Artists beware: Email scammers are slick! This is not something we didn't already know, right? However, I want to alert you to an email I received this morning in several of my art email accounts. This type of thing is quite common on the Internet but I want to alert those of you who might be unfamiliar so you don't get involved with this. The title of the email reads "ARTWORK WANTED". The message goes on to say:
Hello Seller, Good Day.. My name is Ade jo. I saw your artwork in the list address and am very much interested in buying your (artwork) I will like to know the actual amount of the art and i will prefer to pay with a cashier cheque/money order. And about the shipping I know a good shipping company that I am using that can come for the picking up ,kindly get back now with the price and if you have the picture send it to my mail box to see.Are you a private seller?Do you accept chasier cheque/money order as my method of payment? I will want you to email me back with your website and last offering price. Best Regards
This email has all the hallmarks of a scam. The email expresses interest in your artwork and requests jpg's of the work and your price for selling. The sender says he prefers to pay with a cashier cheque or money order...sounds pretty good, doesn't it? He also says that he knows a good shipping company.
Ok...here is how this works. The guy (or gal) sends you money via an international check but he/she overpays you. When you notify him that he has overpaid, he'll request that you send the overage fees to the shipper to cover costs. This, of course, you'll agree to do but not before you find out the international check they have sent you is bad. Now you've paid money from YOUR ACCOUNT to the shipper. TA DA... you've lost money, allowed a scammer to know your banking information and you might have lost the painting or piece of art as well.
Edward Winkleman has a post on this very subject entitled Art Scam?, with a good deal of informative comments from his readers reqarding this type of fraud. Some of Edward's readers have also listed websites where you can report this activity to authorities. I HIGHLY recommend that you read Edward's post .
There is also a website called Art Scams - Tips to Protect You which I also highly recommend reading. This website offers several tips and resources for protecting your interests.
I know several artists who have had great success in selling art work via the Internet so please don't let this discourage you...just know who you are dealing with and do some research on your part.