Monday, July 8, 2019

Catwoman Helps Catch a Charity FRAUD

Can CATWOMAN be on the side of GOOD?

Let's put it this way. Pussyfooting around grabbing museum art is one thing...cheating the average citizen is another! Julie is one of thousands of performers who have a VeRO (verified rights owner) rep on eBay. This is someone who is authorized to stop forgers and fraudsters posting unauthorized and unlicensed merchandise.

ALL stars should have a VeRO rep, because if they love their fans, they shouldn't let criminals cheat them with shoddy items that will fall apart, Photoshop fake nudes, or worthless forgeries. Ebay is "just a venue" and they don't know who is faking autographs and images. They don't know which sellers are PREDATORS, CAREER CRIMINALS, and devious FRAUDS. Ebay's "risk management" team only acts if they smell a rat.

To do that, they need a VeRO rep to say: "I smell a rat...I'm stopping this let's check on whether this person should be suspended..."

Here's the CASE OF THE PHONY CHARITY. What could be more despicable than to run auctions, PRETEND the money is going to a CHARITY, and then keeping it FOR YOURSELF?

Here's somebody selling dupe photos. There are too many of these on eBay. The problem is their dupe photos are prone to yellow and fade. Being dupes, they are worthless. These images take money away from the legit sellers who have original movie stills for sale. Some of these sellers are criminals who have found that counterfeiting photos is easier than xeroxing ten dollar bills. They also don't mind selling Photoshop fake nudes either. Or "reprint" of autographed pictures.

Innocent fans think that everything on eBay must be legit. Even reprints of autographed pictures. Even fake nudes. The latter is especially dangerous, as fans assume if a star has posed nude, she must be "easy," and this can trigger stalking and worse. The idiot who buys a fake nude and thinks it's real can be more of a problem than the grifter who sells it!

If eBay gets a few VeRO complaints from several stars, the seller gets suspended. Too often, not enough star-reps file, or don't file quickly, and a seller can stay on for months if not years. In this case, the VeRO rep noticed something about the seller. To "sweeten" and "entice" bidders, he claimed that ALL PROFITS were going to CHARITY.

How...LOW...does it GO?

The VeRO rep did what eBay does not do: INVESTIGATE. The rep found there was NO registered charity by that name. The VeRO rep took the time to find out who was behind the account. It turned out to be a con artist running a cheap hotel that had gotten many a negative review. He was augmenting his income from hapless tourists by grinding photos through a printer, using photo paper.

What about that line, "We provide support for those in the entertainment industry?" That was just line. There was NO website for this "charity," no FACEBOOK account, no pictures of celebrities posing with this account owner, no write-ups in newspapers. How about the line about supporting "people suffering in the public eye" by giving them "accomodation at our private retreat?" (The correct spelling is accommodation, by the way).

This weasel-twist meant that, if caught, he could claim that he was giving needy people rooms at his cheap and shoddy hotel. And that any person booking a room might be "suffering in the public eye," right? Did he say he gave them "accomodation" for free? Did he say his "private retreat" was actually on a cruddy side-street in a second-rate town?

Fortunately, SOME VeRO reps do investigate situations like this. They don't say "Fine, I caught you robbing my house, now on your way." They want to make sure the creep doesn't rob a neighboring house either. They may even call a few neighbors and warn them to be on the look-out." That's what happened here. This seller got SEVERAL complaints via DMCA, which included all the details exposing this seller as not merely somebody who counterfeits, but a sociopathic liar and sex pervert. END of seller on eBay.

It might seem that eBay sellers who make magnets, t-shirts, and dupe photos using a star's image are harmless. No, this isn't a victimless crime, and unlike the Catwoman's antics on "Batman," the crimes aren't committed against rich bankers or dizzy socialites with too many jewels to wear. The bootlegging means that quality licensed merchandise might not be made due to competition. It might mean fans are swindled by forgeries, and stars risk serious harm when their Photoshop fake-nudes are sold...especially by forgers who have the nerve to add autographs!

Yes, Julie and the rest have not only been victimized by fake nudes but added forgeries to pump up the sale price. Usually they prey on the newest stars for maximum bang for the buck. A recently suspended seller had a forged fake Scarlet Johansson image, among others. The image is censored here, but it wasn't censored when it ran on eBay:

Yes, like so many fraudsters, this seller boasted that his fake nude image with the forged signature was AUTHENTIC. He implied that Scarlet not only poses naked, but autographs such images and welcomes attention like this. The infamous "COA" (certificate of authenticity) was, of course, not worth the paper IT was printed on.

The seller had a thriving business exploiting young stars, and even NEGATIVES complaining about the fraud did no good. Here are some of those negatives:

The seller was pocking $50 and even $250 from finding a Photoshop fake on the Internet (or making one himself) and then forging a signature, or isolating a real signature and running it through his printer on top of the photo.

Obviously, it took several concerned VeRO reps, contacting each other, and filing DMCA's to end this abuse. There wouldn't be more of it if all stars participated in the VeRO program on eBay. It's the same with movie piracy. If all movie companies were as tough as DISNEY, bootleggers would find some other illegal business for themselves.

The Catwoman engaged in humorous, over-the-top villainy and nobody got hurt. It's a bit different in real life!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home