LARGO, Fla. – Scammers are finding more and more ways to trick you out of your money. This time they are targeting local beauty salons and using the names and addresses of legitimate businesses to take your money.
This is what happened on Saturday at the Midori Eco Salon in Largo. Director Star Rummelt said last weekend she was taken aback 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.
Turns out the woman did something a lot of us do. She reached out to social media, especially Facebook, to ask for recommendations for a great hairdresser.
She met a woman named Vivian. The duo discussed their hair preferences and she made an appointment on what looked like a legit website.
The woman claiming to be a hairstylist asked for a $40 deposit to hold her spot, which she said was refundable as long as she showed up for the appointment.
“This person, this Viviane, 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 hairdresser again.
” It is very frustrating. Of course, we feel bad for this guest. We couldn’t accommodate it, 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 uncommon for a salon to ask for a deposit to arrange a hair appointment, especially on a busy day like Saturday.
Rummelt said it’s best to call the salon directly to make sure before entering your credit card number on an unfamiliar website or third-party app.
“I understand because there are a lot of freelance stylists who have their own rooms or booths and they work for themselves and you deal directly with that person. I suggest looking at the reviews and doing what you can to make sure this person is legit,” she explained.
ABC Action News reporter Sarah Hollenbeck did a Facebook check and found a handful of similar scams also reported in other parts of Florida where the scammers claim to work in legitimate salons.
Rummelt suggested that if you’re looking for a new stylist, find an old-fashioned one.
“Choose someone you know whose hair you like and ask who does it. Don’t trust anyone,” she said.
Rummelt also posted information about the scam on her salon’s Facebook page in an attempt to spread the word to others and warn similar businesses of 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 to the victim via Facebook (in this scenario, the victim had posted on a Facebook community group asking for stylist recommendations). A brief email consultation ensues. The scammer ‘stylist’ asks for 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 walks into the salon without an appointment and walks out $40. And sadly, this just happened to someone who thought she had an appointment at Midori Your Midori Stylist will NEVER ask you to deposit directly to their Zelle, Cashapp, etc.
Midori Eco Salon Staff