Email Scam Targeting EMDR Therapists

There was some chatter recently on the Internet about a therapy scam that’s been targeting EMDR therapists. Yes, it’s that specific.  Because of the wording and style of the email, it looks very legitimate, and is able to bypass most SPAM filters as a result.

Be warned, however, it is a costly scam.  It is a variation of the Nigerian 419 Money Scam that’s been floating round for years, but this one is targeted specifically for therapists.

Here’s the how the scam basically works:

  • You’ll receive an email from someone who needs therapy, maybe even EMDR therapy.
  • Although the email address will look legitimate, it was probably actually spoofed, or it was created temporarily to pull off this scam.
  • The scam artist will go on to say how they are in some sort of personal trauma, usually involving financial ruin, or possibly a life-threatening situation.
  • They will also mention, and this is key, that they are moving to your state, or will be visiting for a short amount of time.  They may ask for a short intensive EMDR sessions.
  • The scam artist will then tell you that they can’t access their bank account for some reason, and that they will send you a cashier’s check to pre-pay for their therapy sessions.  And that’s when the scam kicks in.
  • They will wait to hear from you to see if you cashed the cashiers check.  Most banks are required to honor a cashier’s check within 1 to 5 business days, even though your bank did not validate the check with the issuing bank.  This is why the scam works.
  • The scam artist will then immediately tell you that they need the money back for some urgent reason.  And since you’ve already deposited it, they will ask you to send them a check or money transfer order to them.
  • Once they have your money, the scam artist will disappear. You’ve been duped
  • Here’s the double-whammy.  Your bank will then charge you with a bounced check fee because the cashier’s check was a phony.

What this type of scam preys on is the sympathy and compassion of therapists who have a natural tendency to want to rescue or help someone in need.

If you receive such an email, and you feel compelled to help believing that the email must be real, that is your prerogative.  But you also do it at your own peril.

If, however, you believe that such an email is a scam, DO NOT RESPOND TO IT and DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS.  The scam artist could be phishing for legitimate email addresses to sell to other scam artists.  An actual response from you would signal to them that your email address is legitimate, and to an email phishing scam artists, that kind of email address is gold.

The best thing to do is to put the email into your SPAM box, or just delete it altogether.

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