Scammed and Shafted

Originally published on Friday, January 27, 2012

A couple weeks ago I got an email from some lady named Carmen Gonzalez, who wanted to buy some paintings she saw on this site.  I'm thinking great, awesome, wow!!!!!  It felt great to have that sort of an affirmation regarding some of my work, and frankly I could really use the cash.  So I let her know the prices of the paintings she mentioned, and she was to get me in contact with a shipping company she was using for their move to England. Cool my stuff was going international. I get the check and my jaw drops at the amount. I thought two things, first wow lot of money, did she think I under priced and was generously upping it for me, second thought was a whoa this isn't right. I let her know I get the payment and she claims the extra was supposed to go to her shipping company, and could I send the extra back.  Sure no problem the money is in my account, and it will still take 5-10 days for my return check to get to England. OK this is where the flags really should have gone off with rockets and loud stuff to warn me of the impending doom. I let her know check is on the way, "check? we need it for the movers can you wire it Western Union?"  Now like I said I thought the funds had cleared into my account, so I go ahead and wire the money. The next day (today) I get a message from the bank, account overdrawn by thousands. WTF!!!! I look up my account, yep, overdrawn. Turns out her check was a really good forged cashier's check from a real and reputable bank. I didn't quite get to work today, since I've spent the day talking with the banks, Western Union, emails to the Attorney General, and fraud organizations, and trying to file with the Seattle Police, who are surprisingly difficult to get hold of. 

So there is my long dumb story. But on the silvery lining, she may have fucked me over financially but at least she didn't get away with any of my paintings, also I've learned something about selling from this, and yes most pieces on this site are for sale, email me for pricing and we will figure things out.  But now I know what to look for in scams, and as the 'Joes say, Knowing is Half the Battle.