I receive spam mail asking to buy my painting. I get this often and most of them are tweaking their emails to make it look more legitimate. These are not real people looking to purchase your work, but hackers that simply want to scam you for money or obtain your email to sell it to other databases that use email for other potential scams.
I work everyday to create art, to practise, devoting time and attention to work, to support myself and my family, to help put bread on the table (so to say), so when I hear or receive these random phishing I cringe. As an artist, this pains me to a great degree, as my paintings have a piece of me. It has my education, experience, time and hard work.
Scammers are everywhere, and everyone is a target, but my writing will focus on first time art sellers and art students to help prevent someone from this awful experience
So, what to watch out for? What are the RED flags!
1) First clue: The email does not address you by name. It is very vague. If they emailed you, they should at least address you by your name.
2) The email usually does not have their full name
3) They want to purchase your art, (perhaps several pieces) but say they are moving or abroad and would want you to ship your work to an address or a shipper will be in touch to pick it up at your home.
4) If you communicate with them, they may reference that they themselves are an agent or know of a shipper to transact moving/shipping goods
5) Very often the email has misspellings, or grammatically wrong sentence structures
6) In succeeding emails, they will ask you if you accept cheques or money order
7) Try to hover your mouse on the header, usually their name is not the same as the email address
8) Usually they will pay MORE than the amount you are asking for and give you a story that it is for your trouble, and ask you to take what is yours and to send the balance back through Western Union. This is then untraceable once picked up.
9) Some scammers are getting very good in their game by using paypal as a source of payment. How they do this, is sending you an image of the paypal confirmation that they sent the money to your account, but, it is NOT from paypal but rather a copy cat of the site. In the copy cat, they will send you a link to click on to log in which gets you into more trouble because now they know your log in ID and password. Very tricky!!!
Also, is if it sounds “too-good-to-be-true” it is usually a scam. No one just buys 5 pieces of artwork randomly and pays you way more than you have asked for immediately because they are in some rush.
Be careful out there.
This is a sample of the spam I received today:
My name is Thomas Jeff from SC. I actually observed my wife has
been viewing your website on my laptop and i guess she likes
your piece of work, I'm also impressed to have seen your
different types of works too, : ) You are doing a great job. I
would like to receive further information about your piece of
work and what inspires you. I am very much interested in the
purchase of the piece (in subject field above) to surprise my
wife. Kindly confirm the availability for
Thanks and best regards,