Unfortunately scammers do exist in the Mermaid community. The mermaid community is very tight knit, news travels fast so once a scammer is identified they can be avoided. The issue is that a scammer can be difficult To identify.
This post is all about how scammers have impacted the mermaid community in the past and how you can avoid them.
Scammers in the mermaid world are often people who sell really bad quality products for high prices or advertise custom tails that you never get it once you pay.
1.) for premade items, ask for photos and video of the product before you buy it! for custom, ask for photos of previous work
2.) Do not pay PayPal friends and family, pay a real PayPal invoice!
3.) Read reviews (some businesses don’t even post their reviews on their page or change their name and start a new page to get rid of past bad reviews) type into the Facebook search bar the name of that company and see what other people have had to say about it. keep in mind that making any custom art is difficult and you can’t please everyone. if the majority of reviews are good that is a good sign. One or two bad reviews does not break a company‘s reputation. 50-50 spilt reviews bad and good is not a good sign.
4.) Be wary of super low prices. if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. The lowest you should ever pay for a silicone tail is a basic silicone tail for $600 if it's less than that, it's probably made of unsafe materials.
5.) Make sure your tail is made from dragon skin which is the platinum cure, stretchy, and skin safe silicone.
6.) make sure you ask what brand the monofin inside the tail is! never buy a tail with a homemade or unsafe fin!
7.) Post in the mermaid community groups or on Mernetwork asking other Mers if they have ever dealt with that person before.
Scammers to avoid now
usually once a scammer is caught, they stop or move on. It is hard to sell something when your customer base knows you are a fraud.
There are a few scams still active today and a few scammers who just change their name and continue scamming.
avoid the following;
1.) any mermaid tail sold on Amazon that isn’t finfun or Suntail brand. There are so many dangerous and low-quality tails being sold online. places like Amazon, bonanza, Ali express, cosplaywares, light in the box, ebay, etc. you can read about why these pare dangerous here: https://www.haleymermaid.com/post/avoiding-stolen-art-and-unsafe-tails
2.) mermaid Megan, Mermaid megara, enchanting tails, pandoras cosplay, currently fishtail fantasies on Etsy. Every time she gets caught she changes her name. She has bought handmade mermaid accessories and made molds of them so she can sell copies of someone else’s art. She has bullied and harassed merfolk (even calling a merman the n word 🤢) she has a restraining order against her from another Mermaid she stalked and threatened.
Most recently she offered to make a mermaid two custom tops in exchange for a top that Mermaid already had. Once you receive the top the Mermaid was exchanging she blocked her and tried to sell the stolen top on eBay.
She has also stolen tails from other mermaids.
Scammers of the past
Two of the most well-known scammers to ever hit the mermaid community are Adam Martyn and Anna Brown.
It's unclear whether or not Adam Martyn's intentions in the beginning where to be a scammer or not but that's how things ended. he started out making tails, posting videos of how he made them on YouTube, and videos of the tails on models were also posted to YouTube. https://youtu.be/Xdu-wXLOqms These tails were beautiful and incredibly realistic, especially considering this was over 10 years ago. His tails have no monofin so they look incredibly realistic, floppy, and flowy. His company had several names but was best known as Carpathian Creations. The only remaining photos of these exist somewhere deep in the Internet on his MySpace page,
Adam Martyn began taking commissions and the big-name mermaids of the time (still big names) like Mermaid Melissa and Hannah Mermaid, put their orders in and sent their money. As far as I can tell, he made several example tails for models before he started taking commissions.
His tails cost between $3000- $5000 each and once the orders started coming in he took the money (around $24,000 is the estimated amount) changed his name, moved to a different country, and has since dropped off the face of the planet. This of course means the people who ordered tails from him never got their tails or refunds. It is unclear exactly how many people actually got their orders from him, if I had to guess that number would probably be close to three.
His tails looked really amazing and if he had actually sent out the orders he could be a big-name tail maker now. His tails from back then would still hold up in quality against the tails of today. Although he was a terrible person I still admire his tails.
Anna Brown (no one is really sure if that's her real name because she has so many fake accounts with different names). It's like this woman's full-time job is making fake accounts to scam people.
She is a well-known troll in the community stirring up drama as well as giving fake bad reviews to bring down peoples businesses. She struck multiple mermaids on Etsy purchasing their items under fake names, giving bad reviews that are lies and sometimes even providing fake addresses and then complaining it never arrived. She did this to me, as well as purchasing my items, giving them bad reviews that were based on lies to bring down my business, and then copying my product in a lower quality way and selling it on her page.
Anna Brown also started taking commissions for custom silicone tails. She advertised that she would hand paint a neoprene tail and then cover it in a thin layer of silicone. She made a big deal about how caulk was Un-safe and that her tails were made of dragon skin which is the proper and skin safe silicone to use for tails. (This is probably the only true thing she has ever said). The girl that ordered a tail from her post photos of it when it arrived because it was horrendous.
Dragon skin silicone is platinum cure meaning you have to mix both parts at a certain ratio for the silicone to cure. (Of course the quality of the base tail was extremely poor to begin with because she is a scammer) then she covered the entire thing in a thin, but very un-even, layer of dragon skin silicone that she did not mix properly because it did not cure.
The tail was a giant sticky mess and completely un-usable and un-salvageable.
Anna Browne blamed the shipping saying that it melted while in transit... You can put dragon skin in the oven and it won't melt... it's silicone.
This incident seemed to be what finally made people realize who she was and what she was doing to so many people. A thread started on Mernetwork where everyone share their experiences with her and she was blacklisted by everyone.
Also I don't think that girl ever got her money back. Anna Browne is smart, possibly some training in the legal field, she knows how to get away with scamming you and she does it in a way where it's un-trackable and nothing can be done. She accepts payment through PayPal friends and family rather than a PayPal invoice this means that PayPal cannot give you a refund or open a claim.
A Blacklist is a list that a tail maker (or other person) has with names of people never to do business with for some reason or another.
Known scammers like Anna Brown are put on public Blacklists (like the one on Mernetwork) so people know not to make tails for them, not to buy things from them, and not to let them buy things from you.
A lot of tail makers I know, including myself, have a blacklist of Mers and never to make tails for. most blacklists are private,but if someone is outrageously awful that information is usually shared to benefit the community as a whole. Reasons to put someone on a blacklist vary. Overall this is beneficial because if a person is awful or intentionally hurts peoples businesses, you don't want them to hurt your business and you don't want them to represent your art or your product.
Some tail makers will put people on a blacklist for remarks they have made online so be careful what you say. It is best to just always be kind. There is one particular mermaid, she has a lot of names, she has been put on several blacklists including the blacklist for Finfolk, which is a very big deal because they are a top name producing hundreds of tails.
As a freelance artist I have the right to decide who I do and do not take commissions for. People who have bullied me or tried to hurt my business are on the blacklist. People who have harassed me or who have been pervy are on the blacklist. Trolls and scammers are also on my blacklist. My list is personal for my business.