Home stagers new target for email scammers

By
Home Stager with Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc.

email scam targets home stagersIn case you were still wondering how many people have heard of home staging, here’s further proof that this is a well established field. It seems the scam artists are starting to crawl out from under their rocks to see if they can con home stagers into sending them money!

This is a twist on the “send money to a foreign country to rescue a dying relative” or “assist a diplomat who needs help getting millions out of the country and you’ll be rewarded” — this time with a script rewritten for home stagers and decorators or interior designers who might do work for home owners who are living abroad.

In this scam the interior designer or home stager is contacted by an out-of-country “homeowner” by email. The sender leads you on about a project and tries to build a rapport all in the hopes of tricking you into handing over your money.

In the specific case I’ve heard about, the stager said the man was very vague around details of the home. He wouldn’t answer the stager’s questions. Instead, he seemed focused on whether or not she had credit card processing abilities. Even though the stager didn’t provide an estimate for staging fees (because she didn’t have enough information from the “client”), he told her that she was to charge $16,000 to his credit card, keeping $8,000 for herself and sending $8,000 to his “artist.”

Thankfully, this home stager didn’t fall into the trap of being blinded by the promised $8,000 fee, and when she questioned this arrangement she never heard from the man again.

Look out for schemes like this because unfortunately, some of people are just too trusting and they will do something like this, trying to help someone out. Otherwise, email scams would not still be so very prevalent.

Has anything like this happened to you in your home staging career? Real estate agents, do you have any similar experiences from "out of town buyers"? Share your thoughts and/or experiences by leaving a comment below.

Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Six Elements Inc. Home Staging

Internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould is President of Six Elements Inc. and creator of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program. An entrepreneur for 20 years and author of several guides, including the Home Stager's Guide to Twitter, Debra has staged millions of dollars worth of real estate and uses her expertise to train others worldwide. 

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Ambassador
417,779
Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Debra,

It's very unfortunate that there are still people falling for these scams....it seems the con artists are never ending sources of new ways to steal from unsuspecting people.

Jo

Feb 20, 2010 03:15 AM #2
Rainer
253,584
Kathy Burke
Sensational Home Staging~~Danville, CA - Danville, CA
S.F. East Bay Home Staging

How sad that this goes on!!  THANKS for the post to make sure as many folks know about this type of thing as possible.  LOVE the picture you used....it helps make the point!!

Feb 20, 2010 05:24 AM #3
Rainer
78,200
Mannie Ferguson
The Staging Fashionista - Alexandria, VA
APSD, RESA

I get these e-mails all the time.  Fortunately, I know all about these scams.  I'm glad you posted this as it is important for others not to fall for this scam. 

Feb 20, 2010 01:09 PM #4
Rainmaker
155,339
Connie Tebyani
Platinum Home Staging, Inc. : RESA-Pro - Calabasas, CA
Platinum Home Staging, Los Angeles and Ventura County

Debra, this email has been going around for years.  I blogged about it when I received it last summer (2009) and it was sent to Interior Designers and Home Stagers alike (they included everyone they sent it to in the cc field)  Everyone just needs to remember the mantra: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

Feb 20, 2010 03:57 PM #5
Rainmaker
165,357
Sandi Gerrard
Saint Thomas, ON
It's all about colour

Similar emails started among our membership last summer.  I'm thankful none of us fell victim to the scam.

Feb 21, 2010 08:55 PM #6
Rainer
43,212
Nancy Maurer
Whitehall Interiors & Home Staging LLC - Sparta, NJ
Home Stager - Serving No. NJ

Debra, thanks for the head's up...I haven't received anything like this (yet!), but will keep my eyes peeled.

Feb 22, 2010 01:36 AM #7
Rainer
117,889
Kate Talarico
Kates Home Staging and Interior Design - Goshen, NY
RESA, Top Orange County Home Decorator & Stager

I have also received a few similar emails from an Out of the Country homeowner who needs my help.  I figured they were scams, since the emails usually do not contain a physical address or full name.  Great post!

Feb 23, 2010 08:33 AM #8
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Debra Gould

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