Spam, Scams, & Suspicious Emails
At BetterPhoto.com®, we have taken measures to prevent spam (unsolicited mass emails) through automated contact forms. Unfortunately, spam still gets through from time to time. We hope this page will help you become aware of possible scams!
What to Look for...
One popular email is from someone who wishes to purchase your photos, sends a check for much more than the picture's price, and asks the photographer to refund the difference. Beware...
- The sender usually does NOT address you by name - rather, the mass-produced spam uses a generic greeting (i.e., "Hello"). Note: This is not a hard-and-fast rule as scammers get smarter.
- The buyer is vague about which images they want to buy - i.e., they want to "purchase prints from your store". And they often want to buy a large number of pictures.
- The scammer proposes to send you a cashier's check or a money order - often via an agent, client, relative, or friend - for a big amount. The scammer then wants you to refund the difference. The problem? The cashier's check or money order you received turns out to be bogus!
- The scammer needs the whole "buying" process to proceed immediately. Remember: legitimate buyers want details from the seller (i.e., what you charge, the print sizes, etc.). Note: According to experts on the subject, some scammers are starting to ask normal questions in order to appear legitimate ... still, their overall messages should sound the alarm for alert sellers.
- Email scammers often state that they have access to a "shipping company" in which its representative, agent, or carrier will pick up the prints at your home. Again, beware!
Examples of spam that BP members have received...
Suspicious Email #1:
...I am interested in purchasing some of the art works from your gallery and it will be ship to my new resident in Lagos, Nigeria. So please let me know if you can sell some of your Original art work for me to put to my new resident. Payment will be made out to you in form of a Cashiers Check or Money Order in us funds once we are able to reach a concrete agreement on the price. i do hope to hear back from you. thanks and hope to hear back from you soonest. have a wonderful time.
Suspicious Email #2:
Hello ...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.
Suspicious Email #3:
...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...
Suspicious Email #4:
Hello, How you doing? ...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.
What You Can Do...
Of course, the email you receive may appear different than the examples above, but here's the bottom line: Does the proposal sound too good to be true? Then it just might be! Here are a few things you can do.
- Never open up an attachment in your email unless you are expecting that attachement to be sent to you. Even if the attachment is from a friend, if it's a surprise to you, don't open it.
- Don't let anyone pressure you into selling. It's your photography, and you can sell on your terms.
- If you think the email is suspicious, do not reply. Delete any suspicious email!
- A tip from one expert: "If you feel you must accept a check, insist that the issuing bank clear the check before the item leaves your control (this can take 7-14 days, which is why the scammers pressure you to ship NOW)."
- If your email software features a "Report Spam" option, report any emails that you are sure qualify as unsolicited spam. The email providers are battling the spam problem and many use these reports to improve their spam filtering mechanisms.
BetterPhoto.com does not sell our members' email addresses or personal information. All information submitted to BetterPhoto.com is not to be sold or used in any way that violates your right to privacy. Upon registration as a BetterPhoto member, email addresses are collected for the purpose of answering questions and responding to visitors.
BetterPhoto.com does not endorse or tolerate unsolicited sales emails through our automated contact forms. Individuals or companies may not email BetterPhoto members through our contact forms, Q&A, or any BetterPhoto discussions.
BetterPhoto.com cannot serve as an enforcer or investigator in possible scam cases. Nor can we take on the role of intermediary between buyer and seller. If you are the victim of a scam, also inform your local authorities.