Artists — Wanna see what an email scam looks like — one that if you answer could cost you thousands of dollars?

Wrapped Sacks by Leslie Parke

Recently I received an email inquiring about this painting. It had the title and the dimensions in the subject line:

Good day, hope you are good. Was going through your website and saw some of your artwork I really like. You are doing a great job. I would like to make the purchase of the artwork in subject field above if it is still available..i would also like to know what inspired the artwork. kindly get back to me asap.
Thanks and God bless, [Name Withheld]

I did not know the person inquiring and I thought that it was unusual that he would be interested in this painting, having never seen my work. This sometimes happens. It is possible that the person saw my work at a gallery.  I try to find that out. If they have, I bounce the sale back to the gallery and let them deal with it.  But if not, I handle it. It seemed both likely and possible that this was a scam, so I sent the information he requested and waited.

Then I received this letter:

Dear Leslie,
Thanks for the message, Hope  you are doing  great. I actually observed my wife has been viewing your website (artwork) on my laptop and i guess she likes your artwork, Also I must tell you I am very much interested in the immediate purchase of that artwork to surprise my wife. Unfortunately, at the moment I am on training voyage with new hires, fresh from graduate school, I would have come to purchase the piece personally but won’t be back for another couple of weeks, as I am a civil marine engineer and due to the nature of my work, visiting of website, phone calls are restricted during this period, but i squeezed out time to check this advert and send you an email regarding it:-). I’m okay with the price, I think it worth it anyway.
If you’d like to know, I’m relocating to the Philippines soon and I’m also trying to gather some good stuff to furnish my new abode. I am buying yours (quickly before someone else grabs it) So, I’ll arrange to send you payment ASAP.
However, you don’t have to worry about shipment, I be appointing a secured shipping agent in Philippines whom are also moving my 1932 Ford ROADSTER and some personal effect to come over for the pickup of the painting at your place,and then deliver it to my new abode (Philippines); Courier service like FedEx, UPS are not worth it in the Philippines especially USPS all of them are not rendering good service there in the Philippines, they will never bring to ones house. I have had several bad experience with FedEx and UPS in the past and am not willing to pay additional fee at the delivery point in Philippines  because the appointed shipper will deliver safely without paying any other money before collecting the goods unlike some other courier where it will not be delivered to your address rather you will have to go to their office to pick it up and when you get there you will be told to pay other money before collecting it.
Thanks and God bless,
[Name Withheld]
PS:In the meantime, you could forward me your full name (you want the check payable to) cell phone no. and contact address so I can fedex a check to. as I MIGHT be delayed depending on how things goes.
This scammer is above average. He engaged me personally, he selected a specific piece, he used a believable name and email address, and he added personal information in the email.
And yet, the email  had all the earmarks of a scam, and one, if fulfilled would bilk me out of thousands of dollars:  They want to use their shipper, they want to buy immediately, they need all my contact information, they don’t need to see the item personally, it has to be shipped overseas.  What would come in the next email is that he will be sending me more money than the cost of the painting and that I should give his shipper the difference to cover the shipping. Had I done that I would find that the money he sent me would not clear and I would be out my painting  and the additional money for the shipper. I don’t know if they actually would try to pick up the painting. I am guessing that the shipper would get his money before ever showing up.
I wrote him back and told him that I was familiar with this scam and that he shouldn’t pick on artists.