Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sigh - More Scamming

Having web presence is great, but of course, it means you're open to fraud & scammers. Once again, I've been approached by the "we'll pay you extra for shipping and you send us difference". And the first time it happened, I was willing to be at least not totally pessimistic, if not entirely optimistic. As Dave says, the more traditional scammer relies on the mark's inherent greed. The awful, horrible aspect of the art scam, though, is that the target's interest isn't necessarily greed: this is our bread and butter - interest in our artwork is ultimately how we make money. On top of that, many artists are not 100% full time professional artists, often don't have a high level of "scam-o-meter" and who rely on the internet for a good portion of their exposure. It's very gratifying to have someone be interested in your work, and to want to purchase it, and even more so when they want to purchase quite a lot of it, or something that represents a sizeable monetary value.

So I mentioned some options for artists to arm ourselves with knowledge:

For those of you who are interested, the RCMP has a site on frauds & scams and reporting economic fraud. You should check out the Better Business Bureau if you feel there's a false company, or search government websites to see if they've got something similar if the company you're interested isn't Canadian or American.

I am not the first artist to be drawn in by this, nor by a long shot will I be the last. There are lots of posts on various art forums, and on one of my favourite artists' resources, the Painters Keys. The names and places change, but the overall structure of the scam does not.

In this most recent one, I did a Google search for (the first scammer had a yahoo address, and I wasn't successful at turning anything specific up about that), and found the domain name on a blacklist. Then I did a WHOIS search and found further information about the domain name, which wasn't necessarily helpful. But those are a couple of other ideas to search for when looking to check out a possible scam.

So I'm adding a list to my sidebar with "scammers I have known", to add to the searching possibilities of other artists out there who might be looking for a little help. And artists out there - it takes a huge amount of courage to admit to our community and the wide world that you have been a victim of one of these scams, so thank you so much for your honesty to share your experiences so the rest of us might learn.

One more thing - accepting PayPal, while it also has its inherent pros and cons, is a better option overall than cheque or money order.


Anonymous said...

I just got an e-mail from a Helen Knott with the sender address requesting to know what of my art works are for sale. My scam-o-meter is quite well calibrated so I started to check up the domain name and found that it is on several scam blacklists. Thanks to your post I am now convinced that Helen Knott is not interested in buying a work from me.

It never occured to me that scammers would care to approach artists!

Jon B
Stockholm, Sweden

Anonymous said...

I came across your site when trying to identify:
Received email: "let me know your artworks for sale"
I am an artist and presume she saw my website, but I wonder now if this is scam. thanks for your help.

Anonymous said...

I am artist from Russia and at first do not understood? that it was skammer. I even give him my Moscow address.

This is part of letter from Edward Crouch with email
I'm based in Huddersfield,UK,however you need not worry
> about the shipping arrangements as i would be taken care
> of it.
> The balance which you'll be sending would be used to upset
> necessary customs & tax charges and also used to make an
> up-front payment to the shipping company responsible for
> the pick-up.If this is okay with you,forward me your Full
> mailings details i.e Full Name,Phone Number and Address
> where the check payment would be sent to,so that i can
> notify and instruct my client to issue you the check asap.
> Anticipating your earliest response,
> Edward.

I imagine a long time - for what
he want know my adress and phone.

Andrew R.

Moscow, Russia

Unknown said...

Glad my post has helped a few people to keep themselves safe from scam. Good luck all fellow web-artists!