Monday, May 21, 2007

Stop! Thief!

A young gal, just eighteen, who we love, recently got caught up in an insidious scam. It was a variation on the African internet money scam that has been around for several years. This version involved someone who claimed to be a woman artist living in England who needed an American “agent” to help her process payments for her artwork being purchased in the United States.

At my age and level of experience both in the world and on the internet, my first thought was: “Hasn’t this so-called artist ever heard of PayPal?” But as we read the string of e-mails that flowed back and forth between the scammer and our naive friend, we felt increasingly sick at heart watching the con artist tighten the noose on their mark.

I’m a cautious, careful person. That’s partly by nature, but mostly by experience. Beginning this blog took lots of research and a fair amount of soul searching and weighing of risks and benefits. Ultimately it took a leap of faith, paired with a belief in the inherent goodness of people. That’s part of what makes me so angry about a con artist and identity thief like this one. “She” counts on that trust, plays the odds by targeting someone young and doesn’t care one iota about the mess “she” creates or the pain “she” has caused. This lying thief just takes the thousands in ill-gotten money and moves on to the next victim.

In the process of investigating this situation, we learned that this thief has stolen the identity of a legitimate artist in New York named Jennifer Claire. To learn more about this and other scams, visit this site.

So beware yourself and please, mention internet scams and frauds to the people in your life. We can all use a cautionary tale once in a while.


Roo said...

We have an acquaintance, that used to work with Peter, that actually got stung by one of these "I need help releasing my fund in Uganda" scams.

The reason I say that he used to work with Peter is, that at the time (and they still do), work for an International bank!!! It's not just the young and naive these people prey on.

On reflection, the amount of stick he got was probably worse than the money he lost, the best we could have done for him was give a clout on the side of the head.

Pink Granite said...

An International Banker?!?!?!
Thank you Roo! We'll pass that along and it's bound to be of some comfort to her!
- Lee