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LOVE IS IN THE AIR: WEDDING SCAMS TO BE WARY OF

Vancouver, BC – A wedding day is meant to be one of the most memorable in a person’s life for all of the right reasons. And as anyone knows, getting married isn’t cheap. Canadians spend an average of thirty thousand dollars to say “I Do.” The last thing anyone wants on their big day is to come to the sad realization that they’ve been ripped off. Scammers delight in taking advantage of those about to get hitched.

“The last thing anyone wants on their big day is to have it marred by a scammer,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “Unfortunately these crooks don’t care about how much you love someone, and even vendors and wedding related service providers get targeted this time of year.”
Common wedding scams targeting couples:
Knock-off wedding dresses:
You found the dress of your dreams. The price…too good to be true! It’s a literal steal! These are often found as private sales online, or through questionable websites. They will make the claim that they are a real Vera Wang or Alfred Sung and even have the tags to prove it. They’re nothing but a cheap imitation. And you may not even get the dress you selected if it shows up at all.
* Shop at reputable stores

* Never wire money to someone you’ve never met

* If you do purchase online, use a reputable portal like PayPal and use credit card

* Search BBB database at bbb.org for reputable sellers

Faux Photogs:
A search for a photographer finds a dazzling website complete with the most breathtaking wedding pics you’ve ever seen. The photographer, whom you’ll struggle to meet in person, has no problem booking your time slot and demands, in some cases, full payment before snapping a shot. Payment is usually in the form of a wire transfer. Lo and behold they don’t show up for the day.
* Ask friends for recommendations

* Ask photographer for references

* Research them online and read reviews

* Never pay in full at the start and never wire money to someone you’ve never met

o This goes for any wedding related vendor

* Search BBB database for reputable photographers

* Get everything in writing

Gift Grabber:
The polite term would be wedding crasher. Thieves scope out the wedding hall to learn where the presents are being stacked. While everyone is on the dance floor cutting it to Drake and Beyonce they make off with the booty. Many times gifts are in the form of cash that is placed in a separate box, this too is a nice target for thieves.
* Ask that guest not bring wrapped presents or money to the venue

* Ask guests to purchase items on a registry

* Keep the ‘money gift box’ as a centrepiece at the head table

* Make the gift table inaccessible to anyone but invited guests.
Did you, in fact, get married?
Are you holding your nuptials overseas? Are you aware of local laws and who is allowed to officiate weddings? Risks to consider:
* Wedding not officially recorded

* Conducted by unlicensed individuals

* Extra fees not discussed prior to the big day

* Is a marriage certificate issued in the marriage country recognized in yours?

Schemes targeting Event Planners and Vendors:
The accidental over payment:
Your business is contacted by someone who wants a lavish wedding. They send you a cheque for more than is necessary and they claim it was by accident. They kindly ask you to deposit it, then send a specific amount to another vendor via email transfer. The cheque bounces and your business suffers.
* Be wary of people asking you to forward money to another vendor

* Be wary of clients sending you more than is required to fulfill the job

* Meet potential clients in person and at the chosen venue

* Wait until cheques are cleared by your bank
The would-be Expo:
A nice website pops up claiming a wedding expo is coming to your town. All you need to do is register and pay a small fee so that your business can set up a booth and take part. The expo doesn’t exist and now you’ve willingly given them your money.
* Check references of event planner

* Connect with other vendors

* Check with venue expo is to be held at

* Avoid paying in advance to take part if possible

(evan@mbc.bbb.org)