Scam Email: Steve Borgatti

Steve Borgatti
Steve Borgatti

How many years have I been doing this blog. How many personal emails have I sent for years before I started the blog. Really, this scam has changed VERY LITTLE since it began. Why? Because it is still working for the scammers. Because they are still making money. If it wasn’t, it would have changed long ago.

It’s simple:

1. DO NOT use wire transfers very ANY reason in your business dealings. Period. This one tip will destroy the effectiveness of 99% of this type of scam. They need you to wire your good money to them so they can disappear with it without a trace – before you’ve discovered their payment is a faked check or stolen credit card or faked paypal payment.

2. DO NOT do any one any favors in selling your work. Don’t forward money for them to some non-existent shipper. Let them pay their shipper themselves (there is no shipper so the scam will end here).

3. DO NOT accept overpayments. Just don’t. If a buyer overpays, offer to void their check and have them send a check of the right amount (and remember, no favors for forwarding money to a non-existent shipper) or if it’s a credit card – call the card company first and verify that the card number matches the billing address (it almost never does), and if it’s a paypal payment – actually manually log into your paypal account in a brand new browser and double check that they’ve paid anything at all. What scammers do with paypal is they fake a payment confirmation email and hope the victim never logs into their account (in time) to check.

And this bit about moving to Russia or moving to Malaysia or they are at sea or in Afghanistan or out of the country for some other odd reason…huge tip-offs that a scam is in progress. It helps setup why they are asking you wire them (or a shipper) money. But don’t do it.

Okay, here’s another one I receive today:

Hello Kathleen, my artist husband was almost scammed.  I was suspicious and finally went to the Internet to do some research and found you.  Please add the Steve Borgatti name to your list of despicable characters. I’m going to make a donation to you!

At the very bottom is the scammer’s message.  When mail is sent to my husband’s art address, a blind copy goes to my Gmail account so I copied the header info.

Thank you,Nancy

Received: by with SMTP id k77csp28622ykb;
Sat, 5 Apr 2014 07:41:26 -0700 (PDT)
X-Received: by with SMTP id j107mr2728669qgj.81.1396708873079;
Sat, 05 Apr 2014 07:41:13 -0700 (PDT)
Received: by with HTTP; Sat, 5 Apr 2014 07:41:13 -0700 (PDT)
Date: Sat, 5 Apr 2014 15:41:13 +0100
Subject: Payment and pick-up…
From: Steve Borgatti (
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary=001a113aa9803c108704f64ca0df

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

Hello Mrs. [last name],
Hope you are good. I’m just reading your email now as I have been so busy.Thanks for the details which I’ve noted down and I hope to visit your studio with my wife in the nearest future after our anniversary. Also in order not to leave any clue to my wife for the surprise, I’ve contacted a client of mine to issue out a check which will include my shipping agent fees to you, so please you may have to help remit the balance to the shipping agent as soon as the check clears your bank. I would have handled this much differently if I’d been at home but am a bit pressed for time myself and do not have access to a lot of cash over here to expedite this transaction… trying to kill two birds with a stone.

Moreover, they are not sending any bill or hold you responsible for the payment of the contract between us. all I’m asking from you is a favor to help me send the extra funds on the check to the shipping agent who will be coming over to your location to pick-up the piece and have it delivered safely to me at my residential address.

Mrs. [last name], I want you to understand that I’m concluding you are a responsible person and I can therefore entrust you with this arrangement.please i will appreciate if you get back to me asap to know if i can entrust you with this transaction.
Many thanks and talk to you soon,

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Hello
From: Steve Borgatti (
Date: Thu, April 03, 2014 9:33 am

Dear [last name],  Thanks for the message, I must tell you I am very much interested in the immediate purchase of the piece to surprise my wife.  I can be reached at (323) 374-5218 (feel free to leave a voice mail or text message if am not available but E-mail would be the fastest way to reach me though).If you’d like to know, I’m relocating to the Russia soon and our anniversary is fast approaching. So I’m trying to gather some good stuff to make this event a surprise one. I am buying yours as part of gifts to her (quickly before someone else grabs it). I’m okay with the price, I think it’s worth it anyway, so I’ll be sending a check.
As regarding shipping, you don’t have to worry about that in order not to leave any clue to my wife for the surprise. as soon as you receive and cash the check, my shipping agent (who is also moving my personal effect) will contact you to arrange pick-up.

I would have come to purchase the piece myself but, I’m currently out of the country on a conference trip and won’t be back for another couple of weeks. Regards,Steve.

PS: In the meantime, kindly get back to me with your full name (you want the check payable to) and contact address (preferably for fedEx not P.O box) where a check can be mailed to, so I can get the check prepared and have it mailed out to you right away.

——– Original Message ——–

My name is Steve Borgatti from Nevada. I’m reaching you to inquire about your works. I actually observed my wife has been viewing your website on my laptop and i guess she likes that piece, I’m so impressed and amazed to have seen your various works too, : )  I must also say you are doing a great job. I would like to know what inspired that work.

I am very much interested in the purchase of the piece (in subject field above) to surprise my wife. Kindly confirm the availability for immediate sales.  Thanks and best regards,

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