Stopping the Scam
Well, this is not at all what I planned on posting this month, but I guess no one ever expects for a scammer to show up at your door (virtually that is). Sadly, scammers do not discriminate over who they target and don't care who they hurt; they only care about money. I have been contacted twice by scammers through my site, and ironically they used almost the same story line both times. (They're not the brightest bulbs in the marquee but they're counting on you to be dumber than they are in order to get away with their nonsense.) Thankfully, both times I've been contacted I picked up on the scam and thanks to this website, run by Kathleen McMahon, I confirmed my suspicions and did not lose any money.
The first time I was contacted I responded saying I knew the individual was a scammer and that I was reporting them, then I blocked their address. This time, inspired by British comedian James Veitch... I decided to get a little more creative. I tried responding to the scammer's request and see if I could reel HIM in a little and actually frustrate him to the point were I could get him to give up in disgust, but I must have delayed too long in responding because I haven't heard back from him at all. (Either that or the tip off could have been that I declined his request to pay by check and said I'd only accept PayPal or gold bullion... was that too much of a give away??) ;) I'm actually bummed because I was sincerely looking forward to applying some of James Veitch's tactics and having a little fun myself, but oh well. Should I get a reply from him after posting this I'll be sure to share an update.
Anyway, the point of all this is not just to share my story but to warn others - particularly artists - about how to spot a scammer before you're out a ton of money and potentially your artwork. Please read this article as it goes over the different red flags that can alert you to the fact that a request for artwork is actually a scam: https://www.artworkarchive.com/blog/don-t-be-fooled-by-email-art-scams-how-to-spot-and-avoid-fraud FYI - I got hit with the "my wife seems to be a fan of your work / I'm looking for an anniversary gift for my wife" version of the scam. The address it came from this time was: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you ever get contacted by a scammer be sure to alert others online with their information! We need to look out for one another and prevent these people from taking advantage of vulnerable people if we can. It can feel like a game of whack-a-mole, but I do believe every little bit helps. Stay safe out there!