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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Scam Email: Stan Thomas

Here is a "guy" who I personally often get emails from (yes that was the name of one of my pieces on my website). Notice how in the email, whoever this lazy scammer was, forget to take the time to "personalize" the part of the templated email with the name(s) of my artwork, in the part where you see the dot-dot-dot's:

From: Stan Thomas [thomassy1970@gmail.com]
Subject:  Provence Lavender 1

Hello,

Good day to you over there, My name is Stan thomas i'm from California and i hope this message finds you well.I was going through your works and my eyes caught...., i will like to have it for my new apartment this month. please let me know if the piece is available, if yes let me have the detailed price and more information about it. i will be waiting to read from you asap.

Stan.

7 comments:

  1. I got this exact email but the guy's name is "Philip Walace" with email address phisiology001@gmail.com

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  2. Yes, they pretty much just make up the name so that will keep changing up to avoid people's spam filters. But I'll add this to the list! Glad you recognized it as a scam.

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  3. Thank you for all your work to get the word out. Actually, I only sell through galleries, so I responded to the email and told him to contact the gallery for purchase. He emailed again wanting to send a certified check and asking for contact info. I told my gallery to handle it. They recognized it as a spam and emailed him asking for his info instead. He sent another email wanting to deal with me again. Here are the two follow-up emails from him:

    "Thanks for the message, I am very happy to know that the Pieces is still available for sale. i must tell you i am very much interested in the immediate purchase.I will like to let you know that your payment will be in form of a Certified Check.You dont have to worry about packing, insurance and tax because my shipper will be in the best position to do that as soon as you get the payment.This is because i will be traveling out of the country any moment from now for a business proposal.So get back to me with the information needed to send you the payment I:E :
    Full Name
    Standard Address
    Phone number
    Asking price reconfirmation

    so that i can proceed in the payment arrangement, consider it sold get back to me asap with needed
    information.
    Thanks"

    "Hello,
    Thanks for the details which Ive noted down and have also forwarded it to my shipper.He's due in the US sometime next week and will definitely be getting in touch with you for the pickup.The truth is, I would have handled this much differently if i would be at home but Im a bit pressed for time myself. Im moving to the UK this month as im being transferred.As it is, I'm sending you an overdraft which will include my shippers fees as well.He has asked for an upfront before coming and since I have no access to a lot of cash, Im trying to kill two birds with a stone.So, once you've received and cashed the check, deduct your funds and PLEASE help me send the remaining funds to him(shipper).I'll forward his contact details to you once you've received the payment.Now I'm concluding you are a responsible person and I can therefore entrust you with this arrangement.Ill let you know Immediately the check is sent out to you so you should be looking out for it.

    P.S:I`ll require that a reconfirmation of your address is done for me
    now. I await your reply.

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  4. Much about this exchange of emails is classic. Notice how they seem to have their "formula" and ignore basic information like you only deal through your gallery. They just ignore it and keep on the formula and send the next templated email in the cycle should they get ANY reply.

    And then all the crap about a certified check and third-party shipper and sending a check for more than amount and asking you to send the difference back - CLASSIC scam stuff. Right out of their "I'm a scummy scam person manual".

    Hopefully everyone involved in this exchange is a little more educated now and will recognize the signs before needing to reply to anything.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. All artists who find their way here (wondering if an email they've just received is for real) will benefit.

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  5. Kathleen, tx a lot for your helpful information. I can say that "Philip Walace" hasn't stopped yet. I got à mail from his yesterday, but I found the content quite unrealistic. Therefore I started searching on the web and found your info. Tx again for the info. Mieke Drossaert

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  6. This Philip Wallace/Stan Thomas/Soul-less Con man must be a bit slow if he honestly thinks people will fall for this scam today. Spammers were pushing this type of scam over 10 years ago when people enjoyed getting emails and even back then, it probably only had a 0.00005% success rate which translates into ONE victim from every 2 million emails sent. The funny point I'm trying to make is, with these statistics, and the fact that each successful scam will only earn this conman the price of the shipping when all said and done, and even if that shipping cost was a couple hundred dollars, which is at a stretch, this scammers balance sheet will surely be into negative numbers. Hardly business savvy. It probably costs the scammer 200 bucks to gather 2 million email addresses and send out a few emails to each. As I said earlier, must be a bit slow.

    for anyone who doesn't understand the scam. As soon as the victim sends back the extra cash (cost of shipping) the original check will bounce leaving the victim out of pocket. I can only assume, once you actually get the check, it will be for a LOT more than just the shipping with some excuse why this mistake happened and of course, he will ask the victim to send the difference.

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  7. Sadly, these scams are much more successful than you'd want to believe. It's why I started this blog and related facebook page. I found there were more victims than I could believe.

    Scammers using this scam go for the sweet spot - not so much money they will get on the radar of the authorities but not so little it's not worth their time. Victims typically lose about $1500-$6000 dollars a pop and if they get 30 victims, they are doing pretty good - but they get many more than that. Which is why there is a constant flood of scam emails. Because it works and it doesn't cost anything to send these emails (they steal the bandwidth of others) and it doesn't even cost anything to siphon up emails to spam.

    The dating scam (or sweetheart scam) goes for the big bucks, often cleaning out the life savings of the victim - and it often takes mini-gangs of scammers to perpetrate such scams. The fake buyer scams artists are dealing with are more common and go for volume of victims rather than high dollars. But several thousand dollars to an artist is a LOT. And it just sucks to fall victim to this.

    So let's keep posting our experiences and emails we receive and warn each other to reduce the scammers' success rate.

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