Scammers tend to work a similar pattern: They find a speaker site, copy and paste their invitation into as many emails as they can, click send and hope for some takers. The following tips should save you some unnecessary pain.

A few of the current speaker scams are being promoted as coming from:
1) GAP Women's Conference 2010 in United Kingdom,
2) London Youth Conference,
3) British High Commission and
4) GSO Organization. It is interesting to note that a few years ago most of the scams were coming out of Africa.

Before accepting any type of speaking engagement or promotional offer, Bryan Caplovitch of Speaker Match recommends:

1. Google the organization. Copy and paste a line or two out of the email. People like to share their own bad experiences.
2. Unless you are a celebrity or were recently in big media, it is rare that people just sent you an invitation to show up for a certain amount of money.
3. Most people who are choosing a speaker are working with a committee. They need to collect materials, fee range, suitability, etc. Going past all those, to booking the engagement without those details, is a red flag.
4. Obvious scams approach you and want money upfront. This may include photographers who want to make you famous and book publishers who want to add your chapter to a book full of other speakers,
5. Airplane radio or write up offers. Later on you find you have to pay for the interview.
6. Video showcases. Professional taping in front of a fake audience.
7. Note: Speakers bureaus come to you. They rarely take new speakers without seeing you in person.

My own Scam Buster Rules include:

1. A legitimate query will almost always include a discussion about finances early on.
2. Anyone who routinely invites guests is used to answering a series of questions before the two parties reach an agreement. They have questions to ask you and you have an opportunity to ask them questions.
3. Create an "Engagement Confirmation" that professionally includes all of your most important questions. Format it so that you can ask the questions over the phone or send it to the planner via email.
4. Have an accountability partner who reviews your invitation before you make a final commitment. Sometimes one person will spot a red flag that another missed.
5. Establish a speaker fee range, even if it is "love offering". Planners truly hate it when you say, "Whatever the Lord puts on your heart."
6. Watch for a mutual give-and-take in the query time-period.

The downside of having your information listed on a speaker's site is this potential for abuse. The upside is that event planners can find you in the moment they have time to search. Savvy speakers promote online, while also understanding the red flags that indicate potential trouble.

Author's Bio: 

Marnie Swedberg is a leadership mentor and trainer to over 1,000 speakers at, the largest online directory of Christian Women Speakers in the world.