The Return of Fun with Scammers
I keep posting these mostly because I think they are funny and it really does seem to help people. I've had quite a few folks write in to say thanks for posting these art scam letters and that after googling their own potential art scammer communications, they came to my blog to get the scoop. So I'd like to introduce you to Michael Saylor whose email is (for now) firstname.lastname@example.org and he writes the usual intro: Subject: Solitude
Hello, I actually observed my wife has been viewing your website (piece in subject field above) on my laptop and i guess she likes that piece, I must also say you are doing a great job. I would like to know what inspired that work. I am very much interested in the purchase to surprise my wife. Kindly confirm the availability for immediate sales.
Peace and blessings
If you haven't read my other blogs on this (or anyone elses) I'll give you the tells. 1) Title of the painting is in the subject line and 2) Peace and blessings. Apparently this is what they teach at the Kenyan University of Art Scamming. Just to see how far I can F with these guys I write the following as if I'm an art factory in China.
Subject: Solitude and greetings and blessings
Hello and you,
To your interest we have much fine artwork! Am happy to sent this works picture upon my behalf and to process with internotional shippings. WE have the subject works as inquired for 10,000 CNY with much shopping. Me love you longtime,
Curiously, he decided he was good with that response, so he writes me back:
Thanks for the message, I must tell you I am very much interested in the immediate purchase of the piece to surprise my wife. If you'd like to know, I'm relocating to the Philippines soon and our anniversary is fast approaching. So I'm trying to gather some good stuff to make this event a surprise one. I am buying yours as part of gifts to her (quickly before someone else grabs it). I'm okay with the price, I think it's worth it anyway, so I'll be sending a check.
As regarding shipping, you don't have to worry about that in order not to leave any clue to my wife for the surprise.. as soon as you receive and cash the check, my shipping agent (who is also moving my personal effect) will contact you to arrange pick-up.
I would have handled this much differently but, at the moment, am on training voyage (on the North Atlantic Ocean) to Russia with new hires who are fresh from graduate school. I would have come to purchase the piece myself but won't be back for another couple of weeks.
PS: In the meantime, kindly forward your full name (you want the check payable to) cell phone no. and contact address (preferably for fedEx not P.O box) where a check can be mailed to, so I can get the check prepared and have it mailed out to you asap
Here are all the tells: 1) They are always in a hurry. 2) They are always okay with the price, what they want to do is write you a bad check for more than the amount and get you to ship the painting with the balance before the check bounces. 3) They are always moving somewhere out of the US. 4) Frequently on a training voyage. 5) Have a personal shipper who wants to come and get it... and no, not fed ex. A guy. He doesn't even know where I live, how does he have a guy in my town? So, to push further into ridiculousness, here's my response. I may have pushed too far though. Haven't heard back.
Helno Mr. Michael,
We love traing vouyage. That's how we come to here. We have unfortunate newss...Accounting person make terrible mistake... Our "Solitude" art we make to youpriced for 100,000 CNY not 10,000 CNY we siad! We cry for our error.Am so sorry. To make for US dallors this is amounts. $16,000 but for our error we give discount of $192. AND we ship for free. We have driver. Our account man will be caned in outdoors and gum in hair on top and down below and ash. As soon as he gets back from funerals of parents from terrrible firedcrackers, We so,, sorry for errors. We no this is much moneys for wife presents but make painting at 36x48 and much more for dollors. We can offer more works at smaller money for wife gift and put also in romantic toys and candies for Msr. Michaels. If other works is pleasing to you pleasing make offers from web. If you like we can also send arts pictures. Me love u longtime. Please to look at my site for pictures of me.
Happy for to do my business with you.
Next time I am going to play along, get their check and have their personal shipper meet me at the police station to pick up the work. I'm looking forward to this sequel.