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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Scam Email: James Timothy

Here is an email I received from another artist today. This email, sent through an online art message board system rather than email, has the standard signs of really poor grammer and sentence structure, but curiously makes a points of saying they will only pay via paypal. Typically this is a hard way to scam someone because PayPal works hard to have this not happen through them (they validate credit cards, the try and get people to only transact with validated account holders, etc). So I'm not sure how the story would change after a few emails were exchanged. Also makes no sense to pick an item up (didn't even bother to find out if he was geographically able to do this), unless that's their method for getting the goods before a credit card could be reported as stolen. So there are a few things about the content of this email I don't completely get, but just given the sentence structure and misspellings and the email address format is VERY similar to many scam emails we've seen (the name, a dot, a 3 digit number, @ gmail or yahoo), I'm falling on the side of this just not being for real. And who buys something online like with, with this kind of email and then at the end ask to see pictures - it's art! Why would they even want to make an offer if they don't know what it looks like?

Hi there ,

I'm James Timothy from Calgary, i will like to make an offer for this Item,and please i can only pay using PayPal, and after payments has been made ,i will arrange for pick up of the item.Will more than appreciate your reply to my private email address . Thanks and God bless

N.B-please attach some pictures,if any.

James T.


  1. Hi - i've just received a similar email from him... i'm going with BOGUS!! Anyone heard anything more from this guy?? :

    Good day, My name is James Timothy and i hope this message finds you well.I was going through your works and my eyes caught your very first work in your portfolio which is [Tenir ses promesses]. I am interested in purchasing this work for my new resident. Kindly get back to me with the detailed price, availability and more information of the piece. I would like you to contact me to my private email address ( so that we could negotiate better on the art.

    I hope to read back from you as soon as possible.
    Kind regards.

  2. The way they try to use PayPal is to send a bogus email, purporting to be from PayPal, indicating that the payment has been received by them, but in order to avoid fraud, they will hold the payment from processing until the "seller" sends the route confirmation number from the shipping company.

    Let this be a warning to ALL PEOPLE: PayPal send full payment once a transaction is "complete" and shipping is secondary.

  3. Oh, this is GREAT information! Thanks. I'll be sure and post more about this so other artists understand how scammers use this route.

    Thanks for the info!

  4. I am always skeptical and searched on the purported buyer's name and found only one occasion of it in POLAND!

    I told my wife to be careful.

    The first email has the PayPal logo at the top and this is what was in the email:

    You've got new funds!

    Dear [name redacted] ([email redacted]),

    Sandra Smith-Klein has sent you an instant payment using PayPal.

    Sandra Smith-Klein is a Verified buyer .

    Payment Details

    Amount: $640.00 USD

    Postage & Packing: Included

    Transaction ID:


    Items Description:

    Shipping Option:

    HP Pavilion tx2000 Touchscreen Tablet

    USPS Express Mail

    Pay With PayPal PayPal makes it easy to send money.

    For security purposes, you may want to email the buyer and receive confirmation of the buyer's email and shipping address before you send the item paid for.

  5. We then received the following email, also spoofed with PayPal's logo, etc. It all looked very convincing:

    Dear [name redacted] ([email redacted]),

    This transaction is in order and legal. You shall receive the said amount of $640.00 USD for your an item: HP Pavilion tx2000 Touchscreen Tablet as soon as you send the valid Shipment Tracking Number to PayPal. This transaction is not fraudulent and you are assured of quality service. We encourage you to ship the item immediately as your payment has been confirmed by us. Security is of critical important at PayPal. As soon as we receive the valid reference number address which was on the receipt and confirm the shipping tracking number. You account would be credited immediately. We need the valid Shipment/Reference Tracking Number from you to our customer care ( to complete this transaction.

    The money has now been deducted from the buyer's account ( and is ready to be deposited into your account. It will be credited into your PayPal account ([email redacted]) as soon as we receive the Shipment/Reference Tracking Number from you.

    This is due to new policies at PayPal to protect the both buyer and seller in the face of the growing number of fraudulent activities perpetrated via the internet. You are encouraged to complete this transaction and reflex to this action would enable us to credit your account with immediate effect.

    Here at PayPal you can be assured that your security and safety is our topmost concern.
    We hope to hear from you soon.

    Thanks you for using PayPal
    the PayPal Team

    To receive email notifications in plain text instead of HTML, update your preferences.
    PayPal Email ID PP1478

  6. The email headers also look very "official":

    Sandra Smith-Klein has sent you payment with PayPal (C826-L003-Q999-T5365) ROUTING CODE CONFIRMED

  7. Below is the final email we received. Once we received it, I told my wife to call PayPal, since I had used it before and I had never had problems with it transferring money immediately. Upon her call to them, they confirmed the whole thing was BOGUS. Note the email this person used in the text of the email: Clearly NOT a paypal email!

    We called the police in the jurisdiction where the item was supposed to be shipped to tell them to contact the person, as we assumed she was simply the conduit to re-mail the merchandise out of the county. The police told us to file a complaint locally and the local police would forward the details.

    I recommend that everyone involved in a scam send the details to the FBI.

    If you have been a victim of Internet crime, please file a complaint at



    Dear [name redacted] ([email redacted]),

    This is to inform you that we await for the SHIPMENT VERIFICATION for the transaction that was held. The total funds have been deducted from the buyers account and credited to our data base and we will like to make you aware that your account will only be credited unless the SHIPMENT VERIFICATION has been made. This transaction is legit and it has been verified by PayPal. We want you to understand that this new innovation of our form of payment collaborating with craigslist is purposely made to protect the interest of both parties.

    You can have the shipment confirmed/verified in any of the following ways:

    (1).Contact us stating the tracking number of the shipment at:

    (2).You can give the buyer of your auction item the tracking number of the shipment and once he/she verifies the shipment,he/she will notify us immediately.

  8. other e-mail addressed I have found to be scammers :

  9. Apparently these spammers are aggressively focusing on as well -- is an online store where artists can sell their products.

    So we've received a similar message and upon reply -- note that we didn't reply to the given email address -- via conversation board, we were notified that such user doesn't exist.

    I, personally, think that these spammers are hunting down a working email address. And to avoid becoming a victim of more abuse, try not to reply, or even try waiting for another message.

    I think that if someone is interested in purchasing an art work, he or she wouldn't be shy to ask the seller again and again.

    Thanks for your attention on this matter. I too am very disgusted with these online spammers.