This is about a lesson learned about an internet scam I experienced this week….
It started when an email came through from my website from a Theo Schwartz ( email address: firstname.lastname@example.org ). He purported to come from Hamburg in Germany and wanted to buy two paintings. He said that he had a number of items to transport from the UK to Germany and would pay for the items ( we agreed a sum ) then arrange collection from my home.
I sent him a Paypal invoice for the paintings ( easy to do from a Paypal business account ) but he insisted paying cheque through his business account. When the cheque arrived it was for the equivalent of £2850 ( 3306 euros) and when I emailed him to say it was too much ( over £2000 too much!!) he insisted that I deposit it, wait until it had been through the negotiation process with the bank then his courier would collect the paintings…..
I was still very concerned about having someone else’s money in my bank account and my bank agreed with me so I did not deposit the cheque, instead emailed “Theo” requesting that he pay for the paintings through PayPal and send him a photo of the cheque being destroyed…..I have heard nothing from him since…..
Now comes the important part – I have since heard that this is a very elaborate scam. If I had deposited the cheque, it would have cleared the bank negotiations in 1 to 6 weeks and I would have sent the paintings off ( or they would have been collected ) Then either the cheque would have bounced or “Theo” might have requested I purchase something else for him or any number of possibilities.
Lesson to learn – if your buyer pays in advance with a large cheque assume it is a scam. Only accept enough money to cover the cost of the item and postage, no more….Hope this saves a lot of heartache.
Please spread the word!