Hello from Bali. Steve and I fly home on Saturday, October 12. We arrive Sunday morning around 7:00, and the post–vacation routine commences. The mail is retrieved; the bills are sorted; the bags are unpacked. And the dirty laundry is washed. That first night home, you go to sleep with a different feeling because the illusion of being an unemployed vagabond without a money care in the world is replaced with the dread of obligations that have stockpiled on your desk over the past two weeks. The unfettered bliss of suspended reality is dashed to smithereens in about 24 hours. So, in anticipation that real life is about to descend, I shall tell you the tale from August (which is still on my mind), of Kimberly Collier.
On August 17, I received an email from Kimberly Collier:
My name is Kimberly Collier. I am interested in purchasing an artwork from you. Kindly write back with your webpage so that I can view more of your recent works.
That was cool. She had seen some samples of my work on the website Artsicle. I sent her the link to my personal website, julieseyler.com, and the next morning, I found this message waiting in my Inbox:
Thank you for the email. I am interested in making an immediate purchase of the work “twisted 2: josie & david’s lovers oil 52” x 30””. Can I have a detailed information about the work, its availability and pricing? As soon as we reach a concrete agreement on pricing, I can instruct my p.a to process a cashiers check to you for the payment of the work so that my mover can have it picked up along with my properties that are to be moved to Munich.
I await your email soonest.
This was even cooler, so I sent her the requested information, and received a reply:
Thank you for the mail. I am ok with the price of the work but I want you to deduct the shipping charges from the cost as my mover will take care of the pick up and delivering to my new resident in Munich. He has other properties to pick up for me so he would get the work along with other boxes. But before then, your cash must be at hand. Can you provide me with your full name as you want it appeared on the check, your full address which includes(street name, house number, city, state and zip code) to ensure safe delivery and your working phone number where my mover can easily reach you at. As soon as I get these details, I will fwd it to my p.a so that he can go ahead with the issuance of the check to you after you must arrived back on Saturday, August 24.
I happy to have this piece purchased as it would look good on the walls of my guest room.
But there were a few logistical problems in getting the painting to Ms. Collier. I was down at the beach in Allenhurst. The painting was in a warehouse in Union. And the keys to the warehouse were in Manhattan. Even if we did get it, I could not get it home because it would never fit in the roadster, and the schedule for the next seven days was crazy. Somehow, we had to get the painting back to New York City that Sunday.
Steve had his van, but he preferred keeping it in New Jersey, rather than dealing with parking in the city. But after numerous back and forths (and back and forths), the only option was to drive the van back to Manhattan, then back to Union to pick up the painting, then back to Manhattan. Two trips in, and one trip out, of the Lincoln Tunnel in a period of three hours on a Sunday afternoon in August is not anyone’s idea of fun. Plus, I kept fretting that Kimberly Collier would change her mind. Steve, always my supporter, said, “Don’t worry. Of course she wants the painting.”
Monday morning I e-mailed Kimberly Collier that I had the painting, and we could start making arrangements for her to send the money, and pick it up.
Two hours later, I received this email from Artsicle:
On Saturday, a variety of you received an email via the new messaging system from “Kimberly Collier” requesting more information about your work. Sadly, this is part of a known scam involving fake cashiers checks. I recommend you do not respond to this request – or simply delete the email chain if you already have.
What a bummer. But after talking to the people at Artsicle, it was confirmed that the scammers really do want the art – they just want it for free. To me, that was better than being taken just for the money.
In retrospect, there were lots of little hints this was a scam. No one pays for anything without knowing the return policy.
Julie, if anything similar ever happens again, get in touch with me. Artist friends and I receive similar email almost daily. I would have spared you the wasted time, energy, and dashed hopes.