Aug 21, 2017

BEWARE: Art Buyer Scams.

I got an email yesterday from a guy interested in my paintings.  He said he was from Seattle but his english skills were kind-of busted but I gave him the benefit of the doubt because it's rare I sell some fucking art these days.

Hello,
    I'm Joshua Harley from Seattle... I found your paintings website while surfing online for what to purchase as a gift for the love of my life.I'm impressed and amazed to have seen your various works too, You are doing a great job! I would like to receive further information about your piece of work and what inspires you.. Kindly confirm the availability for immediate sales.


Best..


Alright theres a chance he's legit.   I ask him which pieces he's interested in and I get another email today.

Hello,
  Sorry for not responding back to you on time, The complete work/piece could be any color, but medium size or large.. However, I would greatly appreciate if you could possibly recommend a few completed work within 1000USD- 10,000USD ready for sale...Please do email me back with images and prices of any available works in that range.


Many Thanks


Yeaaaaa dude.  No one uses "USD" when they're wanting to buy something from someone else in the United States.    'oooh you meant Euros, shit my bad"   So red flag number 2.  Then he's saying he's willing to spend up to 10K?  fuck dude, I'm flattered but no.  I've never sold anything over $500.  I'm not THAT good.  or well known. Another red flag.

So I did a little Googleing.  I entered joshua harley and the auto-fill spit out "joshua halrley seattle, joshua harley wyoming and joshua harley meany"  Interesting,  I found a Joshua Harley who is a real estate broker in Texas. And another one that's a MMA fighter.  But a lot of people have the same name so I google'd his email address.  harleymelmel15@gmail.com  and that's when things got interesting.

The first result was from Katie Jeanne Wood's blog with the words art scammers in the description.
She tells her stories of being scammed by a guy named Handy Parker from MA. The email she got back in early 2016 is almost exactly what I got.  His wife likes her art and has a big budget to buy it. yadda yadda.   She got suspicious just like me and she went as far as tracking the IP back to Nigeria of all places.

Fucking Nigeria man.

We both figured it was shady so we ignored any further emails from him but wondered what the scam could be.  Then amongst the many emails she got from people like me thanking her for the info was an artist that actually got scammed.  It's the classic Nigerian prince swicherooo.   "I'll send you a check for more than the amount and you send me the difference"  You send them the check and the one they sent you doesnt clear.   I hate saying this because this person got fucked but you gotta be a dingus these days to fall for that one.

Other results from googleing the email address turned up countless Facebook pages from artists warning of this scammer.  Also a couple seller pages at Poshmark.com that were selling Puma shoes and designer handbags with comments that say word-for-word on both: 
 "Pls , do you still have it available? Kindly email me at (harleymelmel15 (at) gmail.com). Thanks." 

So it seems like it's not just artists its anyone who will accept payment for something I guess. 

So if you get an email from harleymelmel or anyone offering shit too good to be true, uses broken english or any other redflags that seem shady, it's shady.  And NEVER NEVER accept checks or money orders from people you dont know or feel uncomfortable dealing with.

Read Katie's story and see her awesome art on her site here katherinejeannewood.com there's also some info on other scammers and some good resources for reporting scammers. 





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