Thursday, September 10, 2009

Watch out for this Scammy Scam!

It seems that internet scams are targeting artists now; a friend of mine received a version of this email as well.

Good day to you.
I am so excited that I came across of your work on internet search,I am interested in purchasing these creativeartworks from you.....................

Midsummer dreaming sparrow II,V,Offering,The bird menace series:Cedar and Of all her suitors

Let me know their various prices.and how much discounts are you going to give?I will be happy to have these selected artworks hanged in our new home in South Africa. As well, I want you to take out the shipping cost.I have been in touch with a shipping firm that will be shipping other house decoratives.

We are traveling from our Dallas home to our new apartment as soon as possible.On Paying for the artworks,I will be glad to pay you with a Money Order or Cashier`s check in US funds that can be easily cashed at your local bank,please let me know on how to proceed for the payment of the creative artworks.

I will await your advise on how to proceed.Have a wonderful day.
Take care,
Joan Morgan

This email immediately raised my hackles. The combination of broken English, overly complicated shipping "request," and of course, the tacky art-buying faux pas request for discounts, seemed suspicious. I figured it had to be one of those Nigerian scams. But I know lots of upstanding people who speak broken English. And I've been asked for discounts before. Also, there is a consistency and particularity to the specific pieces she requests that seemed almost legit. And anyway, who steals small pieces of artwork from little-known artists? The theft of the actual art doesn't seem worth it--how would a person make money from such a transaction? This "Joan" might be a real person. And wouldn't that be awful of me to slight someone simply because her English is poor? So I played it safe and replied with a polite but terse email saying that I do not sell my work over the internet myself, and that if she wanted to buy the work she could do so through my gallery.

But ha HA, Joan isn't real, after all. Today as I was chatting with a friend, she mentioned that she too had received a similar email from the same sender. We double-checked with someone else and confirmed the email's scammy status. Apparently these fake buyers send a fraudulent check to the artist for an amount far greater than the actual sale price of the art. Along with this check is a request for the difference. Super lame. But still, it is an interesting strategy to target people through their art websites. There are certainly times when I'm feeling eager to make a sale. No matter how careful you are when it comes to limiting the amount of personal information on your site, you've still posted images, and very likely titles as well. Which is enough information to create a relatively personal-seeming email.


Cat B said...

Wise one that you are, you saw right through this! It's not just broken English—it's broken English with a resounding ka-ching! Ah, the lure of easy money..YAY for YOU!

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Larien said...

Frustrating! These scams are everywhere now, aren't they!? Thanks for the heads up...I too have many broken English speaking friends and I am the (sigh) kind of person who always wants to help out.