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