Friday, July 26, 2013

Artists Beware! E-mail Scam Circulating!

This week our lovely Graphic Artist was the recipient of e-mails that could have led to a very bad case of identity theft... or worse. She wanted to share her story with you on our blog so that you can be aware of this scam. So here's what happened...

She received an e-mail — from a man named Bill Curry — with an inquiry about one of her top selling products... a handmade arcade style Knock Down Doll...

From: Bill Curry <>
Date: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 10:36 PM
Subject: Tillie Knock-Down Doll arcade-style plush doll

I'm Bill Curry from California. I was going through your works and my eyes caught this particular piece, I want to purchase it as I am moving to a new apartment next month. Kindly let me know if you still have the piece available and also let me know it's final price and more information about it. I will be waiting to read from you.


She thought it was a little odd the way the e-mail was worded, but she's a nice person and thought, "who am I to take off for grammar? I sell items internationally all the time in this cyber world and lots of people speak broken English". Although, she felt it was a bit strange that he used the name of the product but did not indicate where he saw the item. But she replied with the information he requested and a link to her Etsy shop anyway.

Soon after, she received another e-mail from Mr. Curry. But that time she had an uneasy feeling in her gut after reading his reply. Red flags were popping up all over the place... 

From: Bill Curry <>
Date: Wednesday, July 25, 2013 9:08 PM
Subject: Payment and pick up

Dear Michelle,

Thanks for your prompt reply.

Unfortunately, I'm on my way to France on an official trip (I'm a marketing Executive) and wont be back for another two weeks.

If you'd like to know, I'm relocating to South Africa soon and I'm trying to gather some good stuff for my new abode.

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

P.S. In the mean time, kindly get back to me with your contact address and phone# so I can get a check prepared and have it mailed out to you right away.

Following her intuition, Michelle googled "Bill Curry California scam" and sure enough, found numerous posts and articles about this same person, using the same name*, and even the same e-mail address... as far back as 2008! And in each article, the e-mails sent were worded the exact same way!

She wanted to warn all you lovely, hard-working artists out there to be careful when you reply to queries and what type of information you give out. It's too easy to these days to fall victim to identity theft. Trust your gut and ask yourself some important questions. Here's a few things that made Michelle think twice about "Bill Curry".

• The broken English and poor grammar.

• His name is Bill Curry, but his e-mail was Not even close.

• He knew the exact name of the product, yet there was no mention of where he had seen it. 

• He's giving too much information about his life, "If you'd like to know..."

• If he's some big-ass, jet-setting Marketing Executive, why does he need to send a check? Doesn't he have a credit card that he can use to purchase the item directly from her shop?

• Instead of having to send the item to his "shipper", he's going to have the shipper personally drive to the New Jersey coast and pick it up at her house? Really?

• He wants her address and phone number. Michelle doesn't even give potential dates that information! And why does he need her phone number to write her a check?

So there you have it. Michelle's intuition saved the day, and hopefully by sharing this, it will save someone out there from becoming a victim too.

*Michelle also wanted us to mention that when she found the articles on this scam, there were other names used, but the e-mail wording was exactly the same. Sellers.... beware!


  1. The first clue that this was spam is the subject: "Subject: Tillie Knock-Down Doll arcade-style plush doll"


  2. Glenny, thank you so much for posting on this scammer, and thanks to Michelle for doing her homework on this person. I received the same email wording from him on July 29th, but was able to google your blog post which told me not to even bother responding, and yet in the past, believe it or not, one scammer sent me the bogus oversized check even though I had already refused his offer.

    If any of the wording is off, such as "I will be waiting to read from you", or if a personal greeting has been omitted, such as is the case here, these are also red flags,
    and yet it is always important to check out all offers, since some may be actually true ones, others may not. Thanks again for your help Glenny.

    1. Mona... so glad this was helpful for you. Michelle's intention exactly!!

  3. Glenny, one more thing I wanted to add here too is they are not so much going after identity theft, although that may be it too, they want to discover your bank account # from the check you write them for the difference, and this is what the bogus over-sized check scam itself is about. They will upon receipt of the difference clean out your bank account however large or small, and since some artists are in some ways poor, perhaps less secure in life, this is a particularly egregious scam going on out there to be aware of. This is the information I was able to obtain after taking the bogus check and UPS envelope to the police, hoping they could uncover the identity of the would-be thief, but they told me the scammers are too clever to become singled out, and constantly change their names.

    1. Mona, thanks again for the additional information. I'm sure this will be very helpful for others who receive similar "offers".

  4. Got the very same email today from "Heidi Schreiber." The "it's" and the period after the person's name are dead giveaways that it is the same scam that's been circulating around the Internet for MANY years.

    If you respond, they'll OVER-pay you with a phony cashier's check and ask that the excess amount be returned to them. By the time your bank lets you know the check is fraudulent, you'll be out whatever OVERPAYMENT you sent.


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