Monday, April 5, 2010

Online Purchase Scams

I'm one for one: one legitimate sale, one online purchase scam.
I didn't take the bait. "Ray" wanted "Chapparal Sweet Peas" for his new resident (sic), rushing off to an overseas appointment, wanted to reconfirm my address, the painting price, wanted to send me a cashiers check directly, he'd take care of shipping and handling, blah, blah, blah.
Sounded fishy - after a bit of research it sounded like a Nigerian 419 scam, so I politely requested that he work the purchase through the website shopping cart with its Paypal link. End of inquiry.
I spread the word and received a surprising number of responses. This has been going on as long as there has been email. Here's a specific recommendation from LinkedIn Art Marketing group responder Lisa Powell, Art Consultant, Rentals & Leasing

Your instincts are correct - if it sounds like a scam, it most likely is. We've seen several similar requests, always international and we simply state that the only form of payment we approve internationally is a wire transfer.

NOTE: the only safe way to receive a wire (internationally or locally) is to open a separate DEPOSIT ONLY bank account. You're giving out your routing # and account # to anyone who will send you a wire (or ACH), so protect yourself with a separate account that only accepts deposits, not withdrawals. This way, if someone manufactures checks or tries to withdraw from this account, the bank will know its a fraud.

When you know a transfer or deposit is coming into your account, you can watch for it, wait for it to clear, then transfer it into your operating/working account. Once the money has cleared, and only then, should you ship or allow someone to pick-up your artwork.

In today's economy we get so excited when we see a new prospective client that we can let our common sense be overruled - glad you took your time and did some research!

Thanks Lisa

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