About the scams…

E-mail scammers target artists they find through portfolio web sites and image registries, betting that they will be anxious to make a sale. The scammers will mention specific titles of artwork they want to purchase and offer way too much information about why they want it, claiming it’s an anniversary gift for a spouse, for example.

Here’s how most of these scams work: the scammer sends a counterfeit check written for more than the sale price of the artwork (usually explaining that it’s to cover the shipping). Once the check arrives, they will request the artist to wire the difference to a third party (a “shipping agent”) and they are usually in a hurry to make this happen before anyone realizes the check is a fake.

Most of these e-mails are poorly written and include many grammatical errors. There is typically also an elaborate explanation for the unusual circumstances of the transaction, far surpassing the amount of information any legitimate collector would provide. This should be a red flag that the e-mailer is not who he claims to be.