Tattoo Scams?!? What’s Next?

I get a lot of email. Like most of us the vast majority of it is spam, but mixed in are always customer inquiries and legitimate emails. So every day I read through all of them. Delete most and respond to the ones that I can.

The other day I got the following email.

Greetings!

My name is Chris Owen, we have a film to shoot in your location and we need a crew of the actors and the actreses to be tattoo. We wish to confirm that you can be able to handle the the tattooing. We will come to your studio/shop for the tattooing on 15th Feb 2010 once everything is concluded. Please let me know if you are interest to tattoo this group. I will give you further details as soon as I hear back from you.

Warm regards,

Chris Owen
E-mail: chrisowen54@hotmail.com

I didn’t really think much of it. The email had obviously been sent out to a large group of “undisclosed recipients”. I don’t know what made me write back. Perhaps that I was sure that they were not really a client and I wanted to be testy with someone (I know for other people this isn’t really testy, but I would not talk to a client this way… well except for once, but that is another story).

Chris,

You obviously sent this out generically… so I have to ask.

What are you talking about?

TeeJay

This morning, much to my surprise, I received a reply:

Hello teejay,

Thanks for your response. Find below the art you are going to tattoo on the crew.

The crew will arrive on: 13th Feb 2010.
Starting date for tattooing the crew: 15th Feb 2010.
Number of crew to be tattooed: 18 (12 men and 6 ladies)
They have 7 days for the tattooing I hope that the time is enough for you.

You will have to tattoo the 18 crew members, 12 men will be tattooed the attached bee on the two sides of their upper arms then the ladies will be tattooed just on the left side of their upper arm.

Tattoo Colour: Grey
Size: Sizable according to the persons size of arm.

As you can see the attached picture all we need is just simple tattoo. You will need to give all of them the same look of tattoo because it will be use for the cult identification in the film we will be shooting in your location.

Kindly get back to me with details and other relevant questions if you have any. Feel free to call at any time +44-702-409-3067 I need to have your grand cost for undertaking this project.

I await your response.

Warm regards,

Chris.

With the attached image:

Now at this point I know that something is not right. So I google the phone number. I find a number of scams involving recording studios. Different names, different bands but basically the same story over and over again.

They make initial contact. Reserve recording time. Mail a large check to cover the studio time. The check is deposited and “clears” and then something happens. Generally one of the band members dies and they have to cancel and will need the money refunded. Weeks later it turns out that the check was not actually valid and they are happily gone with the marks money.

Nice.

I have heard of these kind of scams before, but have to wonder what the world is coming to when they are trying to scam tattoo shops?  I just have to hope that we are a cynical enough bunch that no one falls for it.

So just for grins and giggles I sent off a reply email this morning to see if I hear back from them:

Chris,

I have to admit that I am more than a little bit confused.
If you are filming a movie, why are you actually tattooing the images instead of using make-up? And the image that you sent me is not a bee, it’s a scarab. So I am thinking that if you would like to make something permanent on your actor’s bodies you might want to do a little bit more research on it.
And lastly, if for some reason you actually would like to do this and are serious – we could tattoo all 18 people in one day. It’s not a big deal.
Much curious,
TeeJay
I don’t actually expect to hear back from them, but if I do, I will be sure to let you know.
_________________________________
Update. I did receive a note back today – but it just isn’t even anywhere in the realm of believable, so I’m not going to bother to play anymore. I thought that I might see if I could take it far enough to get a check from them and then just not deposit it…. but they took all the fun out of it today.
This is the note that I got back.
Hello TeeJay,I got your mail, please send in your quote as the crew like the tattoo I have discuss with them.Warm regards,Chris.

——————-

Update – I got another one today. (March 24th, 2010) Different spiel, but looks like the same deal.

Here is todays:

GOOD DAY

WE ARE MUSICAL GROUP OF ABOUT TWELVE DANCERS AND WE WANT A TATOO EXPERT THAT CAN HELP US TO CREAT AN EXCEPTIONAL TATOO DESIGN.

SO WE WOULD WANT TO KNOW THE FOLLOWING THINGS AND WE WOULD WANT YOU TO RESPOND AS SOON AS POSSIBLE SO THAT WE CAN PRESS FORWARD FOR OUR VISA TO YOUR DOMAIN.

PLEASE ANSWER THIS QUESTION BELLOW

(1) How long will it take you to inflict tatoo on 12 people
(2) How is the cost for one person
(3) Where exactly is your studio in
(4) Would there be any discount fo as many as 12 people

REGARDS .
DON JAZZY

—————–

And once again, a less than professional response:

Don,

Thank you for your inquiry. Although slightly confusing and/or suspect, I will attempt to answer your questions anyhow.

1 – I do not inflict tattoos on people, I make tattoos for people. Without knowing what I would be making I could not give you an estimate on how long it would take.

2 – again, cost for a tattoo is dependent on what it is and how long it will take.

3- I have two studios, one is at 466 West Ridge Road Rochester NY 14615 and the other is at 1205 Ridge Road Webster NY 14580

4- again, I could not hazzard a guess as to price estimates without more information as to what it is that you are looking to have done.

Please let me know if you have any further questions,

TeeJay

—————-

This morning I received a reply and an image. These folks are doing better than the last ones… Here is their email:

Thanks for your mail;  my name is LISSA i am don jazzy group secretary this is the design we have but if you have something better and at a reasonable price, you can send me the costing of the total some for the design per person so that we can arrange and get back to you as soon as possible and you can also arrange to book us towards the last week on april.

and writing back to them :

Lissa,

Regrettably I do not have any appointments available that soon. My first available is towards the end of July. In addition, since this design is tribal inspired (and not my forte) – I would suggest that another artist might be better suited for what you have in mind.

My portfolio is primarily realistic based tattoos. http://www.whitetigertattoo.com/artists/teejay/teejayart1.html

Please let me know if you have any questions or if there is anything else that I can do for you.

Thanks,

TeeJay

——————-

Wow. It’s now November of 2011 and not only are these getting more prolific by the day – they are getting far more clever about them. One of the latest one involves trying to set up a large group tattoo appointment through a TDD service making the phone calls untraceable.

I received two in my email yesterday and this one is pretty slick looking compared to the earlier ones posted above:

Hi this is Mrs Mary Jane how are you doing ? My Daughters 21st birthday is coming up on the 22nd of Nov and i am planning to have a group tattoo for my daugther and her friends, will you be able to help me handle that and do you
accept credit card over the phone or email ? i want you to draw an Anchor tattoo on their Back  or  ankle which ever one they prefer size is (4 inches) and a maximum of 2 hours on each person. I want you to get back to me with the total estimate for 12 people because the party is coming up on the 24nd  and i also want you to know that the people who will come to have the tattoo will come with a private transportation driver…and i also want you to know that i will be making full payment with my credit card information to charge for all expenses i want you to get back to me with the type of credit card you accepted and i also want you to know that i have attached you the picture of the
tattoo….and i would like everyone that is coming to have either of the two tattoo i mentioned above. i also want you to get back to me with your cell phone number and shop address so that i can have your shop information complete with me so that i can forward to the driver
who will drop the people to your shop to have the tattoo
Thanks….
Warmest Regards,
———
and another one:
Hello
This Janet white. I work on a ship and i will like to know if you are the owner of the the tattoo shop ?i want you to draw a smallest size cross and the location i want you draw for them on there Back Shoulder and also going to use 1 hour in each person and i want you to get back to me with the total estimate for 10 peoples and the party is coming up next week i also want you to know that the peoples who will come to have the tattoo will come with my private transportation driver…and i also want you to know that i will be making full payment with my credit card information to charge for all expenses i want you to get back to me with the type of credit card accepted and i also want you to know that i have attach you the pix of the tattoo….and i would like everyone that is coming to have the same tattoo for all of them and i want you to know that i want just approximately one hour towards the tattoo.and i also want you to get back to me with your cell phone number and shop address so that i can have your shop information complete with me so that i can forward to the driver who will drop the peoples to in front of your shop…that is coming to your shop to have the tattoo.Address:………..
Total cost#……………..
Personal cell #:………………Best Regards,
Janet
tattoo scam cross
______________
This one is especially entertaining “guided tattoo art training”. Yeah right.
Greetings
I want to make inquiries for a group on a guided tattoo art training trip during November.The date of their arrival is 15th of November 2011 Departure – 30th November 2011,. We are looking at 15-20 days of training,including lodging. We are flexible as to the dates but we would really like to get the training soon and will also appreciate if you can shift our arrangement to a more convenient/available time for you if  you ours doesn’t fit perfectly into your schedule.We need information on accommodations and if we will need to bring our kits or if you will be able to provide us with the needed kits/items we would need.What is the cost of your services for handling 6 students beginners for private lessons, airport transfers, and accommodations,2 mini buses for their to and fro movement throughout their stay,for 15days  to 20days (3hrs everyday) a 3star hotel close to your facility will do or lodging condo,that can sleep 7 persons  well equipped).The age range are from 22-24 years old and all beginners. What is your payment options?
As i plan on making 50% upfront deposit.
.Email me your Itinerary and ground cost of the above mentioned.
All the students will be coming from UK. Do reply Asap as i do not have enough time to put things together,Let me know what dates fit your schedule the most as I’m sure you’re quite busy.
We look forward to training with you!Best Regards
Andrew Karl.
——-
and this one arrived November 24th, 2011
wlinda101@gmail.com wlinda2020@yahoo.com
Hello My name is Linda Williams and i want you to draw an Dragon tattoo 4 inch with color on their Back and a maximum of 2 hours on each person and i want you to get back to me with the total estimate for 10 people because i have a party coming up on the 7th of December and i also want you to know that the people who will come to have the tattoo will come with a private transportation driver… and i also want you to know that i will be making full payment with my credit card information to charge for all expenses i want you to get back to me with the type of credit card accepted and i also want you to know that i have attach you the picture of the tattoo… and i would like everyone that is coming to have the same tattoo for all. and i also want you to get back to me with your cell phone number and shop address so that i can have your shop information complete with me so that i can forward to the driver who will drop the people to your shop to have the tattoo…Hope to read from you soon.
———————————–
and yet another:

From: Sam Mat <sammat89@yahoo.com>

Subject: Tattoo

Date: August 28, 2012 7:59:01 PM EDT

To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Bcc: Teressa Jean Dill <teejay1@frontiernet.net>

Hello
  This is Sam i want you to draw an Sun tattoo 4 inch with color on the Back of 11 people at a maximum
of 2 hours on each person and i want you to get back to me with the total estimate of all 11 people, they all
have a film to shoot on the 14th of next month and i also want you to know that the people who will come to have the tattoo will
come with a private transportation driver… and i also want you to know that i will be making full payment with my
credit card information to all expenses i want you to get back to me with the type of credit card accepted and i
also want you to know that i have attach you the picture of the tattoo… and i would like everyone that is coming
to have the same tattoo for all. and i also want you to get back to me with your cell phone number and shop address
so that i can have your shop information complete with me so that i can forward to the driver who will drop the
people to your shop to have the tattoo.
Thanks
Sam

~ by justteejay on December 4, 2009.

20 Responses to “Tattoo Scams?!? What’s Next?”

  1. hello there i got the same e mail about tattoo from this chris guy but i cannot understand what hurm can he doo i dont pay anithing,thank you for the blog

  2. hi teejay. i also recieved this same email and was about to reply to it for the second time but thought i should do a little research first. good thing i did cause here i am, seeing im not the only one. it sucks to know that there was someone out there who actually thought up this whole scam and specifically targeted us tattooers. what next right? anyhow thanks for the blog and props on your work. you got some good stuff.

    • Horacio,
      I am hoping that all the tattoo artists this guy contacts catch on to what he is up to also. My concern is that as time goes on, if he keeps at it, he is going to come up with more plausible answers… and I could see where it would be hard to turn down a pre-paid cashier’s check.
      Anyhow, I just wanted to say that I went and checked out your work also. Beautiful work – excellent gradations. I especially like the Mayan/Aztec-y stuff. Just gorgeous. Also loved the paintings as well.
      Nice to (virtually) meet you,
      TeeJay

  3. I received the same… i’m in italy. same dates… same procedure.
    thats why i’m here. everything looks weird. I will turn it to the police.

    • well demian it sure is worth a shot iguess but if the police in italy are anything like the ones here, i doubt they’ll be able to do anything about it.

  4. Haha, same emails. It would be hard to be in Italy and Calgary, Canada at the same time. They would have been a little bummed when we told them that deposits are non refundable. I’m sort of glad this was a scam, because as this guy “told” me what and where things were going to happen, I was actually not looking forward to tattooing them, didn’t seem like it was worth it.

  5. we had the same email here in Glasgow,Scotland,after a few days e mailing we sussed it was a scam and sent them back a very simple message…….(IN HUGE RED LETTERS)

    FUCK OFF WITH YOUR SCAM,STOP EMAILING US OR WE’LL PASS THIS ONTO THE POLICE.

    needless to say not herd back from them.

  6. Ha, got the same shit here in Columbia SC. Google his email and found this blog. Thanks for confirming my suspicion of total horse shit. Thanks for taking the time to post this ..

    andy 8 sins tattoo

  7. Same shit here in Dallas TX, They have gone as far as sending me a credit card number to run, At that point it was obvious that it was fraud so i contacted the police with the information and they are investigating it now. Since november 1st i have recieved 16 different versions of this email.

    • They seem to have gotten way more prolific the last month or so. I have heard of a number of shops who have been contacted. Fortunately so far no one who has gotten stung on it though.
      Glad that they didn’t finish the scam on you either.

  8. I have recieved 4 of those at our shop in Chicago. I followed one to the end just to see what the final scam amount would be if I were to fall for it….

    Thanks so much for your fast responds and i am very much okay with the cost and i am very much happy cos it going to be fun but I WILL LIKE YOU TO DO ME A LITTLE FAVOR SO THAT WE CAN PROCEED.
    currently i am at the hospital cos i was just rush down so i will be undergoing a surgery in 2 days time due to my condition for now … that is why i want you to assist me with the driver fee BECAUSE I HAVE NOT PAY THE party planner driver AGENT THAT WILL DELIVER the 12 people for the tattoo drawing. they don’t have card charging machine and they are also requesting for an upfront payment before they can deliver the people to your shop address. so now i will give you my card to charge thru for the total cost of $2800.00 dollars and you deduct the $1200. that i budget for the tattoo for 12 people and you will help me send the remaining balance of $1500 thru the via western union money transfer to the driver head office and after they have gotten the fee they can now instruct the driver to proceed by dropping the people at your shop. pls i will like you to know that the remaining balance will be for the western union charges and a private tip from me to your for assisting me on my condition. so now i will like you to get back to me fast so that we can proceed with the payment.

    Amazing what people will do. I just hope no one out there is that naive to fall for it.

  9. Got the same e-mail with the same anchor picture with a different story! LOL!!

  10. GOT THIS TODAY:Hello This is Jean Ciara and i will like to ask if you do dragon tattoo and am hearing impaired…and i want you to draw an Dragon tattoo 4 inch with color on their Back and a maximum of 2 hours on each person and i want you to get back to me with the total estimate for 10 people because i have a party coming up on the 6th of May and i also want you to know that the people who will come to have the tattoo will come with a private transportation driver… and i also want you to know that i will be making full payment with my credit card information to charge for all expenses i want you to get back to me with the type of credit card accepted and i also want you to know that i have attach you the picture of the tattoo… and i would like everyone that is coming to have the same tattoo for all. and i also want you to get back to me with your cell phone number and shop address so that i can have your shop information complete with me so that i can forward to the driver who will drop the people to your shop to have the tattoo.

    Thank
    Jean

  11. followed by this: Thanks for getting back to me and i will like you to do me a favor.And the favor is that i have not pay for the charter bus that will be bringing the people to your location and their fund is $1500 so i will like you to add that to the grand cost of my tattoo payment and you can have all that charge on my credit card .Because with out the fund the charter bus will not be able to bring the people down to your shop and i would have done that myself but am receiving my treatment so i will like you to do that for me and you will be sending the $1500 to the owner of the charter bus (VIA WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER) and you will use $150 as the western union charges so i will like you to add all that for me so that i can give you my credit card and the charter bus Owner details so that you can have my card and charge it through and also go ahead and send the fund to the Owner of the charter bus so that they will be able to bring the people down to your place.

    Best Regard

    Ciara

  12. I got one of these as a phone call a couple years ago and thought it was odd…i told the guy no, that we dont take money upront for 100% payment. Then i got a text today with same ofd request so i googled and found your article…thanks for posting. What a strange scam haha

  13. I’ve been getting tonnes of these emails! And the best part? I make texture maps for video games. Never created a real tattoo in my life – I don’t even have any! These scammers need to do better research before they mass email. 😉

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