Photography Extortion Scam Hitting Denver Photographers, We Are On The List
Unfortunately, there is a photography extortion scam spreading across the U.S. and Rayna McGinnis Photography is now a target. This scam involves a group of “three different people”. They go by the names Mark Schwartz, Jennifer McMahon and Mohammed Abdullah. Mark emails photographers with an inquiry to make sure the email address is active. As a responsive photographer, of course, I replied. Then Mohammed sends a nasty email saying he plans to write negative reviews about you to destroy your business. Of course, he doesn’t want any money and there’s nothing you can do. His friend Jennifer then promptly emails as a private investigator, letting me know that there’s a scam going on and if I were to become a target, I should contact her right away. She can help. You know, for a “small” fee.
I no longer have the message from Mark. I deleted it months ago because he was looking for a newborn photographer, which I am not. I had offered to refer him to some of my newborn photographer friends. He never responded to me, lucky them. I do have the emails from Mohammed and Elana, which you can see here. The bottom email is just a blank email.
Right now, there haven’t been any negative reviews about me, though I am watching Yelp, Rip Off Report and the other sites Mohammed mentioned and have a Google Alert set up for my name. Once they appear, I will post that they are a scam in hopes that potential clients will click on the full link and be able to read what is really happening.
I have reported this scam to the FBI and to the Federal Trade Commission. I believe that hundreds of other photographers have done this as well. I haven’t heard anything back from them. I can’t speak for the other photographers. I have no intention of responding to these emails, nor will I pay them anything.
Please know that I am an honest business woman and that I run a high end wedding photography business. My client’s happiness is my number one priority and I currently have a five star rating on all of my review sites. I will continue to provide excellent service to my clients and am trying to keep my head held high.
This seems like a good time to point out that review sites are not fool proof. Most sites do not filter the reviews that are submitted and the only way to have the reviews removed is to “contact the person who submitted the review”. Obviously that isn’t going to work in this case. The sites that do filter, like Yelp, require you to pay them to help filter them. In my opinion, that’s also extortion, so I won’t be paying them either.
I will update this post as the scam unfolds. Please let me know if you have any questions.
You can read more about this photography extortion scam at PetaPixel by clicking here!