There are more scams than ever this year. In addition to the ever-present Nigerian Letter scammer, there are now scammers who prey on artists and craftspersons.
The latest to hit Floyd is the scammer who offers top dollar for art or merchandise and sends you a cashier’s check, or an American Express Travelers Check, or a PayPal payment, with one additional request. The buyer wants you to cash the check, etc. and send part of the money to the shipping company that will be picking up your work.
Once you send off money to the shipping company, the check and even the PayPal payment will vanish or are cancelled.
There are a couple of things about these transactions that should set off warning bells for you. 1.)The buyer offers more money than you expect, and has very little curiosity about the details. 2.)The buyer is often, but not always, from out of the country. 3.)They are buying the artwork as a gift for someone. 4.)The deal usually sounds too good to be true. 5.)One more indicator, the message shows signs of being written by someone unfamiliar with American English.
If you are approached by a prospective buyer and more then one of the points noted are present, be very careful. You might even want to Google the person’s name and some details of the offer. More than likely, you will find that this person is sending out similar letters to many different people.
Here is one example of a recent scam offer:
My name is Engr. Allen Smith, from PHILIPPINES. i am interested in the purchase of your above named (ARTWORK/PAINTING) advertised on one of the best internet market site, i am very ok with the details you have provided on the internet advert and i want to buy it as soon as possible. I will like you to email me the below information
Here is another:
Is the your art works for sale? if so please mail me back i will be able to aford between the price range of $600-$1000.i will be glad if you can help me by sending me pictures of the onces at that price range.
I browsed through your work,you have a lots of stuff in there.i will be sending it to my boss mum in houston,texas for her 70th birthday(coming up in first week in april) and i will love something different and beautiful that is why i am counting on you to do the job for me(us in particular,i mean the staff).
Hope to hear from you soon
These read like something penned by a school kid. If you get something like this expressing interest in an item worth several hundred dollars, you might wonder whose credit card they are using.
Selling on eBay may not have the cachet of selling from your website, but the feedback scores for buyers give you a better chance of spotting possible trouble. A buyer or seller with very little history is watched very carefully.
If you accept checks or any of the payments mentioned above, you can help yourself by waiting until the check clears before shipping any merchandise. And, don’t fall for sending part of the money on to anyone!
To report Internet crime go to: http://www.ic3.gov/