COBB COUNTY, Ga. — The Cobb County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fraud case that involves an alleged tattoo artist who claims to work at different tattoo shops in the county.
Channel 2′s Cobb County Bureau Chief Michele Newell has learned the man lures people through Instagram, but after they pay their deposit, they get a big surprise.
It all starts on Instagram. They see tattoo work that he claims to be responsible for.
They like what they see, so they book an appointment, but they have to pay a deposit first and it has to be through a money app like Zelle or CashApp.
But they don’t realize they’ve been fooled until they show up to the tattoo shop that he sends them to.
Problem is, he doesn’t work for any of them.
Newell contacted the alleged tattoo artist on Instagram to get answers, but he blocked Newell after she reached out to him.
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Lucky Draw Tattoo is a reputable and highly respected business located in Marietta.
If a customer schedules a tattoo, they only take deposits in person. But over the past couple of months Ashley Cannon noticed a disturbing pattern.
Twenty people showed up for tattoo appointments they said they had paid deposits for through a money app.
“Anywhere from $250 deposits all the way up to $675,” Cannon said. But the person they scheduled appointments with didn’t even work there.
“There’s a guy that says he works for us and other places. He’s taken their money via CashApp, Zelle… but he’s never worked here,” Cannon said.
The alleged tattoo artist goes by “Ink by Flo” on Instagram and has 90,000 followers.
“I DM’d him on Instagram. I said, ‘I love your work. I would love for you to do a piece for my son,’” Shakeeda Bullard said.
Bullard says she followed the man on Instagram for one year before she booked an appointment to get a tattoo in memory of her late son.
“I sent the first deposit through Apple Pay. He told me his CashApp wasn’t working,” Bullard said.
The direct messages between the two on Instagram show the deposit policy.
Half of the full price is required. Another message says, “(I)’ll make sure you love it.”
Another message shows where he told her to meet him.
“(I) walked into the tattoo shop, and they are like, ‘No one works here by that name,’” Bullard said.
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Newell asked, “When you realized this guy doesn’t even work for this tattoo shop, what were (you) thinking?” “I was disgusted. I was mad,” Bullard answered. Newell tried to call the phone number he gave Bullard but received no answer.
“The tattoo shop, they felt so bad about what happened with me that they gave me a smaller tattoo on my finger with his initials on there,” Bullard said.
They also filed a fraud case with CCSO. “This is a new take on what is your common scam,” Sgt. Blake of CCSO said.
The victim Newell spoke with and other tattoo shops, including Lucky Draw Tattoo, all said they reported the Instagram page as fraud but nothing ever happened.
Newell contacted Instagram about it, but hasn’t heard back.
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