BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Melissa Odom
 

Email from someone wanting to buy a photo


I just received an email from someone with an AOL email, identified as a visitor to better photo inquiring about buying a photo I had in my gallery. Is this common? Is it against any rules? I'm usually pretty good about spotting a scam so I am leary but also curious. Any thoughts?


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1/18/2006 1:33:32 PM

 
David M
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/4/2005
  it's a scam if they want YOU to send THEM money for ANY reason (ie, the check I sent you was for too much $, send me the overage, etc)


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1/18/2006 2:18:54 PM

 
Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  No offense to any Nigerian photographers who hang out here, but if your email was from someone in Nigeria, it's a scam. They've been sending a lot of those out lately.


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1/18/2006 3:05:21 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  "Is it common?"...Yes, if your're really good! ;)

"Is it against the rules?"...Certainly not if the potential buyer is truly sincere. Many have generated sales with on-line galleries and websites.

"I'm usually pretty good about spotting a scam."...You should be. There are too many predatory folks out there seeking their next potential victim.
You should follow up their request with a polite response,...thanking them for their interest and requesting a little more information about how the photo will be used, what format they prefer or whatever other info is appropriate for their particular situation.
DON'T discuss payment terms until after they respond.
By then, you should have a better understanding.

I've gone back and forth with e-mails several times before deciding that their intentions were credible and legitimate,...even then, I would not e-mail a file or mail a print until their check was in my bank and it cleared.


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1/18/2006 3:12:05 PM

 
Melissa Odom   Thanks guys - I appreciate the input. Bob, I will definitely ask those questions. I thought of one other step I will take. Since my email is not yet known to them, I will create another free email account and respond from there. If I get a ton on spam, I know where it came from and it protects my main email account from a potential scammer. Thanks again!


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1/19/2006 7:10:56 AM

 
Darlene Christensen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/30/2003
  Just to add my experience! I've received two emails very recently from "Better Photo Visitors" requesting pictures. One of the emails was from a "Junio Ola" in Nigeria (showing a Yahoo email address) stating he wanted to purchase prints for his new home. I responded to his email with a few questions but when I tried to send the email...it was returned to me stating that he did not have a Yahoo account. The other email was from someone getting married and wanted to use a particular flower image of mine. I responded..again with questions..but have never heard back. Hummmmmm...we have to be so cautious!!


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1/19/2006 12:31:54 PM

 
Mary DeGreve
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/3/2004
  Darlene,

I just did a search on this site for the name junio ola because he has contacted me as well very recently. I figured if he found my images on BetterPhoto he might be a member with a gallery something. Man, I'm so glad you posted what you did and everything fits. I felt like it was a scam based on his strict and very strange payment instructions. Same story as well only now he has a hotmail account. He talks about a certified cashiers check with an overage, taking out the money owed to me, then having to go to Western Union to wire the overage back. Huge scam! Watch out for him.


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2/8/2006 9:41:44 AM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  tell them you olny take pay pal... if they are true they will open an account. If they have any kind of "payment " instructions at all decline the offer, if they pay be check or Money orders..let them wait ten days to clear before shipping anything and if the check or payment comes in for too much, or more than agreed, return it, do not refund it at all. take no money from your own accounts to refund anything or you will be burned
craig-


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2/9/2006 7:56:24 AM

 
Margie Hurwich
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/16/2005
  Melissa, how did things work out for you on the inquiry to your gallery. I was just contacted today, took the advice from this thread and am now waiting to see if I hear back from the person.


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2/22/2006 6:45:19 PM

 
Melissa Odom   Well, I did use a new email account and we sent back and forth with the amount and the person said they were sending a check but I never got it and never heard from them again. Seemed legitimate enough, maybe the price was too high and they just didn't want to buy it but didn't want to say so.


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2/23/2006 10:29:51 AM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  I’d just like to add something minor here; in case others are not in on this particular scam: someone offers to purchase something of yours – in this case, one of your images. You correspond and set a price for that image. The individual sends you a check for more than the agreed upon amount. You contact them explaining what occurred and they tell you to just deposit the check and send them one of your own checks for the balance. You do this and viola…guess what? Their check turns out to be no good and you are out the amount you sent them. It’s getting to be a pretty common scam on the Internet. So, if you ever sell anything to someone you do not know and they send you a check in excess of the agreed upon amount, send the check back! Just a heads up to anyone who did not already know of this scam.


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2/23/2006 11:31:34 AM

 
Rob Hambly
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/23/2005
  The latest email scam that came through to me today... Can be quite convincing until you get the 2nd email about the 'overdraft' check fiasco....

Hello,
My name is mariam smith and I will like to order for some art work from you and my method of payment is cashier cheque,so I will like you to pls state if that is ok with you and also less I forget as in the shipment,i have my own freight forwarder that will be coming to pick them up.thanks.awaiting to read from you.thanks.
mariam smith.
Rob


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5/18/2006 2:33:25 PM

 
Ed Wenger
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/9/2004
  I received an e-mail from Alex James with a Yahoo e-mail address, with a similar message that Mary and Rob received. After seeing the payment and shipping instructions, I simply told him I wasn't interested.


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6/9/2006 11:35:41 AM

 
Slim Brady 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/1/2006
  funny that I've never recieved one :)


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6/9/2006 3:12:44 PM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  I've had a few requests that appeared to be legitimate and more than a few scams. I don't sell my photos through my BP gallery and usually just ignore requests that appear to be scams. If they appear legitimate I simply tell them my images aren't for sale. To me it's not worth the trouble for the odd $20 bill to have an image printed, prepare the image for shipping and finally drive to have it shipped. By the time I'm done I'd probably be in the red.


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6/9/2006 3:34:32 PM

 
Slim Brady 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/1/2006
  Money upfront always. They can make a deposit and finish payment 2 weeks before the shoot. They get a contract so they don't have to worry.


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6/9/2006 5:52:33 PM

 
Dot K.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/11/2006
  Wow glad I read all this, all good advice to follow, and now I will know how to handle the situation if I ever have to face it.

Another scam I have been hearing about is when they offer to buy your photos request your account information so they can deposit the money directly into your account, then wipe it clean.


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6/9/2006 7:30:04 PM

 
Cassie  L. Woodlee
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/17/2002
  Yes I had an email from Alex James also:
Hello my name is alex james,i will like to order for some photos from you and I will like to know if you accept money order as a means of payment and also the shipment,i have a shipping company that will take care of it.thanks.awaiting to read from you.
thanks.
best regards.
alex.
He responded he wanted 18 of the same print, I thought that was odd. I asked him questions and he never responded. Then this morning I recv'd an email from NewGeneration009@yahoo.com wanted to purchase pictures and wants to pay by cheque. Very leary about this one as well. You get all excited because someone wants purchase your work and then all they want to do is take advantage of you. Shame on them !!


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6/10/2006 6:24:13 AM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  i lust this morning poste a warning here...i got another of these, this time from a michael moore!
Craig-


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6/10/2006 6:57:08 AM

 
Anna K. Woinska   Oh Boy I got one from Alex James and another from Michael Moore. I did respond to the first one and made all arrangments. What should I do? This is part of his email
"
I also want to alert you on the fact that you will be receiving an overdraft Cashier Check, which will cover the money for the pickup (pickup and shipping to the final destination) as well as the money to be paid to the company that will take care of the pickup and the documentation with you. So please, as soon as you receive the Cashier Check, go and cash them immediately, deduct the money that accrues to you(artworks & commision), and send the balance to the Head Office of the company that handles the shipment via the nearest Western Union agent in your area. Deduct the Western Union charges from the balance and send the remaining "
Please help!!!!! Anna W.


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6/10/2006 1:12:25 PM

 
Rob Hambly
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/23/2005
  Hi Anna.

You can either wait to receive the check, and then destroy it, or write back saying that you've changed your mind, or be honest and tell them that you know who they are! That's what I did - I also asked for an apology for trying to scam me - Surpisingly didn't get one. You could also get them to send another check for $50 to cover Western Union charges, cash that and scam the scammer - I read a story on someone doing that.

These people (normally children working for a 'pimp'), are doing hundreds of these a day - Most likely based in Nigeria. If you ignore it, it's doubtful that anything will happen.
Rob


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6/10/2006 1:19:48 PM

 
Jeannie Peery
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/9/2005
  I just receieved this email yesterday:

"Hello,
How you dong? My name is James Moore I am an artist and an artist contractor
and ..I was born in the state...but now I am in {Canada}i won a contract in
there so,i will like to order from your store and I will like to make it more
easier and safe that is, I will like to pay by money order or cashier check,and
let me know if you ship international, because I will like it to be quick
transaction so if it is okay by you try to get back to me as soon as possible.I
await your reply soonest.
James Moore"

Something about it just didn't sit well with me, so I looked him up on here and found this thread. I haven't found his name mentioned anywhere as being a potential scammer, but just wanted to know if anyone else got an email from him. I also find it a tad bit suspicious that the main scams right now are from an Alex James and Michael Moore and that when combined together, you of course get James Moore. Maybe I'm just being a tad bit paranoid and he's completely legit, but from the looks of things recently, sadly it seems very likely that he isn't.


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6/13/2006 2:16:45 PM

 
Jeannie Peery
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/9/2005
  also wanted to add his email just in case, it's jamesmoore100@yahoo.com.


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6/13/2006 2:19:20 PM

 
Rob Hambly
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/23/2005
  "Artist Contractor" or "Con Artist"

Stay away Jeannie!

Rob


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6/13/2006 2:21:17 PM

 
Jeannie Peery
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/9/2005
  Thanks for the heads up, Rob, that's exactly what I was afraid of.


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6/13/2006 2:41:02 PM

 
Michele N. Yamrick   Update on what happens when you do respond to good old Alex James:

This week, FedEx shows up. Mind you I told "Alex" to forget it, I wasn't interested after reading several warnings and such....but here comes Mr. FedEx with an envelope from Canada. Inside is an almost really convincing looking Cashier's Check. It is drawn on a Credit Union from MICHIGAN. Okay, its sent from Canada, but the bank's in Michigan?? So I do a little digging. After all the phone number's on the check...a man with a middle eastern accent answers. He assures me, the check is good. Nope, not good enough for me. So I go to FedEx site, track package, and guess where it originated? St. John's NF....okay, so far we've got Brampton Ontario, Michigan, and now St. John's NF?? I next googled the Credit Union on line, and got the REAL phone number...you guessed it, the Cashier Check never originated from them....my next call?? FBI in Erie PA. They're getting the evidence. Not sure how much good it is...but its a start. The credit union in Michigan is VERY aware that they are being used by these people. The name of the man on the envelope, was a Donald Jefferson, from Brampton Ontario. So add that name to your list of those to be watchful for.

Somewhere out there, they are hoping I'm cashing it.....they'll be hoping a long time.....


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6/13/2006 8:06:12 PM

 
Cliff & Patti Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/3/2004
  Has anyone recived the following email? My friend and I got them this morning.

Hello,
My name is james clement and I will like to order for some prints from you,so I will like to know if
you can accept cashier check or money order as a means of payment and also I will like to inform you that I have my shipping agent that will take care of
the shipment.thanks.awaiting to read from you .
thanks.
best regards.
james.
*****************************
This message has been sent from a BetterPhoto.com
visitor who saw your Premium Gallery at:


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6/14/2006 8:42:21 AM

 
Cassie  L. Woodlee
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/17/2002
  Probably the same guy. One of my emails was from Alex James. Same MO, wanting to purchase with cashier check or money order and has a shipping agent. There always a yahoo address and when I tried to look them up on Yahoo, couldn't find any information and after waiting a few days and emailing Alex James back to let him know I knew he was a scam, the email came back.


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6/14/2006 8:48:05 AM

 
Amer Kapetanovic   Dot K,

How exactly they can use account information to wipe it clean?

I must admit I fell for it, I've got an e-mail from James Clement and made quotation and stated my bank code and account code. I'll go to my bank today to check if everything is ok.

Thanks


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6/15/2006 6:00:29 AM

 
Amer Kapetanovic   Dot K,

How exactly they can use account information to wipe it clean?

I must admit I fell for it, I've got an e-mail from James Clement and made quotation and stated my bank code and account code.

Anyway, I called up my bank just minutes ago and they claim that if I gave him the credit card number than it would be risky (which I already knew) but if I gave out my account number and bank SWIFT code I should be safe.

Of course, he will not make any bank transfer and now I realized he was asking for either cashier check or money order (western union or something) method of payment so he could send a check with higher amount and ask back for the difference (plus goods).

It was very fishy to me and then I decided to look up betterphoto forums.

Cheers,
Amer

Thanks


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6/15/2006 6:21:29 AM

 
Karen Orr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/15/2005
  Hi everyone,
Copied below is important information Heather posted in the Q&A Thread "Email Scams":

Email Scams

Hi fellow BP Members,
As many of you have noticed, yet another scam emails may have arrived in your email box this morning. The name of the sender was Mike Moore. (Previous names in emails received were: Alex James, Miriam Smith and Mariam Dallington). Please regard this email as another scam email.

Anyone who is interested in purchasing your prints needs to handle the transaction on YOUR terms not theirs.

These scammers are asking to purchase a large number of prints from you without you having to worry about shipping,etc. The scam is that you cash their bogus check, send them the overage of the check and in the interim it will be discovered that their cashiers check is no good. You are out the money that you sent in overage.

This scam is happening throughout the internet in various ways, it is very important that each of our members becomes knowledgeable on spotting a scam.

A fellow member has forwarded the response email from these scammers. Here is the response email you would receive once initial contact is made:

"Thanks very much for your email,The reason I am sending you this email is to make final reconfirmation of the 15 in quantities n$750) and also to let you know that payment will be by certified Cashier Check. In view of this I need you to email me any information that may be required to send the Cashier Check or traveller check, as I do not want to send the Cashier Check to a wrong location least they gets into the wrong hands. Regarding the shipping,due to the weight of the artwork,cause of the crating and packing some courier service do not render shipment, I have a company that takes care of the pick up of my consignments for me and ship to my destination , you do not worry about shipping, the company will send down a representative to arrange the sales documentation and the pick up from your end for onward transfer to my destination

I also want to alert you on the fact that you will be receiving an overdraft Cashier Check, which will cover the money for the pickup (pickup and shipping to the final destination) as well as the money to be paid to the company that will take care of the pickup and the documentation with you. So please, as soon as you receive the Cashier Check, go and cash them immediately, deduct the money that accrues to you(artworks & commision), and send the balance to the Head Office of the company that handles the shipment via the nearest Western Union agent in your area. Deduct the Western Union charges from the balance and send the remaining.

The Cashier Check will be in your name to make it easier for you to receive payment, deduct your money for the artworks and send the balance via Western Union as regards my earlier direction, please reconfirm your details one more time. I will give you the details of the company that you will send the balance of the money to once I get a reply and agreement that you will send the money via Western Union money transfer after you cash the Cashier Check.
Once the money is received by the agent, the shipping agent will contact you immediately to arrange the documentation as well as the pick up immediately. So in view of the above, here are some of the details I will need for final issuance of the Cashier Check to you.

(1) Full Name
(2) Mailing address, not p.o.box please
(3) your direct telephone number
(4) acceptance of my offer

Once you get back to me with all the above, the Cashier Check will be issued out immediately and it will be
sent to you . Hope to hear from you immediately.
Regards,
Alex."


Please let me know if you have further questions.
Heather Young
heather at betterphoto.com


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6/15/2006 8:01:58 AM

 
Amer Kapetanovic   Thank you very much Heather! I think it would be good if we pass this to another photo communities and forums.

Regards,
Amer


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6/15/2006 8:11:55 AM

 
Tammy 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/2/2006
  I too got an e-mail from a James Clement asking if I would accept a money order Same Meassage That Patricia L recieved I have not responded to it I am glad I got on here looking for his name and seen all of this because I was gonna respond or at least find out some more info
Thanks Tammy Kerns


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6/21/2006 12:30:17 AM

 
Donna La Mattino Pagakis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/12/2004
Contact Donna
Donna's Gallery
  I received an e-mail from James Moore on June 12th!

Hello,
How you dong? My name is James Moore I am an artist and an artist
contractor and ..I was born in the state...but now I am in {Canada}i won a
contract in there so,i will like to order from your store and I will like to
make it more
easier and safe that is, I will like to pay by money order or cashier
check,and let me know if you ship international, because I will like it to
be quick transaction so if it is okay by you try to get back to me as soon
as possible.I await your reply soonest.
James Moore


I sent him a quote, an invoice to confirm the offer, my address and phone number.

I haven't heard back from him in over a week. I am so glad I read this thread!!! Thanks for sharing, I was really looking forward to selling my work, but hate to be SCAMMED!!! My concern is that I sent an invoice and now I am worried about someone stealing my images. What can I do to protect myself?

Thanks, Donna


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6/26/2006 10:17:59 AM

 
Gregg Johnstun
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/17/2006
  I got the James Clement letter. Wow, this is a big problem. I hope that the members of betterphoto can be notified.


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8/2/2006 8:02:09 AM

 
Gregg Johnstun
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/17/2006
  I have reported the email scams, Mr. James Clement and his or her other aliases, to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. If anyone has actually been scammed out of money, please let me know so that we can take further action against preventing future fraud that originated from the betterphoto site.

Sincerely,

Gregg Johnstun


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8/2/2006 8:23:37 AM

 
Karim Abiali
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/8/2005
  I have received this email this morning:

"Hello, My name is James Clement and I will like to order for some artwork or photograph from you and I will like to know if you accept cashier cheque or money order as a means of payment and also I will like to inform you that I will be arranging for the pickup myself. So if that is ok by you,just get back to me as soon as possible.thanks. James."


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11/14/2006 4:33:55 PM

 
Margie Hurwich
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/16/2005
  Karim,
Usually when they ask for a cashier check...it's a scam. Be cautious.
Margie


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11/14/2006 8:05:39 PM

 
Margie Hurwich
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/16/2005
  Karim,
Usually when they ask for a cashier check...it's a scam. Be cautious.
Margie


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11/14/2006 8:05:40 PM

 
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