"The artist...is also a born adventurer. His explorations, unlike those of a tourist, are rewarded by the discovery of beauty spots unmentioned in the guide books, and with tireless curiosity and an exceptional proneness to wonderment, he will come upon objects of remarkable interest overlooked or even shunned by more disciplined observers."

Augustus John, R.A.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Beware the Art Scam !!!!

I have had some recent e-mail correspondence which I have transcribed in full below. I have not altered anything, the poor english, grammar and punctuation are all as in the original e-mails only the italics are mine. Having done some research on the matter this apparently is one of the signs to look out for.

On 22 Nov I received this e-mail via my Folksy Shop site ;

i want to make immediate purchase of your item,
what is the present condition?

do you accept PayPal as mode of payment?

what is the final asking price?

kindly get back to me with your reply to my private email:

hope to read from you soon.

The e-mail address given was a yahoo.com address. Use of free e-mail accounts (hotmail, g-mail etc) is another sign to look out for.

I thought this was a bit odd as the sender had clearly been on the Folksy site, even referencing the particular piece they were interested in. So they would clearly have seen the asking price and that Paypal was the method of payment. However, giving them the benefit of the doubt I replied with the price and packaging costs and pointed out how to make a purchase through Folksy.

I didn't hear anything else until yesterday morning at 0626am, when the following e-mail arrived, again through the Folksy messaging service;

Hello seller
Are you ready for immediate sales of your item?
do you accept PayPal as mode of payment?
kindly get back to me on (again giving the same yahoo address)
with your reply and the final asking price.

hope to read from you soon

Best Regard

This was getting a bit familiar.
Again I replied with details of the price and how to pay. I got the following reply at 1755pm;

Thanks for the respond. i am an oceanographer and am currently on the sea at the moment, i am buying the item as a gift for my mum,i want to make it a surprise gift for her,she won't know anything about the gift until they get delivered to her.So i want you to reassure me that the item is in good condition as you have described. I can only pay through PayPal. So please kindly get back to me immediately so i can proceed with the payment and after the payment has been done,i have a pick up agent that will come around to pick the Item up immediately after payments.

I replied stating that I would only despatch the item by first class post after receiving payment of cleared funds in full. At 2051pm I got this reply;

Thanks for the reply,as i have told you i have agent that will come over for the pick up so you don't have to bother your self about shipment,all i will need from you now is your phone number and the address where pick up is going to take place so i can book shipping with my agent,also i will need your PayPal ID so i can make the payment for you when am done with my agent,hope to read from you soon.


Note the request for my PayPal ID. I haven't replied to this e-mail and won't be.
The sender signed themselves Tracy Michael. A name I subsequently found on a list of known internet art scammers. So if you get anything similar in your inboxes just delete it.


Jennifer Tetlow said...

Thanks for advice - I had something similar a few years ago, they even sent me a fraudulent cheque - drawn on a firm of solicitors in London - thank goodness I didn't bank it, as the sculpture would have gone and the money not forthcoming!

Stuart Brocklehurst said...

Hi Jennifer
I don't know what has annoyed me the most about this. The fact that someone has tried to rip me off. Or the fact that I now view all e-mails from potential customers with a high degree of suspicion. Its not a nice way to enter a relationship with a client but I guess these days you don't have a choice.