LARGO, Fla. — Scammers are finding more ways to dupe you out of your money. This time, they’re targeting local beauty salons and using the names and addresses of legitimate businesses to take your money.
That’s what happened on Saturday at Midori Eco Salon in Largo. Manager Star Rummelt said this past weekend she was caught off guard when a woman walked into her beauty salon.
The problem? She didn’t have an appointment and the stylist, Vivian, who she booked with doesn’t work there and may not even exist.
It turns out the woman did something many of us do. She reached out on social media, specifically Facebook, to ask for recommendations for a great hairstylist.
She connected with a woman who called herself Vivian. The duo chatted about her hair preferences and she made an appointment on what looked like a legitimate website.
The woman claiming to be a hairstylist asked for a $40 deposit to hold her spot, which she claimed was refundable as long as she showed up for the appointment.
“This person, this Vivian person, gave her our address: 225 W Bay Drive in Largo,” Rummelt said.
The woman was scammed out of her $40 which she sent through the Zelle App and despite repeated calls and texts; she never heard from the alleged hairstylist again.
“It’s very frustrating. Of course, we feel bad for this guest. We couldn’t accommodate her but it’s also very frustrating for someone to use your legitimate business as a front,” Rummelt added.
The scam can be convincing because it’s not unusual for a salon to ask for a deposit to hold a hairstyling appointment, especially on a busy day like a Saturday.
Rummelt said it’s best to call the salon directly to make sure before you put your credit card number into an unfamiliar website or third-party app.
“I get it because there are a lot of independent stylists who have their own rooms or booths and they do work for themselves and you are dealing with that person directly. I suggest looking at reviews and doing what you can to make sure this person is legitimate,” she explained.
ABC Action News Reporter Sarah Hollenbeck did a check on Facebook and found a handful of similar scams also being reported in other parts of Florida where scammers claim to work at legitimate salons.
Rummelt suggested if you’re in the market for a new stylist, find one the old fashion way.
“Pick someone you know whose hair you love and ask who does their hair. Don’t just trust anybody,” she said.
Rummelt also posted about the scam on her salon’s Facebook page to try to spread the word to others and warn similar businesses about the fraudulent activity.
In a post, Midori Salon staff wrote:
“New scam alert! This one targets Salons and Nail Spas. Here’s how it works: A scammer ‘stylist’ connects with the victim via Facebook (in this scenario, the victim had posted on a Facebook community group asking for stylist recommendations). A brief messaging consultation ensues. The scammer ‘stylist’ requests a small deposit. The amount is small enough that the victim doesn’t think twice. The victim receives what appears to be a legitimate confirmation with the name and address of a reputable salon. The victim arrives at the salon with no appointment booked and out $40. And sadly, that just happened to someone who thought she had an appointment at Midori. Your Midori stylist will NEVER ask for you to place a deposit directly to their Zelle,Cashapp,etc.”