Last week, I received an e-mail — from a man named Bill Curry — with an inquiry about one of my top selling products... an 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.
I thought it was a little odd the way the e-mail was worded, but who am I to take off for grammar? I sell items internationally all the time in this cyberworld and lots of people speak broken English. Although, it was a bit strange that he used the name of the product but did not indicate where he saw the item. But I replied with the information he requested and a link to my Etsy shop.
Soon after, I received another e-mail from Mr. Curry. But this time I had an uneasy feeling in my gut after reading his reply. Red flags were popping up all over the place...
From: Bill Curry
Date: Wednesday, July 25, 2013 9:08 PMSubject: Payment and pick up
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 my intuition, I Googled "Bill Curry California scam" and sure enough, I 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!
I 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 me think twice about "Bill Curry".
• The broken English and poor grammar.
• His name is Bill Curry, but his e-mail was firstname.lastname@example.org. Not even close.
• He knew the exact name of my product, yet there was no mention of where he had seen it.
• He's giving me too much information about his life, "If I'd like to know..."
• If he's some big-ass, jet-setting Marketing Executive, why does he need to send me a check? Doesn't he have a credit card that he can use to purchase the item directly from my shop?
• So instead of me 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 my house? Really?
• He wants my address and phone number. I don't even give potential dates that information! And why do you need my phone number to write me a check?
So there you have it. My intuition saved the day, and hopefully by sharing this, it will save someone out there from becoming a victim.
*I did want to mention that when I found articles on this scam, there were other names used, but the wording was exactly the same. Sellers.... beware!