Before I start my cautionary article, let me say how much I love the community. This is a wonderful place for people that want to improve their lives. Okay with that being said, this is the Internet. Dishonest people are everywhere and they use the good will that is generated on sites like our beloved to get people to let down their guard and give out information that they normally would not give away. So here is how this all started...

I got a private message through inviting me to come speak to an organization called The Parent Practice about Women In Business. I checked the website and the address and confirmed that it was in fact the address and a legitimate business and then I proceeded to send them my proposal. This is where things got a little strange for me. First of all they didn't ask to see any clips of prior speakers which most meeting planners typically do. The con artist did not try to negotiate my price down which most business owners do. Hey, I do not mind that, I expect business owners to be saavy shoppers. The last thing that struck me as odd was that they would not use Paypal or any other online method of paying me. They wanted me to give them a credit card supposedly so that they could wire money into my account. Once again, I was unsure if this was a scam or not so I gave them a pre paid account that didn't have any money in it. This also was an account that I didn't have anything direct deposited to. Not surprisingly the con artist sent me this email saying that I had given them the wrong credit card number and to please give them more information about the card.

Now at this point we have not signed a contract or anything like that. They kept insisting on me opening a Chase account which I was not about to do. Then they kept asking me about other bank accounts. Finally they decided to send me a check. I took the check to the bank it was drawn on (Chase) and they would not cash the check. So right away I had a sinking feeling that these people were not on the up and up. But just so I would have a paper trail, I deposited the check at my credit union. The check was returned to them unpaid. No surprise there. That didn't cost me anything because I don't count money as available to spend until the check clears the bank so I did not incur any overdraft fees or anything like that. That just made me more suspicious. I started googling london speaking scams and sure enough I found one where people were using similar tactics involving getting people to speak at a church function. I contacted the organization using the email address that was listed on their website and they confirmed that it was in fact a scam.

So I have emailed so that they are on the alert about this scammer trying to take advantage of the members here. I also reported the prepaid card as lost or stolen and I am waiting on a new one. Moral of this story: Be careful online. Don't let your desire to be a successful speaker cloud your better judgement. If the pit of your stomach is not feeling right about something, listen to that inner voice. You could wind up saving yourself a lot of money and heartache.

Author's Bio: 

DeAnna Troupe is a small business coach and a freelance writer. She helps small business owners with their social media strategy. In her free time she likes to spend time with her family. She enjoys watching basketball and American football, crocheting, reading, writing, singing, and playing cards. Get more information about growing a small business by visiting