How the scam works:
(with video below) This scam comes in two variations, with victims being on both sides of the spectrum: newlyweds and wedding planners (or photographers). The first scenario is the Bridal Show Scam. In this variation, a big bridal show is about to be organized in your city. You find advertisements online for it and it piques your interest. Registration is $300-400 and you are promised a great location for your booth and maximum exposure.
You're ecstatic and pay your registration fee. However, a couple of days before the event you are notified that the bridal show is cancelled for various reasons, and you're promised your money back. Months will go by you won't get the fee.
Scenario 2: The Wedding Planner Scam. In this case, victims are the newlyweds. According to Wikipedia, "the wedding planner scams prey on the vulnerability of young couples, during a time when they are most distracted and trusting, to embezzle funds for the planner's personal use. In the first type of fraud, the wedding planner company may offer a free wedding in a tie-up with a media station for a couple in need of charity, and collect the donations from the public that were meant for the wedding. In a second type of fraud, the planner asks couples to write checks to vendors (tents, food, cakes) but leave the name field empty, which the planner promises to fill in. As most vendors were never hired nor paid, the scam would then be exposed on the day of the wedding."
How to avoid:
In both cases, extensive research is the way to avoid this. Whether a bridal show is about to be organized in your city or you're looking for a reputable wedding planner, always use names that have been doing this for a long time and are known for it. Research the organizers (individuals) of the show. Look for their names and Google them with the word 'scam' attached. Do the same with the wedding planners. You can't afford to risk your wedding day. Chances are you'll get a good idea of how things will go according to their online reputation.
How the scam works:
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