There’s a couple of scammers targeting artists listed in the artinliverpool directory. I spent most of yesterday looking into this and informing all the artists. As far as I am aware no-one has been conned out of any money yet, I have reported the details to the authorities. The scammers go by the names of Matriana frudonovic who sends an email like this…
From: Matriana frudonovic
Sent: Sun, 7 May 2006 13:45:38 -0700 (PDT)
I came across your work from The artinliverpool
website and i will appreciate it if you canlet me know
if you have any of the works for sale on your which
is still available and prices of each
and Dave Denis…
From: denis dave
i will like to purchase your painting.I am interested in it,please
let me have the final price of the ones you have and prices .you let me know
if you have some it is available for sale for my new apartment. i will
greatly appreciate it,I will be awaiting your response.
And here is the advice I sent out to the artists, about 20 have reported being contacted by one or both of these people..
I am sending this to all artists in the artinliverpool.com directory.
There are now 115 of you and new artists are added every week, the website goes from strength to strength
and a google/msn/yahoo search for Liverpool artists puts us right at the top.
I have received a lot of positive feedback from artists who’s inclusion has led to genuine enquiries, commissions and even sales.
However, our fame also attracts some more unsavoury visitors.
It seems that a woman from Bulgaria has been e-mailing artists offering to buy an awful lot of paintings having seen
their work on artinliverpool. I’m sorry to disappoint anyone who thought they may have hit the jackpot but I am quite
certain this is a scam.
If you have been around a while, you’re probably already familiar with these things.
She uses a free web email, in this case yahoo.com – surely an international art dealer would have a proper business email.
She does give a phone number and an address but it includes a PO Box. – you could try insisting that she rings you, see if she does.
She wants to transact on her terms not yours and is keen to send you a cheque/money order or even travellers cheques up front.
So (if I’m right) what usually happens is, she will send you a cheque but she will overpay (deliberately) then ask you to send her a cheque from your account for the overpayment.
It then turns out that her cheque is worthless. So you’ve shipped your paintings, which probably won’t even be picked up and you’ve lost maybe about £1000.
There’s a couple of links below where you can read more about these scams.
One really annoying thing is that it seems it can take weeks for a bank to decide they’re not going to honour a cheque. Even after the money has seemingly cleared into your account. Looks like you need to wait a while and demand a written guarantee that you definitely have the money before you send anything off.
If you haven’t already, its worth investing a bit of time and seeking advice (not from me) on getting your terms of sale as safe as possible and then stick to them. This woman could, after all, be quite genuine but if someone wants to buy your art but expects you to send them money or asks for your bank details I’d steer well clear.