There have been no more e-mails from Stan the rat, but there have been some developments in the story. I decided to send Stan an e-mail today with a proposal which I suggested might be a solution to our stand-off. I suggested two solutions. One was that Stan pay me on PayPal and the other was that Stan send me a money order and when the bank lets me know that the money order has cleared, then, and only then, I would send him his drawing. I suggested that I would do the packing and mailing and would waive the charges to avoid using his own personal shipper. There has been no response from Stan.
Now, here's where it gets interesting. I was checking the statistics on my website stat counter this morning and noticed a visit to my website which occurred very close to the day and time of Stan's first e-mail. The statistics indicated that there were multiple visits to my website from this computer and that there had been a referral link to my site from a gallery in the US. The computer used to visit my site was located in Nigeria! I've seen and read news items about the many fraud schemes coming out of Nigeria. Of course there is no absolute proof that Stan is in Nigeria (he has a gmail address and claims he's in California and moving to the UK) nor that he is at the computer shown in the statistics on my website.
But wait, that's not the end of it! Over the weekend I notified Bill Starke, a sculptor friend of mine who lives in Denver, about my exchange of e-mails with my buddy, Stan. This morning I received an e-mail from Bill and he included a copy of the following e-mail he had received this morning:
Good day to you over there, My name is Stan thomas i'm from California and i hope this message finds you well.I was going through your works and my eyes caught...., i will like to have it for my new apartment this month. please let me know if the piece is available, if yes let me have the detailed price and more information about it. i will be waiting to read from you asap.
The exact same e-mail I received a couple of days ago. Word-for-word, letter-for-letter, including the string of periods after the phrase "and my eyes caught....," in which, if Stan had the intelligence and wasn't so lazy, should have contained the title of the work of art he was interested in.
I consulted an office of the RCMP crime prevention unit and was told that Stan's con is very common and results in the con sending a phony money order or bank draft worth more than the amount required. The victim of the con is then asked to deposit the money anyway and send their own bank money order for the amount of overage. Of course in the case of Stan the art collector, the victim also loses a piece of art work. Although I doubt that will happen because Stan will probably never give an address for the art work to be shipped to.
So, all you artists out there, look for an e-mail from Stan and it's seller-beware! And Stan, if you're reading this, you gotta do better than that, man. You're so bloody transparent a child would know you were about to steal his candy. I hope nobody takes your phony bait!