your mother tongue (I should know, my 2nd language is French – such a humbling experience), so I’m not referring to those individuals.
Like I said, there are exceptions, but in some cases, you can spot a scam if the way the English language used in the emails is odd.
Take a look at some of the odd syntaxes and grammar used by the scammers in their lengthy email exchange with my virtual assistant (I’m copying the scammers words verbatim – with no edits):
When sharing when why I need to arrive a few days early…
“Note Leesa is meant to arrive a day before her performance as to get familiar with the audio/visual gadgets that we have in place, and to get used to the environment as a whole and also get to relax from the jet lag.”
Regarding who will obtain my UK work visa…
“Mrs. Burks is a senior official of the United Kingdom Border Agency and an erstwhile member of our congregation before she was posted away from our environs,”
Regarding my question on will be attending the conference…
“Since we will have a protuberance of business minded people in the audience as we have about more than half of our parishioner who are small/medium scale business people, The presentation will be just right!”
On why they’re inviting me to speak…
“Sending out the invitation to you is by virtue of Gods bearing plus human recommendation, We need you to use your wealth of experience to sensitize the congregation, We organized this conference and workshop also in the hope of trying to re-organize the Church and further extend our impacts, We are inviting you so you can inspire this people, teach them how to triumph over the deflating effects of set-backs & self-doubt, how to break free from whatever is keeping them “small”, and become empowered by their challenges, rather than victimized. And most importantly, how to start great things with small efforts and steadfastness,”
On which airport I will be flying to…
“Ms. Hall will be flying into Edinburgh airport where we would then provide ground transportation for her to Jarrow so she can view the vast land mass and the beautiful countryside.”
On which airport I depart from…
“We are working on flight itinerary at present and we would also want to employ you to please send us the departure airport that would best soothe Mrs. Hall schedule.”
Awkward English is a clue that’s something amiss. Review Felicia’s 6 yellow flags to help you as you evaluate a speaking request that seems fishy.
Remember (this bears repeating) – If none of the 6 yellow flags are being met and the English used in their emails is a bit awkward, there’s no need for alarm. Their 1st language isn’t English and they’re trying their best.
However, if 3 or more of the yellow flags are being met AND they’re using awkward English, the invitation may very well be a scam.
What say you? Post below…