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Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Anatomy of a Successful Scam

I'm posting this so others can learn from what happened here.

I was so so sad to receive an email tonight from artist who unfortunately fell for the scam recently sent under the name of Alice Drew. I'm not writing this to make that artist feel bad. It is NOT about that. It is about using his experience so others can learn and be fore-warned. It is about my little obsessive-compulsive mission now to spread the word about these scammers and make their lives much less rewarding. And that is why I'm so disappointed to learn that this scammer made at least some money in their efforts last week. It makes me want to double my efforts to thwart them!

While this woman admits english is not a language she is strong at, just focus on the details of how this scam proceeded - so that you never find yourself in the same place.

Dear Kathleen,

Thank you for your blog.

In my husband case, Alice used real person name in Australia, and when we first got her e-mail we check her name and we saw real Alice Drew in Australia, her picture, her job, + next day, when she ordered, she gave us her credit card info, and we charged, it went through but it will be cleared on Monday.  I told my husband to make sure we get the money, then we send the money to her shipping agent.  But she was very rushing, and he felt bad to tell her we don't pay for shipping company unless the money cleared, so he took his own money, send the money to Malaysia. This is the story between thursday and Friday.

Today, we got more order with very expensive shipping fee to send to Malaysia from ALICE. Sia, my husband already sent $520.00 to the shipping agent of Alice Drew in Malaysia on Friday afternoon.  Then They ordered more art pieces, asked him to send shipping money to Malaysia agent again.  Alice said this time, shipping costs $1,300.00.  Then Sia started feeling somethings wrong because they want to combine the shipping to Australia, using her personal shpping agent in Malaysia. Alice ordered total 6 flat prints, mideum size, there is no way the shipping for 6 flat prints will be $520+ additional $1,300 together.

Sia checked ALICE DREW name again on web and he found your blog. Wish he founded earlier. But at least we found out.

We called Western Union. They said the money already cashed in Malaysia. They told us to make Police report for Malaysian Police and LAPD. We called Malaysian Police, but they told me they only accept the police report at the police station.  I explained Malaysian Police Officer we are not the only one to get this fraud.  More people in US must be going through right now. He said he will talk to his superviser and get me back by e-mail.  I am  doubt about it 80%.

Still, we are going to LAPD tomorrow to make Police report.

He was very excited about getting orders from over sea through his website because it is not usual for us. Artists are very simple. We didn't think about this would have been happened to us. Now we are telling all our art district artists in Los Angeles. I am Japanese, my English is not good enought to tell people what happened from ALICE but I keep my voice laud in my facebook, anywhere I can.

Thank you very much for your blog.


  1. I will do what I can to spread the word online and hopefully other artists will learn from this and your terrible experience will help others learn how to recognize these scams before any money is sent.

    Be sure and use the Internet Crime Compliant link and the National Fraud Info Center link I have in the upper right-hand column of this blog.

  2. I also received an Alice Drew email and referred her to my website. She asked for a quote on two very expensive pieces.I prepared a reply but was suspicious so i googled and found your blog. I did not send my email response but saved it in drafts for tomorrow. I am very thankful that I found this. BTW she said that shipping would not be a problem because it could be picked up here by her shipping company. I began to wonder what kind of international operation she was runung and now I know.