Monday, November 3, 2008

Word to the Wise!

Good Morning All!

I wanted to pass along some information that I have learned regarding internet scams and specifically about Bank Check scams that run rampant on the net.

My last post told you of my new membership to Fine Art America. Since joining I have been very pleased with the number of people who have viewed my work but my eyes have been opened to a new world as I was targeted by someone known to be a Bank Check Scam artist!

My initial enthusiasm with Fine Art America was boosted when I received an email from someone who claimed he wanted to purchase one of my pieces and asked for my name, address and phone so that he could mail me a Bank check for the sale amount. When something seems unlikely, as in me selling a piece of art within a few days of listing, one should beware.

I felt it odd that the potential buyer assumed there would be no shipping involved and that in fact there was no discussion of how the piece would be delivered. A red flag went up but was over shadowed by my excitement. I proceeded cautiously so in response, I asked for his location for delivery so that I might calculate shipping costs which would be added to the sale amount.
His reply was that I should not worry about shipping charges since his "collector" would pick up the piece.......

Alarm.... Alarm.... Alarm.....!

After relaying the story to my husband, he threated to disown me if I even replied to this inquiry again as this was indicative of a notorious style of fraud! It was a disappointment to realize this guy had no interest in my work and though I instinctively knew this situation made no sense, I decided to investigate using the discussion forum on the Fine Art America site.
Within moments I found my supposed buyer in the archives as a known offender who preys on new members. I quickly added my comments to inform the members that this person had morphed! He had signed his original message in one name but in the second email suddenly became someone else....

For those of you who are unaware, these frauds typically send you a fraudulent bank check for a greater amount than the purchase price and request a refund. Since they are often written from foreign countries or obscure non existant banks, by the time your bank discovers that the check is fraudulent and that funds are not available for the check to clear, you have refunded them the difference which you of course will never see again! Their interest never lies in the purchase but only in the possibility of getting you to send them money.

So I now stand christened into the world of attempted fraud and am glad that the circumstances led me to further investigation. I deleted the emails from my in box and have not heard from the predator since!

I hope that this story will help to put up a red flag for anyone who reads it, if ever put in this situation. And the old addage holds true. If something doesn't seem right, it probably isn't!

Take care and beware!