March 2012 scam attempt
Had a guy who saw one of my paintings on Fine Art America send me an e-mail expressing interest in the piece. I knew, pretty quick, he was trying to scam me, but played along - insisting on a cleared PayPal payment and shipping address for me to send the piece to him - until he sent me this classic scammer request:
"I was just about to make the payments when i had this little problem with the picking up of the item, I am currently on sea and i am buying the item for my Dad as i explained earlier on [no he didn't] and i tried to book pick up with my pick up agent, but they asked me to pay first before they can make the booking, and they only accept western union money transfer for payments and they don't accept PayPal or bank transfer and I tried to send the money online but i couldn't and I am on sea and there is no way i can find a western union agent to make the transfer to my pick up agent, so i wanted to ask if it was ok for me to include my pick up agent's fees in the payments I am about to send through PayPal, my pick up agent charged $300 plus insurance and all 'o that, pls can i include their money in the payments I want to send then after i have made the payments you will help me forward the $300 to my pick up agent through western union money transfer, this I would have done myself and not bother you but the for the fact that I am currently on sea, so after I have made the payments you will help me send $300 to my pick up agent through western union money transfer, I just wanted to seek your consent before going ahead with the payments, I will more than appreciate if you mail me back, and I will be making the payments shortly.
PS: the shipping company's Head quarters and any pick up fees to be paid is sent to their head quarters by the payee, so the money for pick up will be sent to their head quarters through western union money transfer(this can be done from any post office) at westernunion.com or money grams.."
So, if you are on FAA and get a message from "Morte Steve", with a Yahoo address, don't bother even getting back to him.
Hi Cathy and Lou,
Re: Artists—Beware of Internet Art Scams!
by Laura Warburton
I was the target of a similar scam. The wording of the messages was much the same. There was a move from USA to South Africa and the buyer wanted to use her own shipper. In my case, I received a cheque on a British bank for an amount which was three times what I asked for. In this type of scam, it is hoped that the victim will send their own money to cover the difference. That is how the fraudulent buyer makes money. I sent the email trail to a police officer with the crime unit. Without seeing the cheque, he could predict the scam. He assured me that the buyer did not want my art.
A Whitby bank confirmed that the cheque was not legitimate. They had seen another case where a woman was selling a household article through something like ebay. The buyer had sent a cheque for a much larger amount of money than she asked for. No doubt they had hoped she would send her own money to make up the difference.
I ceased contact with the buyer as soon as I saw the cheque, because then I could guess what sort of fraud it was.
Laura's advice was good. A direct bank-to-bank wire transfer is safe. Then you know whether the payment funds are clear. You must be sure that the payment you receive is legitimate before you send your artwork.
A lucky PRAC member
2011 scam attempt
Subject: Art work Enquiry
Hope this message finds you well,i came across some lovely and creative artworks on your site while searching for good artworks and I will like to buy creative artworks out of your stock.
I will be happy to have this selected artworks hanged in our new home. What is the least price? We are travelling from our USA home to our new apartment in London,uk .Regarding payment,I will be happy to pay you with a certified Travellers cheque/moneyorder/cashiers cheque . An urgent reply we be appreciated.Thanks.
Kindly don't bother to include the shipping cost because i have a private shipper hat will arange for the pick up of the art work in your location once you have cleared the payment in your bank,they are in charge of moving our other house interior decor to our new home.I await your contact details to make out the payment to you asap.
Artists are increasingly becoming the target of cyber-scamming. This email is just one example of the type of internet fraud that artists are receiving from unscrupulous scammers prosing as serious art buyers.
There are a number of points that suggest that this inquiry is not entirely as it may seem;
The spelling and grammar are generally quite poor.
The buyer is often either traveling or overseas.
The buyer wants to pay via a travelers cheque, money order or cashiers cheque, all of which are relatively easy to forge.
The buyer wants to arrange their own shipper.
They buyer is most often in a hurry to close the deal.
- They overpay you for your artwork and say it's OK you can just sent them a refund. Of course their cheque will bounce and you will be out the NSF charge, money you send them and your artwork.
There are many ways to safeguard your work against scams like this, and they are all really quite simple.
Never accept payment via a travelers cheque, money order or cashiers cheque. These are all quite easy to forge and your bank can remove the funds from your account to cover a fraudulent payment well after the art has been shipped, often as long as 30 days or more. The fraudulent buyer who is in a hurry is attempting to pressure the artist into shipping the work before payment has cleared. Similarly, they frequently want to arrange their own shipping or have someone pick up the artwork in order to have possession of it before their phony payment has been discovered. A direct bank-to-bank wire transfer is the safest method to receive payment. Your bank will ensure the funds are clear, most often on the day of the transfer.
Never accept an overpayment. Once the price of the art and shipping has been determined, that’s the amount of the payment you should receive from the buyer. If they send you more than that (often much more) and ask you to send them a cheque for the difference, you will find yourself out of pocket for not only the value of the artwork and the fraudulent payment, but also for the difference of the overpayment you’ve sent back. No one is going to ‘accidentally’ send you a payment of $7,000 for a painting that you’re selling for $3,000.
As exciting as it may be to have an art buyer contact you wanting to own a piece of your work, you need to proceed with caution. Take your time. If you’ve responded to a potential buyer with your selling terms and they don’t appear to be listening, follow your instincts; if it feels funny, it likely is.
May 2012 scam attempt
Thank you for your response, Am very happy to read from you regarding the details and the price of the piece.
Now that you have informed me their price, the price is OK by me,
meanwhile I live in Loughton United Kingdom.
Regarding the mode of payment i will like to know the type of method
of payment you want, i can make the payment available by Money Order
or by Check, so kindly let me know the one you choose in other for me
to be able to make the payment available.
Meanwhile i hope you are on Skype, i will like to know your Skype user
ID in other for us to talk and proceed regarding to this purchase on
Skype, my Skype ID is andrewdrooyan meanwhile if you don't a have
Skype ID yet kindly go to www.skype.com and register with them and
You can also ring me as well here is my phone number in a case you
wish to talk to me on phone +447024073320.
I will be waiting for your response,
I go through your website and i find this above work of your art interesting, i hope they are still available for purchase?
Email me their details and price if you still have them available.
I will be waiting for your reply.