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 edwcrouch.us (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.