|I get emails from people on a pretty regular basis trying to sell things they've inherited or need to sell for whatever reason, and most of them are legit. |
It's been a while since I've received an email from someone who clearly lifted photos off of a dealer's website and offered them as their own, but it still happens and I got one recently.
I was offered a group of objects of nice quality and I immediately recognized the objects in the photos as ones being taken by David Norden
(darker photos with a wrinkled black cloth backdrop). I decided to play along with the scam for a while and eventually agreed to buy everything they offered. Their prices on the objects ranged from $700 - $1200 per object, so nothing outrageous, but still $700 can be a lot of money for the unsuspecting person to lose in a scam.
They provided me with their bank information and their telephone number and articulated everything pretty well compared to most scammers I've dealt with. Once I agreed to buy everything and agreed on a price, I made up (in Photoshop) a fake record from my online banking screen and sent that to them to assure them I'd sent the money to them. Now they'll be the ones waiting for something that they'll never get which will be a little bit of a change for them.
I reported the
incident to the police in Kenya to the department that investigates people dealing in stolen property, but who knows how far that will get.
Most people are pretty aware of these scams and aware of the signs to lookout for, but I'm sure there are people that will get taken by one of these people along the way. I got taken a long time ago for a small object and not a lot of money, so I'm always very leery.
The emails came from "Bestiny Agency" and "Kibet Trading" and the person from Bestiny Agency was Raphael Mulwa who gave my his phone # of +254 726 954 498.
I'm sure as soon as I let this person know that I'm on to them, they'll create a new email address and continue to do what they're doing. It's unfortunate that there is really nothing that can be done with people soliciting goods they are not in possession of like this.
Usually in these types of scams they'll only be able to provide one image of an object and won't be able to provide additional views, however a few years back there was an instance where the Hamill Gallery website was duplicated in its entirety. It was called something else and the contact information and all of the names were changed. The website looked legitimate to someone who wasn't familiar with the Hamill Gallery website. That was probably the most elaborate scam I've come
I think I'm usually a pretty conscious and educated consumer, but as I said I was taken for a small amount of money years back from a similar scam and I wanted people to be aware of this particular persons activities.