I recently had a brush with a scam. I'm posting all the information I can to help others out there be alert and cautious. Who would think that a small art website could attract the attention of scammers? But it did.
The emails from "Joyce" are direct copies. My replies are intended to entertain while letting you readers in on my thoughts every time I got a new email.
May 29, 2009
Hope this message finds you well. I saw these creatives works on your web site and i will like you to get back with more details if they are still available for purchase.
Smoking dawn and Banana Shack
I will appreciate an urgent reply.
How did you find my website. I'm very flattered that you have found two paintings out of the millions out the web to inquire about. So if you are a scammer, you have at least taken the time to look at the website and name a couple of paintings.
By the way, English must be your second language, as you are make some leetle mistakes. Where are you from?
And why so urgent?
To get to your inquiry, both paintings have been retrieved from a large stack and are available to purchase.
May 31, 2009
Thanks so much for your response to my query about those creative works. I will like to proceed with the purchase of both pieces . I think they are lovely works. Can you get back with the price and size of the pieces so i can know how best to proceed.
I will look forward to hearing from you soon .
How sweet that you have looked up "aloha" and ended with the Hawaiian word for thank you, however "Mahola" is misspelled. It must be that English as a second language thing again.
And yes, the prices are blah-blah-blah, and sizes blah-blah-blah.
June 2, 2009
Good to hear back from you. Yes,i will like to proceed with the purchase of both artworks. I think they are lovely work sthat will add alot of colours to our new wall and i hope to give them a good home. Advise if it is possible to give any discount for the purchase of both pieces.
I am presently away in London for my twin sister's wedding even though it comes at a time when i was preparing for a big move and also expecting a baby but it means so much to her. I should be back in few days.
Meanwhile,i will like you to forward your mailing address and phone number so i can inform my husband still shutling between our home in New Jersey and Jo'burg, SA on where to forward the payment . He has just been transfer to head the IT section of their head Office in Jo'burg.
I can also forward your contact info to the local cartage company that will be moving all our house decors so they can get in touch with you to arrange shipping details. They can arrange pick up FedEx pick up of the artworks from your studio.
I will look forward to hearing from you so i can know how best to proceed. Cheers.
You are some very important and interesting person. How wonderful to be married to a corporate big-wig, have a twin and be pregnant. To top it off, you are in London at a wedding! You are trusting me with so many details about your life.
Does your IT husband think it is a bit odd that you want to ship 2 paintings from Oregon to South Africa? I mean, you'd think he'd have a practical side saying, "Joyce, don't you think we can find some nice art in Jo'burg?"
Hope you have a wonderful time at your sister's wedding.
By the way, you can pay via PayPal or certified check.
July 15, 2009
Hope this message finds you well. I am very sorry that i have been unable to get in touch with you for some days now. I was hospitalised in London immediately after my twin sister's wedding. I almost had miscarriage but thank God,i am now feeling better and can't wait to have my baby and settle down.
I am not sure if my husband has been able to forward the payment to your address. I will check with him and get back to you later today or tomorrow. Anyway, i have forwarded your contact info to the Moving agency that will be handling the shipment of all our house decors. They promise to get in touch with you asap. Try and arrange the shipping details with them. I will also like an update from you as soon as you hear from the movers.
Meanwhile, i am having some kind of problem with my other email account. You can get back via this email and i will look forward to hearing from you soon as you receive this email so i can be sure we are on the same page. Thanks for your patient.
My goodness Joyce, I haven't heard from you in over a month. I am so sorry to hear about your illness, near miscarriage, and problems with your email account.
I have now created a reasonable backstory for you Joyce. I believe you are a mail order bride from Russia. That means your sister must be also. So that explains your language issues and also some of the details of this transaction are not what I would do. But if your "home decors" must be handled by a "moving agency", so be it.
We are indeed on the same page...what page is that?
July 24, 2009
Hope this message finds you well and thanks for all your patient and concern. My husband said the payment was sent this morning so i will get back later today with the tracking number.
Meanwhile, i have forwarded your contact info to the Moving agency that will be handling the shipment of all our house decors. They promise to get in touch with you asap. Try and arrange the shipping details with them. I will like an update from you as soon as you hear from the movers.
Try and acknowledge that you get this email. Cheers.
Things are moving right along, aren't they? I'll let you know as soon as I hear from the movers.
July 25, 2009
I have received communication from Mrs. Joyce Gillian that we should work with you to ship some artworks with her other house decors to her new house in Johannesburg, South Africa when you two are through with the transaction,as she advise.
I will like you to give me the kind and nature of the things she want to ship.I will like to have your studio address aswell,so i can make arrangement with any nearby Agent that will be coming for the pick up once you and Mrs. Gillian are through with the transactions. Thanks.
I will appreciate your earlier reply .
The atlantic House.
48 Caledonian Road,
London D 4 7 BT
Well, Jeff--my studio is in my barn. Do you think you'd like to drop by from London to pick up those two paintings? Let me know when to expect you.
I'll give you props for giving me a legitimate address, although I can't google your company name.
July 25, 2009
Hope this message finds you well. Thanks so much for your concern and patient regarding the whole transaction. It has been a very difficult time with alot of things on the plate.
Anyway , i will like to inform you that the payment has been sent to you by my husband and he was advise that you will receive it on Monday. It was sent via UPS and the tracking number is 1ZAY7253NT95696688 .
I will also call you later today for more details .
Meanwhile,i will like you to have our both addresses ,you can add it in your mailing list. I will like to hear about your future works and art shows. Our address in the states is...
269 Park Ave, Lyndhurst, NJ 07071
While our new address in SA is....
Nelson Mandela Way,
Try and get back as soon as you see this email . Cheers.
PS. Have you heard from the movers ?
Joyce, I googled your lovely home in N.J. and found there is really a home for sale at that address. Also the tracking number is for real so I will get a package in the next day or two.
How nice that you want to keep up with my art work.
Could I be wrong about you?
On July 27, 2009 UPS delivered a check to me for $4000, about $3000 more than I'd asked for the paintings. It was a check from Lowe's Inc. issued by a bank in South Carolina.
Joyce--I received a check.
July 28, 2009
Good to hear you have received the payment for the paintings. Thanks
for your update. I am very excited and can't wait to have artworks on
Regarding the payment,Jeff sent your payment with that of the moving
agent that will be handling the shipment of all our house decors (
the paintings inclusive ) because he didn't have full details of the
transaction since i was sick when he sent the payment.
Therefore,i will like you to get the ball rolling, I will like you to
go and cash the payment, remove the asking price for the pieces and
forward the leftover to the movers so we can be able to conclude the
transaction on time.
I was able to get in touch with the movers immediately i saw your
email and i was informed that they are presently on shipping tour and
will like to come for the pick up as soon as possible. He promise to
get in touch with you later today.
Meanwhile, i will like you to keep me posted as soon as possible on
the progress of everything. Thanks.
PS..Try and confirm your phone number so i can call you asap. (
Oh Joyce! You sent me too much money. I mean the check really looked good, and I could have been silly enough to cash it, and I might have been crazy enough to write a check for the difference. But Joyce, I ain't no dumb bunny!
This is just like all the scams I've read about. And guess what? When I called the bank in S.C. they said the account did not exist.
By the way, what the heck is the "shipping tour" that your movers are currently on!
July 29, 2009
I tried the phone number you gave me throughout yesterday but the number is not working. Try and get back asap. Have you heard from the movers?
I will look forward to hearing from you soon.
My friend, when I contacted the Oregon State Attorney General this morning, he advised me to have no further contact with you. He asked that I mail him all the evidence--check and UPS package. I also sent him copies of your emails.
Sorry to end our correspondence like this. Did you hear from the Attorney General?