I listed the above painting on craiglist on Monday, Feb 2nd. I was looking to make some cash, but also happen to like this painting and I have to admit, have a bit of a "To a good home only" mentality about it. Which is unlike me, I don't think I'm usually that attached to my artwork--or at least I didn't used to be. Maybe I've changed in that regard. Anyway, the one and only reply I got was from a guy named "Paul Scott." At least that's what he said his name was. This guy is a scammer...which I didn't see at first, but it got really obvious.
Here are the emails that went back and forth between email@example.com and I, with his emails in red and mine in blue:
Paul on Feb 4, Wednesday:
hello, i saw your ad on the internet and im interested in buying,if sowhat condition is it in,what is your last asking price?.reply me with allthe necessary information i will need.thanks and i would really liketo buy it.thanks very much
Me, later that same day:
It's in good condition, I painted it about 4 years ago and have had it hanging up in my own house since then. I stretched the canvas myself so the back doesn't look as neat as a store bought canvas. I measured it and the exact size is about a quarter inch short of 3' long by 47" tall. I'm asking $400 but might be willing to sell it for a little less than that.
thanks for your reply i am currently out of the country on a business trip and dont know when i will be back but will be able to send you a payment,i will send you a check,do get back to me with full name and address you want the payment written in and sent to.paul
(A red light didn't go off at this point for me. Plenty of people have to travel outside the country on business trips. I just thought the guy was pretty weird for thinking he could pay with a check, and for offering to pay way before he would get the painting.)
Are you planning on picking up the painting when you get back in the country? If so I'd rather just wait and be paid with cash. If you want to go ahead and pay while you are out of the country you can send a money order or pay with paypal, but it seems to make more sense for you to pay when you actually get the painting.
hello,thanks for the reply, i have pickup agent who will come and make the pick up for me as soon as you confirm that payment has gotten to you,do send me full name and address you want on the moneyorder and were it should be sent to,and do send me your call contact soi can get to you as soon as i send the payment.
(Ding! here's where the red light went off. A pickup agent?? what the heck is that? This guy obviously wasn't just some dude wanting a painting because he personally liked it and wanted to hang it on his wall. For some reason that instantly made me not want to sell to him. What if he wanted to buy my painting just to sell it to someone else? I didn't know yet that money orders can be forged, so I never should have brought it up. I later googled it, and also noticed a the big warning about them right there on craiglist.)
hello,i have not heard a word from you,i really need you to send me thedetails i asked for(full name and address on the moneyorder),please do get back to ASAP
I'm sorry I havn't replied faster, my computer wasn't working this weekend. I'm also sorry, but I've changed my mind about accepting a money order. I will only accept cash. If you want to pay me in cash whenever you can pickup the artwork that's great. I can hold the painting for a few weeks sinse you said you don't know when you will be back in the country.
(I thought about what to say over the weekend. (my home computer wasn't working, that's the truth.) I couldn't tell how exactly this guy was trying to scam me, since I wouldn't be giving him squat until I saw the money actually in my bank account balance, but after reading more about money orders online I decided the best thing would be to go back on what I said and tell him I would only accept cash. I really felt bad about it, but his reply was what made it clear that yes, he defiantly was a scammer. Also, his reply was at 12:45 in the afternoon instead of the middle of the night like they had been. He must have been staying up really late in that imaginary foreign country he was in for business.)
hello,i dont like this i have already sent the moneyorder earlier today,and i dont know when i will back that is why i have sent you a moneyorder in the first instance,we have already made arrangements and you can just turn around we just have to do it this way,thanks very much
Me, Monday (Feb 9):
How did you send me a money order when I havn't provided you with my name or my address? I'm sorry but I will only accept cash, and if you really want my painting I'll be more than willing to hang on to it for a little while. That way you don't have to pay me in advance, you can just pay when you get it.
Paul, Sunday February 15:
hello,i havent heard a word from you,i hope you are ok,i just want to let you know that i have sent the payment to you,so you should be expecting it this week,i sent you an excess payment i hope you dont mind,upon receiving this payment,you deduct your amount and you will then forward the remaining to my agent who will then move towards pick up.thanks very much
Me, This morning, Feb 16:
I'm sorry Paul, but you did here from me. I replied to your last email and told you that I will only be accepting cash. It is impossible for you to have sent me a money order as you don't know my name or my address, And even if I had given that to you I never agreed to send you're "agent" anything.
I changed my craigslist add to say "cash only" I wonder if I will hear back from Paul. I had tried before to keep him dangling a little with my comment that I would hold the painting for him if he wanted to wait and pay with cash, but thought he'd given up when I didn't hear from him for over a week. Kinda made my day this morning when I checked my email and found he had tried one last time. Wonder where this guy is from.