I looked up the name and in fact a Wayne Dickson does exist in texas and is part of a company but not the company referenced in the yahoo email address. Then I looked up the company name and there IS a company by that name - in Texas! But their email addresses on their website are referenced differently. Still does not put it out of the realm of possibilities. The spelling and formatting wasn't recognizably horrible. Okay, "...and am from Texas" is pretty horrible grammar but not unthinkable from a normal person. No reference to a third-party shipper or living out of the country. And the source IP number didn't tell me anything because the email was sent via yahoo mail. Just not enough clues. The *only* recognizable clue in this email is the "period" after the name at the end of the email - which oddly seems present in almost all scam emails, like they all use the same templated software that puts a period there or something. Normal people do not put a period after their name at the end of an email. Also - and this is more a grey area, normal people would not ask what my final price was for a painting when the prices are clearly listed on my website. They might ask if I offer discounts, but I don't think they would ask, "what's your final price".
Return-Path: [firstname.lastname@example.org]But these are not entirely strong blazing clues, so I fell back on an old technique I have used in the past. You will notice in the above email that the only place he references the name of the painting is in the subject line. So I took the email, removed all the identifying TO information, changed the Subject line to "RE: Inquiry" and pasted his email in one of my throw-away (or I don't care) hotmail accounts. I'm counting on my knowledge that scammers send out hundreds of thousands of these and he won't know what original email he sent it to nor will he remember the name of the piece he put in the subject line. Here is what my reply (from my throwaway hotmail account) looked like:
From: Wayne Dickson [email@example.com]
Subject: [name of piece]
My name is Wayne Dickson and am from Texas. Was going through your works and love this piece.What's your final price for it and am really interested in purchasing the piece.
Thanks and i await your response.
To firstname.lastname@example.orgI even put in those ">" to make it look like a reply. I forgot to add what would have been a great personal "inside" joke to me and sign my email, Katie. (with a period) but I forgot to.
Subject Re: Inquiry
Which piece were you interested in?
> Hello there,
> My name is Wayne Dickson and am from Texas. Was going through your works and love this piece.What's your final price for it and am really interested in purchasing the
> Thanks and i await your response.
If it is NOT a scammer (and really, I'm thinking it IS a scammer), they will immediately remember the name of the painting that interest them, what my website/real name is, etc. Real collectors know these details when they've found a piece they want.
My guess is he will never reply OR thinking he's got a dumb one on the line, he will reply and ask for a list of my top pieces - but given I've moved this reply to hotmail, he's not even going to know which website this was originally targeted to. So I'm back to, I don't think he's going to reply at all. There are too many other emails he has sent where someone will think he's for real and begin the process of the transaction that will turn out to be a fake.
I'll update this again if he writes back, but I'm not expecting him to.