Left – One of the images used in the scam
This to PAN from Gwyn Headley the boss at photo library fotoLibra in the UK – take note!
You’re certainly keeping busy during the lockdown! So I guess you’re well, which is good news.
You may be interested in this scam which was perpetrated on us yesterday. I think — I hope — we’ve avoided being stung, but who knows how banks work.
It’s a while since we’ve seen this old scam.
Here’s how it works, if it succeeds.
A photographer signs up to fotoLibra for free and uploads a couple of pictures. Then someone else signs up as a buyer, and decides to buy a couple of pictures.
Amazingly, the pictures he decides to buy (it’s always a he) are the pictures that have just been uploaded. What’s more, he pays a hefty price for them.
Yesterday at 12:28 our new friend Jürgen Werner from Germany signed up to fotoLibra to licence his images. He uploaded two photographs of a hillside in Bulgaria.
Then at 14:32 a new buyer signed up, a Manfred Back, also from Germany. Within four minutes he’d searched through fotoLibra’s 1.2 million images and decided the very ones he wants to licence are the two photographs of a Bulgarian hillside that friend Jürgen uploaded an hour or so earlier.
What’s more he pays £620.40 for them. Nice work if you can get it.
So the way fotoLibra works is that we pay our photographers 50% of net sales receipts. So in 30 days we ought to pay Jürgen £258.50 (there was VAT on the original bill).
But we won’t, because we’ve come across this scam several times in our 17 years as a picture library. Mr Back of Germany has been refunded the £620.40 he allegedly paid us; in fact the transaction has been cancelled and nullified. We haven’t paid him any money, and we haven’t paid his chum Jürgen either, because in 60 days or so our bank would be saying the £620.40 was paid using someone else’s credit card details and they’re taking the money back.
Manfred and Jürgen — or Georgi and Dimitar, because something tells me they’re crooks — may even be the same person, of course. I don’t think they’ve succeeded this time. Other libraries may want to take note.
I’ve attached one of the photos that were ‘bought’. The other was the same from another angle.
• Read all fotoLibra onPAN