Online Scam targeting Music Teachers

Online Scam targeting Music Teachers

Dear MTASA members,

Just a reminder that there have been some online scam going around, but our web directory is made safe that our members’ information is protected and not taken by hackers. If you did get the scams like below, check your other listing on other websites.

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Too Good To Be True

Several months ago I received a personal email from a man who wanted to
arrange piano lessons for his two children. He mentioned in the email that he
wanted to give them something to keep them occupied after school hours. Fair
enough, I thought. There were a few grammatical errors in the email, but that
didn’t initially raise any concerns for me as I regularly correspond with
parents whose first language isn’t English. The email went on to say that he
wanted his kids to have two hour-long lessons each per week and would I please
let him know the price for eight weeks of lessons.

I replied to the email, asking what playing experience his children had and he
answered that they were beginners, so I replied advising him that I thought
two hours of lessons per week was unnecessary at this stage, considering the
students’ inexperience. I also mentioned that we had to see if we could find a
suitable lesson time for all concerned, suggesting a couple of free times I
had available. He replied straight back, agreeing to the times I had suggested
(strange) and once again asking for the price of eight weeks of lessons. As we
were half way through the term, I explained that my accounts follow the school
term and so I would need to make his account for just the number of weeks left
that term.

However, he insisted in a rather pushy manner that he wanted to know how much
for eight weeks of lessons. We eventually came to the point where we had
agreed for the students to start the following week, when the man said he
wanted to pay by credit card. I explained that I didn’t have card facilities
since most parents pay these days by electronic funds transfer. That was the
last I heard of him. At the time I thought I’d missed out on a lucrative
client, but I put it out of my mind…

Until several weeks ago, when I received another personalized email, from a
woman this time, asking for the price of two hour-long weekly piano lessons
for eight weeks for her three daughters. She explained in her email that she
was undergoing cancer surgery and wanted to give her children piano lessons to
take their minds off the situation. Red flags started waving in my mind, but I
went ahead and began discussing times and realistic lesson schedules as
before. Once again she agreed to any times I suggested immediately (very
strange!) and told me that the children would be transported to my house by
private bus. Then she also stated that she wanted to pay online by credit
card. I mentioned, as before, that I wasn’t set up to deal with that, upon
which she sent me a number of links to various banks, with the insistence that
I should set up credit facilities then and there!

Once again, there was this familiar pushy attitude combined with a slightly
sub-standard grasp of English language and grammar, so I went online and
Googled ‘piano teacher scams’. I immediately came across other music teachers’
stories about being targeted with almost the exact storyline, such as
requesting a quote for eight weeks of lessons, strange reasons for wanting
their kids to have lessons, private bus to deliver them, etc.
When played out to its conclusion, the typical scam would see the scammer
claim to make an ‘accidental’ overpayment for the lessons by a thousand
dollars or more, then request the teacher to either return the overpayment to
them online, or else send it to the ‘bus driver’ to cover the students’
transport fees. I read of a violin teacher in the USA who did this, only to
find that the original payment they thought they had received didn’t come
through and the students never turned up for their first lesson.

Here is an article regarding a similar scam:

https://www.violinist.com/blog/laurie/20146/15908/

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