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419 scams targeting music teachers

It has happened to most music teachers with an online presence of any type. You've been contacted from abroad by a conscientious parent wanting their child to take [your instrument] lessons with you while they're in [your city] for the summer.

You find it slightly unusual that they want "Johnny" to have lessons 4 days a week for 2 months, but you would be happy to fill so many timeslots.

Even better, they really want to pay you the full amount in advance and will wire you a check tomorrow. The idea of receiving a sizable amount of money may be tempting. Should you reply and find out more?

How the music lessons 419 scam works

  1. After agreeing and providing them with your address, they wire you a check and, oops, through some clerical error they overpayed by $500.
  2. You're impressed by the size of the check and feel compelled to deposit it.
  3. The parent asks you to kindly send them $500 back and being the trusting person you are, you comply.
  4. Weeks, maybe months later, you discover that the check bounced and that you are responsible for paying back the bank. You're out at least $500 plus any money you may have spent that was essentially borrowed off this check. The scammer makes $500, free and clear.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

There is always a chance it is a legitimate inquiry so you may want to reply and see how it goes. Be very cautious and do not give out any personal information like your address. If anything about the exchange makes you uncomfortable at all, politely tell them that you cannot accept payment in advance for lessons, or better yet, don't reply at all. If they are in fact a scammer, they will move on to other potential victims.

how Lesson Maestro helps protect music teachers

  • A member's email address remains hidden to all site visitors and can only be disclosed by the member themself.
  • Site visitors are only allowed 3 inquiries per day before they are flagged for abuse.
  • Names and email addresses from known scammers are blocked from contacting members.
  • New inquiries are parsed and compared with text from previous scam attempts and flagged if they display similarities.
  • All website links are removed from incoming messages.

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other resources

Check out the links below for more information on how to spot these types of scams and report the scammers to their email providers.

Nigerian Scam on Wikipedia