Erik Jurrien Knoops (erikknoops) wrote:
Our club organizes seminars regularly. As a lot of other clubs we advertise these seminars on our website and other websites. So far nothing special.
Our club does however for every seminar receive a number of shady requests. These are requests which, most of the time indirectly, ask for a letter of invitation. Besides that the request all have the wrong feel to them. We received, among others, request from Nigeria, Ghana, Russia, Cote d'Ivoire etc. Besides that the request often lack any introduction or aikido related information. Sometimes the request contain unbelievable and unverifiable information ( We would like to visit the seminar with 10 high ranking instructors) and refers to organisations that no-one has ever heard from.
To us it is obvious that some people in less fortunate countries have discovered sport-seminars as a way of obtaining entry-visa.
My question would be, do other clubs have the same problem and how do you distinguish between scam requests and legitimate requests.
We had the same thing happen recently. Two requests worded more or less identically to two different seminars a week apart: one in Arizona, USA, the other in Sweden. Things that make us go "Hmmmm?".
I did some research and found that it is a common scam.
If you take the bait, they will string you along and finally ask that formal invitations on letterhead stationary be mailed and faxed to them using their "titles".
My response has been to e-mail information and links to information only and avoided addressing them with any titles they might have given. When/if the e-mails turned into those demanding more, I just put the address into my "Kill File".