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con artist alert

i've been under the radar for the past couple weeks. frankly, i wasn't sure how to process or reveal what's just happened to me (and chuck, for that matter).....

and although i'm ashamed beyond belief, i feel a duty to spread the word to all artists everywhere. this is not easy for me, because i'm not one to reveal every last detail of my life, even though my site is dedicated to uncovering my daily process as an artist. but, i finally decided to suck it up in hopes of educating others.

*sigh*......deep breath.

i was recently a victim of online check fraud. like, to the tune of 3 g's. this is a hard, HARD pill to swallow, and i feel like i've been manipulated and violated much like a rape victim. and as a result, my trust and faith in humankind has been seriously compromised. at this point though, it's not about the money.....it's about a fuckass who stripped me emotionally blind. a friend recently consoled me: he essentially said, 'money can be replaced with hard work, etc., but it's your faith in humanity that's been crippled, and therefore harder to restore.'

long story short.......someone claimed to be interested in buying a couple of my art pieces. they sent me a CERTiFiED CASHiER'S CHECK exceeding the amount i asked for, and then requested i wire back the difference.

red flags appeared, i lost a lot of sleep, and yet i STiLL got sucked in to this evil web of terror.

NEVER, EVER, wire money to anybody you're not familiar with (regardless of what your bank feeds you.....like a cashier's check is as 'good as cash,' etc. cuz, that's a load of fucking bullshit and they KNEW iT. but, sadly banks are only looking out for themselves) meanwhile, i've made reports to our local police, western union, and the national secret service to try and catch this assfuck, who posed as a married couple: jeff and hann davies.

so, artists, please................

do NOT be desperate for that sale.
BELiEVE in yourself, because no matter what society has fed you, you ARE worth it.

weirdly enough, these past few weeks were mixed with intoxicatingly good moments, for which i'll expound on soon.

bad news first, good news later.....

Comments

( 37 comments — Leave a comment )
nshgrl
Jun. 21st, 2007 08:29 am (UTC)
oh, jesus christ, I am so sorry. :(
artworkslive
Jun. 21st, 2007 05:01 pm (UTC)
thanks....thankfully i'm in a better place now.

disbelief turned to sorrow, sorrow turned to rage.....now i'm in the 'accept and try and make a positive out of this' stage. like, i wanna POSiTiVELY fucking kill this fucking fucker!!!!

:)
-b
lorol
Jun. 22nd, 2007 07:49 am (UTC)
Hopefully they are a non-fucking fucker, cuz a fucking fucker is almost too kind!

May they never fuck again!!!
artworkslive
Jun. 23rd, 2007 12:23 am (UTC)
HAHAHA....yeah, you caught me on the double negative potty mouth!!!!
indiecowboy
Jun. 21st, 2007 12:55 pm (UTC)
Oh jeeze, that sucks so much!

It is a violation. You put yourself out there, make your art not just as a commodity but as a for of self expression then these asshats come and cheat you. I can see how that would shatter your faith in people.

I think you gave yourself the best advice...
do NOT be desperate for that sale.
BELiEVE in yourself, because no matter what society has fed you, you ARE worth it.


Maybe you need to make a piece of work about the experience...a depiction of money and trickery. Could be cathartic.

If I had a suitcase of millions in cash I'd buy a whole room full of stuff to make it better.

Be well.
chuckvideo
Jun. 21st, 2007 02:30 pm (UTC)
I had mentioned that to Becky, perhaps make art from the fraudulent cashier's check.
Hmm, and make it a deal of the sale that the artpiece must be paid for with a cashier's check, maybe I'll bounce that idea off of her when she wakes up.
artworkslive
Jun. 21st, 2007 05:10 pm (UTC)
aaaaaaaah, i've got myself a collaborative installation team??!!!!! MWA-HAHAHAHA

actually, i think educating others is the ultimate revenge. i'd like to shut his little mom and pop operation down, take a picture of his sorry ass face behind bars (with the caption, 'bruno's new bitch') and plaster it on every availabe surface in the universe.

bitter.....me?
indiecowboy
Jun. 22nd, 2007 01:39 pm (UTC)
At least it's a very CREATIVE bitterness...with captions and pictures and everything.

Installations! Sweet! Sign me up!

Oh yeah....you live in like, civilization. Guess you'll have to come out to visit your brother and do a show.
foxy_manacle
Jun. 21st, 2007 03:40 pm (UTC)
oh no! that's terrible. i read something about this just the other day. evil scammers! i'm so sorry :(

can't wait to hear the good news...? ;)
artworkslive
Jun. 21st, 2007 05:12 pm (UTC)
thanks, honey pie....

sad, but this happens all too often, and usually to very good and honest people. we definitely learned the HARD way.
bri11
Jun. 21st, 2007 03:59 pm (UTC)
that's terrible, I'm so sorry that happened. But thank you for sharing your experience here so that others won't be victim to scammers like that. Makes me so mad that people do that. grrrr.
artworkslive
Jun. 21st, 2007 05:14 pm (UTC)
glad i could illuminate....spread the word and we'll take these people down. ARTiSTS UNiTE.

(Anonymous)
Jun. 21st, 2007 04:23 pm (UTC)
can anything be done?
Oh Baby I am so sorry.
Can anything else be done?
Like, tracing to where you sent this money? ......How the hell did these people find you, etc. Were they familair with art, this kind of thing?

I wonder who else they have done this to.

Eva
artworkslive
Jun. 21st, 2007 05:23 pm (UTC)
Re: can anything be done?
thanks eva..

he found me through my website, sadly. probably a simple google search on 'purchase art,' or something.

there is at least one investigation already underway (where the bogus check was supposedly issued - pennsylvania) this dude was most likely based in south africa or possibly london or the U.S. or all of the above. hard to say.... we'll see if he made enough similar fake checks to get tagged. there's always hope.

some people i've been reporting this to have mentioned we're going above and beyond what most people do after such a humiliating experience. so, maybe some good will come out of this???
tofarawayplaces
Jun. 21st, 2007 06:05 pm (UTC)
I am really really sorry about this. Thank you though for sharing your experience with us. And I hope that Pin Head runs into some bad ju ju soon.
artworkslive
Jun. 21st, 2007 10:22 pm (UTC)
'......and I hope that Pin Head runs into some bad ju ju soon.'


my sentiments, EXACTLY! HAHAHAHA
davmo
Jun. 21st, 2007 07:28 pm (UTC)
I am very sorry to hear about the scam
Hi Baby Smith,

I am very sorry that you were scammed. Its sucks for sure. It does change the way that you view humanity and it does change the way you will do things in the future. Not to minimize what happened to you but I do know what it feels like to be scammed. Back in the 90's I was scammed and defrauded and it cost me over $28,000. No kidding. That was money that I did have one day and then the next it was all gone forever. It took me years to get past that and get my feet back on the ground.

People who do such things are really anti-social people without a conscious. Hopefully law enforcement in your area might be able to assist you.

The people that did that have really brought on some very bad karma for themsleves. It will come back to them. That did happen in my case. And in a way I did get it all back since it did place me in a place later in life where I made some financial decisions that made up for the loss.

The violation will be with you for a long time thats for sure and it does change the way you will see people and do things.

Just a little information about payment for art I only accept cash, US Postal Money Orders, and PayPal. Out of those methods I think it does weed out a lot of potential scammers. Never accept anything else. Especially Western Union.

I am sending you positive thoughts and blessings.

your friend, dave
artworkslive
Jun. 21st, 2007 10:21 pm (UTC)
Re: I am very sorry to hear about the scam
thanks for your chime in dave, that really means a LOT. i'm so terribly sorry that you got swindled so many years ago......man, oh man! life's lessons, they sure do take a bite sometimes, don't they?.....and you've had your share, and then some.

thanks for the advice on payment plans. i was thinking along the same lines actually, after this whole thing went down. NO more personal or cashier's checks. i'm done being mrs. nice guy!!!!!! haven't gone the US postal money order route. is that LiKE cash?

and i'm hoping your show was a huge cathardic success for you and yours.....can't wait to read and see all about it! you're SUCH a great spirit AND talent...

♥-b
waggner
Jun. 21st, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC)
Con Scum
I'm sorry you went through all that.

I have heard of the cashiers check scam before. It's infuriating that people like that exist at all. Especially to take advantage of an artist because with us selling a piece of art is not like selling a used car.

I still think that most people are good, but we notice the evil ones more because they cause damage, and it is hard to believe that they have no conscience. About all you can do is recognize similar instances in the future and avoid them.
artworkslive
Jun. 21st, 2007 10:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Con Scum
thaaaaaaaanks. you don't know how stupid and worthless i felt for 'letting' this happen.

yes. YES. learn from this....that's what i keep telling myself. don't HATE people.....

actually, i'm almost........ALMOST at the point of feeling sorry for this prick for doing what he did, because something even WORSE HAD to happen to him in order to create this monster. i'm only one of many he's touched, and chances are there'll be many many more.

all i know is, he'll pay dearly for the pain and anguish he's inflicted, he's GOT to. and that gives me a modicum of solace...he can run, but he can not hide.
coffeebean
Jun. 21st, 2007 10:14 pm (UTC)
This happens a lot actually!

What you have to do is DEMAND that they use Paypal. A check isn't even good enough after it appears to have cleared your bank.

Even last month someone offered me 2000 bucks for 3 of my prints in 11x14 format. He said he was in Australia but would send a cashier's check so that I wouldn't worry about it. I still worried about it!

I told him that if he went to Paypal.com, he could pay me that way. I knew Paypal would take a huge chunk of my money if he did, but I basically did that because I had a strong feeling it was a scam.

He said "Oh I don't have a credit card but I'll be sending you a check!" and tried to blow it off but I told him that he could use a bank account, the one he would be writing the check to me from anyway, and he kept making excuses so I finally told him that I wouldn't order the prints until everything was cleared so I never heard from him after that!

Selling art online makes you learn all of this the hard way, and luckily I've had a lot of photographers telling me to watch for it before it happened to me.
artworkslive
Jun. 21st, 2007 10:43 pm (UTC)
GOOD FOR YOU, girl!!!!!!!! i'm telling you, we were scammed as much by our bank as we were this fuckface. live and learn.....i'm glad you had the gumption to follow through with your gut feelings. i bounced back and forth with this asshole for weeks, telling him to do this, to do that, no he did this wrong, etc. etc. but, finally, i broke down. i figured if my bank told me cashier's checks are as good as cash, they MEANT it. come to find out, our bank NOW tells us that cashier's checks can be RETURNED after SEVEN FUCKiNG YEARS!!!!!! thanks for the heads up, B of FUCKiNG A.

as you tell, i'm still venting. HAHAHAHA
coffeebean
Jun. 25th, 2007 07:58 pm (UTC)
Yeah that is what is so wrong... you even asked your bank about it and they make you feel safe... and then they tell you differently. They shouldn't let that stuff happen!
rpeate
Jun. 22nd, 2007 01:16 am (UTC)
I'm sorry. I recently learned of that scam myself, though not from suffering it.

You are a great genius. Thank you for staying strong, and continuing to beautify our world.

They prey upon our good natures.
artworkslive
Jun. 23rd, 2007 12:37 am (UTC)
oooooooh, such kindness. you make my heart swell rp!

this sort of thing does has a way of hardening the very softest of skins, buuuuuuut maybe this was the universe's sick way of saying, 'you need that!'
(Anonymous)
Jun. 22nd, 2007 06:29 am (UTC)
hey, b,
total drag that this happened, but i believe in balance and think that you will now have some equally good happenings to make up for the stress and shite you've endured. i hope they shut down this operation and put 'em on nightline or some such show, while interviewing you and featuring your site and studio, and as a result of that coverage, you sell a millionkahjillion worth of art, as glimpsed by the honest art buying world on said nightline episode!
love ya!
kimmy
artworkslive
Jun. 23rd, 2007 12:41 am (UTC)
positive thinking!!!!!! i LLLLLLLike the way your brain ticks, my sweet kimmy kim.... i'll make sure to have a video loop of the greatest, most beautiful tap dancer/juggler in tthe background (aka YOU)!!!!!!!

♥-b
(Anonymous)
Jun. 23rd, 2007 04:31 am (UTC)
kewl kewl kewl!!
:-)

i like your reply to the next one, btw. i hope they do sell for thousands and i'm really glad your babies were returned.

K
(Anonymous)
Jun. 22nd, 2007 05:14 pm (UTC)
Theif
Did that Mo Fo get some of your art, too? If so, post pics of the stolen wares and The Art World will keep an eye out for them.
artworkslive
Jun. 23rd, 2007 12:46 am (UTC)
Re: Theif
thankfully, the art was returned because of a bogus address. and i'll chuckle one day when those pieces sell for thousands and not hundreds.....

success, after all, is the greatest form of revenge! MWA-HAHAHA
(Anonymous)
Jun. 23rd, 2007 04:06 pm (UTC)
horrible...
so sorry for you
i hope you get the bastard
-carywd
artworkslive
Jun. 23rd, 2007 07:46 pm (UTC)
Re: horrible...
yeah, me dos!!!!!
(Anonymous)
Jun. 24th, 2007 02:25 am (UTC)
I'm sorry you got caught up in this! Most likely, the scammer will never be caught. It's usually some creep sitting in an internet cafe, probably in Nigeria. It's a huge business over there, and in other countries, I'm sure. Government officials are paid off, so it goes on and on.

I guess that's one good thing about Ebay. I get to learn all about the latest scams there. Ebay is like the scammers' pot of gold.
artworkslive
Jun. 24th, 2007 04:11 am (UTC)
thanks muchly.....

it's a huge-ass machine alright, i hear ya there. corporate greed stomps out the 'little guy,' eeeeevery minute of eeeeevery day (not forgetting to tack on that 'oh so elusive' surcharge!)......soooo, i'm not holdin' my breath for any great resolution here. all i CAN do at this point is try to spread the word to unsuspecting folks who think 'it just CAN'T happen to me.'

ainetl
Jun. 28th, 2007 05:41 pm (UTC)
oh no, that's so terrible. don't blame yourself, you're a trusting person, idiot scammer.

i almost fell for it too about a year ago, someone said they wanted to buy two pieces with titles taken from my web site. i was corresponding with them via email and it sounded too good to be true, so i checked around online and saw alerts for similar scams. i emailed them back and told them only paypal or verified cashiers check with wait period or credit card with verified wait period. (i could run a card through my former artist co-op). of course then they never replied again.

crap and artists are like the worst to scam because 99.5% of them don't have any money. it's just terrible. thank HEAVENS there is some good news mixed in here.
ainetl
Jun. 28th, 2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
oh yeah and also the scam alert web sites told me to only accept for EXACT amount only and to return any check for a larger amount and insist on exact amount only.
artworkslive
Jun. 28th, 2007 07:08 pm (UTC)
GGGGGREAT words of wisdom....i wish i'd known that about a month ago. glad you didn't take the bait!

live and learn, i guess.
( 37 comments — Leave a comment )