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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Scam Email: Frank Mayfield

This below scam email has a couple of interesting points about it. One is the level of personalization this scammer tried to go through. I've not seen the approach of needing a portrait of a President before but the level of detail they attempt in order to make it look legitimate goes further than the average scammer. Secondly, it is interesting that this scammer tries to bypass getting the artist to ship ANY artwork and send "paintings" digitally. Maybe they are thinking an artist will feel that is an irresistable proposition?? Maybe they are thinking this will increase their percentage of victims? It does mean they need another story other than using a third-party shipper for how they are going to scam you out of your money. What finally gives it away? Well, coupled with the fact that the spelling and grammar and formatting of the email remain the usual horrible shape, but then the minute they said the "client" is an investment company in the United Arab Emirates, the warning sirens should be going off. Interesting they even offer to do a "direct deposit", though I doubt they would end up allowing that choice to be selected.

Here is what the artist in question (who fortunately did NOT complete the transaction) forwarded to me:

Hi Kathleen, almost fell for this one, too many red flags though. Should have known it wasn't right when the first email came with my address and phone number in the email itself.

The ip address traces back to Kansas. Came across your site while trying to figure out if it was legit or not, thanks for helping protect artists out there.

Frank Mayfield
Frank Mayfield

first fishing email:

Good day,

I would like to make inquiries regarding making a Portrait illustration. Do let me know if i am in contact with the right person.

Thank you

Frank Mayfield

2nd email with details:

Thank you for your response.

Am sorry for the way i approached you but i wanted to be sure i was in touch with the right person, I gave my secretary the task of sourcing out a capable talent and she provided your details.

My client company is currently undergoing renovations and refurbishing and they seek some art form to complement the changes, I have been mandated to seek out capable professional talents that can provide portraits of Past American President Jim Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barrack Obama.

The paintings are gift portraits to be framed and hanged on the office wall of the CEO of the client company retaining my services. If it helps, the primary colors for the office interior is blue and green, furniture black and brown.

Digital painting would be ideal as this medium allows easier email transfer and eliminate cost of shipping, we would require instructions for the printer though to ensure proper final output. Still let me have a quote as requested.

I desire quotes for Digital painting.

Size             Medium         Cost

11x14        Digital        $$$

12x16        Digital        $$$

14x18        Digital        $$$

18x20        Digital        $$$

All Portraits are to have a completely black or suitable background, each president should be rendered in their ceremonial black suit from the waist up, Art details of each portrait should be clean and very clear to the eye. No more oval room desk, i have someone sorted to provide non-traditionally shaped frames so you need not worry about framing.

Each character is to be depicted in a serious business like mood. More like one about to sign a million dollar deal.

Delivery date is October-November.

I want you to take charge of the project so all your input in this is considered valuable. You will seek out reference images worthy of this project, we will not provide any reference images as this kills off the element of surprise and lowers expectation because we would already have a picture of the image at the back of our minds, do you get me?

Our budget is not to exceed $250-$300 per portrait. But still that depends on the requested information above. Is there a website i can visit to see some of your display works, When i see some samples of your works and i like what i see, i will suggest to the client to make an instalmental payment to you and the balance will be made available before delivery.

To this end, the first portrait for official preview is Barrack Obama, invariably what this means is that you are not to start on the other portraits until you have completed the portrait of Obama and after i must have previewed it.

The payment method as requested by the client is by Certified USA Financial Instrument namely Check/Money or Postal Order or by direct deposit into your account.
And i will advise that you do not commit resources until you receive this deposit.
Payment Schedule is as follows:
30% deposit for you to begin work, I will request the client to make a further 30% available after i preview the first painting of Obama, And the rest 40% will be paid after i preview the Third painting and then you will ship the 3 items to me using the address below.

The Name of the company requesting this project is Tanner Group Investment. I did some work for them months back and i have been on a retainer with them since.
They are an investment firm operating out of the United Arab Emirates,
The invoice should be made out to me using the details below:
Frank Mayfield
1 Whitehall Ct Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS12 5QF, UK

To save time and for expediency sake and also for record purposes, i will require the name and address for the payment to be sent in your anticipated response,

Though you can reach me on the number above between the hours of 12-4pm Mon-Thurs only.
If you get my voicemail more than once, please consider sending me an email requesting for all you need to know to make this work and i will get back to you.
I am open to coordinate this project by email.

I hope all the terms in this email is understood and acceptable. Let me know what you think and what else is needed to proceed.

Wishing you all the best.



  1. Received the same scam and EXACT same emails regarding painting the US presidents. Actually almost fell for it. Got to the point where he sent the false money orders to me.. (They look real, except for the bleeding ink and crooked edges) Something made me google him (maybe it was the lack of return address on the envelope) and I found this! Sadly, I was thrilled at first thinking it was my first real art commission :( Thank you for the warning/information though!

  2. Leanne,

    It is really fortunate you didn't get any further into the scam. I'm glad you googled it when you did!

    It is sad, but a whole LOT more sad if you lost money on top of it not being real...[smile]

    Now you can go back to making your art and spend another minute on this scammer.

  3. I got a check from "Frank" yesterday...same deal, portraits of presidents...actually he used a "moneygram" moneyorder, the envelope even looked suspect, supposedly came from London, England..right, so anyway never deposited it as it was way more thatn asked for, my second clue...hilarious, unorganized crime or what.!
    Very dissapointing as I also thought it legit at first.

  4. Received the exact same email from "Frank". Couldn't answer any simple questions regarding my artwork. Red flags from the start. Actually sent small sketch , thumbnail sketch actually. Little time was spent on this, to see what kind of reaction I would get. Had my suspicions on this from the start. I suspect they are trying to get peoples bank account numbers as "Frank" insisted on depositing money directly into bank account.

  5. He is also attempting the same thing with film makers. The bank check looked real, real good, however a check with the bank proved a fake.

    Other names associated with this scam are Ben Bruce, Maria Winters and Allen Moore.

    tread cautiously.

  6. Frank sent me the fake moneyorders ($1866) with instructions to IMMEDIATELY send funds via Western Union for $1390 to someone else. Of course, I didn't do this, so he called me. 773-383-7712. Name under the phone number is Frank Kelly with an address of 5900 N. Oriole Ave. Chicago, IL 60631...just in case anyone wants to go after him :)

  7. Actually, if this is the number he called you on and it can be linked to that address, and he DID send a fake money order - that is mail fraud and you CAN report that to the postal authorities and they will pursue it, usually.

    I recommend you do this immediately. In the age of iphones and digital cameras and what-have-you, its easy enough to take a photo of our caller id's to prove the date and time stamp and the caller id and then print out the page on google linking that phone number. That, with the faked money order is a chunk of evidence.

    Thanks for writing in and sharing this.

  8. Thanks for this info. I was able to find this before I went any further!

  9. And that's why I do this! Thanks for writing in.

  10. thanks for this
    I had a request to produce a documentary! Silly people!
    All the best

  11. My boyfriend also got the documentary request. Email seemed fishy, glad I googled it.

  12. report on this number - 0300 123 2040

    it is fraud prevention and unless the police know about it they cant do anything

  13. Please note the above mentioned number is only for fraud victims within the UK. You can only call 0300 123 2040 from within the UK. You can report a fraud about the UK from abroad by using their online reporting tool at

    The U.S. national fraud reporting resource can be found at

  14. Got the same email RE: Shooting a documentary. They've gone to a lot of effort and I no doubt would of fell for it had I not decided to do a little background research on the client first.

    Thanks for posting this :)

  15. I just got a money order from Frank for "$933" for voiceover work.