Hi, I’m Robert Estrin and this is LivingPianos.com. Today’s subject is about the ultimate piano scam. I made a video years ago about piano scams. It’s a pretty popular video. Apparently, a lot of people have been the subject of attempted piano scams. There are so many people doing the same scams over and over again! I’m going to tell you how you can spot a scammer!
If you are selling a piano, be aware of this common scam.
Let’s say you have a piano for sale and somebody is interested in the piano. Everything goes easier than you think it will, no negotiation, not as many questions as you would expect. This is a telltale sign of a scam, but you never know, so you follow through. At the end of the line they want to buy the piano. Then, sure enough, a cashier’s check arrives in the mail. You look at the check and see it’s made out for more money than the cost of the piano. Next thing you know, you get an email. (By the way, these scams are almost always through email, rarely on the phone.) In the email, they explain that the check includes extra money for you to pay their piano mover, as they have arranged for the move. Then they have you send money to the mover, the $500 or whatever it is. Then of course you find out that the check is no good. I’m so tired of this scam. People are doing this same scam over and over. A little originality, please. Well, be careful what you wish for! Because we did get one recently that was very creative.
A new piano scam.
I want to bring this scam to your attention because we got contacted by another potential victim of this scam in an interesting way, which I’m going to get to at the end of this article. Here’s how this one goes. If you’re a piano teacher or a piano store, or anyone who has anything to do with piano, you may get an email saying, “My father just died and I have to get rid of his piano. I just want it to go to a good home.” Right away, it might raise suspicion. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. But that’s not always the case. You can miss out on a lot of opportunities in life if you always assume any good thing is a scam, because a lot of times they aren’t! We do sometimes get offers for free pianos. Sometimes it’s harder to sell a piano than it’s worth for the time it takes. So it wasn’t so unusual that we got this offer, although this piano was a little bit nicer than most of the free pianos that are offered to us. So we were just waiting to see what would happen next.
We were told the piano was in storage and to contact the moving and storage company. In this case we actually talked to someone on the phone, which is really unusual. Most scams are all done through email because they’re sending a massive number of emails. Also, they might be in a different country and can’t speak English well enough. But these scammers were pretty clever. We got an email from the moving and storage company giving us rates for the move of the piano. They were in a neighboring state. Here’s where it gets really creative. They had a website for the moving company. The website looked totally legitimate. Everything was there, address, phone number, everything.
There are very few national piano movers.
We were actually more excited about the moving company than we were about the free piano! There are so few companies that specialize in long distance piano moves. Walter Piano Transport is a great company, Modern Piano Moving is another one. Keyboard Carriage is a company that caters mostly to the piano industry. There are just about no other major national piano moving companies. This moving company had different options for one day, four day, or ten day moves at different price points. It never works that way with piano moves. Piano moves are very sporadic. They can sometimes take months, and they usually can’t promise such specific timeframes. I realized it was a scam. That was the tip off. But boy, there was such sophistication in this scheme!
We were recently contacted by someone who was also targeted by the same scam.
Here’s where it gets really crazy. These scammers randomly used pictures from LivingPianos.com of a piano we had for sale years ago. This person was smart enough to search the serial number of the piano and found it on LivingPianos.com. They contacted us and I said, “No, we know nothing about this. In fact, we got emails from people trying to pull off the same scam on us!” So if you get something in your email about a free piano and they have the moving company all lined up, it may look legit, but it’s probably not. So be aware! This is a scam that I hadn’t seen before. I respect the intelligence and how far they went to try to perpetrate the scam. But obviously, ripping people off is something that’s disgusting and should be stopped!
How can you avoid being scammed?
You just have to be diligent and do your homework! Always check the URLs. Also, if there’s an address, go to Google Maps to see if the place actually exists. This moving company was on Google. But if you dig deep, you’ll always be able to uncover these scams for what they are. Be careful out there! And if any of you see something that you think could be a scam, feel free to email us at info@LivingPianos.com and we’ll get to the bottom of it for you! I hope this is helpful for you! Thanks so much for joining me, Robert Estrin here at LivingPianos.com, Your Online Piano Resource.
For premium videos and exclusive content, you can join my Living Pianos Patreon channel! www.Patreon.com/RobertEstrin
Contact me if you are interested in private lessons. I have many resources for you! Robert@LivingPianos.com