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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Artist Experience: Jessica Bianchi Scam Email

I received a call from a reporter in North Carolina today, who is doing a story on scam emails targeting artists. He said there's been a flurry of emails to local artists there from a "Jessica Bianchi", which is actually a name that has been used by scammers for years now.

He made the comment that it seemed strange that they would keep reusing the same name and his point is well taken, but I reminded him it is more about the numbers - how many thousands of these emails can they send out hoping to catch a certain percentage of unaware victims. They don't even take the time to properly format their emails. There clearly is a template being used by scammers - I've seen myself where the scammer has forgotten to fill in parts of the email template they are using. Which begs the question - is someone selling some kind of manual to wanna-be scammers on how to make millions of dollars by sending free emails??? Does their advertising for their manual say something like, "get money in your mailbox while you sleep!"

There will always be scammers. I was telling one artist they are like gnat flies - you just have to keep swatting at them, spraying them with bug spray, and hope the little swarm moves on to better hunting grounds.

That is what I hope to accomplish, in part, with my efforts. Educate artists as much as I can so they become a more difficult target and encourage the scammers to move on. It does seem like we can use the power of the Internet to keep getting the word out there and make it harder and harder on scammers. Of course, the downside is they will get more and more sophisticated and it will be harder to identify them. But let's at least make them work a little!

Jessica Bianchi - old scam name. Trust your instincts when an email sounds too good to be true, or has some aspects that just doesn't feel right.

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