JIM DORAN

The Art of The Scam

If you are an Artist with an email address (or, photographer, florist, service provider) please read this:

http://stopartscams.blogspot.com/

This above site tracks a common email scam targeted at artists (and applies to all other service professions).

I’m posting the last several scam attempts I’ve received emails, in the hopes they’ll help someone avoid the same bullshit scam. Lately, I’ve enjoyed stringing the scammers along and I try to keep the dialog going.

These are listed in chronological order from when I received them. As of late, most of these messages are coming from Kansas.

12/19/2017
Sender: alexis brian brianalexis278@gmail.com

Greetings!

My name is Alexis Brian from Califonia.I actually observed my wife has been viewing your website on my laptop and i guess she likes your piece of work, I’m also impressed and amazed to have seen your various works too.You are doing a great job. I would like to receive further information about your piece of work and what inspires you. I am very much interested in the purchase of the piece (in subject field above) to surprise my wife. Kindly confirm the availability for immediate sales.
Thanks and best regards

12/8/2017
Sender: Patrick Walter patwal816@gmail.com

Greetings,    
My name is Patrick Walter from Ohio.. I actually observed my wife has been viewing your website on my laptop and i guess she likes your piece of work, I’m also impressed and amazed to have seen your various works too,You are doing a great job. I would like to receive further information about your piece of work and what inspires you.. Kindly confirm the availability for immediate sales..
Thanks and best regards..


11/14/2017

Sender: Skip Hauf <skiphauf.m@gmail.com>
Subject: ART

Hi,
 I am interested in your artwork and will like more details about your
 available artwork.,I will be glad if you can send me an attachment of
 an available artwork or email me a website to view your available
 artwork?
 Thanks

Skip Hauf
718 487 9204

Hi Skip.

Artwork is attached. Here is my website https://www.flickr.com/photos/spazticus/

Thanks for the interest!

After a good look at your website,i found this work interesting(the
third attached picture on portrait),May i know their pricing and there
availability.
Any additional information about the artworks will be highly of
assistance, will you accept bank check?,,I wish to have these works, I
hope this goes well with you.
please write me back asap.
Thanks

Hey Skip. 
Yes, I will accept your bank check and pay you shipping carrier while you are out of the county. 
Why not? 
Jim 

11/3/2017

Sender: Joel Chandler <0joelchandler@gmail.com>
Subject: Interested in purchasing Artwork.

Hi, good morning. I,m Joel Chandler from Lansing Michigan . I was looking for some artwork online and i found your contact while searching. I will like to purchase some of your work for my wife as a surprise gift for our 10th Anniversary. Please kindly send some pictures and prices of some of your art which are ready for immediate sales within a price range of $500- $5000. I look forward to hearing a lot more about any available piece in your inventory ready for immediate sales.

Thanks and best regards.

These are coming in more frequently. I downloaded photos of shoes, bananas and raccoons. And then I wondered, what happens if I don’t send any photos at all? Here is my response, with no photos attached:

Hi, good morning. 
Joel Chandler, I’ve attached 3 images for your perusal. ?How wonderful it is to be married for 10 years!!!!!! 
Here is what I have for sale 
1) Portrait of the Artist at Work: $800: Oil Paint and waterboard 12″ x 24″ 2016
2) The Fruit of your Loom: $1800: Acrylic and oil stick on frisket paper 24″ x 24″ 2017
1) Over the Ocean: $1500:  Letterprint coldpressed gesso and wax 6″ x 12″ 2017
I thank you for your interest. 
Also, may I ask, how have you kept your marriage going so strong? What’s the secret?
Thanks and best regards.
The response came quickly:
I do appreciate your quick response, is not a easy task to be in a marriage for 10yrs, that’s i want something precious for our anniversary. i think the secrete i hold on to is love and loyalty, and you have to respect your partner hun!. kindly send me the picture for (fruit of your loom) i think am interested in that. I wait for your quick respond. Thanks! 
I attached the photograph of bananas, and said:
I’ve attached the image of the art – I’m sure your wife will love it, as I painted it with much love. 
Bananas!!!!
Subject: Choice seen.

Thanks for the message, I must tell you I intend to give my wife a surprise with the immediate purchase of the piece (The Fruit of your loom ) If you’d like to know, I’m relocating out of state to Ottawa soon and our wedding anniversary is fast approaching. So I’m trying to gather some good stuff  to make this event a surprise. 

As regarding payment,  I would like to inform you, that my wife handles the family credit card/bank  and Paypal transaction. So i would authorize a check to you for the payment as soon as i have your full name and contact address (preferably for USPS delivery no P.O box). Also, as soon as you receive the check and it clears your bank, my shipping agent who is also moving my personal effect will contact you to arrange shipping/pick up of the piece from you (this is to avoid my wife receiving it, if been shipped directly to my address which would ruin the surprise for this event). You both have to sign a proof of pick up at the most. 

I would have handled this much differently if I’d been at home but i am actually going offshore and won’t be back for another couple of weeks, and do not have access to a lot of cash over here to expedite this transaction… trying to kill two birds with a stone. :-)

 Have a Positive Day!

 Joel.

Clearly, he didn’t look at the bananas. Now, I’ll start mixing up the names.

Hi Joe, 
I am represented by a gallery, and all payments must be made out to them on my behalf. Will this be a problem? 
Joel
No problem, let me have your full name and contact address where the check will be direct to and also your phone number.
I’m using City Hall’s info below, minus the fake gallery name:
Please make the check out to:
The Dead Chicken Ranch
100 Holliday St, 
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 396-3835 
I let The Dead Chicken Ranch know to expect payment from you.  The owner’s name is Catherine Pugh, and she’s okay with the whole thing. 

Hi Jim,

My shipping agent is due in the U.S sometime this week. So i will contact a client of mine to issue out a check which will include my shipping agent fees to you right away.  This is done to avoid delay or any inconvenience that may arise from his part and to allow check to clear before pick up. However, courtesy demand i must first appeal to your self-interest and ask for your help in remitting the overage (after deducting your fee for the piece) to the shipping agent as soon as the check clears. I would have handled this much differently if I’d been at home but am a bit pressed for time as our anniversary is fast approaching and do not have access to a lot of cash  over here to expedite this transaction… Kindly deduct any IRS tax incurred on the overage before giving the balance the shipping agent. As i do not want you to involve any of your personal funds in this transaction that is why all fund are made available to you. They are not sending any bill or hold you responsible for the payment of my shipping contract with them. I am really sorry for the mix up and will appreciate if you get back to me asap to know if i can entrust you with this transaction. Many thanks and talk to you soon,

Sincerely.

Joel.

Joel, 
Why not just pay your shipping agent directly, and pay me for the work? I’m not sure I follow what you are asking me to do. 
There is no tax, as you are not in this state. 
Thanks a bunch. 

Thanks for the message, i would have come purchase the piece my self but at the moment am on a training voyage to the North Atlantic Ocean, (i’m an Ocean engineer) and i won’t be back in couple of weeks. Don’t have cash to expedite this transaction that’s why the check am going to authorize will include both piece and shipping fee, i am very sorry for the mixed up. I await for your quick responds to know maybe i can still move on with this purchase. Many thanks.

What does an Ocean Engineer do? Design things for the ocean? Interesting job! 

Can you send a check to the shipping agent, and a check to me? That will make it easier.

Thanks for the message, yes we do design equipment needed for a marine research. Have already contact a client of mine to issue out a check to you, i will get back to you with the tracking number as soon as possible. many thanks and talk to you soon.

Sincerely.
Joel.
A few days later, I responded with:
What’s the tracking number?
The gmail account had been deactivated . Whomp whomp.

10/22/2017
Sender: daniel hopkins dh7435628@gmail.com
Subject: pic inquiries

Greetings…My name is Daniel hopkins from California. I was looking for some artwork online and i found your contact while searching. I will like to purchase some of your work for my wife as a surprise gift for our 10th anniversary. Please kindly send pics and prices of some of your art which are ready for immediate sale within price range $500- $1,500. I hope to hear a lot more about any available piece in your inventory ready for immediate sale.
 

Thanks and best regards

 

I responded on 10/23/2017 by sending a zip file with 3 random images from the web that are nothing like my art, and I made up titles for them. I’m particularly proud of permanent wax oil stick on frisket board. I also copied “daniel’s” general tone. I wanted to see if they even bother looking at the images. 

Greetings daniel, 
I’ve attached 3 images of work that’s for sale! I just know your wife will love it. 
Apres Moi (2016) is oil on canvas – $800
Lost, at Last (2017) is permanent wax oil stick on frisket board – $800
Mori 3 (2018) is graphite on parchment, $900
Thanks for writing! 
Thanks and best regards
Thanks for the message, I must tell you I intend to give my wife a surprise with the immediate purchase of the piece (Acrylic on Canvas 20×40 inches framed). If you’d like to know, I am military man, a soldier and am on a 3weeks missions   to  Egypt and our wedding anniversary is fast approaching. So I’m trying to gather some good stuff to make this event a surprise. Kindly email me the mori3 (2018) graphite on parchment  picture  asap.   As regarding payment,  I would like to inform you, that my wife handles the family credit card/bank  and Paypal transaction. So i would authorize a check to you for the payment as soon as i have your full name and contact address (preferably for FedEx delivery no P.O box). Also, as soon as you receive the check and it clears your bank, my shipping agent who is also moving my personal effect will contact you to arrange shipping/pick up of the piece from you (this is to avoid my wife receiving it, if been shipped directly to my address which would ruin the surprise for this event). You both have to sign a proof of pick up at the most. I would have handled this much differently if I’d been at home but i am actually going offshore and won’t be back for another couple of weeks, and do not have access to a lot of cash over here to expedite this transaction… Have a Positive Day!   In the meantime, kindly get back to me with your cell phone no. so i can try and call you later as the phones may be working better when this storm passes through
So, this is kind of fun. I look up the address of FedEx in Annapolis, change my name and make up nonsense about perfume.  I also sent a pencil drawing of “Hello Kitty,” also found on the Web. Again, they didn’t bother looking at the art.
I hear offshore is nice this time of year, I hope you have a great trip! 
I’d also like to say that I admire how devoted you are to your wife. She must be very lovely and nice! Does she like perfume? Because I would like to send her a bottle for your anniversary. You seem so nice. It’s my mother’s perfume. 
Jim Doran is just my artist name. All payments must be made out to my real name:
Dr. Mervin Ding
2341 Forest Dr a, Annapolis, MD 21401 
As for my phone, I lost it – so sorry. Haven’t had time to buy a new one yet. Maybe after this transaction, though! 
I can’t wait for you to celebrate with your wife! 
Thanks and best regards,
Dr. Ding
Thanks so much for the perfum… Am very sure she will like it, you her a very nice person and thanks for the details which I’ve noted down,  So i have contacted a client of mine to issue out a check which will include my shipping agent fees to you right away.  This is done to avoid  delay or any inconvenience that may arise from his part and to allow check to clear before pick up. However, courtesy demand i must first appeal to your self interest and ask for your help in remitting the overage (after deducting your fee for the piece) to the shipping agent as soon as the check clears.
 I would have handled this much differently if I’d been at home but am a bit pressed for time as our anniversary is fast approaching and do not have access to a lot of cash over here to expedite this transaction… Kindly deduct any IRS tax incurred on the overage before giving the balance the shipping agent. As i do not want you to involve any of your personal funds in this transaction, that is why all fund is made available to you. As an aside, they are not sending any bill or hold you responsible for the payment of my shipping contract with them.
I am really sorry for the mix up and will appreciate if you get back to me asap to know if i can entrust you with this transaction.
Many thanks and talk to you soon,  
Daniel, 
The total, including shipping, will be $729. 
Thanks, 
Dr. Ding
But you wrote  Mori 3 (2018) is graphite on parchment, $900 
$729 is fine, though. 
Okay, okay. You’ve twisted my arm enough! $692 is the highest I’ll accept. 
Happy Anniversary. 
Aww thanks
So, how does your scam work? You mail me a check, and then I give you some money for the overage, and then your check bounces? This is the part I’m not sure about…
Omg!!! That not true is not scam I can’t do that OK..

9/27/2017
Sender: Klien Moon <klienmoon@gmail.com>
Subject: PIECE INQUIRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My name is Klien Moon from Snyder, Texas. I was looking for some artwork online and i found your contact while searching. I will like to purchase some of your work for my wife as a surprise gift for our 20th anniversary. Please kindly send pics and prices of some of your art which are ready for immediate sale within price range $500- $1,500. I hope to hear a lot more about any available piece in your inventory ready for immediate sale.
 
Thanks and best regards
I responded:

Hi Klien,
Can you pay with paypal?
Jim

and then, because you never know:

Hi Mr. Moon,
You didn’t answer me – will you pay with PayPal? I’ll need a $1000 deposit to start.
Thanks!
Jim

klienmoon@gmail.com
Subject: Check!!

Check only…


2/1/2017

Sender: Jefferson Alexei <jeffersonalexei@gmail.com>
Subject: Artwork

I’m Jefferson Alexei from Miami, Florida. I was looking for some artwork online and i found your contact while searching. I will like to purchase some of your work for my wife as a surprise gift for our 20th anniversary. Kindly send some pictures and prices of some of your other art which are ready for immediate purchase within the price range of $500- $5000, I could be flexible with price. So I hope to hear a lot more about any available piece in your inventory ready for immediate sale.
 
Thanks

 


3/4/2016

Sender: Michael & Melissa Smith <mesmith311@gmail.com>
Subject: ARTWORK IS NEEDED

My name is  Michael Smith from CA. I actually observed my wife has been viewing your website on my laptop and i guess she likes your piece of work, I’m also impressed and amazed to have seen your various works too, : )  You are doing a great job. I would like to receive further information about your piece of work and what inspires you. I am very much interested in the purchase of the piece  to surprise my wife. Kindly confirm the availability for immediate sales.
Thanks and best regards,
Michael Smith

By now I’ve seen enough of these, so I play along:

Hi!
I presume you can pay with PayPal?

Tell your wife hello from me!

Jim

Hello Jim, i will be making my payment by check.. Let me know if this works for you..

Thanks

Money orders are fine. Once they clear, I can mail the art.
Thanks.


Steve Acevedo,’ writes to me from inthengineering@yahoo.com and  saven1212@gmail.com.

“Steve” says:

“Greetings!
My name is Steve Avendano. I was looking for some artwork on-line and i searched for artists which your name came up.  I am impressed and amazed with your works, : )  You are doing a great job. I must tell you, I will like to purchase some of your work for my wife as a surprise gift for our 20th anniversary.

Please I would greatly appreciate if you could possibly recommend few available work in your inventory within price range $500- $2000 ready for immediate sale (I can be flexible with price though). So you will be hearing from me lots more. However, i am on a training voyage (offshore the North Atlantic Ocean) to Russia and won’t be back for another couple of weeks. So email would be the fastest way to reach me though.
Thanks and best regards,
Steve.”

Playing along, I wrote:

Hi Steve,
What do you think your wife might like?
JD

Steve replied:

“Hello Jim,

Thanks for the message, I would greatly appreciate if you can recommend any available piece within price range $500-$2000 from your inventory ready for immediate sale that can serve as a gift for a 20th wedding anniversary.

Please kindly send your recommendations. My wife is strongly drawn to the blue-green mix of turquoise. I will be delighted if you can work things within my budget (any size). Kindly email images and prices of your available works ready for immediate sale.

Thanks and blessing,
Steve.”

Knowing what’s coming, I ask:
Steve,
Can you use PayPal?
Jim

Using a different email address, they deliver the scam:

Dear Jim,

I must tell you I intend to give my wife a surprise with the immediate purchase of your piece. If you’d like to know, I’m relocating to the Philippines soon and our wedding anniversary is fast approaching. So kindly send your recommended piece of work.

As regarding payment,  I would like to inform you, that my wife handles the family credit card/bank issues. So in order not to leave any clue to her for the surprise, i would authorize a client of mine who is owing me an outstanding debt that amount to a considerable sum to issue out a check to you for the payment, as soon as i have your full name and contact address (preferably for FedEx delivery no P.O box). Also, as soon as you receive the check and it clears your bank, my shipping agent who is also moving my personal effect will contact you to arrange shipping/pick up of the piece from you (this is to avoid my wife receiving it, if been shipped directly to my address which would ruin the surprise for this event). You both have to sign a proof of pick up at the most.

I would have handled this much differently if I’d been at home but am a bit pressed for time myself and do not have access to a lot of cash over here to expedite this transaction… trying to kill two birds with a stone. :-)

Have a Positive Day!
Steve.

PS: In the meantime, kindly get back to me with your cell phone no. so i can try and call you later as the phones may be working better when this storm passes through.

You can identify the scam with their inability to pay with a credit card – that alone should warn you that something is phishy.


The following came from

Karen Langley klangley002@outlook.com
subject: Artwork Acquire??

Hello,
I am emailing to inquire about availability of artwork for sale in your gallery/inventory, if you can ship international and also if you are able to process Visa and Master Card for payment.
Let me know so that i can communicate with you on the artworks that interest me then you can also indicate to me which of the arts are sold and which are available on your website furthermore you can respond with your recently updated website.
I will be looking forward to reading from you soon.
Sincerely
Mrs Langley

The next one

This from
Dorothy Brooks dorothybrooks333@outlook.com
subject: “Art Piece”

Hi,

My name is Dorothy Brooks. I’m in the process of moving to Italy to expand my business field. I just bought a house in Milan, Italy and I’m interested in collecting an artwork for a space within my house to make it unique and beautiful.

Can I look through your website so as to pin point my choice , request for a quote and more information?

I look forward to hearing back from you soonest.

Sincerely,
Dorothy.


The Original

Here is another one, from
Alison McCoy a.mccoy009@yahoo.com

Hello,

My name is Alison McCoy. I found your profile on the internet. I am interested in purchasing an artwork from you for the decoration of my guest room at my new residence in Munich, Germany. Would appreciate if you can send me few pictures of the works you have available for sale so that I can make an easy choice of mine. Better still, send me a web link where I can have a view of your recent works.

I look forward to read back from you.
Thanks.

Alison.

Hi Allison!

I’m sorry I’m just now responding – this message was in my spam folder.

I only have a few items in my shop at the moment: http://jimdoran.art/shop/
Just about everything I make is for sale, and I have a lot of work in my studio. If there’s something in particular you are interested, please let me know.

Thanks for writing!

Jim

OKAY JIM THE SPAM FOLDER IS A GREAT WARNING UGH

Hi Jim,
Thank you for the email and sorry for the little delay in response. I went through your website and found the work “Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle, 4.25″ x 3″ x 1″” interesting. Can I have a detailed information about the work, its availability and pricing? As soon as we reach a concrete agreement on pricing, I can instruct my p.a to process a money order to you for the payment of the work so that my mover can have it picked up along with my properties that are to be moved to Munich.

I await your email soonest.
Regards,
Alison.

Still slow, I said:
Hi Alison,

Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle was made in 2011, and is one of my earlier dioramas. It’s one of the most popular pieces on my Web site (according to Google). http://jimdoran.art/art/like-a-fish-needs-a-bicycle

I almost called it There’s Always a Bigger Fish, but that seemed too obvious.

I’m asking $XXX for it, plus priority flat rate shipping. Thanks, again, for writing.

Best,

Jim

Hi Jim,
Nice to read back from you. I’m ok with the price of the work and I’m interested in its immediate purchase. Can you provide me with your full name as you want it appeared on the money order, your full address which includes(street name, house number, city, state and zip code) to ensure safe delivery and your working phone number where my mover can easily reach you at. As soon as I get these details, I will fwd it to my p.a so that he can go ahead with the processing of the money order to you.

I’m happy to have this piece purchased as it would look good on the wall of my guest room.
Thanks.
Alison.

“GUEST ROOM”

I remember thinking something was odd, but kept it going:

Hi Alison,

You can use Paypal, which is the fastest/easiest way to complete this transaction. There’s a paypal button to buy this item here:

http://jimdoran.art/shop/index.php#fish

If you really prefer a money order:

Jim Doran
P.O.Box 1870
Owings Mills, MD 21117

I can be reached at work during the day here: xxx-xxx-xxxx

Thanks so much! I’m glad this art is going to a good home.

Jim

HERE IT COMES:

Hi Jim,
Thanks for the info. I will process a money order to you because I can’t make use of paypal or my credit card because of my recent move. I spoke with my mover this morning as regards the pick up he has to make at your end. To my understanding, he has insufficient funds to get to your place for the pick up and to also get some major errands done. So I have decided to let my p.a have an overdraft check sent to you. And when you have the check cashed, you can easily deduct the cost of the piece I purchased from you and get the remaining funds across to my mover so that things can go as planned. I really do hope I can trust you on this. Please give me your words on this arrangement so that I can further instruct my p.a to issue out the check to you today or tomorrow unfailingly.

I look forward to hearing from you soonest.
Thanks.
Alison.

Hi Alison,

I’m sorry, but I am not willing to meet anyone in person, nor can I
“get the remaining funds across” to your mover. So, here’s what I can
do, if you are able:

If you send me $XXX.XX via paypal, I’ll mail the art anywhere in the USA.

If you want me to ship it outside the USA, then send me the mailing
address and I’ll calculate shipment.

I understand if you can’t complete the transaction right now.

Thanks,

Jim

I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO HELP ME ON THIS.
ALLISON

No need to shout – it just seems a little phishy. :) And it looks like I was right!

http://stopartscams.blogspot.com/2011/04/scam-email-thomas-mccoy.html