Like all artists I enjoy selling art. Of course I like getting paid for what I do. It’s the world we live in. Everything costs money. So when I sell a piece I am happy for two reasons. I am getting paid for what I love to do and I am making someone happy. This means that I spoke to someone through my art, it doesn’t get any better than that!
Recently I received an email from a lady in Ohio. She discovered her husband looking at my website. There are worse things you can discover your husband looking at online. So again I took that as a compliment. She wanted to know what inspired me and asked questions about a particular image that I created. I kindly and thoughtfully took the time to respond to all of her questions. We had a bit of back and forth dialogue over the last couple weeks.
A couple days ago I received this nice check FedEx’d to my studio. Sweet!! Right? Ummm not so fast. Let’s backup this a little bit. By the second email I knew immediately that this was a scam. I have had people try to run check scams on me in the past so I knew what was happening. I play along because I want these people busted. I loathe these people!! So in a nutshell what they do is butter you up. Try to gain your trust, ask about you, act all interested. Then comes the crazy story. I want this for my husband for our 10 year anniversary, I want it to be a surprise. He takes care of all the finances so I am having my assistant write a cashier’s check. I am moving to the Philippines, so I am having a shipping company handle all my affairs. It goes on and on. Sounds really legit actually. So here’s the part where they screw you over. The fine art print I was selling had the price tag of $500. So that means the check is written over for the amount of $800. When I go to cash the check, the “extra money” minus my costs goes to the shipping company. When the check bounces, I am out the $800. The con artist then pockets the $800. I knew from the second email that this was the game that was being played. I contacted the credit union and verified that this was a scam. The check is counterfeit.
Most of these scams originate over seas. They are getting better at it now. Using addresses within the US. Their English is better, i.e. writing and spelling. They are using common names. So as a warning be careful. If you sense something is wrong, then something is wrong. If it is too good to be true, be careful.
As an artist I work very hard to put a quality product out there that will sell. I do this full time. This is my sole source of income. So it pisses me off being a target to a scam. It pisses me off that artists as a whole are targeted. We are targeted not just by scams but also to offer up our services for free. This happens all the time. Not just from family and friends, large companies as well.
The film industry and agencies make up all sorts of excuses and promises, “We have no budget, but we would like to place your art in several scenes.” Ummm, no budget? How is that possible. Does that mean you have no money, or so much money that you decided not to budget it? I don’t know. I just saw this today in an art community. Don’t fall for it!!! Exposure, possible future work! It never comes, it is a scam!
The point is artists need to be paid. If you like it, or love it, then pay for it! We work very very hard for very very little. Our prices are already dirt cheap. Nothing I create was free for me to create. My supplies, my rent, utilities, etc., and my time all cost me a lot of money. So how can I simply give anyone my work for free? No artist can.