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A Rich Person Wants to Buy My Painting!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

I opened my email this morning and found this note, sent through my website, Not so long ago, my heart might have skipped a beat. This morning, I got a wry smile instead. Nice try, Dennis.

An online visitor left a comment for you on Saturday 20th of June 2015 01:37 AM:
Name: Dennis
Comments: Hi , My name is Dennis White. I just bought a house in Milan, Italy and I'm interested in collecting an artwork for a space within my house to make it unique and beautiful. May I look through your website so as to pin point my choice , request for a quote and more information? I look forward to hearing back from you. Sincerely, Dennis White.

This is a scam. If you read carefully, all the signs are there. Lit up in neon, at least for me. I have "Julia Simpson" to thank for that.

My first experience with this scam happened while I was leading a trip in Costa Rica in 2014.

On Mar 2, 2014, at 5:12 PM, Julia Simpson wrote:


Hope this message finds you well. I saw these lovely pieces on your
website and I will like you to get back with more details if they are
still available for purchase.

Hooded warbler at nest and   Phainopeplas in desert mistletoe.

I will appreciate an urgent reply.

Best Regards,
Julia Simpson.

From the stilted language (I will like you to get back) and the weird signoff (I will appreciate an urgent reply), I knew that English was not "Julia's" first language. An unadorned "Hi" as an intro from a stranger always takes me aback, as well. 

So I kept my answer short, but not sweet. 

On 3/3/14, Julie Zickefoose wrote:
Dear Ms. Simpson,

Hooded warbler is available, phainopeplas are sold.

Thank you,

Julie Z.

Julie Zickefoose

Julia fired right back, again in sub-English. 

On Mar 3, 2014, at 2:50 PM, Julia Simpson wrote:

Hi Julie,
Thanks so much for your response to my query about those creative
works. I will like to proceed with the purchase of  Hooded warbler .
Can you pls confirm the  actual size and  price  of the piece so i can
know how best to proceed. I will also like you to get back with what
inspire you to make the artwork.

I will look forward to hearing from you soon .

Best Regards,

So I gave "her" a go-away price. 

On 3/3/14, Julie Zickefoose wrote:
Dear Ms. Simpson,

The painting price is $1800 and the image size is 81/2 x 11"

May I ask where you live, how you would want it shipped, and what your mode
of payment might be?


Julie Zickefoose

Now it gets good. "Julia" winds up with her story. 

On Mar 3, 2014, at 11:08 PM, Julia Simpson wrote:
Hi Julie,
It is nice to hear back from you.  I will like to proceed with the
purchase of  the painting. I think it is a lovely work and I hope to
give it a good home.

I am presently traveling for my Sister's wedding even though it comes
at a time when I am preparing for a big move to Miami Beach, FL but it
means so much to her and I should be back in few days.

Miami Beach, FL 33140

Meanwhile, can you pls get back with your mailing address and phone
number so I can inform my husband on where to forward the payment. He
can have one of his PA handle the payment asap.  About shipping , you
can handle it from your side to my new address above or I can forward
your contact info to the local cartage company handling the shipment
of all our house decors. They can arrange FedEx or UPS pick up of the
artwork from your studio.

I will look forward to hearing from you so i can know how best to
proceed. Cheers.


Whoa. That's really, really confusing. Seems like a weird thing, to be buying a new "decor" for the house you haven't even moved into, while traveling to your Sister's wedding. And to be, like, all urgent about it. Your address is sketchy and incomplete.  And, um, what is a local cartage company? Julia. Your language. 

Dear Julia,

  Thanks for getting back to me. I have just returned from Costa Rica and am answering mail. My mailing address 

(Here I gave my address and, God help me, my phone. Not sure what I was thinking, because I knew from the start that this was in all likelihood a scam. If it got to the point that I received a check, was planning to deposit it and let it clear before shipping. If it cleared, hey. "Julia" just bought a painting.)

I will be happy to ship the painting when I receive payment. I will need a full address--all you sent was 

Miami Beach, FL 33140

 I'm assuming your husband will send a check to my address above? If so, please make it payable to Julie Zickefoose.

Shipping and boxing will probably be another $35 or so, for a total of $1835.00 US. The painting is double-matted in archival materials. 

Very best wishes, 

Julie Zickefoose

 By March 28, a check arrived in the mail. But it was huge. This transaction, which had been sketchy from the start, had jumped the shark. 

Dear Julia,

  I have a check here from First Tennessee Bank/ Transnetyx Inc. I'm assuming it's from you. 

 It's made out to me, for the amount of $3,250.00. Which is considerably more than I am asking ($1,835.00). What's going on? 

Holding it until I understand.   



So I started playing that shark. I was pretty sure I had heavy enough line to land it. Next: Zick Scams the Scammer.


If they are rich their PA could handle a non machine translation.
I am pleased to hear the scam you have avoided.
Whishes are best and a un-excelled day have.

While I am enjoying your story...and look forward to the next installment...I have to note that always strikes me when I read these scam stories: how much time and intelligence is wasted on these shenanigans? Imagine if the all that technological know-how were applied to just one of the world's problems? Say, clean potable water for example? Or an energy source that doesn't kill the planet.
All those folks writing scammy emails, making scammy robo-calls, or whatever other scam approach--harness their energy and brain power!
Sigh...I know. It's not gonna happen.
OK--back to waiting for your sequel.
Oh, and did I mention, I have a new cabin for hunting and when I see your painting want to buy one for this new place...

cannot wait to read about 'scamming the scammer'... I don't even have a word that expresses the contempt I feel for internet scammers, especially those who prey upon older people (no, that doesn't mean you Julie, but still...).
One of my neighbors was recently scammed out of $18,000 of her life savings. I happen to be someone who still supports capital punishment, and these are some of the ilk I'd cite as most deserving of it!!

OoooooooOO... you are a master of the cliffhanger! I can't wait to see how you scammed the scammer!

Posted by Anonymous June 20, 2015 at 7:30 AM

We had a scammer try to pay us "extra" for our executive rental property. When we didn't respond, we got an email warning us that we "were fraudulent and the FBI would be visiting to our residence". Good lord. A terrible thing to do to someone who might buy in to this shameless fear tactic.

Posted by Caroline Q June 20, 2015 at 9:56 AM

I'm laughing inside, reading of your experience with this scammer--Usually, I just tell them I don't fall for such garbage. (That isn't this much fun though.)

Do they have to have such fake sounding names?

"yeah, Julia, I sent it to Miami at that zip code, didn't you receive it?"

not sure how this ends, but I hope they get prosecuted :(

(the only scam e-mails I get are hopelessly fake- the Nigerian Kings and I have just won a big prize but I need to send money.)

You are fishing and reeling in a nasty old scammer.

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