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Cheque Cashing Scam- What Every Event Planner Needs to Know


MPI Toronto On December 7, 2016

by â€‹Deirdra Watson, CPR,  deirdra@conceptsolutions.ca

As a professional event planner with more than 20 years of experience in the industry, I've always done my due diligence on any companies that I have been approached by. In July 2016, I was approached by Stoneway Films out of British Columbia to do a film premiere.  I did my due diligence, checked their website and everything seemed to be on the up-and-up.

The film premiere was for approximately 100 people in the Toronto area, in late November, with a healthy budget of $80K, and I would be responsible for all the monies for the event.

Once we had signed contracts, I commenced with the planning, however, the contact went cold for three weeks and I was concerned that inventory would be unavailable. I did not have red flags as I kept checking the internet for information on the company. It was during my search that I found an article written by Roger Petersen of CityTV about the same company. I spoke with Petersen, and the authorities. The authorities informed me that because the company was based in BC there was not much they could do unless an actual fraud was committed.

I played along with their game, even talking with the sponsor about their need to up the budget to $130K. I eventually told them that they had to send a certified cheque for the $80K invoice I had issued. I have not heard from them since. I could have lost everything.

As professionals, we have to be extremely careful of scams like this. There have now been many other reports of this scam and similar have been popping up, not only in Canada but in the US as well. 

Scams can ruin our business, our personal lives, finances and our reputations. Due diligence is important, and if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. 

Let’s protect ourselves and get the word out.

For more reading on this topic, check out the following articles:

CityTV Story - http://www.citynews.ca/2016/09/30/toronto-event-planner-hook-thousands-bank-clears-bogus-cheque/yTV

Edmonton Event Planner warns others - http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/edmonton-event-planner-warning-others-about-cheque-scam-1.3805916

BBB Business Profile/Alerts & Actions - https://www.bbb.org/mbc/business-reviews/video-production-services/stoneway-films-in-vancouver-bc-1288499/Alerts-and-Actions

TIFF Fraud case - http://www.meetingscanada.com/scam-targets-event-planners-warns-toronto-police/

Deirdra Watson, CPR is the Owner and Managing Director of Concept Solutions, PR & Event Management. Ms. Watson is a conference producer, event manager and public relations consultant with over 20 years of combined experience in communications, sales and marketing, strategic planning and event management. 

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