8 WARNING SIGNS of AN ART SCAMMER

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8 WARNING SIGNS OF AN ART SCAMMER

and 6 Words of Advice

Briefly the scamming scenario goes like this (I have received 2 versions of this scenario): Scammer wants to buy your art piece. You are excited to sell. Scammer can only pay for it with a check and must use the delivery services of his/her specified person. After you (the artist) receive the check which pays BOTH you and the specified delivery person, you are instructed to write a check to the delivery person for doing his/her part in this transaction.

Follow the 8 warning signs below to gain a deeper look at the intricacies and implications of completing this transaction.

  1. Email which the scammer uses to make contact with you, contains a lot of awkward English and improper use of words and phrases in English.
     
    1. Examples (these come from actual emails):
       
      1. “I intend to give my husband a surprise with the immediate purchase of the piece”, instead of “I’m surprising my husband with this piece.”
      2. “I am buying the piece as part of gifts to him”, instead of “I am buying the piece as a gift for him.”
      3. “I’ve contacted my Boss to issue out the check and have it sent to you”, instead of “I’ve asked my Boss to write a check and have it sent to you.”  (Who is this Boss anyways???)
      4. “Now I’m concluding you’re a responsible person and I can therefore entrust you with this arrangement.  I’ll let you know immediately the check has been sent to you,so you should be looking out for it,” instead of “……..”Oh, you get the point!
         
  2. The scammer is out at sea, either on an oil rig or on maneuvers on the North Atlantic Ocean as a Civil Marine Engineer or somewhere in a place where he is not able to return home soon or easily.
     
  3. The person is having his “home base” moved soon to another location such as to Dubai or Canada or The Hague. That last one should send red flags a’flying.
     
  4. Because the scammer is moving soon, he wants his “official” mover to handle picking up and delivering the art piece to him.
     
  5. The person wants to pay for the art piece by check, because the gift recipient takes care of the credit card and PayPal accounts and would discover the gift transaction before receiving the gift. The check would insure that the recipient would not discover the transaction.
     
  6. The transaction needs to be handled quickly because the anniversary or birthday or Xmas (the reason for the gift) is going to happen soon.
     
  7. What is expected of you is to deposit the scammers check and immediately write another check to the “bogus” mover for his cut in the deal. In reality you lose the amount of the check you write to the mover. And if somehow the art piece is shipped by you to the mover, then you lose the art with no payment for it.
     
  8. The scammer is highly complimentary of you, the artist; and you easily become enamored by all the good things he is saying about you.

Words of advice in order to not be scammed:

  1. Do not accept checks from anyone, unless you actually know the person or know how you could physically reach him/her - like he lives next door or on the next street. 
     
  2. Be wary of emails with broken English which sound like the assembly directions to the latest gadget or piece of furniture which you have to put together at home.
     
  3. Never rush a transaction for the benefit of the customer. Take your time and be sure it is done correctly. Be sure that the money is in your pocket or bank account, without a doubt, before letting go of that art piece.
     
  4. Never let your ego become inflated by anyone’s compliments unless you can determine that they are real and authentic.
     
  5. Never reply to the scammer. Do not even reply that you are not dealing with him. Let him wonder.
     
  6. Always, always, trust your initial gut feeling. If there is a tinge of suspicion, such as a convoluted and detailed transaction,listen to yourself. You are about to be scammed. Don’t be the latest victim.

Have you had this experience?  Pass this Blog along to your art friends. Let’s spread the word and put these scammers out of business!