Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My $1000 Tip

Last week we received a cashier's check for $1000 more than the price of a painting at my grandma's Carson Art Gallery (for which I am online sales manager).  Unfortunately, it didn't come with a note, "Keep the change."
Credit: National Numismatic Collection, National Museum of American History
Instead, the art buyer (who was on a training voyage in the North Atlantic to Russia with new hires fresh from graduate school and wanted the beautiful original as a surprise for his dear wife for their anniversary before they moved to the Philippines), wanted the extra thousand to be promptly sent to his shipping agent, who would be picking up the watercolor as well as moving the man's 1932 Ford Roadster and some personal effects.  To top it off, he wished me peace and blessings.  

Sweet, eh?  My perceptive grandparents didn't think so.  Their bank investigated the check and found it was counterfeit.  We took the evidence to our county sheriff's office.  The chief deputy indicated that scams like this are frequent occurrences.  Surprising?  Not really.   

Today I ran across a short list I made for my own benefit several years ago when I first ran across spam/scammers on Craigslist.  Characteristics I found common to messages from scammers are as follows:

1. Wordiness.  Scammers should be writing novels.  Business should be quick and easy; scammers seem to complicate and explain everything.

2. A third person. Frequently "a friend" or "cousin," etc. is mentioned.  Perhaps they think it adds enough complication to make the storyline credible.  But seriously, I don't need to know about your Aunt Mabel, Uncle John, or dear sweet wife if I'm only trying to sell you a painting!  

3. Urgency.  A reply is needed immediately (before you have time to think of scams). 

4. A very complimentary salutation.  Is a person you've never met whose only interest is purchasing your product really going to end with "Yours truly," "Peace and blessings," etc?  It's sweet from friends but business is business!  

My "art-buyer" friend checks out on every point.  
A combination of these points is a dead giveaway (though not proof) of a scam.  And scammers are doubtless improving their methods.  Don't let these crooks catch you off guard!

 Remember Wimpy from Popeye?  From talking with other small business owners, it seems Wimpy has plenty of cousins, though my counterfeiting friend is one of the more sophisticated.  Check out my article here on lines that small business people have heard before and would recommend for the ungrateful customer *not* to use.

"Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily,
 therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil."  --Ecclesiastes 8:11

"Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: 
but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered."  --Proverbs 11:21
A fool may earn money, but it takes a wise man to keep it.” -- Scottish Proverb

56 comments:

  1. i'm so sorry. i'm glad it was discovered and could be reported before any harm came to your business.

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  2. Yes as Tex said. Unfortunately, I used to work for a bank and people fall for these things some of them losing more than 1000.00.

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  3. Those are really good points. They fit in with some scam e-mails I've received lately too. Glad your grandparents were thinking!

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    1. Yes! My grandparents are well informed and alert. They recalled reading about similar scams, so the whole thing seemed fishy to them.

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  4. I don't understand the minds of scammers and never will. I am glad that it was found before any damage was done.

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    1. It is hard to understand how people value money above their consciences and souls.

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  5. It is interesting to learn more about you, Bethany! I enjoyed admiring your grandmother's art work, and am so glad that her business was not harmed by the scammer.

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  6. Wow, that's an interesting story! I'm glad that the scam was discovered. It sounds like making that list was a good idea as well.

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    1. I had forgotten about it until just yesterday when I was cleaning out my desk and found it. It was surprising how accurately the art-buyer scammer's messages fit into the points I had made.

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  7. Bethany it is not comfortable situation. But it happens here too

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  8. If the deal look too good to be true it probably is! And the number of times I have won over a Million dollars or pounds on lotteries based on my email address is really rather remarkable!!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne.

    PS: sorry for slow reply, I've been away from home because of work!

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    1. Ha! Too bad none of those winnings were from Publisher's Clearing House! ;)

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  9. Thankfully, everything turned out okay. So many people are victims to scams these days. It's terrible.

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  10. Years ago, I remember hearing stories about scams exactly like that on one of those nightly news shows, like Dateline or 48 hours. Unfortunately, as the holidays approach, scammers are at it more frequently, but I'm so glad it didn't happen to you and your grandparents... :)

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    1. It's too bad how some people like to take advantage of the holiday season to make other people miserable. Considering how much harm the "bad guys" do, the rest of us have our work cut out to try to do enough good to make up for it! :D

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  11. Oh wow, what an ordeal! I am so glad the scam was discovered and everything was okay.

    I appreciate the information you shared. I am like others and simply don't understand the mind of scammers...it's truly sad that we have to deal with them.

    Enjoy your day, dearie!

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  12. Hello Bentley.
    Scams of this time, many people think they win something, but mostly it's fake.
    Best regards, Irma

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    1. True...we have to stay on our toes so as not to fall for any of the scams!

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  13. Fortunately, everything ended well. Have a great and wise grandparents. Would such a situation never was.

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  14. I'm so glad you share this with us! Some of the things I read made me laugh, but to think that there is people out there in real life that try to get away with it. I'm so glad you caught this one on time!

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    1. After watching as many detective-style shows as I have, there was a serious temptation to go along with the scammer like the Mission Impossible task force would have to actually catch him. But the sheriff's deputy didn't seem eager to try any schemes like that; I think they want to keep us safe. :)

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  15. Thanks for sharing this information with us.

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  16. Scammers make me angry so I admire that you have told this story so calmly and thoroughly. From everything I've seen and read here, your talented grandma is a sweet and generous lady, but I am happy to see that she is not one to have the wool pulled over her eyes. I'm so glad this was caught. Good for your grandma! P.S. I read your post on blogging with great interest. I'm not doing very well at getting it right and it would be so easy to make excuses, but instead, I'm going to make a little better effort tomorrow. Thanks, Bethany :)

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    1. I always enjoy your posts Carol! They're a good representation of your daily life and the world around you. And...it helps me to wait a week or so before writing about upsetting experiences so the humorous side (if there is one) can shine through. A lot of things in life demand that a person either laugh or cry!

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  17. Bethany, you are very intelligent and all the time sharing good staff with us. I am glad the scam was discovered.

    Hugs & Kisses, Liuba x

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  18. Wow! your grandmother does beautiful art!!!! Thanks for the tips for noticing scammers. It's important to keep on top of things like this.

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    1. I love her artwork as well, but then I may be biased. ;)

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  19. ...that's scary. Good thing your grandparents were alert to this.



    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

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    1. Thanks! Happy Thanksgiving to you as well, Anni!

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  20. The whole time I was reading I kept thinking he wanted you to do an awful lot for him.
    I am glad your Grandparents had the foresight to check it out.

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    1. Yes, some people are takers and some are givers...I guess that's just how the world is.

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  21. Thank goodness your grandparents are wise, Bethany. I learned a long time ago that genuine people go about things differently to scammers. While here I looked at your grandmothers website... how wonderful it is. My husband is a train buff so I get to like looking at engines. My favourite is Center Point.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed looking through the website Valerie!

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  22. Wow--good thing you and your family caught it and didn't get taken in by the scam! That particular scam is a little different than the ones I've come across...

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    1. They say variety is the spice of life! ;)

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  23. Sadly this is becoming more & more common place and usually the "elderly" are the victims in these scams. I'm glad you family was so intuitive and checked it all out. Shame on those people.

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  24. Your grandmother is extremely talented! I loved looking at her artwork. I have never heard of a cashier's check scam. I thought at first he just overpaid for the painting, and that it was a blessing. I hate that this happened!

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    1. I enjoy looking at her paintings as well!

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  25. I am happy that your grandparents weren't scammed. I just can't imagine the mindset of a person who takes from others like that--especially when they target the elderly.
    Blessings, Aimee

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    1. It's just too bad! Blessings to you as well Aimee!

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  26. WOW! Good thing your grandparents recognized they were being scammed!

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  27. Unless they turn from their wicked ways, I believe there's a special place (gnashing of teeth comes to mind) reserved for scam and fraud 'artists', especially those that prey on the elderly.

    Nice to hear of the happy ending.

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  28. Great that you questioned things; I've gotten very suspicious when people call me. I hate to be like that, but I guess better safe than sorry.

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  29. As many others have said; so glad it was caught!
    Another thing that is really sad, my dad had Alzheimer's
    and when he'd open one of "those" type letters, he'd
    think had actually won. Broke my heart.

    I'm new here Bethany, but you have a wonderful blog,
    and I'll be back. I too looked at you grandmother's
    art site; wow she is so talented! I'm glad she has
    been able to work full time at something she loves,
    and right from home. Doesn't get any better than that!
    God bless.

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    1. Yes! It is wonderful that Grandma can run her art gallery right at home. She is very talented!

      Sorry to hear of the letters sent to your dad. People don't realize how much they can hurt others with spam and scams, or else they just don't care. It's sad.

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