Some of you asked Candy to respond to a recent slew of scam emails that some members have received. Here is her expert advice:

Here we go again!


We have posted warnings and notified members for years in the APPCA Internet Fraud Forum about the latest internet scams directed at the personal chef industry, and since the scamsters seem to have upped their game recently, this is a good time to sound the alert once again.

The latest version of this classic scam features a pretend geologist who found your business info on the APPCA website: 

He is coming to your town with his family for 6 to 8 weeks and wants to hire you.

What he is NOT telling you is that he has also targeted every other personal chef in that town as well as the car service companies, caterers, event planners, personal shoppers, and any other personal service business he/she can identify.

The goal on his end is to get you to give up your banking info to him so he can send a money transfer to you OR, to send you a money order or check for you to deposit in your account that is significantly larger than the agreed upon amount and have you send a check to him for the overage. His check IS NOT REAL, and your bank account may be drained as a result of this action taking place.

One of our newer members who had never been exposed to this scam before recently responded to it, and it got as far as his receiving the bogus check from the scamster. Fortunately, his bank notified him immediately that the check was bogus and he was saved by their swift action.

I suggested he write the bank a letter of thanks and hand deliver it with a basket of homemade personal chef treats to acknowledge their commitment to their small business owner account holders.

I also suggested he share the incident and the bank’s quick action with the business editor of his local daily newspaper, the local Better Business Bureau, and the Chamber of Commerce so they can warn small personal service businesses how best to protect themselves from this type of criminal activity.

Here are a few ways to protect your business from an “out of town” potential client:

  • Tell the potential client from out of town you do not book service dates for non-local clients who do business exclusively by e-mail.
  • You require the potential client’s banking information, current workplace contact information, workplace contact information he will be associated within your town and two references with contact information.
  • Tell him/her you must meet with them personally when they arrive in your town before you will book cooking service dates.
  • All cook date service dates MUST be paid in full and personal checks or money orders must clear your bank prior to you booking cook dates for service.

Finally, those of you who are APPCA members who do receive what you think may be a scam, please post it to our personal chef forum or our Facebook group page. Not only can you get feedback (many of your colleagues may have gotten the same or similar request), but you’ll help your colleagues avoid falling for one should they receive a request that is too good to be true!

Have you received a scam letter since you’ve been a personal chef? Please share how you addressed it.

Not an APPCA member? Now’s the perfect time to join! Go to to learn about all the benefits that come with membership.

And if you are a member and have a special talent to share on this blog, let us know so we can feature you!

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Caron Golden


Founder of premier organization of personal chefs inspires students to follow their dreams of culinary entrepreneurship.

Candy Wallace, executive director of the American Personal & Private Chef Association (APPCA), today was recognized by Sullivan University’s National Center for Hospitality Studies as its 33rd Distinguished Guest Chef.


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    Thank you for posting this infore. I recently received this very email, and my radar went up almost immediately. I was going to call you this week to see how to address an out of town request like this one! I never dreamed it was a scam and definitely not to this magnitude.

    Thank you so much for the warning and alert!

    Comment by Rosella Breller — July 16, 2019 @ 4:49 am

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    I just dealt with this very same scam; almost word for word (names changed to protect the guilty). Even had the same ridiculous menu suggestions. It was my bank that alerted me when the bogus check was stopped. A lot didn’t add up, especially the outlandish arrangements for me to figure out and the need for a 12 hour /day chauffeur and no real connection to an address or voice phone.

    I wish there was a way to catch this guy.

    Comment by Ned Laventall — December 18, 2019 @ 11:11 am

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    I hate to share it but this either this person is still running their scam, or someone has copied and upped the game. I just received a vary similar email with almost identical structure and info, however the grammar was much improved to the point that one might actually believe that the person who sent it was an educated geologist and consultant.
    What tipped me off was the refusal to use any modern form of payment (venmo, PayPal, Zelle,) or a cashiers check. I was also concerned by the lack of business signature or Information at the bottomof the emails.
    Please share with your community that this is still out there and they’re getting better at making it more believable.

    Chef Ali

    Comment by Ali lafayette — January 15, 2020 @ 7:53 pm

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    We’ve received things like this over the years too, and it can be really tempting to get excited and lose caution. Remember this: if you were to take money in to your bank account from such a scam and be part of the fraudulent transactions, your bank has the authority (and duty in some cases) to CLOSE YOUR BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNTS!!
    I found this out about 15 years ago when we came oh so close to falling prey to one of these similar emails!! Beware!

    Comment by Holly E Verbeck — January 28, 2020 @ 9:20 pm

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    i received something like this last year November.the client came down from Spain with his families and before coming down,they mailed a check to me,which the check came down from north Carolina and when i received the check,i cashed it and everything’s work out fine and i love all the client families and they are happy to have me as their chef…

    Comment by jacksonhill — June 27, 2020 @ 1:44 am

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