Ben Raes and Steve Abel: Massage Therapy Scam Continues

Today in the mail, I received three money orders from “Steve Abel”. Steve Abel is supposedly the guy who is helping Ben Raes to purchase the massage appointments from me.

Here’s the problem… there should have been 1 money order for $870, the agreed upon price for Ben’s 9 hours of massage appointments.

The money orders I received total more than $2,900.

Here’s how the rest of Ben Raes and Steve Abel’s scam would work, if I continued it.

  • I would write to tell them that they sent me the wrong money orders or that the money orders were for too much.
  • One of them would write me back and say that I should cash the money orders anyway, keep some of the difference for my trouble, and then send them back the rest of the money.
  • However, in a few days, I would discover that these weren’t real money orders, and I would be out the difference.

There was no massage appointment ever desired to be scheduled… the whole thing is a scam/sham.

However, they do send pretty convincing money orders. Here’s what they look like:

ben-raes-steve-abel-massage-scam-1

ben-raes-steve-abel-massage-scam-1

ben-raes-steve-abel-massage-scam-1

ben-raes-steve-abel-massage-scam-1

ben-raes-steve-abel-massage-scam-5

The problem is that right on the money order, it says that it has thermographic images on the money order, and the places you look on the money order to test thermographic imaging don’t actually do anything when you rub them. These “money orders” are fakes that were printed out on someone’s laser printer or inkjet printer.

Words to the wise – Ben Raes and Steve Abel do NOT want to schedule a massage appointment with you.

They want to take your money.

I’ve forwarded the money orders and envelope to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I don’t know if they will be able to use this, but I hope they will take it and pursue these guys and get this scam shut down.

5 thoughts on “Ben Raes and Steve Abel: Massage Therapy Scam Continues

  1. It’s possible he is now working under the name Ben Arik.

    I am not a massage therapist, I am a photographer. He said he and his wife Amelia, were moving to California from England and wanted to celebrate their anniversary and have it photographed, within 2 weeks of moving, who does that?! I know it’s the same guy as he also mentioned they work in the textile business.

    He said he found my website on the internet. I have had a strange feeling about this from the beginning but received another email today with a date and asking how much it would be. I started a search to see what I could learn about this couple and when I looked up Ben Arik came up with nothing. I noticed when I looked closer however that he is signing his emails Ben Arik, but the email address says Ben Raes. When I googled that I came across this post.

    What should I do? Play along and send all the info. to the FBI or just tell him I am no longer available? Wanted to give you all the other alias he is using.

    1. Sure… definitely play along. Come back and post his emails here, so that other people, when they Google for Ben Arik, or Ben Raes, or any of the other templates/names he uses in his emails, learn that this is a scam. Other people will be scammed too, unless we continue posting his emails and attaching the name “SCAM” to them. Thanks for posting his alias. Please feel free to post any other details you have as well.

    1. Ben Arik, Ben Raes… Any other differences from your email that we should note here?

      Thanks Laura for contributing. My guess is that this is a group of scammers. Only way they get stopped is for people (good people) to continue reporting them on posts like this.

      If there’s anything else from your email that you think would be helpful for others, please come back and post it here on MusicOfMassage.

      Thanks again,

      Jonathan

  2. I am SO glad you posted this! I am a photographer and had the exact same thing happen to me as PhotoGirl – same exact story. I have been emailing him for a week because the “event” I was supposed to shoot is tomorrow! He suggested sending me money and for some reason I didn’t feel comfortable since he said it was coming from “his associate” and asked him to fill out a contract instead. Then he never responded. I received the same email as Photogirl, and after responding to his first email – he sent me this email:

    “Apologies for the delayed response, I was out of town and I just returned. Like I said in my earlier email.The kind of photographic service we need is event coverage photography of 4hours possibly 12pm – 4pm if this is good for you. The event will take place at 1556 Mariposa Street, Richmond CA 94804. This is our house and also the venue of the event. Shots will be taken both indoor and outdoor in the yard. There will be group shots of family members of about 16 people and 4 children aged between 4yrs & 6yrs. Style of photography required could be a combination of both candid and traditional.

    April 25th 2012 will be fine if this works for you and if not, then we can both work out some other day. The price quote is suitable. In order to hold our reservation,I will authorize a deposit payment to be mailed to you in US Money Order by my associate over there in USA. Please email your full names to whom the payment will be made out and your address/phone number

    Looking forward to your response

    Regards
    Ben Arik”

    Also, he signs all his emails ‘Ben Arik’ but the email says its from Ben Raes. This is such a scam!! Thank you so much for posting.

    – Carrie

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