How do I know if a message I received is legitimate vs. a scam?

Top 6 clues the question is from a scammer

Our robots work hard to keep spam messages out of your inbox, but every now and then a very clever message might slip by our filters. Get suspicious if you see these signs:

  • They Use Odd Language: Messages from scammers are often full of excessive grammar or spelling errors. An occasional typo is no big deal, but an entire message of them is a red flag.
  • They Complicate Things: They don't want to follow the normal rules and may want to communicate off the platform or ask you to do a complicated payment arrangement.
  • They Have a Very Sympathetic Story: If something seems off, it usually is. Most of us want to help people and so we offer assistance in any way we can. Don't let a "sob story" affect your judgment.
  • Their Information Changes: Keep an eye out for lies and varying information. For example, a scammer may tell you the names of their "children," but if they're scamming many people, they may mess up. If the person tells you they have two girls, Sarah and Julie, one day and their names are Emily and Annie the next day, it's probably a scam.
  • They Stick to the Script: If they completely ignore your question and re-send the same instructions again, it's a sign you may be dealing with a scammer. Many scammers use the same email script and rarely deviate from that script, so you may throw them off when you ask detailed questions or probe for more information about the lessons.
  • They're Impatient: If the person is becoming overly antsy or anxious, take a moment to slow down and reassess if this could be a scam. If a scammer feels you’re taking too long to meet their demands, they’ll usually try to create a sense of urgency with their story, to pressure you into giving in. Feel free to send another message clarifying their intent, or report the message if you suspect a scam.

Always play it safe when responding to potential students

Don't Give out Personal Contact Information

  • DON’T EVER SEND your personal contact information through Ask A Question. There is never a reason to share information such as your phone/email, social security number, credit card and/or bank account number, with potential students.
  • (NOTE: TakeLessons requires some of this information in order to process background checks or to pay you for teaching lessons, but TakeLessons will never contact you over the phone or via email for this information.)

Don't Accept Money

  • Never accept a check, money card, money wire, or other means of electronic payment directly from a student. TakeLessons handles all student payments for your lessons, so you never have to worry about the risk of accepting funds through the internet.

Don't Send Money

  • Don't offer to send a check, money card, or money wire for someone you have not met.

Report suspicious messages from your Inbox

If a message seems suspicious or is not about private one-on-one lessons:

  • Log in to your teacher account on the web, and click on the Inbox tab


  • Select the message you would like to mark as suspicious


  • Click the Three Dots in the top right-hand corner


  • Click Mark As Suspicious


  • If the message is spam, unrelated to a student booking lessons with you, or just plain offensive, click Report This Message, and TakeLessons will close the inquiry from the student. You won’t have to answer any more questions from that person.


Tip: Please do not mark the message as spam through your inbox or your email provider (ie: Gmail or Hotmail) as this will block other student questions from getting to you!

Report the message from the TakeLessons iOS app for Partners

If you receive a message that seems suspicious or is not about private one-on-one lessons:

  • Open the Inquiry from the messages center in your partner app.


  • Click the flag icon in the lower right corner of the inquiry.


  • You’ll be asked to confirm that the message is spam, unrelated to a student booking lessons with you, or just plain offensive. If so, tap flag this message, and TakeLessons will close the inquiry from the student. You won’t have to answer any more questions from that person.


  • A pop-up will confirm the message has been successfully marked as spam.


Learn More:

How do I report messages that are offensive, or seem like spam?