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Beware: Artist Scam

If you’re an artist, by now you know there are lots of people who say they like your art but don’t want to pay for it.  That’s okay.  They just didn’t like it enough.  Or they really didn’t have the money, or the wall space, or … whatever. But there are people who say they like your art and seem willing to pay for it, but in the end they will have your art and your money.  You, the artist, will have nothing. Beware: artist scam.

There are a few key elements to watch for:

  • s/he likes your work but can’t say which particular piece
  • the work is intended for someone else (anniversary/birthday…)
  • wants to pay by check, but will send cashier’s check if pressed (can’t use PayPal or credit card for some strange reason)
  • will write a check for significantly more than the price of your artwork (ex.: Art=$1400; cashier’s check = $3980); the additional money is for you to pay the shipper (see next bullet)
  • buyer is moving to a different country and the shipper for handling that will also be picking up the artwork and your check for the difference (this ex.:  $2580 to pay the shipper)
  • buyer will have your artwork and your money and your checking account information; you will have nothing (the cashier’s check will ultimately bounce).

Please note: a bank check or cashier’s check can be fraudulent the same as a personal check.  If you deposit the check in your account, the bank may tell you within 2 days that you have the money. However, in two weeks they will let you know you don’t have the money after all.

I know whereof I speak.  Fortunately, my husband is a lawyer. He called the credit union that supposedly issued the check and they told him it was fraudulent.  Since this was the second time this has happened to me, I was aware of the scam possibility and just played along to see what would happen.   The first time, the “buyer” dropped it after I said I wouldn’t accept a personal check.

Update: I have received two missed calls from Switzerland. Maybe that is where my “buyer” is.  He did say he was traveling…