Sample Scam- Sellers Beware

12 Jan

From the inbox:

I had written about a scammer who was contacting tons of sellers, requesting they send a whole size retail sample, and that if her company liked it she would purchase a huge order to send as corporate gifts. She created an account

A seller who sells fudge brought up the subject of this woman approaching her. Everyone told her not to send anything without contacting the web site first, etc. Then freshht came into the thread, claiming she was legit, why would she have such a lovely website if she was a scammer, etc.

She then proceeded to the promo forum and started writing nasty stuff about the fudge seller.

Etsy deleted her account but were unwilling to write about this woman and a warning about her scam.

People got scammed. sent her a gnome doll which costs $28.

I heard on the forums about a site, whois which can tell you the owner’s name of a website. So I found out this person who owns or is Valerie Hawk Hoffman.

Another etsy seller sent me this, an article about the Conneticut Attorney General who is suing Valerie Hawk-Hoffman:

I then wrote to Valerie at her website:

“Please refrain from further asking of any esty seller to send you a free sample (whole sizes such are as sold as retail) for jewelry, soap, fudge, exchange for the possibility of a very large purchase on your part for company gift packages.

What you are doing is deplorable.

I plan to contact the FBI internet division for fraud, and if you cannot provide them with any invoices, copy of checks or credit card purchases, etc. to any etsy seller whom you have “bought a large purchase” from, it will mean an investigation. I am also alerting the Better Business Bureau of your actions.”

She wrote back:

“This email you sent is VERY unprofessional. That is probably why you didn’t even sign it but I have already located you not to worry. We have been in business for nearly 20 years and have a right to review products before purchasing in quantity, that is standard and normal protocol in the corporate world. As you can see we have a wonderful website with a large product line and are trying to find a gift item for our an event is certainly our right just as its a buyers right not to send a sample if they opt not to!

To send such emails is outrageous and totally unprofessional. A seller has a right to send a sample or not of course but it is certainly not against any regulation to ask for one and as my rep is an attorney if I EVER receive another insulting rude email like this again I will be reporting YOU for harassment and internet abuse and file a lawsuit against you for defamation. How ridiculous to send such an email, you should be embarrassed and ashamed, obviously you are very very new to the business world and should at minimum learn appropriate and professional etiquette! Its sad as you just lost a wonderful order opportunity, continue like this and you will be out of business very quickly, you certainly won’t make it the 20 wonderful years we have I can tell you by speaking to people like that!”

Sincerely-Fresh Inc

I wrote back (but she blocked me):

“I know all about you and your illegal dealings, Valerie. Your lawsuit, etc. Esy sellers are not just artisans, but also EXTREMELY computer and internet savvy. When we put our collective heads together, we come up with tons of info when someone tries to hurt our community.

I know you have also received free goods from a few etsy sellers, with them believing you will make a large purchase. And I know you won’t.

It is NOT standard to ask an independent artist to send a costly FREE sample. It is STANDARD to pay for a sample. Any well known business such as Martha Stewart, Stylehive, etc. will ask for a product to photograph and then return to its creator (seller).

Yes, I know you have been on Martha stewart, etc.

You are taking advantage of indie artisans and committing fraud, by enticing sellers to send stuff free with promises made of air. The internet division of the FBI will welcome this info as will the BBB.

Leave etsy sellers alone unless you plan to PAY for samples. Most sellers average about $4000 a year on sales. Shame on YOU for taking advantage. We are a community and look after our own.”

Anyway, etsy won’t deal with this, so I would like to call out Valerie Hawk-Hoffman and her web sites and so no one else gets ripped off.


81 Responses to “Sample Scam- Sellers Beware”

  1. Em January 12, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    Thanks for bringing this to attention. I remember the fudge seller bringing this up in a thread, and of course the forum police came crying ‘call out.’ You always know they have something to hide when someone writes a perfectly polite and professional email and they come back with insults and boasts that aren’t even true! It’s like she thinks because her “company” is large and successful that they are entitled to everything. What a joke.

  2. JajieBo January 12, 2010 at 1:35 pm #

    Good to see that some investigation was done on this woman.
    I was following this topic through the forums, and it seemed like most everyone in the threads instantly chided the OPs for “calling out”.

    Is there some reason that Etsy doesn’t warn us when there are proven scams going around? Is there a good reason for not wanting to protect their buyers and sellers? I really just don’t get it.
    Thanks for the heads-up on this lady.

  3. jenn January 12, 2010 at 1:54 pm #

    But but but… she has a beautiful website. That’s all you need to be legit. (rolling my eyes)

    Excellent investigating, btw.

    Etsy needs to alert their sellers. They won’t, I know, since they don’t have any integrity. But they should.

    Sick sick sick.

  4. Liz January 12, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    She’s so professional, that her business still uses email addresses. Righhhttttt.

    What a nut case.

  5. WTFISAPDF January 12, 2010 at 2:21 pm #

    I wonder who wrote her letter back to you. Perhaps an Etsy seller?


  6. Lu January 12, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

    She’s ridiculous. I now Etsy won’t do anything, but thanks for calling her out here. If people are aware they will start reporting her convos and something can be done. I know at one point I got a surge of people asking free items (one had the gut to ask for a quantity of 200 for her wedding) and after reporting them their accounts was gone. So, let’s no loose hope…I’m waiting for this piece of work to come my way.

  7. Bedazzled VONdom January 12, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    “A seller has a right to send a sample or not of course but it is certainly not against any regulation to ask for one and as my rep is an attorney if I EVER receive another insulting rude email like this again I will be reporting YOU for harassment and internet abuse and file a lawsuit against you for defamation.”

    lol! @ “internet abuse”

    Her rep/attorney must also be Lucinda’s “lawyer.”

    What a dolt.

  8. wtfisapdf-chartermember January 12, 2010 at 2:57 pm #

    “As you can see we have a wonderful website”
    says who?
    Where is this wonderful website that you speak of?
    What a buffoon. 🙂

  9. ohmeohmy January 12, 2010 at 3:11 pm #

    her website really sucks. It looks so amateurish and unfinished. really got trashed by this woman for not sending a sample, on ripoffreports (hopskip sent me this):

    The thread with sizelove and freshht coming into the forums is here:

    Valerie Hawk Hoffman also sent me two more emails:

    “OBVIOUSLY if we sell over a 100 products we are getting them from vendors!? Get help Jane you are disturbed… ”


    “I will be reporting you for these abusive emails-every corporation in the world receives samples when they are placing large corporate orders and it certainly is the sellers CHOICE if they do not want to send them. If you knew anything about us you would know that we have been in business for nearly 20 years, run a fabulous company with over a 100 products and have returned all samples we do not order so save your abusive emails or the next thing you will be receiving is a harrassment report! How dare you send such nonsense to our team. Oh and ps my name is Arden you nut! ”

    I sent her another email back but she blocked this email too.

  10. ohmeohmy January 12, 2010 at 3:18 pm #

    Tons of etsy sellers convo’d me to tell me they had been approached by this same woman asking for full sized sample, with big orders to follow. She asks for all kinds of stuff–jewelry, eats, soaps, knitwear, dolls, etc. One seller she asked for 8 tee shirts in size 8.

    I had a lot of help finding all this info from many sellers.

  11. ohmeohmy January 12, 2010 at 3:25 pm #


    I remember that etsy seller asking for a bunch of free stuff for her stupid wedding. And people on the thread where like, “great, I’ll send 100 bars of soap. I need the exposure…”

    She really disgusted me! Her name had “storm” in it if I remember correctly. She got a lot of stuff for her wedding favors.

  12. RocksInMySocks January 12, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    Thanks for spreading the word about this scammy sleazeball. If I see one more stupid Etsy cop screaming “calling out” like some mindless dolt, I may have to reach through my computer and slap the shit out of them. Some people need to get a life and let Etsy police their own threads instead of jerking off all day over the call out threads.

  13. ohmeohmy January 12, 2010 at 3:51 pm #

    Hah, I found it. This is the etsy seller who asked for free favors for her wedding:

  14. Life During Wartime January 12, 2010 at 4:31 pm #

    Alarm bells go off when someone starts threatening to sue after being questioned about their products or behavior. There are no grounds for legal action, so obviously they have something to hide.

  15. JajieBo January 12, 2010 at 4:41 pm #

    HAha! That wedding-favor thread…

    Also, anytime the “call-out” sheep start whining in the forums, I always think of someone who can’t swim falling into a lake with a sign saying “KEEP OUT”, and none of those people will jump in to help because they don’t want to break the rules.
    “We can’t jump in to save them, it says to keep out!”

    I know that’s a bit of a stretch, but those fools just bug me to no end.

  16. crapgawker January 12, 2010 at 5:04 pm #

    I saw that thread too. It astonished me that some of the Sellers were more irritated at her for “calling out” than they were that a scammer was trying to rip off a fellow Seller. Stupid cows.

    As pissed off as all the scammers, resellers and the self-appointed forum queens have got me I needed a laugh. Hope you all get a laugh too. Pay particular attention to the names on the first page:

    Starting a thread in the Etsy Forum – free.

    Bumping up and commenting on your own thread with your two other Etsy shops – priceless.

    — Web designs shop: SEOWebDesign
    — Graphic Designs shop: WingsDove
    — Sketch Portraits shop: MaryKrysia

    *and you thought we wouldn’t notice*

  17. WTFISAPDFakaco January 12, 2010 at 5:30 pm #


    I can only think of one word for that


  18. sputnik January 12, 2010 at 5:33 pm #

    crapgawker Says:Bumping up and commenting on your own thread with your two other Etsy shops – priceless.

    – Web designs shop: SEOWebDesign
    – Graphic Designs shop: WingsDove
    – Sketch Portraits shop: MaryKrysia
    Oh my goodness, what a moron, she is replying to herself and when you click on her avatar you see all those names. Wow, I think the collective IQ on Etsy goes down each day. 😦

  19. sputnik January 12, 2010 at 5:34 pm #

    Hey co! Have you been behaving yourself ?

  20. jenn January 12, 2010 at 6:02 pm #

    Good catch, crapgawker.

    That’s the same seller who added her shop links to the bottom of her posts (every. single. post) and then got mad at people when they pointed out that it’s spam.

    Ah the etsy forums – better than tv.

  21. Lu January 12, 2010 at 6:14 pm #

    ohmeohmy yup that’s her. But I got several approaching me during the summer too. They also answered back asking why I was so offended? They were just trying to help me get noticed!

    To me sounds like sexual favors at Hollywood!

  22. Max January 12, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    You can always recognize an experienced professional business person by the language they use.

    Her tendency to refer to herself as being “in the business world” is ridiculously amateur – the only people who use the term “in the business world” are people who are not in it. People who are business professionals tend to see the entire world as business, and it wouldn’t occur to them to refer to themselves as being in said separate world.

    Her comment that they “have a right to review products” is also very populist, non-business terminology. Individuals who are trying to get something tend to blather about their rights. Professional business people don’t base their arguments on their “rights,” but rather use terminology that indicates their adherence to common business law and practice.

    This whole situation reeks of small-time opportunist .

  23. beernut January 12, 2010 at 8:01 pm #

    In the “before” time, I used to work in the business world, lol! I worked at Coldwater Creek’s corporate offices in the homegood’s dept. and not only did we order samples for the catalog but also for corporate gifts. Only one sample of a particular item was ordered and additional samples were BOUGHT only if they had been selected. This scammer is insane.

  24. MadeByM**** January 13, 2010 at 6:39 am #

    JajieBo, perfect analogy with the “Keep Out” sign! They are more worried about the rules getting broken and “calling them out” (acting like the “teacher’s pet”) instead of what the subject of the thread is. Look at all the laws that have broken around the world in order to get laws changed that are not right!

  25. straight up bs January 13, 2010 at 9:06 am #

    Her “wonderful” website itself is a scam! She sells bullshit weight loss, improve your mood, and rev up your sex life herbal remedies, but make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom of the “front door” page to read this if you plan on ordering (its not listed on any individual item page that I could find):

    Please Note: As our herbs are custom and fresh, we require a two bottle minimum order.
    We are a Auto Ship company. We ship on a monthly basis so that our clients can receive regular, consistent, fresh, handmade herbs. Please Note: certain formulas i.e. the Romance, Weight Loss, Depression, Energy, Stress and Cardio remedies as well as the Daily Health Kits ship TWICE per month so that clients have enough as these are used more often than others. Clients are always welcome to cancel, change orders or dates but must do so by our simple invoice policies. This wonderful convenient program allows clients to get beautiful fresh product without the worry and hassle of needing to reorder. Please review your invoice so that you are aware of cancellation dates and procedures otherwise your account will be rebilled and once the products are shipped of course as they are fresh, are non refundable.

    Order cancellation requests must be in writing and mailed via certified letter before the 15th to the address located on your invoice.”

    Anything you order enrolls you in a non-refundable auto ship program that you can only cancel in writing by certified letter within a specific time frame. That’s why the CT Attorney General was after her, for scamming her own customers!

  26. JajieBo January 13, 2010 at 9:59 am #

    Orders can only be cancelled in writing, by certified letter?!? She is absolutely batshit. My toilet bowl has more integrity than this POS.
    Does anyone know what the outcome of her being sued by the CT attorney general was? That complaint is dated 2007, so some action must have ben taken since then… although, it couldn’t have been too harsh if she’s still scamming people like this. How can this lady not feel guilty for what she’s doing to people? Unbelievable.

  27. JajieBo January 13, 2010 at 10:10 am #

    I just checked out crapgawker’s forum link– hilarious! This is the icing on the cake:

    “WingsDove says: Be careful what you say on the Internet. Everything is recorded and kept for as long as the Web site exists. All your forum posts on Etsy, for example, can be found on a Google search. Type in your shop name and see what comes up. Your online reputation is very important – guard it.”

    This coming from someone who is bumping their own thread by pretending to be three different people. Not anything terrible, but it won’t look too great when it come up in a Google search, hon. ; )

  28. CF January 13, 2010 at 10:29 am #

    People who are contacted by this person should probably also complain to the Connecticut Attorney General, especially since she is already on their radar.

  29. CF January 13, 2010 at 10:46 am #

    Some court documents.

  30. WTFISAPDF-self appointed prez January 13, 2010 at 10:47 am #

    @WTFISAPDF-charter member

    I have to behave! I read your post at work and laughed so hard I got reminded by my boss that it isn’t “play time.”

    I am still laughing over the toilet bowl integrity comment and the dolt who is talking to herself in a forum thread.

    This website is far too much fun! Whoever runs this is a genius in my book! Amazing sleuthing.

  31. MadeByM**** January 13, 2010 at 11:29 am #

    So, by what these court documents sound like they say, this person and her company were “sued” and they were required to pay this money back. A lien was placed on their property to get the money, which some money was obtained upon the sale of the property. And then there was some legal loophold that the remaining amout owed was dissolved. I’m sure they make sure their customers know now how they sell their products and so they can keep on doing it, since having a subscription type membership is not against the law (books, CDs, acne medicine are a few examples).

    That is just my theory, opinion and interpretation…………

  32. straight up bs January 13, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    MadeByM**** Says:
    January 13, 2010 at 11:29 am
    “I’m sure they make sure their customers know now how they sell their products and so they can keep on doing it, since having a subscription type membership is not against the law (books, CDs, acne medicine are a few examples). ”

    The way they let their customers know (on the site anyway) is a small blurb of Terms on two random pages of the website (Front Door and Herbal Remedies), not on the item pages or during the checkout process (hidden as much as legally possible, in other words). I added an item to my cart and checked out to the point of entering credit card info, and the only notification that you are agreeing to anything other than a one-time purchase is a little check box under where you enter your credit card number saying ” I agree to All Terms, Conditions and Refunds Polices,” with no link or indication where to find said terms, conidtions and policies. Customers are then enrolled in the auto ship program and are billed monthly, and for some products, bimonthly, until infinity, they cancel the credit card, or send a cancellation notice in writing by certified mail before the 15th of the month. And any shipments auto billed without you realizing it are non-refundable.

    It sounds like they are operating just this side of legal, but they are shady and scammy and I still call bullshit. Even more so in light of this unbelievable etsy sample scam and her ridiculous emails defending herself, not to mention talking shit about sellers in the forums when they wouldn’t send her free stuff. Legitimate business owners generally don’t pull petty shit like that.

    Seriously, this nutjob was on Martha for her ‘herbal expertise’? She doesn’t list even a general ingredients list for anything sold on her site, its all made of some magical mystery blend. Probably one kind of pill and one kind of tea in a bunch of different packaging.

    Oh, and gotta say I think FantasiesinLeather has definitely got the right idea here:

  33. Bookworm January 13, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    LMAO at FantasiesinLeather’s thread!!

  34. Angel January 13, 2010 at 4:02 pm #

    That thread is fantastic! (FiL’s)

  35. Bedazzled VONdom January 14, 2010 at 9:28 am #


  36. ohmeohmy January 15, 2010 at 8:44 pm #

    She’s baaaaaack:

    Now soliciting lisadqueen

  37. ohmeohmy January 15, 2010 at 8:45 pm #

    her sock puppet is:

  38. Ya betcha January 15, 2010 at 9:55 pm #

    She really seems to be addicted to doing this on Etsy. I hope she has some more real estate to put up.

  39. JajieBo January 16, 2010 at 7:47 am #

    Boy, does Valerie Hawk-Hoffman have some balls.
    She’s STILL at it? Maybe it’s because Etsy has shown her that she can rip off as many sellers as she likes with no consequence. 😦

  40. ohmeohmy January 16, 2010 at 11:31 am #


    Her website link on that article is gone. So that means that is her main web site now? For reals? It’s not professional looking at all and looks unfinished.

  41. JajieBo January 16, 2010 at 4:32 pm #


    “The owner was appointed as a candidate as one of the top honored women in the Who’s Who Among Executives and Professional Women as well as nominated to participate in the competition for the entrepreneur of the year!”

    Um… WHAT?

  42. unknown January 17, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    That Who’s Who Among Executives and Professional Women thing costs money to be included and is somewhat of a scam. I got one of those letters once, I believe they target all small business owners or anyone who has a professional license.

  43. ohmeohmy January 18, 2010 at 5:25 pm #


    Thanks for that lil tidbit. So she basically “paid” for her homor

  44. ohmeohmy January 18, 2010 at 5:25 pm #

    ack. My typo!!! I meant “honor”

  45. ohmeohmy January 23, 2010 at 9:26 pm #

    The scammer has struck again. She sent a bunch of free sample baked goods and was told a large order would follow. She never heard from Valerie Hawk-Hoffman again, even after emailing many times.

  46. ohmeohmy January 23, 2010 at 10:04 pm #

    And the sellers in the new thread really don’t give a shit, saying “use your common sense” and “If it’s too good to be true, it isn’t” and “don’t send anything out until you get paid”.

    Well, they are seasoned sellers. I think new sellers fall for this scam because they are very desperate for sales and because they’re new, they might not have ever encountered a scammer before. Maybe they have never sold online before.

    I think admin should post a thread on the admin forum that describes diffeernt scams.

  47. tHeENDpeace January 24, 2010 at 12:44 am #

    What is the deal with people being more concerned about “calling out” than etsy allowing a scammer to continue to cheat people? Why is etsy so quick to cloese threads, but so slow to nip scams in the bud?

  48. ohmeohmy January 24, 2010 at 2:45 am #

    Here’s a forum thread about a seller who got scammed by Valerie and never heard from her again after sending out her sample.

    The sellers in the thread were so weird. Almost everyone was saying it was a bad idea to post this is an admin thread on the admin forum because these sellers have to learn on their own…huh?

    2 sellers and a buyer who are all friends in real life became a band of bullies towards the end of the thread and got downright nasty and started saying that anyone who got conned oe almost conned by Valerie had to be STUPID, even though a few of those who almost fell for it were in the thread. No regard for their feelings at all.

    Those three were pompous as hell.

  49. ohmeohmy January 24, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

    More about Valerie Hawk Hoffman and her company, found on rip-offreport’s website:

    This on comments (awaiting moderation):

    Valerie Hawk Hoffman has been trolling our online global handmade marketplace,, for many months, soliciting a slew of sellers for free samples with promises of a huge order to follow. She has asked for approximately $40 worth of free samples per seller, including handmade soaps, foods, hand screened tees (she asked one seller to send her 8 tees in size medium as a free sample), trail mixes, spices, clothing, knitwear, one-of-a-kind handmade dolls, jewelry, candy, and many other items.

    She lures sellers by stating she intends to place a huge paid order–as gifts for 40-50 of her influential clients at $40 per person–subject to review. She claims she will return all samples to a seller if the purchasing dept. of her company decides they will not buy the massive order. She tells the sellers to check a box on her website if they want their samples returned.

    The problem is she does NOT return any samples (which are worth about $40 per seller) nor does she return any emails that are sent inquiring about the samples. In other words, the sellers send expensive free samples of all kinds of things and never hear from her again. It’s all a big con to get as much FREE stuff as possible.

    Etsy is comprised of indie artisan sellers from all around the world who make a few hundred a year if they are lucky. There are over a million sellers.

    If she gets turned down for a sample, she defames sellers on different web blogs and sites, including this one ripoffreports, writing extremely nasty things about the seller and his/her goods, calling the stuff horrible, badly made, etc. sometimes without even having seen the seller’s products (like she claimed on this website).

    Why take advantage of all these starvin’ artists? Who knows. Most of our sellers are women with young kids. It is utterly shameful.

    She has received tons of FREE stuff to use for herself.

  50. JajieBo January 25, 2010 at 9:58 am #

    I’m really getting pissed that Admin is so quick to lock any threads about this woman, but has done absolutely nothing (that I’m aware of) to keep her off of Etsy, or to at LEAST warn the sellers somehow.
    This is disgusting, stupid, and wrong.
    Etsy Admins: WAKE UP!

  51. Christie January 25, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    I was scammed by her. I actually sent her a sample. I told her that she had to pay for the sample and I would refund the price when It was returned. She told me “this is a big opportunity”, I must have lost my mind for a moment and sent it out anyway.

    When I saw that she had received it, I shot her a convo, but she had already cancelled her account.

    This happened in December and I was crazy busy with orders and got mad, but chalked it up to my stupidity and forgot about it. Now I’m revisiting it and it just irks me! There is a special place in hell for her for ripping off so many people who are just trying work hard and do a little good in the world!

  52. ohmeohmy January 25, 2010 at 12:16 pm #


    have you demanded that she return your sample since she states she does return everything rejected by her “purchasing review”?

    2 sellers did ask for stuff to be returned and she said she did mail back their thngs. Only problem is they never received them. Coincidence? I think not.

  53. JajieBo January 26, 2010 at 9:39 am #

    Christie, I’m so sorry to hear that.
    I haven’t been scammed by her, but I just can’t get this issue out of my mind for some reason.
    I don’t know what I can personally do, but I really, really want this woman to be held accountable for what she’s doing. It disgusts me more than any other thing I’ve seen on the ECO blog.
    What can we do to see that this woman never scams anyone else again?

  54. JajieBo January 26, 2010 at 9:49 am #

    There was a “watchdog” article about her on the Topix news website for Bethel, CT. Feel free to leave a comment there if you’ve been scammed by her, at least so people who google her can see what she’s really about.

  55. ohmeohmy January 26, 2010 at 10:33 am #

    I already wrote an email to the Conneticut Attorney General and told everything I know and the reasearch from a bunch of etsy friends of mine.

    I’m going to write to the Maine AG, where she currently lives. I also think she has another huse in Miami so maybe I should write to the Florida AG too

  56. p3z January 29, 2010 at 10:00 am #

    You are all losers, get a life!

  57. JajieBo January 30, 2010 at 9:35 am #

    Oh, there she is!

  58. ohmeohmy January 30, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

    p3z Says:
    January 29, 2010 at 10:00 am
    You are all losers, get a life!

    Hi Valerie or is it Arden Koffman today?

    Scammed anyone lately? Why haven’t you returned any of the free samples you recieved, like you said you would??

  59. createsmith February 2, 2010 at 6:55 am #


    Maybe you should get a life and stop scamming good people.

  60. ohmeohmy February 3, 2010 at 9:08 pm #

    I just received another convo of a seller who had Valerie asking for free baby tees. She didn’t answer back when the seller asked for her wholesale number (she said she would purchase 50 tees afterward).

    Her “big event” has moved up to April, instead of Feb. where she will give out these “gifts” to her clients!

  61. JajieBo February 5, 2010 at 8:47 am #

    Oh, sheesh. When will she quit?

  62. ohmeohmy February 6, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

    How do you tell someone’s IP for a forum posting? I have heard others mention they know if someone is making up sock accounts here to agree with themselves?

  63. wedding singer February 8, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    Cool post! How much stuff did you have to look up in order to write this one? I can tell you put some work in.

  64. COUP March 4, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    One of my items was featured on the main page today. I was immediately contacted by this same nameless Etsy buyer called “gardensgourmet” requesting a free sample, so that she could then approve it to order 40 for a blah, blah, blah….you know how it goes…I googled her address and pulled up a patch of forest in Maine…no businesses were listed….and I knew it was not right….especially when someone refuses to give their name….BEWARE…I just reported her to Etsy for an investigation, as I don’t want any other sellers to lose time like I did…I bet she shoots out her form letter email all day long to hundreds of Etsians and eBayers requesting free stuff in her size and tastes….

  65. Gigi Minor April 19, 2010 at 12:22 pm #

    I would hate to think of myself as a victim of Valerie so I’ll go on record as “a person who learned the hard way”. After I found out that she was a scam artist this morning April 19th, 2010, I sent her this email:

    “Hi Arden…ahemmmm I mean Valerie Hawk Hoffman!

    Wow you’re a real piece of work! Thank you so much for your super fun and exciting way of screwing artists out of their handmade items! I hope you absolutely love your Alice set you scammed off me! Think of your pincushion as a voodoo doll. Every poke digs deeper to that empty space in your chest cavity where your heart is suppose to be : )

    I’ve contacted the Maine Attorney General for you as well. Wow I didn’t know I was dealing with such a notorious entity! You’re very popular in Etsy’s forums! Good job for being so nasty!

    Looking forward to your response,
    Gigi Minor
    Pinks & Needles”

    Note to everyone reading this: The “Alice set” I’m referring to are my hand sculpted decorative sewing pins I call “pin toppers”, Alice meaning Alice in Wonderland. The set included a white rabbit, mushroom, “eat me” cake, pocket watch and a white rose painted red worth $55.00.

    She’s a sick person who needs help!

  66. heelsy June 9, 2010 at 1:56 pm #

    I support your cause, but you lost a lot of credibility in your email when you threatened to contact the FBI. Pretty sure the FBI wouldn’t waste their time with any of this.

  67. Jennifer July 1, 2010 at 3:27 am #

    The FBI might actually have an interest, as the pattern indicates a large scale fraud carried out in multiple states. This is exactly the sort of scam they do investigate.

  68. Martha September 2, 2010 at 7:22 am #

    Here’s a current CT Attorney General document, dated June 10th, 2010 outlining Valerie & her husbands scams against the people of CT and the U.S..

  69. gnosy January 30, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    well hello,wonderfull site,america,yea,lets complain and represent for those who have not fallen victim,this is why we exist.we may not get our monies back but if we can stop fraud i know i sleep better.tyhis buisness sample is a hustle.of course we sellers get free samples all day.but this is a scam for a buisness to acept or ask homemaker/artesians.that is outriggt theft. imoral buisness people scam unknowing individuals into thinking they can be huge and sucessfull with these buisness models,but it is industry and they do buisness with scams in mind.we make products people want.industry pays people to pay people to scam you into having to buy there product.this is true and we all buy from industry every day.peace

  70. gnosy January 30, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    hello again,i as the rest of you are dealing with this new /old esty circle story,i have had my email hacked or etsy is rerouting these emails about circles from a site called tsydot com,note not etsy,tsy is spelling,it is a website refering etsy,it is a hack i believe,it came in my email from etsy today the 29-30 is a direct link to a spoof site,in the fin3e print it states to contact etsy but when reread it actually says contact,here is copy of my inhouse gmail ,WARNING,WARNING,WARNING,THIS IS MY COPY OF A SPOOF EMAIL,IF YOUR EMAIL IS SAME IN YOUR INBOX REPORT IT,THIS IS A HACK EMAIL? //ur email address book to Etsy, so we can find people you know who are also =

    (If you don't want people you know to be able to find you, you will=
    be able easily to opt out through your account privacy settings.)W=
    e're letting you know about this in advance, and will be launching this=
    feature in mid-February.
    We have also revised our Privacy Policy in anticipation of this feature=
    . You can review our Privacy Policy here:
    If you have any questions or comments, please visit to get i=
    n touch.You're receiving this email because you registered on E= with this email address.
    Thanks!The Etsy TeamThis is a service-related message f=
    rom Etsy's headquarters are located at 55 Washington Street, =
    Suite 512, Brooklyn, NY, USA, 11201.


  71. gnosy January 30, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    another problem that is strange,the email is current and in comunity the moderators are saying same lies about circles,this may be a conspracy from facebook/etsy,the circle issue has been ongoing for email saying this is an upcoming event is 100% lie.i am etsy seller and have been flooded with this circle scam for many months,and of course like everyone else in past few days they are mass emailing from a spoof site saying this etsy circle is starting in mid feb?maby it gets worse in mid feb?be warned this is a breach in your personal identity accounts from non buyers or sellers.start your investigation and complaints now ass etsy is hinting,in mid feb something worse is going to happen,like paypal freezing all your accounts until you send them a copy of ypou social security card,this is currently happing,to all paypal costomers,failure to comply allows paypal to keep all monies in your account,peace

  72. traci April 18, 2011 at 1:48 am #

    I got a convo on etsy today from yeloyelo claiming she is the creative director of Yelo. And how she wants a free $100 ring to put in her next photo shoot. I checked out her site and something just seems fishy. And from what I read up above, she shouldn’t be asking me to give her a ring. Is this a common thing on etsy? Is it normal for people to ask for free stuff like this?

  73. Gigi Minor April 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    To Traci~

    If I were you I wouldn’t send anything to anyone. I looked at the Yelo site and it doesn’t resemble anything our friend Valerie would be into – but you never know! I think it sucks that people ask for free stuff and having been personally ripped off by Valerie unfortunately I will never send anything to anyone ever again – sorry to the legitimate business’ out there but why not pay for what you love!!!

  74. Jessica August 6, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

    David Taulbee, username Thunderelio and Sasafrassglass on Etsy is a fraud. He will steal your money .

  75. Rebecca Harper (@becpuss) November 20, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    Just come across this entry when trying to search for ‘Valerie Hoffman scam’. I am a Red Bubbler and I recently received an odd comment on one of my designs.

    “Valerie Hoffman Florida is giving this out for the first 100 shoppers after her new tv show!! Order early”

    An odd comment which makes no sense. However I suspect this is related to the same person you have mentioned. Thanks for this post I am now going report the comment on Red Bubble and warn others.

  76. Gigi Minor November 20, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    very interesting Rebecca! I’m kind of stunned she’s still at it!!! sounds like her to me!

  77. My Site June 5, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    I’m not sure where you’re getting your information, but great topic.

    I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more.

    Thanks for wonderful information I was looking for this information for my mission.

  78. Angrymomma July 1, 2014 at 6:58 pm #

    She is at it again here in Florida. Garden of Eatin’ plants in St. Augustine. I’m sorry she scammed so many of you as well. She is currently trying the same bullying tactics on me but I will not give in to her, not for my sake – I already donated the pos garden she fraudulently sold me – but for the sake of all of the others who will suffer from this new scam. Just wait for her reply – threatening and trying to make me the bad guy. For a laugh, look up some Georgia people were pissed enough to make a whole site about her!

  79. Gil Teva December 7, 2017 at 10:15 pm #

    I opened a store at etsy and I started to sell UVB lamps for skin diseases that I manufacture.
    After about a week the store was closed by etsy, saying that I do not make the lamps myself but I buy from other place.
    It was without asking me anything.
    I complained and I was asked to send pictures that prove that I build the lamp myself.
    Yet after this I got this letter:

    Thank you for providing these photos of your work and the materials that you use to create your items. However, I would like to learn a little more about how you create your items.
    At your convenience, please explain your handmade process. Please write out—in as much detail as possible—the steps you use to create your items.

    We ask for this information to help us determine whether your items qualify to be listed in our marketplace, while also protecting our members and upholding our policies.

    Thank you for your understanding and I look forward to learning more about how your items are made.

    Etsy Marketplace Integrity

    At that stage I have a feeling that etsy wants to copy my lamps and to sell them themselves.


  1. Why I Decided to Sell on Etsy | Silver Drops Blog - June 3, 2011

    […] a larger amount of people knowing Etsy has not been a 100% good either.  More scammers and con-artist have been attracted to Etsy (myself the victim of one).  In the long run though the more people […]

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