- You get an email or call from an overseas potential client who is coming to your town and wants psychotherapy for a compelling trauma.
- They want to pay you in advance, because it's hard to move money from there to here.
- When the check comes it's much larger than you asked for. They want you to deposit the check and send back the rest to pay for their transportation to your town.
- You find out that it's happened to thousands of therapists all over the country.
- Keep your eyes open!
I first encountered this hoax several years ago, when I gravely helped a consultee plan treatment for a fraudulent client. When the large check came, we called the FBI and they informed us what to do. Last year, when I replied to an email that I was interested, unless it was a hoax, I didn't hear back from them. Last month, it happened to someone in my office. If someone contacts you, you can say, "Bring cash, since I am ethically unable to take payment in advance." Then see what happens. Two different consultees, that I know of, have successfully worked with foreign nationals who contacted them from overseas. Not everyone looking for therapy is fraudulent. Be alert! Be curious! Don't be scared.
A web search for this issue turned up this: http://www.counselingseattle.com/counseling/scams-targeting-counselors.htm#Pre-Payment