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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bogus email orders - how to spot them

Received an email from a 'Lucy Courtney' working forLindsey and Richard Cpmpany in Manila. They were interested in some of my work for their stores and requested a website or mailing list of available work. Already was finding this a bit odd as most people access me via my site but played along and sent a list. They oredered two paintings requesting that I use their shipping company and assuring me they would pay for the paintings with a credit card. This was odd - they hadn't even asked to see what the paintings looked like and no one in their right mind would do that so the alarm bells were ringing big time. But, there's always that 1% chance that they may have been genuine, so I replied sending them an invoice for credit card payment and insisting on an emailed copy of the front and back of their credit card. (They could have a number of another persons card that they might have stolen.) I also insisted that if they wanted to use their shipping company, that they paid them direct and not, as they had requested, get me to do so.
This is where the scam was. I would be conned into paying shipping costs to a bogus company upfront and the payment to me would either not be made or would be fraudulent.
So just be aware. These guys were pretty dumb, the next lot may be wiser!
So lesson - be wary if:
  1. The email sounds vague, such as" we are interested in your work for our stores..."Any would be buyer would know about you and your work and be more specific.
  2. If they request using their couriers/fright company unless they pay them, don't.
  3. If they seem dodgy insist on a back and front copy of their credit card.
  4. If they dangle large payment promises and seem in a rush to get the transaction happening.
  5. They get otherwise when you don't roll over for their requests
  6. They don't ask you to send an image of the work they have just requested
  7. Sadly certain countries get me worried upfront as we've had bad experiences in the past :Montenegro, Nigeria and the Phillipnes are a few I'd avoid.
  8. Don't be afraid to offend them with security questions - if they are genuine buyers they will understand your vulnerability
  9. If they appear to have overpaid you and then ask you to use the balance to buy a computer etc to send with the work refuse to do so. Chances are the payment will bounce in a couple of days and you'll be left minus paintings and a computer.
  10. Check on where they first saw your work, what interested them about it etc. If they can't answer these questions, then end the correspondance.

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