Fake Expos the Latest Scam to Target Bridges-to-Be

As reported by Brigid Sweeney | AOL News | BOSTON

"You can, apparently, be jilted long before you walk down the aisle.

Some 5,000 Boston brides-and-grooms-to-be learned this the hard way on Monday, when local police and the FBI announced the bridal convention they had registered for -- billed as New England's biggest and most extravagant -- was a sham.

Boston police said the would-be attendees bought tickets for $10 to $15 each, while another 100 to 200 wedding-industry vendors were conned out of $350 to $4,000 for floor space at The Boston 411 Home & Bridal Show 2010, which was to be held this weekend. Officials at the Hynes Convention Center were only alerted when vendors began calling to inquire when they could set up their booths.

The perpetrators, who advertised for months via an eventbrite.com Web site, Facebook, and Twitter, lured betrothed shoppers with promises of goody bags and raffle prizes, and said portions of the event's proceeds would go to Haiti earthquake victims.

Though more elaborate than most, the scam was by no means an uncommon occurrence for an industry where starry eyes are accompanied by open wallets, and most vendors require significant financial deposits months before the big day....

... Some dress shops, for example, will cut out the labels from gowns, making it impossible for brides to comparison shop -- or even discern whether it's a designer or an imposter. Photographers will hold pictures hostage until the newlyweds pay an extra $500, or send a less-experienced colleague to shoot the big event; venues will tack on surcharges like cake-cutting fees that run into the hundreds of dollars. Limo companies advertise with images of luxury Escalade and Hummer vehicles, but then send an old beater instead.

Most of these cons are completely avoidable so long as the couple has a crystal-clear contract stipulating every last detail, from the name of the photographer to the specific make of limo and pick-up time. Verbal promises, obviously, invite trouble"


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