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Friday, February 11, 2011

Scam Email: Wayne Dickson

This was a good one I received this morning, in that it contained almost NO clues as to the level of scamminess. And I can usually spot one of these a mile away.

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: []
From: Wayne Dickson []
Subject: [name of piece]

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 piece.

Thanks and i await your response.

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:

Subject Re: Inquiry

Hi Wayne,

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
> piece.

> Thanks and i await your response.

> Wayne.
I 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.

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.


  1. Katie,
    It's me, Mari, I just got basically the same mail! Same name! Re maybe my best and certainly highest price painting. I did respond to the first, but asked a couple of questions, e.g. where had he seen my work? I did give the price. He mailed back a longer letter saying he's going out of the country for a couple of weeks (may be delayed), is moving with his business to London!, the price is not a problem, will notify his shipper and wants my address so he can send me a certified check! I've fallen for a scam before, several years ago (I had a refrigerator for sale on Craig's list), this "smelled" definitely fishy to me. I wrote my accountant re a safe way of being paid (where the check wouldn't bounce 3 months later!) and he googled and found your blog! Katie, I think we ought to send this out ASAP to the IEA google groups! --I have not responded to this latest mail of his--are there other places we can report this?

  2. Mari,

    I'm glad you caught things before it went any further! The classic tell-all sign is this idea of the scammer will insist on using a third-party shipper and eventually will *always* send more than what is owed (either via a check or lately stolen credit card numbers that have not yet been reported) and that is what they are after - because they will ask YOU to send the "difference" on to their shipping company, via Western Union. There is no shipping company, only the scammers themselves at the other end of Western Union. And the check will be fake so the only real money is yours, being forwarded to the scammer.

    I not only keep this blog as an on-going resource of scam email reports for artists but also keep a facebook page, also called Stop Art Scams.

    You can check the list of resource links I have in the upper right column for reporting scams, but my experience has shown that - for the most part, authorities don't care until there is actual financial loss. Scammers operate outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. Other people feel it doesn't hurt to report all scams that come to you, even if you didn't fall for it, because it helps authorities understand the scope of the problem.

    Up to you. I chose to fight back by starting these resources and bringing their scummy ways out into the light. I'm happy if anyone wants to forward scam emails they receive and I post them here, which helps others confirm if the one they have received is a scam.

    At first, I just wanted to reduce the number of artists who fell for these scams, now I just want to educate ALL artists and get EVERY artist knowledgeable enough to recognize these emails as scams.

    Glad this was of help to you!

  3. Hi Kathleen
    I am in Canada and just received this.
    I have had a few in the past., one went so far that i had received a cashiers cheque., it looked very authentic, so much so that I had taken it to my bank and they could not verify authenticity. So followed up with the bank it was drawn on and was informed it was fake. My website was subsequently hacked when I informed the sender that I needed alternate payment. Future e mails I just deleted without responding. I try to be professional and like to respond to inquires.
    I am bothered that there is sooo much of this going on. It is hard enough to make a living as an artist without these things casting doubts on what we do.
    I googled this guys name and found your art scam posting.

    Thank you for doing this as it verified what I was thinking but wondering if it was legitimate or not.
    Again., Thank you

    I wish there was something that could be done about these people!

    Return-Path: []
    From: Wayne Dickson []
    Subject: [name of piece]

    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.


  4. We got this email in PEI, keep up the good work.

  5. Hello
    I just got the same email from "Wayne". I googled his name which brought me to this site. It seemed a slight more believable compared to other scams that I've received. Thanks for all the comments,

  6. Received this email today as well. Glad I Googled it and found out it was a scam. His return address was

  7. I just got this, too, and wrote back. All the content matched this exactly. Thanks for your blog!

    First Email:

    Subj: Hello

    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 thepiece.

    Thanks and i await your response.


    Second Email:

    Subj: Hello


    Thanks for your prompt reply.I really appreciate your detailed breakdown and frankness on this.

    Unfortunately, Im on my way to India on an official trip(I'm a marketing Executive) and wont be back for another two weeks, I would have come to inspect the piece personally. Im taking your word for true on It though .

    Im okay with the price, I think it worth it anyway. If you'd like to know, Im relocating to the UK soon and I'm trying to gather some good stuff for my new abode. Im buying yours amongst others,quickly! before someone else grabs it.So, I'll arrange to send you payment ASAP.

    However, I'll have to notify my shipper who's helping me move my stuff from the US,to get set for the pickup of the piece from your place as I MIGHT be delayed in India depending on how things goes.


    PS: In the mean time, kindly get back to me with your contact address and also your phone# so I can get certified check prepared and have it sent out to you ASAP.

  8. Yup, I just got the exact same e-mail also. Since I specialize in cattle paintings, I almost got caught by the Texas reference. But I've been approached before by similar scams, so I knew enough to Google first.

    Thanks, fellow artists, for keeping us safe!!

  9. Kathleen,
    I just got the same inquiry from "Wayne Dickson" and responded by giving him the price for a piece he expressed interest in and telling him that all payments have to be via PayPal. Haven't heard back from him yet and obviously never will!
    Pat Childress

  10. On Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 12:04 AM, Wayne Dickson wrote:

    I'm just reading your email now as Ive been so busy all day preparing for the conference in the office.
    I tried calling your phone# but didnt get through. sure i'll make a try later when im free.

    Actually, my shipper is due in the US sometime next week and will definitely be getting in touch with you for the pickup and also to inspect it for me.
    Truth is, I would have handled this much differently if i would be at home but Im a bit pressed for time myself. Im moving to the UK this month as Im being transferred and Promoted.

    As it is, I'm sending you an overdraft which will include my shippers fees as well.He has asked for an upfront before coming and since I have no access to a lot of cash, Im trying to kill two birds with a stone.
    So, once youve received and cashed the check, deduct your funds and PLEASE help me send the remaining funds to him(shipper). I'll forward his contact details to you once you've received the payment.

    Now I'm concluding youre a responsible person and I can therefore entrust you with this arrangement.Ill let you know Immediately the check is sent out to you so you should be looking out for it.
    I'll surely give you a call later when Im free.
    Many thanks and talk to you soon,


    P.S: kindly get back to me with your contact address so I can get certified check prepared and have it sent out to you ASAP

  11. Ah, a classic second email sent to an intended victim who replied to the first. This is where the scammer brings up the core of the scam: sending more than is owed and asking the difference be forwarded to his shipper. There is no shipper. The check is fake. The only real money in the scam is the victim's. He doesn't yet mention it will be via Western Union so it is untraceable once he picks it up. And the scammers could care less about the art. They use to provide fake addresses to send the art to (and occasionally I still see this) but now it is mostly that some non-existent shipper is coming to pick up the stuff.

    Glad you didn't fall for it. Thanks for sharing the details.

  12. I need to join in and thank you for listing this scam -Scotty. I noticed his email address had another name to it and got suspicious. The email address was

    Thanks for the information. It is truly appreciated,

  13. Just got an e-mail this morning from "Wayne Dickson" different e-mail address looking it up and found this blog and Katie's fb page! Thanks Katie !:)


  14. Thanks for posting this! I also got contacted by Wayne Dickson ( today about a piece. I replied and he sent another email. Both emails were exactly the same as posted here, even with the same period after his name.

    Thanks again,

  15. I got the same email as well, just now! Since it said "Wayne Dickson " I decided to google "Wayne Dickson" TX and this came blog came up.

    Sad that people like that even exist, and happy people like you do!!!

    dSavannah (period!)

  16. I'm another recipient -- "Wayne Dickson" strikes again! I copied this blog's URL, though, and sent it to him to let him know we were onto him.

    Thanks, Katie!

  17. Got the Wayne Dickson email today and my reporting package enabled me to trace it to --- surprise, surprice --- Nigeria!!!

    This is the third time I'll received one of these requests. It's best to not respond. They keep track of (and sell) good email addresses.

  18. Thanks so much for all your posts. I got the Wayne Dickson email today and was suspicious even though the grammar was good enough to pass. It's good to know what others discovered and that it's best not to even respond.
    Thanks again.

  19. I also received this email just a day ago. I did respond but the email bounced back. I sent him another email as a test and that bounced back so I did a google search on the email and found your blog.

    I've received many scam emails and you're right this one didn't send up many red flags, which is why I responded, now I'm glad the email bounced back!

    Thanks for keeping us updated on these horrible thieves.

  20. I received the same scam. When I responded that I only take Paypal I never heard anything again.

  21. The new scam is they say they love your art work & they do the same & say please see my work @ www-
    link & then you have info stolen from your computer via artist are the new suckers because , well you know , they now go to all art sites , think where desperate !

  22. Kathleen

    I have been getting the run around from a Rita Wayne (in San Diego?) using an email address She wanted 20 prints circa £1K but the cheque never came (28 emails exchanged).

    I have now had contact from a Cindy Wayne (in Canada?) using the email address wanting my acrylics. I have politely challenged her as I believe they are the same person (slightly broken English).

    I am on Artweb and sadly these 2 are the only enquiries I have had through the website.

    I have alerted Artweb but I guess they would not want to make a big thing of it???

  23. Good Morning,

    Thank you for helping us all with your site. I was contacted by thomaswayne5050@gmail the other day with subject "PURCHASING ENQUIRY". Here’s the text pasted below:

    Season Greetings to you,I am Thomas Wayne from NC i will like to purchase a paint for my wife to surprise her for her birthday and our wedding anniversary coming up soon shes so much obsessed with artworks so please let me have information on the available work i will also appreciate your quick response thanks and best regards

  24. Thanks for your site! I also got one from Thomas Wayne.

    Name: thomas wayne

    Email Address:

    Subject: purchasing enquiry

    Message: HELLO
    Good Day, My name is Thomas Wayne from NC,please pardon my manners you are doing a great job on your artwork collections and i most confess all your works are awesome. my wife is captivated by your work because shes an artwork lover i actually saw her viewing your work on my laptop so i wanna surprise her by purchasing a beautiful painting for Her as her birthday and our wedding anniversary is coming up soon. so please let me have information on the available work
    Thanks and best regards