I’ll be pretty occupied next week with my Night Landscape Photography workshop next week with Maine Media Workshops, so please don’t be alarmed if I’m a bit slow in responding to emails and such. The image above is a new image for my abstract waterscape series from this summer…
Ok, on to the crux of the post. As if artists needed another thing to worry about, I received a few emails as part of an attempted scam this week regarding the purchase of one of my photographs. I bring this up as a warning, as it was much more specific than the normal Nigerian colonel-type of scam. I’m sure all of my readers are familiar with these sort of scams (find out more here from Craigslist), but this one seemed worth highlighting since it is specific to artists (and I know of at least one other Maine artist who received a similar email this week, so I’m sure there are others).
Here’s the e-mail I first received (along with my own commentary in red):
From: Steve Kepley (of course it is Steve – a nice generic American and yet kind of cool name)
To: Jim Nickelson
Re: “The Tarn” (one of the keys to the scam – identifying one of my more popular images with specificity)
Good day, hope you are good. Was going through your website and saw some of your artwork I really like. You are doing a great job. (flattery always is helpful, but the great job part struck me as odd). I would like to make the purchase of the artwork in subject field above if it is still available..i would also like to know more about the artwork. kindly get back to me asap.
Thanks and God bless, (nice touch, too, to make it seem like someone without bad intent)
After this first email something seemed a little off to me, but I really didn’t expect a scam because of the reference to a particular image – I was thinking more that it was someone who was unlikely to be serious. But you never know, so I replied with prices, availability, and sizes…and then received this reply:
From: Steve Kepley <email@example.com>
Date: October 10, 2012 12:37:41 PM EDT
To: Jim Nickelson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: Steve Kepley <email@example.com>
Thanks for your prompt reply. i must tell you i am very much interested in the immediate purchase in size 16″x16″. My wife found your website and ask me to view your artwork and contact you for the purchase. (the wife is a nice touch, too. another compelling aspect was picking a specific size – and not being too greedy and going for the largest one, either)
Unfortunately, i am on a voyage at the moment to France as am a civil marine engineer i squeezed out time to check this advert and send you an email regarding it. I wont be back for another couple of weeks, I would have come to purchase the piece personally. (now the alarms go off in full – a civil marine engineer on the way to France? plentiful grammatical errors? and a print buying rush? the scam potential quickly became very obvious)
If you’d like to know, Im relocating to the philippines soon and I’m trying to gather some good stuff for my new abode. Im buying yours amongst others,quickly! before someone else grabs it.So, I’ll arrange to send you payment ASAP. (now he is just getting over the top with throwing another country in there – and I’d also recommend honing that boilerplate a bit to remove at least some of the grammatical errors)
However, I’ll have to notify my shipper who’s helping me move my stuff to get set for the pickup of the piece from your place as I MIGHT be delayed depending on how things goes.
PS: In the mean time, you could forward me your full name (you want the check payable to) and contact address so I can mail out the certified check to you ASAP. (oh, and just casually reference the information they need to begin the money order scam)
So the lesson, as always, is to be careful with your information on the Internet…and if there are any legitimate “civil marine engineers” out there interested in purchasing my work, I’m happy to oblige!