UMMMM... Someone tried to scam me. WHUT.
So, about a month ago, I received an interestingly worded message via my website from an SC man named Senior Collins. This seemingly sweet, older man "noticed his wife looking at my work a few different times" and wanted to know how he could purchase a piece. (**Note: Inquiries like this are so normal-- the internet is not familiar for some people and so the concept of an online store isn't always easy. Also, the wording seemed way formal and little odd, but again, not too strange when considered in perspective.)
My fab new intern (Blog post coming soon on her!) responded for me with all sorts of helpful information... we love to make surprise gifts happen! She included the link to the store and directions for using it.
Senior responded that he wanted a large leopard painting that I had listed, and asked if we would do a local pickup with payment via check. "Of course we can! We do local pickups all the time." (Because we do...) And that's when things got a little weird. I should have known then. Should have. But it didn't even hit me until later.
Senior was going to have a "friend" pick up the painting for him, since he was out of town with work. (Later, that changed to "Sailing in the North Atlantic," which isn't quite the same as out of town for work..) Also, because his wife handles the couple's finances, she would notice a large transaction, so another friend would be writing a check for me to deposit before the pickup. Makes sense. Makes sense.
BUT then, things got really weird. These things made me think, "Hmm." When the check came, it wasn't quite a check. I'm not really sure what it was, but I knew it was a tricky thing. Also, the sender wasn't an SC resident.. weird because Senior Collins, an SC resident, would probably work with another SC resident, not a Maryland resident. ALSO, the check was written for way more than the cost of the painting. After I got the check, Senior asked if I would deposit it and send the overage to his "friend", the shipping agent... who lived in Virginia. Why would someone pay a few thousand dollars to have a painting personally picked up when we can just FedEx it first class for a few hundred?
So, I googled Senior Collins and guess what? "Senior Collins Art Scam" popped up before I even finished typing. I read a blog post really similar to this one describing the exact same experience as I have just had, and I felt a little sad. Internet scammers are the worst. And this one almost got me! I say almost because he didn't. Luckily, I was cautious and I looked into the red flags when they came up. I am writing this so that next time a hard working small business owner gets an email from this criminal and googles the name, it will come up again! Fingers crossed it helps a few people. If nothing else, its an interesting story.
(The scam part would have come in when I deposited the check... apparently, it would take awhile to bounce, and in the meantime I would pay the overage in the to the shipper out of my own account. Basically, I would have ended up losing a few thousand dollars.)
So in closing, sorry for googling ya, Senior. I hope you have a terrible time!