How to Avoid Vendor Application Scams

How to Avoid Vendor Application Scams

We’ve seen a lot of recent fraudulent activity, I’m going to tell you the best method of how to avoid vendor application scams. Here’s the most common scenario:

You are on the event social media sites, and you see a post that says, “We have vendor spots available, call this number to get the best deal!” Well, that number isn’t legit if it’s not directly to the page you wish to reach.  They will send you a PayPal invoice and tell you it’s for Friends and Family. That’s how they avoid having to refund the money. They are out to take your hard earned money, plain and simple. They’re also mostly from foreign countries, making them hard to catch.

Best practice: Make sure you are dealing with the event directly! These are ways to tell if you’re dealing with a legitimate vendor representative for the festival:

  • Never pay for a vendor space without a written vendor agreement. Fraudulent vendors know it’s a felony to send a fake contract, so they just try to get you to pay a low fee through PayPal, or gift cards.
  • Always pay by check! You’ll have a legitimate address to send the check to, and it has to be cashed at a bank. That’s pretty safe!
  • Check the email address from the sender if contacted through Email.  Although a lot of events use a Gmail address, make sure you recognize the address. Ask your peers, or contact the event directly through their website contact form or Facebook direct message to make sure you’re dealing with the real event person.
  • Look at their Facebook profile. Scroll down. Fake accounts will be pretty obvious, they only have a few posts, with most of them having the same content. They are getting harder to spot, but if you spot a fake account, be sure to report it to Facebook immediately.
  • If you pay through PayPal or Venmo, report it immediately on the Paypal or Venmo website! They will be able to check if it’s a verified account. A verified account has gone through the process of sending in a drivers license, business license, and other documents to prove a legitimate business. If they are not legitimate, they will use the “Friends and Family” angle to take your money. Any legitimate business will not ask you to send via friends and family! 
  • Use common sense. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Here is a sample conversation I had when I responded to a Facebook post. Here is the post:

I called the number and hung up. They started sending text messages to me. I acted like a confused vendor, and this is how it went:


After reporting this to local law enforcement and to PayPal, they flagged the first PayPal account. I told them I had trouble paying, and they sent me  a friends and family request from A DIFFERENT PAYPAL ACCOUNT! I reported that one too, and elevated it to the fraud level.

Turns out this person lives in Kenya. There’s nothing law enforcement can do, and there’s no way to get a refund on a Friends and Family transaction.

If you would like a legitimate vendor application for the Craft Beer & Wine Fest, send a message on our contact page, and I’ll get you the contract to read, sign, and get a legitimate vendor space at our event. We can even have a conversation on the phone if you are unsure. We’ll be happy to share our references to make sure you feel safe about your transaction.

Be vigilant!

Rusty Hoyle, President, Craft Nation