BEWARE THE CON! – a cautionary epistolary tale



The following emails are actual.  Only certain identifying details have been redacted.


Sunday, 7:01pm – Message from D- C- relayed via a service for independent contractors:

Hello,My name is D- ,I want lessons for my Daughter,she is 12 years old, Pls text (XXX) XXX-XXXX me or email to ( h—— ) the cost of 1 hour per day total of 10 lessons in a month ?


Sunday 11:21 pm – Danny Ashkenasi to h—– 

Dear Mr. C-,
I received your message from T———- regarding lessons for your 12 year old daughter and requesting information about the cost of 1 hour per day total of 10 lessons in a month.


A one hour lesson at my studio would be $XX.  ($XXX for 10) For 10 lessons in a month, would you be considering a lesson scheduled every 3 or 4 days?


I do make house calls as well, for a $5-$10 surcharge, depending on distance traveled.  I am located in Brooklyn, and normally don’t travel as far as the XXXXX zip code you are located.


Please contact me directly at or XXX XXX-XXXX. 

Danny Ashkenasi


Monday 4:27 am – D- J- to me


Thanks for getting back to me, My daughter name is Susan she is coming
for an holiday in your CITY and I want her to be busy in the time of
the day,because i will be in CANADA for business trip for more than a
month that is why i want her to be lesson with you i have Someone that
will always drive her down to your house or lessons center for the
each lessons,the total days of the lesson will only be 10 days in a
month. Just let me know the cost for the 10 days lessons ?



Monday 4:44 am – D- J- to me


Am okay with your price and i also have Someone that will be driven
her down to you for the each lessons,What is your own convenient time
and days that you want my daughter to be coming in a week?



Monday 8:44 am – Danny Ashkenasi to D- 
Mr. C-,
What month are we looking at? This June and July I am the most open for scheduling lessons in the early afternoon. 2pm for example would be available most Mondays thru Thursdays and some Fridays. Earlier times are also widely available. Later afternoon or evening times are more booked up but can be arranged during the week as well.

Please let me know between what two dates you would like to schedule the 10 lessons and (if 2pm will work for you) I will schedule out 10 specific dates that maximize the efficacy of the lessons.

Is Susan a beginner player, and if not, how many years has she been playing piano?




Monday 9:08 am – D- C- to me


She will be starting the lesson probably this week,  The 2pm time is
better and Mondays through Thursday and Friday will also be fine with
my daughter. I believe my daughter will definitely enjoy lesson under
you, Yes she has been playing piano before now. she’s a humble girl
which always want to learn for her future. she will definitely be a
good student under you…Everything sound good to me and am okay with
you,My mode of payment is check and it will get deliver to your door
step via USPS this week before the lesson will start this week..Kindly
get back to me with your  full name to be on the check and your
address And your direct contact that you want the payment to be
deliver too so that i can forward it to my Secretary to mail out the
payment to you asap..Thanks

Monday 9:26 am – Danny Ashkenasi to D- 
Very well,

I will write out a schedule (with my address) and an invoice for you. Should we have her start this Wednesday? Or we could start tomorrow (Tuesday) too, if you like. Since we are starting so soon, the check can be brought with your daughter at the first lesson.

But before I can create the schedule I need to know by what day should the 10 lessons end?


Danny Ashkenasi


Monday 9:43 am – D- C- to me

Sound good , first of all, the check payment will be mail out to you
today from my secretary once i have your information for the check,
the check will be deliver to you before Susan arrived there, and once
the check payment deliver to you Susan will also getting in touch i
have someone that will be driven her down to you for the each lessons.
the receipt can be giving to her when she started.

The lesson date schedule should start from 8th of June and end 8th of
July…that’s exactly a month that i would be away for my business.

Kindly get back to me with following info to facilitate your check
payment to you asap

Your full name to be on the check
Address to be deliver too
Contact num.


Monday 10:29 am – Danny Ashkenasi to D-

Mr. C-,

Attached is an invoice for $XXX and a schedule for the lessons, all on weekdays, starting this Friday June 8 and concluding July 6. I have spaced out the lessons for maximum efficacy.  Times may be rescheduled up until the day before the scheduled lesson.

My location is XXX D- Street #X. Brooklyn, NY XXXXX. Please make the check out to Danny Ashkenasi. I can be reached at XXX XXX XXXX or XXX XXX XXXX.

I look forward to working with Susan. If she has any piano or music books she has been working with, please ask her to bring these with her to the first lesson.




Monday 10:34 am – V- T- to me

D- C- is a fake name of a scammer who’s trying to rip you off.

He pretends to offer a job, but the job is fake.  He’ll send you a
fraudulent check or money order, and tell you to cash it and wire the
cash to someone.  The counterfeit will cash at first but bounce later,
leaving you responsible for the full amount.  If you send money, you’ll
lose it all.

– You should stop all contact with the scammer.
– Do not send any money as instructed by the scammer.
– Do not give the scammer any of your bank info.

Watch for these sure signs of a scam:
– Someone offers a job without meeting you in person first.
– Someone tells you to cash a check or money order and wire money.
– Someone tells you to use Western Union or Moneygram.

learned about you because he accidentally sent me an email with your
address in it. We don’t want to educate him and make him a better

If you have a second, please reply to let me know you got this.

Monday 10:41 am – Danny Ashkenasi to V- T-


Thank you for the warning.

I have been in contact with Mr. C- and have had my doubts. So far he has said he would send me a check to pay for a month’s lessons for his daughter and not asked for anything other than my mailing address. I do not intend to give him any additional info and my suspicions were already on alert before receiving your email.

Thank you,



Monday 10:58 am – V- T- to me

Your suspicion sure was right.  There is no daughter and he doesn’t want any lessons.  He’ll send you a fake check for way more than your fee, and tell you to send the “extra” money to someone via Western Union, Moneygram, Walmart, or iTunes card.  Later the check will bounce and you’ll have to pay back all the money out of your own pocket, while the scammer keeps the money you give him.
It’s always a scam when an unseen stranger tells you to cash a check and send money to someone.
And it’s always a scam when an unseen stranger promises to hire you – and sends a check – without a face-to-face interview FIRST.
That’s especially true of teaching children.  Nobody would hire a complete stranger – and send a big check! – to give lessons to their precious children without meeting first.


Monday 11:15 am – Danny Ashkenasi to V- T-

All true and clear to me. I was already on the lookout for any of the scenarios you describe to present themselves eventually. Even if a check for the proper amount does arrive, I was planning to call the bank (from the online number, not the number on the check) to verify before attempting to deposit.

But now that I heard from you, any small consideration that maybe this guy’s for real has pretty much dissipated.





Monday 11:23 am – D- C- to me

Got your Danny with the provided information and showing interest to
teach my daughter,I will like to tell you that the Payment will come
to you in excess payment which will included the nanny fees on the
check am sending to you..So once you got the check you are going to
deduct your own money for the 10 lessons for one Month and also extra
$50 for your running around and you will help me send the rest fund to
the nanny ,Because the Nanny will be using the money to Drive and
relocate my Daughter so that they can pay for the house rent and some
other things before the lesson start..Hope i can trust you with the
nanny fund and you will handle this for me and i will be happy if my
daughter achieve her aim in future?


Monday 11:41 am – Danny Ashkenasi to D-

Mr. C-,

I can not accept any payment in excess of what I have invoiced.

Considering the unorthodox nature of your request, I must now insist that I am paid $XXX in cash this Friday to cover the first two lessons. I will accept a check for the balance of the invoice, $XXX, which your driver or daughter can give me in person on Friday as well. You will receive a receipt for both.




Completely unsurprisingly, I have not heard from Mr. D- C- since.



About dannyashkenasi

I'm a composer with over 40 years experience creating music theater. I'm also an actor, writer, director, producer, teacher and general enthusiast for the arts.
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1 Response to BEWARE THE CON! – a cautionary epistolary tale

  1. howlevmuso says:

    I vaguely remember hearing about this sort of thing a while back. Thanks for passing on the info and bravo to V-T- for warning you!

    Liked by 1 person

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