Someone attempted to scam me today. But you’ve got to get up early in the morning to catch this bird!
I have to give thanks and praise to the great Facebook group Art fair buddies, as I first saw a version of this scam on there, which meant the pattern of events seemed all too familiar from the start!
Here’s how it all went.
I have a work of art in the featured section of the 'Artists and Illustrators' website this month.
I could have sold that piece five times over. It was actually sold last week.
Since then I’ve had a number of emails asking about it.
This afternoon, I received an email from another potential customer. I sent a, now well rehearsed, email directing them to similar works, and to my own website to see if something else appeals to them.
Their reply though gave me alarm bells.
"Thanks for your mail,i want you to get back to me with your pay pal invoice for the payment now..”
Gosh, I thought, they’re keen. They want me to invoice them, even though the work has sold. Wowser, I must very sought after!
So I sent a nice little email, reiterating that it was sold, but was there another painting they’d spotted that they wanted me to invoice them for?
So they sent this back.
Title of email GET BACK TO ME NOW OK
and the content was: "Okay,i want you to get back to me with the picture of other painting you have that is very closed to the one i choose,get back to me with the last price and you pay pal email".
Big huge red alarm bells.
This person is keener than anyone I’ve ever met to be invoiced for a painting. Any painting. Doesn’t matter to them.
So sent them another email, again thanking them for their continued interest (I’m beginning to feel like the tape of Slartybartfast in 'Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy' putting off potential customers to Magarathea)
Anyhoo, I sent them a picture that didn’t look much like the one they liked in the first place, and the price I quoted was double the price advertised on my website! Nice huh? And that I would need to know their address to calculate shipping costs.
Here was the mystery buyers response.
"i will take this one okay..and i want you to get back to me with your pay pal invoice for the payment now,i want you to no that I have a private courier agent that will come for the pickup after payment has been made, so no shipping included. I'll need your name, the pickup address or location for the pick up “
The following actions have now been taken.
Artists and Illustrators have been contacted, they agree; its a scam. Course it is.
Paypal has been contacted, they agree; its a scam. Course it is.
It works because they can get their money back from paypal in a dispute, after the painting has been picked up. If you don’t ship it yourself and have a tracking number you’re not insured.
So they end up with their payment back and they've got your painting!
So please please pass this on to any entrepreneurs selling on the internet. Paypal, broadly speaking is great as it protects the customer, and thus customers feel inclined to buy from businesses offering paypal payments. But this is a great little loop hole that naughty people have found.
Incidently, as I write, I’m’ still getting emails from my mystery buyer telling me "you no what,their is no problem with the courier service agent that amusing" (come on kids, count the mistakes in that one) and, “why don’t you send me you invoice for payment NOW”
Because you’re not an artist…you’re a con artist and I’m not playing.