Thursday, September 1, 2016

Just Another Pond Scum Sucking Scammer Trying to Steal My Artwork



My Beautiful Artwork being packed up to ship
I've been traveling the country and haven't had a chance to post to my blog this past week, even though I have had several updates that I wanted to share.  

The biggest news that has happened recently is that I was the target of a scam.  I know I have heard a number of scam scenarios perpetrated on artists and so I was weary when I received a solicitation for my information on my website regarding a desire for several pieces of art.  I sent my reply promptly to the email address of a woman named Linda Rudy in Miami Shores, Florida.       

A week later she expressed a desire to purchase three pieces that came to a total of $600 with shipping.  I sent her a PayPal invoice and waited.  Another week went by before I received an email telling me that her husband's assistant and mailed the check and I should be receiving it either that day or the next.  She asked to be contacted as soon as I received the check.  

With that information, I decided to go a head and package up the artwork so that it was ready to ship. We were leaving later in the week for Georgia, so my plan was to take the package with me and as soon as I was sure the check was good and not going to be returned I would mail the package somewhere on the road.

I was SO excited as this was going to be my very first website sale.  I have worked so hard making my website and keeping it current.  I just remind self often that someday all that hard work will pay off.  I was starting to feel confident that this was that time.  (Checkout my website at JulieTownsendStudio)

As expected, the check arrived the following day.  I opened the USPS express envelope immediately and noted that inside was only a check with no note or other information.  I pulled out what appeared to be a legitimate cashier check made out for not $600 but for $2150.  I knew immediately this was a scam.  I was sure beyond doubt that my next contact with this "Linda Rudy" would be giving me instructions as to where I was suppose to send the overage. Rather than making $600 on the sale of my beautiful artwork, I would soon be out $1550 and my artwork.  No matter how anxious I am to have my first true website sale, I would never try to cash that check.  I find it so sad that there is such crooks out there trying to steal from hardworking individuals like myself.  I pour everything I have into my artwork.  You have to put yourself out there for public viewing and so we have websites and social media accounts to sell ourselves and so I guess this is a natural outcome.  

I thought it would be good to actually share the exacting wording of her reply to my email informing her of the error.  Maybe with sharing this I will somehow save another artist from making a big mistake.

So here is the actual email I received:
On Aug 24, 2016, at 4:44 PM, Linda Rudy <theowallcot56@gmail.com> wrote:
Hi Julie,
Good to hear you have received the payment. I am so excited you have
received the payment and can't wait to have the artworks on my wall. I
hope to give them a very good home and enjoy the pieces for many
years.

Regarding the check , my husband made a terrible mistake and overpaid
you because he didn't have full details of the transaction since I was
too busy when he sent it. I am very sorry for the confusion but I will
like you to go ahead and deposit the check today, deduct the cost of
the artworks plus shipping to my address below . Then you can forward
the difference back to him. The shipping address is below..

1481 NE 104th St
Miami Shores, FL 33138

Meanwhile, I spoke with my husband  now and he will like you to
forward the difference back to his chief accountant.A Money order or
cashier check should be made out to "Takeisha Carruth" and send to the
address below.

Takeisha Carruth
458 old buena vista rd #5
Columbus Ga 31906

You can send it via FedEx or UPS overnight delivery. Kindly take care
of this as soon as possible and get back with the tracking number.
Thank you.

Best Regards,
Linda.
Here is my reply to whoever it actually was that I was emailing:
"I'm sorry but I wasn't born yesterday.   I'm not comfortable at all with depositing this check in my account.    I really insist if you want the artwork then please follow the link to the PayPal invoice I emailed you last week.  Do you need me to resend that invoice to you or would you prefer I send it to your husband and or his assistant?

When I have confirmation of the PayPal transaction that I generated being complete, I will be happy to ship you the artwork to the Miami Shores, Fl address, otherwise I guess you are out the postage to mail me the check and I've wasted my precious time packing up my artwork and writing you a sincere thank you note."



 

23 comments:

  1. Hello Julie, I just had the exact thing happen to me, but for $5900.00 from a:
    Olivia Rivera
    olivervra449@gmail.com.
    After requesting pricing and availability, she went so far as to send me a check for $5900.00 or double what I quoted her. I emailed her back and asked if she wanted 2 paintings instead of the one she wanted and she replied:

    "Hi Brett,
    I am so excited and can't wait to have the piece in our home. I hope to give it a very good home and enjoy the piece for many years.

    Regarding the check, Just find out my husband made a terrible mistake and overpaid you because he didn't have full details of the transaction, been busy when he sent it. I am very sorry for the confusion but I will like you to go ahead and deposit the check, deduct the cost of the piece inclusive the shipping . I spoke with my husband and he will like you to send the difference back to his chief accountant. A Money order or cashier check should be made out to "Takeisha Carruth" and send to the address below.

    Takeisha Carruth
    458 Old Buena Vista Rd #5
    Columbus, GA 31906
    (a shack in the middle of Georgia)

    You can send it via FedEx or UPS First overnight delivery. Overnight shipping FedEx charges can be deducted from the money. I'll appreciate if you take care of this as soon as possible and get back with the tracking number. Please acknowledge this email. Thank you.
    Cheers,
    Olivia"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel your pain Brett. I was so disappointed but thankful that I didn't fall for it. I thought this was going to be my very first website sale but that goal will have to be reached at a later date.

      The sad thing is that we work so hard to create something beautiful that we hope others will in turn appreciate. We have to put ourselves out there on the internet to show our creations and that makes us vulnerable to these scumbags.

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    2. Tahisha tries again on the site Trocadero.com she was after a painting for 2500 and dident want to pay paypal but check , it was written like a foreigner type scam email . I posted on the bulletin Her email address and the mail address.

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  2. Hi Julie, apparently these scammers still at it, just changing some info. Thanks to good people like you posting and sharing this info, I've been spared further hassle. Below copy of last email from Vanessa Vasquez but her email is frank Rudy.
    Thanks again,
    Gail
    Galinka.com

    Hi Galinka,
    It is nice to hear back from you. Frank Rudy is my husband. Anyway, I
    will like to proceed with the purchase of both pieces. I think they
    are lovely works and I hope to give them a good home. I am presently
    away on vacation but I should be back in few days.

    1481 NE 104th St
    Miami Shores, FL 33138

    Meanwhile, can you pls get back with your mailing address and phone
    number so I can inform my husband on where to forward the payment. I
    can have him send the payment asap. About shipping, you can handle it
    from your side to my mailing address above or I can forward your
    contact info to the local cartage company handling my shipment. They
    can arrange FedEx or UPS pick up of the artworks from your studio.

    I will look forward to hearing from you so I can know how best to
    proceed. Cheers.

    Vanessa.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vanessa, I'm so glad to hear that you didn't fall for their under handed scamming ways. I just felt that I had to get the word out and maybe this blog would help prevent someone from becoming a victim or wasting you precious time with them like I did. This strung out for at least 3 weeks before I figured out for sure it was a scam. Thanks for sharing! Julie

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  3. Thanks for this web post Julie. I too am being hit by both Vanessa Vasquez and Jennifer Rudy at the same time, with frankrudy email addresses and shipping to same location. That's what got me to research. Thanks so much for posting Julie - I think I'll have some fun with this :-)
    Lynden St. Victor

    ReplyDelete
  4. You are SO welcome Lynden! Our time as artists is too precious to be wasted on futile activities and so I'm so glad that I was able to give you a heads up. Please share with me the results of "I think I'll have some fun with this." I would love to hear about it.

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  5. Last month an email arrived in my gmail spam folder. Someone was interested in purchasing two pieces of art. Color me skeptical, but I responded, with information and an easy payment method from my website. Twice, with the easy payment method. Of course she wanted me to send the art and a check would be mailed. Mrs. so and so, that's now how I do business. Seriously? Looking into it further, I can't seem to find the actual person, but her address showed up on another artist's blog as part of a scam. That's ok, nothing lost on my end, as I never got the excited vibe that this was real. Artists may be more right-brained than engineers but we're not stupid. Here's her address. Name changes often. Be wary. 1481 NE 104th St
    Miami Shores, FL 33138

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad I maybe was able to save you a little bit of time and some grief by sharing my own experience with these scum bags on my blog. You would think they would get a clue and realize that the jig is up. Thanks Judy for sharing.

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  6. Thank you So Much for posting your experience as well as responses with names of other scammers! Finding your post has saved me from wasting any more time!

    I just received an email request on one of my paintings from Takeisha Carruth. I've never listed my direct email on my website (all requests go to/through FASO). Somehow the scammers have got my personal email address. When I get direct & unsolicited requests, the red flags immediately go up and I research as best I can.

    Five years ago, I dear friend had a similar experience. Like you she had a large canvas packed and waiting for a check. Six weeks of wasted effort sorting 'supposed international shipping'...very frustrating and a great disappointment when the obvious bogus overdraft check was received. It taught us both to be wary of unsolicited requests. And one of the reasons I chose to go through FASO for my website.

    I won't waste my creative time simply hit 'delete'. Any response with scammers is wasted energy when you don't give away your power. I used to direct them to go through my website...which illicites zero response...so why bother...delete is the best option.

    Sher Dunshee-Menton


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so welcome Sher. I'm so glad I could save you some time and hassle. I would much rather be painting than wasting my time with the likes of these scammers. I'm sure you feel the same.

      Delete
  7. Thank You for your post! If I had not seen your post, I would still be researching my own bogus request from Takeisha Carruth....now I've got some of the other aliases as well! I'll be posting these names on Facebook to spread the word.

    Through an unpleasant experience of a fellow artist; I learned about this type of scam. My FASO website acts as a filter to weed-out scams: my email is not listed. When I receive any unsolicited request to my personal email it's an automatic red flag for me check further. Without fail, every direct email request has been a scammer. Unfortunately, "Pond Scum Sucking Scammers" seem to be a part of 21st century reality.

    Thank you and all the best with your artistic endeavors
    .

    Sher Dunshee-Menton

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Julie, Thank you for posting this event on the internet. I too have heard from Takeisha Carruth. I was suspicious, as always, and googled his name and happened to select your internet posting. I can see I need not respond to this scammer. You have saved me lots of time and anguish. thanks! gordy

    PS. He has moved to Aiken, SC

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad to hear that my blog has helped save you some grief and anguish. Now you have more time to create art. Thanks for sharing with me and my blog readers about your experience.

      Delete
  9. They are trying it with me as well at this point she is asking for a mailing address , lol . km on Trocadero and they are after a painting. I could tell by the grammer they seem foreign from my past experience with this sort of thing. Thank you for posting this information I will post it on Trocadero board to warn sellers.
    Terry

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great to hear from you Terry. I hope I've helped really cut into their scum sucking activity by helping other artists be aware and not waste their time and energy chasing after them. We all just want to sell our art and make the world a little brighter of a place.

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  10. Hello. Firstly, I’d like to thank Ms. Townsend for this posting. These Scum Suckers have been emailing me for a month. I knew it was fishy, but I couldn’t figure it out until I found this blog and read about the whole con. So thank you for putting this information out there so we can have answers when situations like this happen.

    Here’s what they sent me:

    From: frankrudy900@gmail.com

    Hi Joshua,
    It is nice to hear back from you. I will like to proceed with the
    purchase of both pieces. I think they are lovely works and I hope to
    give them a good home. I am presently away on vacation but I should be
    back in few days.

    1481 NE 104th St
    Miami Shores, FL 33138

    Meanwhile, can you pls get back with your mailing address and phone
    number so I can inform my husband on where to forward the payment. I
    can have him send the payment asap. About shipping, you can handle it
    from your side to my mailing address above or I can forward your
    contact info to the local cartage company handling my shipment. They
    can arrange FedEx or UPS pick up of the artworks from your studio.

    I will look forward to hearing from you so I can know how best to
    proceed. Cheers.

    Jennifer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so welcome Anonymous. Glad to help fellow artists whenever I can. Julie

      Delete
  11. Thank you so much for this post. I was recently contacted via email by "Megan Avery" of North Carolina, seeking to purchase a photograph that is part of my environmental art project. She even mentioned the name of an organization to which I belong and said that's where she learned about my work. She sent a cashier's check for 10x the amount. I naively mailed the artwork before doing a GOOGLE search, where I found this page and many others. But I was able to get it back before delivery through UPS' intercept program.

    After I got the image back, I filed mail fraud complaints with the US Postal Inspector; contacted Service Credit Union in New Hampshire, whose name was imprinted on the fraudulent cashier's check, and I am posting on as many FB pages and blogs as possible that talk about art scams. I also added all of her contact information to the art scam database on faso.com.

    Your blog post came up because she used the Buena Vista Road address to send the refund.

    Finally, I sent the following "certificate of appreciation" as a pdf transaction receipt:

    "For your countless and contemptable efforts to steal money and created work from artists who dedicate their lives and invest their often-limited resources to help illuminate our world, you are hereby presented with this Certificate of Appreciation. We are so grateful that you have reminded us that there are still people without conscience or remorse, who are determined to make a living by exploiting, defrauding and wreaking havoc on the lives of other people. Thank you so much for this awakening and the connections you are helping us make to protect each other through the Internet. The greatest gift we can give you in return is a reminder that the law of cause & effect is both strict and absolute; what you sow, you will also reap. And we all will be celebrating and applauding your coming change of fortune."

    Thanks again for sharing your experiences and saving me from getting conned!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi. I searched the address I was given in the email and found your post. I was almost positive that there was some kind of scam due to the grammer, wording etc, but I thought I would see for myself. The dubious email address was loudcum02@gmail.com and the name had been changed to Jennifer Rudy.

    Thanks for posting this

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  13. Robert, I'm glad to hear that you were weary and didn't fall for their lies. I wrote this post out of frustration but I had no idea how many people would read it. Thanks for sharing your experience. Have a Blessed Weekend. Julie

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Julie,

    Thank you so much for this post! I was contacted through the form submission page on my website about someone wanting to purchase my work. I'm an illustrator and cartoonist so I found the request a little odd, and sure enough after a little googling I found your page. The email I was given was "olivervra449@gmail.com", and the scammer is now going by the name Olivia.

    Thank you again for this. It sounds like this scammer is pretty prolific.

    P.S. LOVE your chicken paintings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for letting me know that I helped you in even the smallest way. These guys have been doing this stuff for years I'm afraid and it doesn't seem that they are slowing down. Oh and thanks for that nice P.S. about my chickens!

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