Here’s how it works – or doesn’t, in this case. You get an email from someone who is interested in your work:
Hope this message finds you well. I saw these creative works on
your website and i will like you to get back with more details if they
are still available for purchase. I will appreciate an urgent reply.
Best Regards, Betty J
Sounds a little weird, but what’s the harm in following up, right? I mean, who purchases art online without knowing the size or price?? I was curious – and a bit suspicious.
Thanks so much for your inquiry. Some of the pieces are available. They are on display now at a gallery in Kerrville As far as I know, 2/9 and 3/9 have not sold. I’ll be glad to call the gallery and make sure. What else can I tell you about them that might be helpful? Sizes? Price? Thanks again,
Good old Betty writes back, her grammar slipping a bit in her excitement to purchase my “creative works.”
Thanks so much for your response to my query about those creative
works. I will like to proceed with the purchase of both pieces . Can
you pls confirm the actual size and price of the two pieces so I
can know how best to proceed. I will also like to know what inspire you
to make the pieces. I will look forward to hearing from you soon.
Obviously, there’s something fishy here – I’m getting more and more curious about how it will play out. I give Betty the info about the pieces and what “inspire” me – I’ll spare you that part. I tell her that both pieces together will be $900. She writes back.
It is nice to hear back from you. I will like to proceed with the
purchase of both pieces. I think they are lovely works and I hope to
give them a good home. I am presently away on vacation but I should be
back in few days.
1481 NE 104th St
Miami Shores, FL 33138
Meanwhile, can you pls get back with your mailing address and phone
number so I can inform my husband on where to forward the payment. I
can have him send the payment asap. About shipping, you can handle it
from your side to my mailing address above or I can forward your
contact info to the local cartage company handling my shipment. They
can arrange FedEx or UPS pick up of the artworks from your studio.
I will look forward to hearing from you so I can know how best to
Husband’s assistant? She implies that there’s money there. Obviously, I go online and check the address – there’s no such person at that address, but it’s in a very swanky neighborhood in Miami Shores, Florida. Still curious, I send ol’ Betty the mailing address at my studio and then kind of forget about it for a week or so.
Lo and behold, last Saturday, as I’m talking to a friend at the studio, the mailman drops of an urgent delivery envelope with a check for $2300 inside made out to Lyn Belisle Studio. The check and the bank appear to be quite legit. I have no idea where it came from until I get an email from Betty that evening – hmmm –
Hope this message finds you well. I am very sorry I have not been able
to get in touch for the past couple of days. It has been a very busy
time for my family with my sister’s wedding and a big move so I have
been away from my computer.
Anyway, I will like to confirm that the payment was sent by my
husband’s assistant this week and he was advise it will arrives on
Saturday or Monday via USPS with tracking number (
9405501699320079030307 ) so kindly be on the look out for it.
I write back:
I received the check on Saturday and I am thoroughly confused about the amount. It is far greater than the price of the work that you requested. Can you clarify? I am grateful, but want to make sure the transaction is fair and accurate for you.Thanks ever so much, Lyn
And then . . .KA – CHING! What could possibly be wrong with this picture?
I got your email now. Thanks for the update. I am so excited you have
received the payment and can’t wait to have the artworks on my wall. I
hope to give them a very good home and enjoy the pieces for many
years. Regarding the check , my husband made a terrible mistake and overpaid
you because he didn’t have full details of the transaction since I was
too busy when he sent it. I am very sorry for the confusion but I will
like you to go ahead and deposit the check, deduct the cost of the
pieces plus shipping to my vacation address below . Then you can
forward the difference back to him.
Kindly acknowledge this email as soon as you can. Thanks.
That rascally husband – don’t ya hate it when they make terrible mistakes? I told Betty that I was returning the check. I’ve heard nothing from her since. Surprise!
This is apparently a common scam, often aimed at artists. There are examples of it all over the Internet, but I was surprised at a couple of things – one, how quickly she befriended and flattered me and developed a story line about her family, complete with personal touches.
The second thing was that the impact of a real check being delivered through official mail has a lot of impact even though you know it’s not a legitimate transaction – who couldn’t use an extra $2300? And it was not an exorbitant over-payment, just tempting enough to be plausible. Unfortunately, there’s really no way to prove anything without actually depositing the check and agreeing to the sale.
Anything like this happen to any of you? For me, it was interesting and merely annoying, but I imagine it could be devastating for someone who fell for it and ended up having to pay a lot of money back. Here’s a good link for artists about such slimy scammy matters: www.artscams.com/
So, does anybody want to buy these two fine pieces of art? They’re available 🙂
Have a lovely day – and be careful out there.