Warning! Scams & other ugly practices in the beauty industry

Dishonest

Every once in a while, you hear about some beauty business falling victim to yet another fraud. Sometimes you roll your eyes with pity (“It was so easy to foresee”) but sometimes you become concerned – scammers can really catch you off-guard with their ingenuity. Let’s take a look at the most popular scams and dishonest practices, how you can work out their methods of operation and learn how to secure your business from them.

The overpayment scam

“Hello, I would want to book an appointment for wedding updos for 9 bridesmaids. I will pay you right away by card but I want to ask you for a huge favour – the ladies will arrive by bus and I’m currently unable to pay the bus driver. If I overpay you the needed amount, will you transfer it to the driver, please? It would surely help me a lot!”

How does it work?

This particular scam doesn’t just target the hair & beauty industry – its been reported in countless other ones as well. The exact narrative depends on the industry they attack, however, some vital points always remain the same. They want to book a huge appointment, declare willingness to pay right away and ask you for a little favour – then, they pay more than they need, so you can transfer the overpaid money directly to a third party. In reality, the card used to finalise the payment is fake or stolen – and the third party is actually the scammer. The legitimate cardholder disputes the payment, or it is being blocked by the bank….but the “overpaid” money safely reach the scammer. The nine bridesmaids, of course, never arrive.

How can you stay secure?

First of all – become suspicious whenever a new customer suddenly wants to book a huge appointment worth a significant amount of money (especially if they don’t really ask for details of the service itself). The big bill is here to tempt you and to make the “overpaid” sum seem less significant. Demand contact via mobile phone first (it may discourage less persistent scammers) and definitely reject all offers that require transferring money to anyone.

Online booking scam

Jane Doe (e-mail: glitteryangel342@kissykisses.com, phone number: 888 999 111) has booked full-head highlights with additional Olaplex.

How does it work?

Someone makes an appointment for one of your more costly and time-consuming services via online booking. They never booked anything before and their personal data sounds rather suspicious. Usually, their names are either very default-y or completely unrealistic, the email sounds like a temporary one, created with fake email generator and the phone number is completely random. They take a huge slot in your online booking system, usually on a very busy day and time… but never actually arrive for the appointment. In this case, it’s most probably either your competitors playing dirty or a completely unrelated person making stupid jokes.

How can you stay secure?

When you are using an online booking system, it’s wise to include a description for your most advanced services and mention that you require a booking confirmation made over the phone. You can easily do it if you are using Versum, as it generates your own online booking page you can customise. If the potential client won’t call, send them a reminder (once again, Versum is here to help) and if there is still no response – simply cancel the appointment.

Tip: There is one more thing Versum can help you with – it allows you to ban a certain email address user from booking ever again.

Fake calls & messages

Hello, my name is Michael Smith from [unclear]. I’m calling to tell you that your insurance policy is on the verge of being cancelled and that the money will be transferred to the insurance provider. If you want to stop the procedure…

How does it work?

Someone calls you claiming that your water bill is overdue. Or that your insurance is going out-of-date. They murmur the name of the company (sometimes also their own names) so that you can’t understand clearly. They hurry you up, using very harsh and threatening words, making it sound like you can get into serious trouble any second now (they do this so you can’t slow down and think for a minute). If you want to get things sorted out, you have to give away things such as policy information, personal details, the secure code behind the card and bank account details. Of course, the person calling isn’t your insurer… and now they have all of your sensitive data.

How can you stay secure?

Never, ever give any data to people claiming they are “a branch of your bank”, “your insurer representative” or anything like that. If you get a call or message like that, it’s best to hang up and call your actual provider instead. Most probably you’ll find out that there was never a problem with your bills or insurance.

What else should you watch out for? Messages about vanity awards you presumably won but have to pay a lot of money to collect, your “regular supplier” calling that it’s time to restock the products or fake bank emails with links to websites which deliver malicious software that copies your IDs and passwords for online bank accounts. Most banks openly establish that they don’t send such emails, so never, ever get caught clicking on them.

Bargain-priced products

Beautiful, 7-inch hair scissors for hairdresser Japanese steel cutting scissors only 20$ order before out of stock!!

How does it work?

From time to time, you notice a suspicious post – either on your feed or in one of the beauty groups you’re in, which is advertising presumably professional and very attractive-looking products, sold for ridiculously low prices. However, when you reach the website they are sold on, it’s usually poorly designed, with weird grammar and overall looks rather fishy. When you place your order, in the best case scenario you get a product that is of very poor quality, but usually, the package never arrives – the whole thing was just a catch-and-go company. And don’t forget about door to door salespeople!

How can you stay secure?

If something looks too good to be true – it probably is. Stick to more reliable sources, especially for such important equipment. What’s more – be careful when finding bargain-priced retail products that usually cost a good penny. They may be either expired or contaminated in one way or another.

Seemingly free software

How does it work?

Let’s be honest now. You are a businessperson yourself – you are well aware of the fact that there is not really such a thing as “free” in business. Most of the “free” systems make a profit out of annoying ads or inside purchases that apply to the core functionalities of the software (such as online booking in a salon management system). It also happens that they, in fact, hide their pricing, making you believe that the tool is “free” – but it’s really the trial that is free and after two weeks, you get an enormous bill. Look for companies that, like Versum, are transparent with their pricing.

Another thing regarding software is that creating it is one thing, but regular maintenance and customer service requires more dedication and an extra set of hands- meaning a constant outflow of money. This is why you find most free systems to be full of bugs (lack of maintenance) and you cannot rely on the company to provide you with any real-time support.

How can you stay secure?

Well, we can only advise you to make smart purchase choices. Remember that salon software will store all of your (and your clients) sensible data, so it’s wise to choose a solution that guarantees top-class security, such as Versum. Cheap products that struggle with maintenance tend to struggle with security as well, as they are rarely updated and upgraded. As they say in the beauty industry – you get what you pay for!

Shams come in many shapes and sizes. Some are crimes you can prove (providing false identity data, pretending to be another company’s representative or plain stealing) but sometimes you deal with companies and organisations balancing on the edge of the law. It may be that things they are doing technically aren’t illegal… but are deeply deceitful and focused on earning a profit from your unawareness. Stay alert and use only these services that you can truly trust!

Try Versum for free

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