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Phishing Scams - John Tucker

Just a FYI, if you receive an inquiry from the email address below–it’s a phishing scam. He goes by the name John Tucker and says he’s buying a gift for his wife. When it comes time to make a payment he asks for your bank name, bank address, account name, account routing number etc.

If you Google his email address, the top results are all about art scams.

My experience has been that real collectors usually just hit the buy button and go through the normal payment process.

tuckerjohn004@gmail.com

(A phishing scam is an attempt to trick you into divulging sensitive information such as your social security number, credit card numbers, bank account information etc.)

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This scam has been around for several years. And there are others out there that target artists.

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I have received 2 of these, one from man, one from a woman! Told first one only accept paypal, just ignored second one.

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I agree. I only accept PayPal. I try to be very careful. These guys are real dirt bags! The AARP Bulletin for April 2020 has an excellent article on Fraud scams. A good read!

The article from AARP is below.

With art scams there’s usually some sort of elaborate story of why they can’t go through paypal. "It’s a gift for my wife and I don’t want them to see the purchase on the statement."

They don’t want your art, they’re just trying to convince you to give them your bank or credit card information. It’s called “social engineering.”

Sometimes their emails contain numerous spelling and grammar mistakes. If you’re not sure, Google their name and their email address.

Here’s another one! I just received. Its my second this year. He writes:

Hello Terri Robertson
“I am interested in buying some works directly from you and will appreciate if you can make a PDF list of your available pieces for sale along with their prices.
I am from Ann Arbor MI but presently in rural Oaxaca Mexico supervising a mining project…
I wish to buy some art works as a surprise 60th birthday present for a dear friend who admire your works reason why I am contacting you having seen her going through some of your works online sometime agao and I made the conscious decision to save your contact for future reference.
I would prefer to keep an open mind with regards to what I am looking for hence why I am requesting you send in PDF format a list of your available pieces and their respective prices.Hope you will be willing to help with this
Best Regards
Dennis”

I sent him to my web site. He immediately, sent me a e-mail want $4000.00 worth of paintings.
The scams I have received use the excuse, they are working in a remote area, such as an oil rig out in the gulf and need to buy a gift, usually for several thousand dollars (it always seems to be $4000.00+). But they have, a beef with paypal or their credit card has been compromised by some scammer (haha), so they prefer to buy direct and pay by check.

One scammer said, he mailed me a check and accidentally wrote the check for several thousands more than the price of the painting, he wanted me to refund the money ASAP, so he could pay his dying mothers doctor bill. I told him when I got the check, I would send his check back to him. I never got the check or heard from him again.

Their writing skills are getting better. Mine are poor, but their spelling and composition usually give them away. I think they are starting to figure that out, because their writing is improving.

I have a message on a sticky note I send to these people as soon as I get theirs. Sorry! Please purchase from my website. No are no other options for online sales… I copy and paste and never hear from them again.

This is the last one I received. Probably one of many names for the same scammer.
Dennis Morrison dmrrsonn@gmail.com
Sent: Sat 5/2/2020 6:33 AM

Thanks for the AARP link.

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Thanks for sharing those emails, it may help others from falling for these schemes.

I notice a pattern where they like to get you more invested by asking for a PDF of available work etc.

It’s funny how these important business people have all kinds of time to write emails that contain elaborate excuses as to why they can’t use a credit card or paypal.

In my experience, real collectors have their lives together and keep email communication to a minimum. And they certainly know how to write a check without overpaying by thousands of dollars :open_mouth:

The bottom line is–never let a painting leave the studio without making sure the payment has cleared.

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Damn - and I thought that John and I had a special relationship going on!!

Mahlos
richard

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Hey, just a heads up.

I received the same email from Dennis Morrison.

Hello Marti
I’d love to buy some art works directly from you and will appreciate if you can make a PDF list of your available pieces for sale along with their prices.
I’m from Ann Arbor MI but presently in rural Oaxaca Mexico supervising a mining project.
I wish to buy some art works as a surprise 60th birthday present for a dear friend who is an art enthusiast/lover and admire your works reason why I am contacting you having seen her going through some of your works online in the past and I made the conscious decision to save your contact for future reference.
I would prefer to keep an open mind with regards to what I am looking for hence why I am requesting you send in PDF format a list of your available pieces and their respective prices.Hope you will be willing to help with this
Best Regards
Dennis

Honestly, the email came off genuine until I got the elaborate story on why he couldn’t use Paypal ( see below)

Hello Marti

For some reason your email got trapped in my spam folder. I was cleaning them out when I was your.For payment,

I would have suggested PayPal myself but I do have a strong personal anti feeling for PayPal and their services because of the stress I went through with them and decided early this year to never use them again after they one day randomly decided to place a 6 month hold on my money for no reason.I couldn’t access over 25k in my account which I needed for some business dealing. I heard it from the grapevine that PayPal randomly freezes customer’s accounts for 180 days so that they can use the money to invest without paying any interest to the account holders.Not sure how verifiable that is but it doesn’t matter since I blacklisted them and the did same in return so I will suggest I have an eCheck sent to. An eCheck works just like a regular check, only this time the paper check is in electronic form and you can simply make a deposit using your bank app.I will only update you on the shipping date after it clears your account so look into it and let me know please.

Best

At this point I talked to my bank about an echeck, they informed me that with using an echeck you would have to give the sender your routing and bank account information, which was a HELL NO for me and an instant red flag. Please don’t fall for the okie doke, these scammers are getting personable and know how to make you feel comfortable with them. I hope this helps.

Martinique,
I had an almost identical scammer email me. The basic story was the same. When I got the e-check and checked it out, it was written on a non-existant bank so I threw it away. Later, I got 2 more checks and discarded them too.
The scammer emailed to say that a postal service would pick-up the paintings. I gave him an earful and have not heard from him since.
Word of advice: Do not mail your painting/s until the payment has cleared the bank. Also, if someone asks for the names of other artists, please do not accommodate them. That was something he asked before I suspected a scam and thankfully I did not grant his requests.

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I have had those emails and now a new one via ETSY. I have gotten this twice this year, from different folks with no account info.

They message me saying ‘We are interested in buying this art’ (odd phrasing) and it shows one of my listings. They want my email address so they can talk to me about it.

I replied and said their message thru Etsy goes right to my email and how may I help them.
Then they ask for my cell phone so they can text, saying their email doesn’t work with their phone. (Weird)

Anyway, I looked at my listings and can see there are no new visits to that painting for the last 30 days, so I know they haven’t even looked at the listing. Hmn.

I just stopped replying.

Oh my gosh I got such a chuckle reading these, as I’ve gotten the same “phishing” messages! (on my old website with Artspan; fortunately Artspan would “flag” the message warning the artist that it might be a scam).

Thanks for sharing, and I will share my experiences here too, and hopefully by doing so we can help our fellow artists avoid falling for these scams.

After getting a few, I noticed that many had the same story line, sent by different gentlemen (and yes I’m using that term sarcastically!)…
. ie “ I found my wife’s laptop open on your website so I know she likes your art and I want to get her an anniversary gift” blah blah blah…
Besides the repetitive storyline, there are usually a few other giveaways that this is NOT a legit purchasing inquiry:

•They don’t mention any particular painting by title, just a vague “your artworks.”

•They ask for a list of available paintings and prices (when that info is already plainly shown on my website — which, um, they had supposedly visited!)

•The language is stilted, and liberally sprinkled with grammatical errors (as many of you have noted)

•The insistence on paying by check, rather than using a secure payment system like PayPal.

With the first few “inquiries” I didn’t really know what was going on, but I knew they sounded they sounded “off.”
So, on one of them I replied asking which particular painting were they interested in ? No reply!
On another I replied that I only accept payment via PayPal since it is secure and protects both buyer & seller from scammers… No reply!
On another I figured I’d waste a bit of his time too, so I replied that I was confused (:crazy_face:) about the request for prices when they are clearly listed on my website, and was he perhaps trying to contact another artist??? Yep, no further reply!
After that I just began immediately erasing those messages as I had learned to spot them for what they were, and did not want to waste any more of my precious time replying to them.
Good luck everyone!

Oh, I have something with the twist. Someone asks to buy my art but when I send the link they respond like they have compromised paypal (limited paypal), so they cannot buy from website, but only can send me money via paypal. At this point I usually say - bye :slight_smile: because I don’t like it.

Anyone had similar inquiries?

Hey Julia, I haven’t heard that one but it does sound “phishy!” If I understand you, the “buyer” wanted to pay you personally, rather than buy through a website, but still use PayPal…which makes no sense to me, since if they can use PayPal at all, it would work to pay via a website.
Hmmm… I’m not a lawyer, but my suspicion is that he wants to do it that way because if you screw over an individual person, that person (the artist, in this case) would have to go through small claims court (or other legal route) to recover the $, which the scammer figures the artist couldn’t afford to do. But if the scammer screws over a company (DailyPaintworks, or Etsy, or other website hosting company ) those companies DO have resources to go after the scammers. And the scammer would have to somehow get around the company’s secure payment system in the first place, which is not easy. Hence they’d rather trick us artists personally. It’s easier to snatch purses and pickpocket wallets than to rob a bank!

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yes, totally makes sense! So I ignore those fishy requests. My husband even googled if you ever can get your paypal account to be limited and what for. Anyway doesn’t sound good and I have dpw just for the very reason for all my transactions to be clear, easy and safe :sweat_smile: