Beware Of Massage Therapy Scams: Ben Raes Wants 6 Sessions of 90 Minutes

I just recently discovered that I am involved in someone trying to scam me.

Some red flags have been going up, so I googled the phone number of the person who has been emailing me:
“011447424057189”

No results came up so I instead Googled “Ben Raes”.

That led me to this post:
http://www.abmp.com/news/e-mail-scams-continue-to-target-massage-therapists/.

Below is the text of my conversation (so far) with Ben Raes.

At this point, my goal is to learn as much as possible about whoever this is and post it here on MusicOfMassage, so that we can out this guy/group.

If you have any experience with this, please post in the comments below.

Chances are good that if you accept money from whoever this is, it is a scam.

——————————-
from: Ben Raes whqt1941@gmail.com
date: Sat, Nov 26, 2011 at 4:04 PM

The price quote is suitable. In order to hold our reservation,I will authorize payment to be mailed to you in US Money Order by my associate over there in the US after I am in receipt of your full names to whom the payment will be made out and your address/phone number where you can receive the mail.

Looking forward to your prompt response

Regards
Ben Raes
011447424057189

On Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 11:39 PM, Jonathan Kraft wrote:

Hi Ben,

Thank-you for emailing me back. I hope you enjoyed your time in China. Where were you in China? I was there in 2003, and in Hong Kong this year. Pretty amazing part of the world. Was almost in Guangzhou this year as well, but ended up not going.

As far as your massage times/appointments, this will be great and I am sure you will enjoy your time in Boulder. It is a beautiful city (my wife got her master’s degree from the university there).

6 * 90 minute sessions = 9 hours.

9 hours * $95/hour = $855 (USD).

I have reserved these dates for you in February from 5-7 PM. (This is me testing to see if he would notice that I was off by an hour. He didn’t make any issue of it.)

Again, thank-you for giving me the opportunity to be of service, and I look forward to meeting you on February 10th.

Warm Regards,

Jonathan Kraft, CMT

On Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 2:24 PM, Ben Raes wrote:

Hi Jonathan,
I am sorry for the late response I was out of town to China and just came back. Your location is suitable for us.On arrival we will be staying at
Boulder Creek Quality Inn & Suites,2020 Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder, Colorado 80302.You can go ahead and schedule our appointment for 3days/90mins sessions for each person and email me the total amount of all the sessions 6/90sessions

I will be looking forward your response

Regards
Ben Raes
+447424057189

On Wed, Nov 2, 2011 at 11:18 AM, Jonathan Kraft wrote:

Hey Ben,

Thank-you for your email, and please accept my apologies for my delayed reply.

I currently only do on-site massage (I bring my massage table to your location) at the rate of USD $95/hour.

I have been certified and working as a massage therapist in the state of Colorado since March 2001.

Your dates and times will work well for me. Please let me know what part of Colorado you will be in on these dates/times.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a spa or massage therapist you can visit (instead of having someone come to you), please let me know and I will offer some suggestions.

Thank-you again for your email.

I look forward to having the opportunity to be of service to you.

Warm Regards,

Jonathan Kraft, CMT

On Sat, Oct 29, 2011 at 9:52 PM, Ben Raes wrote:

Greetings,
I found your contact after a brief search for a Massage Theraphists on the internet and I therefore use this channel to request if you will be available to offer 3days of 90Mins Massage Service to me and my wife. My name is Ben and my wife’s name is Janet, we live and work as textiles suppliers in United Kingdom and we will be visiting the State of Colorado in United States on the 10th of February, 2012.

February 10th, February 17th and February 24th,2012 are our preferred massage dates and morning session between 9am & 12pm will be fine for us,but if this time is not available, then period from 5pm upward will make a good alternative.

Moreover if there is any of the quoted dates/times that is not available,please let me know and possibly furnish me with alternative dates/times.We can on each day do the sessions back to back(i.e one after the other) OR at the same time if you have another therapist working with you. Alternatively I can have my own massage in the morning and the one for my wife comes later in the day. We do not have any medical issues whatsoever and we have received massage services several times in the past .

Kindly answer the following questions if you are available for the service required.

What is your address location in Colorado so as to estimate our proximity to you ?

How many years of experience do you have in this career?

I look forward to your prompt response.

Regards,
Ben Raes

  35 comments for “Beware Of Massage Therapy Scams: Ben Raes Wants 6 Sessions of 90 Minutes

  1. Dawn
    December 19, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this. I’m in Chicago and was contacted by Ben Raes with this exact story. His ‘associate’ Steve Abel sent me a message as well.

    • Massage Music
      December 19, 2011 at 8:00 pm

      You are welcome. I’m about to add more to this thread as I just got a new message from Ben, telling me that his associate “Steve Abel” will be contacting me, and that I should let him know as soon as I receive his check/money order. Completely lame scam. Glad this post helped you know what to watch out for.

  2. Joseph
    December 20, 2011 at 11:48 am

    I was contacted by Ben Raes as well. In fact, the cheques arrived today in the amount of $2,975.00, well above the $510.00 quote. I tried to email Ben Raes but the email address doesn’t work anymore. I was always suspicious and in no way would put these cheques into my bank. I didn’t find your notice until today because I did google Ben Raes several weeks ago and came up only with a nice looking gentleman on Linkedin but was still smelling a rat. ABMP has also posted a warning about this scam. If it’s to good to be true, it’s not.

    • Massage Music
      December 21, 2011 at 8:46 am

      You should take the check to your bank, tell them you believe it’s a fake, NOT to deposit it, but to turn it over to whoever investigates financial crimes. Would be good to get this group shut down, don’t you think? What (other than the check) tipped you off to it being a scam?

  3. December 21, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    I received the exact emails from Ben Raes. I got the checks yesterday for $2975 then contacted the FBI and Secret Service in IL. They told me to hang on to the emails and checks if they should need them.

    Trouble is, they don’t really do anything unless the money grams are over $10,000.

    He just switched his email over to hotmail from gmail today and is awaiting my reply.

    He wants me to send the funds to China.

    I want to send him an email reply that the checks are on there way to the London address. Not sure if I’m going to do that but I would really like to mess with this guy as much as he messed with us!

    • Massage Music
      December 21, 2011 at 11:47 pm

      Not to be mean and vindictive, but what do you have in mind for messing with this guy?

      • December 23, 2011 at 12:08 am

        Here’s what I sent…..

        Ben,

        Being that it’s Christmas I thought I’ld give you laugh to share with your family and friends.

        I want to share a tale my Papa told me that happened many years ago when he lived in Poland.
        It was Christmas time and he had a large family and they gathered for the holidays at his home and this particular year his cousins came from Czechslovakia. It was tradition to bow hunt and the morning of Christmas eve, he and his cousin went into the woods to hunt wild turkey for Christmas dinner.

        It was cold and there were no turkeys nor deer that they could find. So they started to head back home when a huge grizzly bear about 10 feet tall attacked them.

        My Papa shot at the bear as he mauled his cousin but the bear was so big the arrows did nothing. He turned and ran to the nearest farm and both he and the farmer went with loaded rifles to hunt the bear.

        They searched for his cousin without success but came upon a sleeping mama bear, her cubs playing near her side. My Papa said “That’s the bear”, and they killed her, letting the cubs run away. They gutted her but found no remnants that she had eaten his cousin.

        Then a loud roar and a charging bear came at them. They had to empty their barrels and he finally fell dead. After opening him up the farmer said to my Papa, “Yep, the Czech is in the male!”

        DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL! In fact, stop trying to scam all massage therapists in the US as we all know about your scam!
        Good riddance!

  4. December 22, 2011 at 5:59 am

    Since there are at least 3 of us, the Secret Service may be more attentive. Do you know of more?

    I, too, am an ABMP member and I wonder if that is where he got our info.

    I google earthed the addresses and they are real, however, I don’t know if Ben Raes or Steve Abel live there.

    His request was to send the money to China for his import business. I thought I would make copies of the money grams he sent me and fill them out with his name and send them back to him at the London address. Tell him these are as authentic as the ones I had received and write how amazed I am that he and Janet could be in so many places at one time. Just call his bluff.

    I have to admit that the vote is 2 to 1 that I should just let this go and not respond directly. This is his most recent message to me:

    Ben Raes cjoewinehqt@hotmail.com
    Dec 21 (1 day ago)
    to sheri
    PLEASE UPDATE ME

    Glad for your response Sheri, I will be waiting to hear from you. Please reply via this Hotmail account. My Gmail has been very slow and problematic in the last few days

    Regards,
    Ben

    I gave the FBI and Seccret Service his gmail account, perhaps they shut it down? Is this the same email address that you have received his emails from?

    What are you thinking?

  5. Carmen Roberts
    December 27, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    The EXACT SAME story happened to us. My co-worker is a member of ABMP and Ben Raes contacted her.
    We are in Seattle and Ben scheduled appointments for himself and his wife in February. I’m so glad you all posted your stories. I’m of to the bank to report the money orders.
    Thanks, Carmen.

  6. Deanna
    February 10, 2012 at 8:58 am

    I had this jerk contact me in November. Apparently, I thwarted his efforts when I told him I only take credit cards. (I would never consider taking an out of country check.) When they were a no show today, I started googling. Thanks for this info.

    BTW, I am not an ABMP member so they picked me up off a search engine.

    This check scam to return money is the oldest trick in the book. Do not ever do that for anyone. But also, I think you can avoid these problems by insisting on credit cards from out of towners. (If you own a smart phone, you should be taking credit cards. I love SQUARE because the fees are “as used,” no monthly.)

  7. Rick
    February 22, 2012 at 11:05 am

    He is getting married now!!!
    Below is what “ben” sent me.

    —————-
    Greetings!
    My name is Ben and my wife’s name is Amelia, we sell textiles/fabrics and we are based in England. We will be relocating to the State of California, USA on the 15th of April 2012.

    I got your contact on the internet after a search for a photographer. Can you offer 4hours of photo service during the celebration of our 5th Wedding Anniversary. The ceremony takes place in our newly purchased home. Myself, my wife, my lovely daughter-Maria and about 12 family members and friends will be present.

    Could you please answer these questions if you are interested in this offer

    1)Are you able to provide this service on a date between April 20th and April 30th ? We are quite flexible. what date precisely do you have available so as to include this in our plan ?

    2)What is your location in California so as to estimate how close you are ?

    We look forward to your prompt response

    Regards,

    Ben Arik
    41 Canterbury Place
    London SE17 3AD
    +447424057189

    • Dee
      March 14, 2012 at 8:53 am

      I recently received the exact same request from this guy for photography. To shoot his “Wedding Anniversary”!! I have blocked him after reading this. Same address and number. He was using Ben Raes and now all of a sudden switched to Ben Arik. Stated that his associate will mail out a US Money Order to book me for the shoot.

      • Massage Music
        March 14, 2012 at 9:00 am

        a REAL winner this Ben Arik/Ben Raes. I sent the money orders I received to the Colorado FBI… I assume that they will know what to do to find/prosecute the people who are running this. In the mean time, if you hear back or have a different message than what we’ve already posted, please do post more as it’s the best way for us all to help others avoid these kinds of scams.

  8. February 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    THANK YOU. I just got a very similar letter, from Ben and Amelia, who are “in textiles” in England and moving to the State of California and need a photographer for a family photo (I’m a photographer). Silly man forgot to change the phone number for his contact information:
    Ben Arik
    41 Canterbury Place
    London SE17 3AD
    +447424057189
    which is how I found your post and laughed when I saw the similarities!
    So I say CHEERS and thank you!

  9. February 22, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    I just got the same message. SCAM!

    On Feb 22, 2012, at 6:28 PM, Ben . wrote:

    Greetings!
    My name is Ben and my wife’s name is Amelia, we sell textiles/fabrics and we are based in England. We will be relocating to the State of California, USA on the 15th of April 2012.

    I got your contact on the internet after a search for a photographer. Can you offer 4hours of photographic services during the celebration of our 5th Wedding Anniversary. The ceremony takes place in our newly purchased New York home. Myself, my wife, my lovely daughter-Maria and about 12 family members and friends will be present.

    Could you please answer these questions if you are interested in this offer

    1)Are you able to provide this service on a date between April 20th and April 30th ? We are quite flexible. which exact date will be good so as to include this in our plan ?

    2)What is your location in California so as to estimate how close you are ?

    We look forward to your prompt response

    Regards,

    Ben Arik
    41 Canterbury Place
    London SE17 3AD
    +447424057189

  10. trace
    February 22, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    This guy just emailed me at my photography business as well asking us to photograph his wedding anniversary party. Same story. Textiles in London, but moving to Colorado. Same email address and phone number, same name. There is an address as well. I googled it. It says he is a designer of sorts, originally from Tel Aviv, living in London. Like an interior designer. In his email he told me he and his wife sell textiles, and they are moving to the US form London. He didn’t ask for any specific information. Ben Arik
    41 Canterbury Place
    London SE17 3AD
    +447424057189

  11. D W
    February 23, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Received a similar Photographer email. Apparently moving to Minnesota on April 15th, with a reception in his “New York” home…

    FYI the number +447424057189 is bogus. The number is a UK country code, but (0)742 is the old and obsolete code for Sheffield. The London address makes no sense since it would be nowhere near any textile industry.

    Suggest everyone report them to your email host as spam.

  12. JA
    February 28, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Ben is a very busy fellow. Colorado and California. Massages and their fifth anniversary party in their newly purchased home. Where’s MY check?

    Got the photography query a couple of days ago. Thanks, folks, for posting here.

    I was at the bank recently and the bank manager was arguing with a customer who just had the bank issue a cashier’s check in the amount of $4900 from his account to one of the “you have inherited millions / i need US agent for tens of millions…” scam artists. She valiantly tried to get the fellow not to mail the check and I even stepped in, looked at the email, and told him the same thing but he would have none it. He left, check in hand, headed to the post office…

    Greed wins again…

    • Massage Music
      February 28, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      Greed only wins if people like us stop helping other people. Good for you for stepping in at the bank to try to stop the scam at the bank. That’s really sad about the individual who got the cashier’s check and wouldn’t listen to reason.

      I used to know a guy from Texas who would say (about people who won’t listen to reason even when it was plain to see) – CFD. Cfd stands for “Can’t Fix Dumb.”

      I don’t know if I would be that harsh, but thank-you for being a person who works to help others. I think this week I will be making some videos and putting them on YouTube to get more information out about the Ben Raes, Ben Arik, Ben (A Real Jerk) Scam.

  13. Derek
    March 8, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    I am deal with Ben currently for anniversary photography. As well as a forensic investigator, I picked up on a few things quite quickly. He’s relocating to the U.S. and each time he mentioned a different state where his “new” home was.

    After pointing that out, kindly, he apologized for the delayed response and then then said it was a Typo. Yes, typo, he spelled New York instead of Massachusetts. I can understand that! 😉

    Anyhow, I just sent him a quote for quite a bit and told him we require a Banker’s check, mailed out to our business name, and a P.O. Box.

    I gave him a 48 hour window…let’s see what Ben from England is going to do next…

  14. Derek
    March 8, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    As I mentioned, I own a photography business and I am also a forensic scientist. I have a good friend in the FBI and will also pass along the details and if checks arrive.

    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/cyber/cyber
    (That link is for the FBI’s cyber crimes unit) It may be helpful…I’ll update what happens next.

  15. NB
    March 9, 2012 at 10:11 am

    THIS GUY, IS HE STUPID, ATLEAST CHANGE THE NAME OR A STORY IF YOU ARE IN A SCAM BUSINESS….

    From: Ben .
    To: Ben .
    Sent: Thu, Feb 23, 2012 6:05 am
    Subject: PHOTO SHOOT REQUEST

    Greetings!
    My name is Ben and my wife’s name is Amelia, we sell textiles/fabrics and we are based in England. We will be relocating to the State of Maryland, USA on the 15th of April 2012.

    I got your contact on the internet after a search for a photographer. Can you offer 4hours of photographic services during the celebration of our 5th Wedding Anniversary. The ceremony takes place in our newly purchased New York home. Myself, my wife, my lovely daughter-Maria and about 12 family members and friends will be present.

    Could you please answer these questions if you are interested in this offer

    1)Are you able to provide this service on a date between April 20th and April 30th ? We are quite flexible. which exact date will be good so as to include this in our plan ?

    2)What is your location in Maryland so as to estimate how close you are ?

    We look forward to your prompt response

    Regards,

    Ben Arik
    41 Canterbury Place
    London SE17 3AD
    +447424057189

    • Massage Music
      March 11, 2012 at 11:47 pm

      Keep posting the emails you receive. That’s the only way we can inform each other about this scam.

  16. March 23, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Ben is a busy guy. He also now will be in his home in St Paul, MN on the 27th of April for his 15th wedding anniversary. His daughter has not aged past 12 though. Amazing, Thank You for these posts.

    • Massage Music
      March 26, 2012 at 11:58 pm

      Ben’s got homes all over, huh? Scam. Thank-you for contributing to the discussion and letting us know we helped you.

  17. March 26, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Hello All,

    I am a photographer and also got a job from Ben. He said that he was in England and was moving to New York. He wanted a photographer to shoot his 5th anniversary party. When I told him that I was not near New York, he said it was a typo and he was stopping in New York on his way to his newly purchased home in Massachusetts. Then, he gave me the address of his newly purchased home in New Hampshire.I got my three money orders in the mail today for the amount of $2950. It was very odd and so we started to look online to see if this was a scam. Thank you to all who have been out there to warn people of “Ben”.
    I think I will send an e-mail to let him know that I got his checks and the generous tip that I used for 6 sessions of 90 minutes of message.

    CHEERS

    • Massage Music
      March 26, 2012 at 11:58 pm

      That would be a generous tip indeed.

    • Massage Music
      March 26, 2012 at 11:59 pm

      New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey, as long as it’s one of those news, it must be where he’s moving to.

  18. March 26, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    I too received this exact email (below). We agreed on price and the deposit of $250. His checks total $1975.00.

    Greetings,
    My name is Ben and my wife’s name is Amelia, we sell textiles/fabrics and we are based in England. We will be relocating to the State of California, USA on the 15th of April 2012.

    I got your contact on the internet after a search for a photographer. Can you offer 4hours of photo service during the celebration of our 5th Wedding Anniversary. The ceremony takes place in our newly purchased home. Myself, my wife, my lovely daughter-Maria and about 12 family members and friends will be present.

    Could you please answer these questions if you are interested in this offer

    1)Are you able to provide this service on a date between April 20th and April 30th ? We are quite flexible. what date precisely do you have available so as to include this in our plan ?

    2)What is your location in California so as to estimate how close you are ?

    We look forward to your prompt response

    Regards,

    Ben Arik
    41 Canterbury Place
    London SE17 3AD
    +447424057189

    • Massage Music
      March 27, 2012 at 12:00 am

      Nice checks. What are you planning on doing with Ben’s Money orders that he sent you?

  19. March 26, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    Actually there are 2 money order totaling $2975.00. One was stuck. I am emailing him now to confirm its receipt.

  20. March 26, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Second correction . There are THREE money orders totaling $2,975.00. 1)$1,000.00 2)$1,000.00 3)$975.00

    sorry. Just in case it matters for any investigation. In fact that is the reason for my post. To document this.

    • Massage Music
      March 27, 2012 at 12:02 am

      Thank-you for contributing and documenting it. Us all working together to let others know that Ben is offering the opportunity to be scammed is how this thing can be slowed or stopped. Do your money orders from Ben look like the images of the money orders I posted?

  21. March 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    I did not see your post with the image but I scanned my money orders and posted to google docs here:

    front side
    https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B9ifYS6GTN5tcDNpbS12dE9TdU8tSHozZFVDb2xYdw

    back side:
    https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B9ifYS6GTN5tYjdMUlJNVTVRQTZJOEVsMFI1bWN5UQ

    let me know if you have trouble seeing it
    Ben may well be aware of this site and who is on to him.

    • Massage Music
      March 29, 2012 at 10:36 pm

      Thanks for posting the images of the fake money orders. Those look remarkably similar to the ones I received. Ben Raes apparently has a nice laser printer.

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