Scam Alert

Introduction

If you have dealt with someone who has tried to scam you or someone you know in the Voice Over Industry whether it is a voice over casting agency or a client please use this section to inform your fellow voice over talent about it and, if possible, the details of the incident.

By Scamming I don’t mean someone that was late for payment so please don’t post someone’s information here to get back at a tardy client. This section is put up for the purpose of helping fellow voice over artists avoid dealing with dubious individuals and organizations.

How To Avoid Being Scammed

To avoid getting scammed or swindled please read the following and use your head before agreeing to work for a dubious online client:

  • Offer seems way too good to be true.
  • Consistent typos in emails and job offers
  • The email behavior of the user is aggressive, hostile, and filled with ultimatums.
  • Avoid jobs that originate from India, Nigeria, club DJ’s, and small computer companies in Europe seeking a grand amount of work for little money.

Terms of Use

The views expressed on this page and posted by participants are not those of Mahmoud Taji and he is in no way liable in the event of a defamation lawsuit or financial investigation.  All comments left by VO artists are attributed to themselves.

Removal

If you or your company are listed here… then its probably for a reason. If you wish to be removed then please pay all your outstanding payments to the voice over artist (or artists) who submitted the original complaint and provide me with proof. Otherwise you stay on the list.

Discussion Moved to Forum

The scam alert discussion has been moved from the comments section to the New Forum

If you would like to participate in the forum please register and start making your contributions.

 

17 Comments


  1. I was hired in November working with Newspapers for the Blind. They required reading articles (in my case from the London newspapers). These articles were long and and as I am relatively new to editing took ages. Then the person in charge decided because these people were also partially deaf that I needed to change my sound system. I did this willingly because I thought I had a steady job. At quite a bit of expense I was ready to start working again and it was then he turned out to be a complete nightmare. I reported him to Voices 123 which is where I got the job and they said they had banned him from the site as he had done similar things to other people but it is important that he doesn’t turn up like a bad penny and do the same thing to others. Needless to say I never got paid.

  2. DO NOT work for Josh Ryan or Scarlett Marketing (based in Portland, OR). I did the VO for the Gorge Games which ended up airing on Fox Sports. Took me 8 months to get a check which bounced when I deposited it. He has since ignored all requests to be paid (another 8 months worth of calls and e-mails). The guy is a slime bucket … caveat emptor!

  3. Hello Taji:

    Voice-overs aren’t the only victims of scammers. I found a number of websites where you could check and report internet scams. You never know when you might need them:

    http://www.joewein.net/index.htm
    http://419eater.com/
    http://wiki.aa419.org/index.php/Main_Page
    http://fraudaid.com/
    http://www.scambaits.net/forum/index.php
    http://fraudwatchers.org/

  4. Juliette Gray is not the only one who has had ‘a less than positive’ experience’ with the founder and editor of Newspapers for the Blind.

    Here is my tale of caution:

    http://tinyurl.com/yfef3bm

  5. Mark,
    It may be too late now. But at one time in Texas if you had a check, you could take it to the bank it was written on and leave it there for collection. There was a fee (of course, it’s a bank) but essentially as soon as money is deposited in the account, they pull out the amount of the check and send it to you. It’s been awhile, but you might check into it.

  6. VoxBox has been a continual problem for many of my clients.

    They are based in India and is run by Melroy D’Mello – I have had more complaints about this outfit than I care to count.

    Sadly, they know there is no way to collect from them because they know that no one can actually COLLECT from them!

    Definitely a rape-and-run outfit.

  7. I just want to point out here that the company noted as “Vox Box” is based in India and is in NO WAY associated with “The Vox Box” based out of Canada.

    Companies often have similar names, please make sure who you’re dealing with.

    Thanks!

    Lori @ The Vox Box

    • I think the confusion between Vox Box and VoxBox is the spelling…. Vox Box in Canada has a space in between the two words. VoxBox in India has no space. To avoid further confusion, is best to keep in mind that the outfit with the bad reputation is the one with no space and should be referred to as “VoxBox in India (not Canada)” to clarify further.

      • Hello Elizabeth,

        Actually the Canadian firm is called “The Vox Box” so they include “The” as well as a space between the Vox and Box. In addition to listing VoxBox’s proper url on the scam-alert page I have also written a blog post (which you can read via the main page) informing people of the difference between the two companies and listing the very different URLs for each.

        Taji

        • Hello Taji,
          Thank Goodness for your site! You help make a difference and there are many of us who thank you for being out there. I read your blog post about the difference of the two companies and in all fairness, it is a good idea to make a clarification whenever we refer to the bad guys at VoxBox in India as to not confuse it with the good folks at “The Vox Box” in Canada. I am sure it has taken years of arduous work to build a reputable business, unlike the scammers at Vox Box in India who in a few days did so much damage.

  8. Hi fellow-scamwatchers! I just received the following email:

    VOICEOVER CLASSES NEEDED

    “Greetings
    I am Mr George Maxwell from the UK I would like to book for 4 weeks voice over training classes for 3 hours each day,as the case may be, Monday through Saturday (morning hours or evening hours) for a group of 8 adults,We would be coming over to your location, and as part of our plans we intend to visit your facility and have classes/private lessons in that space of time,can you send us your offers for the classes? Do you have guest rooms or is there any 3 star hotel close to your studio?
    DATE: 5th July TO 2nd Aug 2010
    . I would love to get the total cost or a quote/estimate. Do you accept credit cards?you are required to get back to me ASAP Regards
    George”

    The same George Maxwell sent an identical email to BBC Radio 2 Newsreader and owner of BigFIsh Media Voiceovers Ricky Salmon.

    A few years ago, some voice-over artists received an email that was remarkably similar to the one above:

    “Hello,
    My name is leesa James,I am a consultant working with the Films federation in Kenya in Africa.
    I want to know if you are available for service?Cause currently the Films federation are seeking for a acting coach who will train thier actors for a movie project.

    The training will go on for four months,The actors that you will be training are six in numbers consisting of four females and two males.

    You will be recieving $15,000 every week as your salary,Including $10,500 which will be used for accomodation and feeding for the players.Plus an additional $7,500 which will serve as training and transportation fee.

    The actors will be comming over to your place for the training.cause the Films federation are aware of the fact that they will get the best training in the Us.The Films federation will simply make the funds available for the
    training.

    If you will be available for this coaching position? get back to me inorder for me to provide you with more information about this coaching position.

    Regards
    leesa James”

    Here’s the deal. The scam artists are contacting businesses found on Craigslist, newspaper, and online advertisements about hiring a company to perform services. The scam artist then sends the company a fraudulent check before services are performed and tells the company accounts payable has made a mistake and instructs the business to cash the check, keep $500 for the inconvenience, and Western Union or Money Gram the rest to a UPS box. The UPS account is registered under a false name. The checks are not legitimate and if cashed, the individual is responsible for the full amount.

    The Better Business Bureau offers the following advice to businesses that advertise on Craigslist, in newspapers, and on-line:

    – Get as many details from the consumer as possible before you begin work.

    – Investigate checks that appear to come from someone other than the person that hired you to do the job.

    – Never cash a check from anyone that tells you to keep some of the money for your inconvenience and wire the rest back.

    – Check with your local Better Business Bureau if something just doesn’t seem right.

  9. The name Shawn Pereira, associated with the notorious VoxBox, has resurfaced on voices.com. He’s now offering a German e-Learning project and has a new company name: Voice Up.

    Unless there is another individual with the same first and last name who operates a legitimate voice-over business in India, this seems to be another chapter from the book of dirty tricks: restarting a bad business under a different name.

    Voice.com has been notified.

    Unless proven otherwise, I would not accept any jobs from Voice Up. It might very well bring you down.

    Paul Strikwerda

    • On another note … their citrusy great taste is enough to refresh and rejuvenate. (I wonder if he is associated with Pepsi co?)

    • OMG! Good catch and great move to notify Voices.com. We should also notify Voices 123!!! It is the same guy. There is no other Shawn Pereira other than the same guy who works for VoxBox. Translators Cafe will be another targeted site for sure. Excellent discovery! I just received an email from another VO colleague victimized by VoxBox. Will Post that email separately and invite her to visit this link.

  10. You are so not alone. I too have had the MISFORTUNE of working for Melroy at Vox Box. What a nightmare. Stupid low pay with ridiculous turnaround time. Like you got money for the 1st project and then 7 months later and several projects later still no pay. Threatened to call the customer, told they were violating copywrite laws, begged….you get the idea. I finally got my money and here is how. He had sent an invite to me for linkedin. So that is how I got to him. I was on his social website and very politely said something like “melroy I have been trying so hard to find you good to see you are here. we have some unfinished business with the projects we did together and I would love to discuss payment since it has been over 7 months” Payment came within 2 days of that. Basically he was shamed into paying. I have never had to go that hard core on any client – but in this case I have no regrets. I am so sorry that you too suffered working with the fine folks at voxbox. Oh and if you really want salt on the wound – I had given him a recommendation because the non payment for the projects was not an issue yet. I would love to take that back. Good luck and I know I truly do feel your pain!
    ML

  11. This is the response I received from voices.com:

    Hi Paul,

    I’m sorry but no, we have never banned this client nor have we received any payment complaints. Voices.com offers SurePay Escrow as a sure way of obtaining payment. If talent opt not to make use of this service then they are fully responsible for anything that may happen as a result of a contact made through our service.

    Best wishes,

    Laurynda Pasma
    Product Development Manager

  12. Hi,
    I am a French voice over based in Paris, France, and, like Paul, I received yesterday, similar email by George Maxwell… Funny, no ?… This guy is a great traveller. Or it is ubiquitous…

    Noy konwing, I sent him a response to have more details…
    Here is our exchange.

    “Hello again,
    i got your mail,the voice over are in English,confirm if
    you have teachers to accommodate us.i hope to hear from you.

    On 3/29/10, wrote:
    > Greetings, Mr Maxwell,
    > Your offer is very interesting and I welcome in a professional studio to 10
    > minutes from Paris, in Montreuil-sous-Bois.
    > Before setting my estimate, I have some questions. The lessons are in French
    > or in English ? Are they for French or English Voice Over ? And, do you
    > search teachers ?
    > Have a beautiful evening !
    > Regards,
    > Olivier
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > Greetings
    > I am Mr George Maxwell from the UK I would like to book for 4 weeks voice
    > over training classes for 3 hours each day,as the case may be, Monday
    > through Saturday (morning hours or evening hours) for a group of 8 adults,We
    > would be coming over to your location, and as part of our plans we intend to
    > visit your facility and have classes/private lessons in that space of
    > time,can you send us your offers for the classes? Do you have guest rooms or
    > is there any 3 star hotel close to your studio?
    > DATE: 5th July TO 2nd Aug 2010
    > . I would love to get the total cost or a quote/estimate. Do you accept
    > credit cards?you are required to get back to me ASAP
    > Regards
    > George

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