Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I was very close to becoming victim of an art buying scam

last week i was very close to being scammed for thousands of dollars. someone expressed interest in buying one of my pieces, coincidently, it was available, for the right price and right person. he had written the title, and all other pertinent information in the email. the check was mailed and things were smoothly moving forward. when the check arrived i let the buyer know, and thats when the weirdness started. first, my gut felt the check was shaky to the touch and look. second, when he(or she, or an entire asshole collective, who fucking knows)found out the check arrived i was instructed with a bunch of eccentric shipping directions and the check had been written for twice the amount. he had instructed to wire the extra money to his "shipper" through western union. he claimed he was moving to london and had a family friend taking care of all his moving affairs.

thats the scam, and kinda clever. you take your cut for the sale of the piece after the check clears and wire the rest. several days later your fucked and the confidence man now has a wad of cleaned cash.

fortunately, my bank is very aggressive with holding checks and verifying funds over several days. my manager was on this every day with the bank making sure it was legit.

this is a new scam, art world beware!!! more info from artlanow.com:

Beware of Scammers contacting our Members

Beware Artlanow Members of scammers! We received today an email from one of our members who was contacted by “Stan.” Though we cannot read the replies written by artist Arline, the chain of messages she received reveal the stereotype temptations proffered by the fraudulent schemers who plague many of the internet sites exhibiting art for sale. Member Arline wrote:

I have had email messages from a "Stan Thomas" with an inquiry about buying one of my paintings that is on artlanow website. It is a scam. He wants to send a certified check (I've heard that before), and pay the shipping himself to a foreign country. He didn't say which one. Asked for my address and phone number. I replied, saying that I’d never ever sell a piece to a buyer who did not see it personally. He answered to tell me his shipper would inspect it, and could I send my address and phone number. (Yeah, right). I haven't yet let on that I know it's a scam. I just may confuse him some more. I'll forward his messages to you. You'll note that his grasp of the English language is off. That was the first clue.

Use this information any way you think best. Happy New Year to All !! Arline
_______________________________

Hello, Good day to you over there, My name is Stan thomas and i hope this message finds you well.I was going through your works and my eyes caught...., i will like to have them for my new apartment this month. please let me know if the piece is available, if yes let me have the detailed price and more information about it. i will be waiting to read from you asap.

Kind Regards.

_____________________________


Thanks for the message, I am very happy to know that the Pieces is still available for sale. i must tell you i am very much interested in the immediate purchase.I will like to let you know that your payment will be in form of a Certified Check.You dont have to worry about packing, insurance and tax because my shipper will be in the best position to do that as soon as you get the payment.This is because i will be traveling out of the country any moment from now for a business proposal.So get back to me with the information needed to send you the payment I:E :

Full Name
Standard Address
Phone number
Asking price reconfirmation

__________________________________

so that i can proceed in the payment arrangement, consider it sold get back to me asap with needed information.
Thanks.

__________________________________

Its okay but i would have love to do this myself but due to my kind of job,my shipper will be the one to handle the whole of the pieces he will be coming to inspect it and at the same time picking it up for me. so do consider it sold and get back to me with your name and address with your phone # for me to proceed with the payment.

Will await your message. Stan.

8 comments:

Beenznrice Illustration and Graphic Design said...

this also happened to us. the money order looked so fake i didn't cash it. and it happened at a time when our youngest was a baby and we were desperate for money. i was really tempted to go through with it. it's really disgusting that people do this to other people, and I commend you for posting this. I'm going to share this post with as many people as I can.

CMR said...

Same guy tried this on me a few weeks ago. I figured it was a scam due to the urgency of the message, needing the art for his apartment "this week" or something. I directed him to the gallery representing me, and never heard back.

Smart of him/them to prey on Artists, who often NEED any money they can get.
Also , terribly asshole-ish.

Dustin Parker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dustin Parker said...

This is very similar to a scam that has been targeting restaurants. My girlfriend's bakery was ALMOST a victim of this scam. Luckily she was smart enough to see that it was a total sham.

A customer called to place a large order of chicken sandwiches. (The scammers always ask for chicken or BBQ sandwiches). The customer requested that they charge their credit card and charge them double the amount ($950), and send the extra cash to them using Western Union. My girlfriend refused and hung up and they began to harass them and called several more times. Then my girlfriend just lied to them and said she did everything they asked just to get them to leave her alone. The scam could have cost her $950.

holigoil said...

I am sorry to hear about you dealing with crazy desperate people.
When I sell anything I use PayPal. It is not perfect, but it does work.

Thank you for posting this!

婉婷婉婷 said...

覺得自己能不能做到,其實只在一念之間。........................................

惠蘋 said...

「不可能」這個字詞,在聰明人的字典中是找不到的。........................................

soule said...

we get hit on Etsy about twice a week with this scam.... for over a year now!