How can you tell if an inquiry about your art is a scam? I will tell you that scammers are tricksy folks! This blog post has a copy of an actual correspondence between an artist and a scam artist. I hope it will help you discern whether an inquiry is worth pursuing or worth refusing.

How to tell if your new client is a scam artist. Read the actual email correspondence from a scammer.How do you know it’s a scam? Look for these 5 tell-tale signs:
1. An unusual or complicated shipping request, such as a P.O. Box, someone who will pick it up, or an unknown delivery company. The scammer usually offers to pre-pay the shipping and/or the product.

2. Often, the buyer is not a native english-speaking person.

3. They offer to send you a check ahead of the transaction or they insist on paying with a credit card.

4. There is an urgent or time-sensitive issue thrown into the inquiry.

5. It’s too good to be true.

One of our Juicers, Frank, has been approached twice by scammers to buy his fine art abstract paintings. The first time, he ALMOST went for it but another Juicer, who knew about my tragic scam situation (long story for later), gave him a stern warning: “Don’t do it, Frank!”

Over the weekend, Frank was approached by another suspicious buyer. Instead of wondering what he should do, after a few emails back and forth, Frank knew that it was not a viable client. He sent me the correspondence so that we could have a good chuckle over it. I’m going to re-post the correspondence here so that you can see 1) how good they are at sounding legit and 2) you will feel more confident about saying NO when this happens to you. And I left the scammer’s email showing, just in case you get one from the same person. The scammer emails are in bold.

The Hook:

> E-mail: jenkinsg457@gmail.com

> I’m Gregory Jenkins from Miami, Florida. I was looking for some artwork online and i found your contact while searching. I will like to purchase some of your work for my wife as a surprise gift for our 20th anniversary. Kindly send some pictures and prices of some of your other art which are ready for immediate purchase within the price range of $500- $5000, I could be flexible with price. So I hope to hear a lot more about any available piece in your inventory ready for immediate sale.
>
> Thanks

Hi Greg,
Happy holiday to you and your family.
I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the paintings.
If you could please pick a couple of images so I can narrow down what your looking for.
Please send me the name or send me the image of the paintings it will help narrowing down the search.
Thanks,
Frank Satogata
The Line:

Please send me your website address because you weren’t the only painter i contacted 

cheers.
I’m Gregory Jenkins from Miami, Florida. I was looking for some artwork online and i found your contact while searching. I will like to purchase some of your work for my wife as a surprise gift for our 20th anniversary. Kindly send some pictures and prices of some of your other art which are ready for immediate purchase within the price range of $500- $5000, I could be flexible with price. So I hope to hear a lot more about any available piece in your inventory ready for immediate sale. Thanks
*Notice that this guy lets slip that he doesn’t even know what Frank’s website is?
My website is: {removed} Feel free to contact me if you need more information.
I’ve also attached my artist statement to give you an idea behind my method and my philosophy of painting.
And The Sinker:
Thanks for getting back to me. I must tell you I intend to give my wife a surprise with the immediate purchase of the piece. Also If you’d like to know that I’m relocating to the Dublin, Ireland soon and our wedding anniversary is fast approaching by February. So I’m trying to gather some good stuff to make this event a surprise one. I’m interested in the “ChihesienII” piece, I’m pretty sure she will love it and Kindly get back to me with the firm price so I can overnight the check to you.
As regarding shipping, you don’t have to worry about that in order not to leave any clue to my wife for the surprise. As soon as you receive and cash the check, my shipping agent (who is also moving my personal effect) will contact you to arrange pick-up.
I would have come to purchase the piece myself but, at the moment, am on training voyage to the North Atlantic Ocean (I’m a ocean engineer) with new hires who are fresh from graduate school and won’t be back for another couple of weeks. I’ll look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks
PS: In the meantime, kindly get back to me with your full name (you want the check payable to) cell phone no. and contact address (preferably for UPS not P.O box) where a check can be mailed to, so I can get the check prepared and have it mailed out to you right away.

 

I’m Gregory Jenkins from Miami, Florida. I was looking for some artwork online and i found your contact while searching. I will like to purchase some of your work for my wife as a surprise gift for our 20th anniversary. Kindly send some pictures and prices of some of your other art which are ready for immediate purchase within the price range of $500- $5000, I could be flexible with price. So I hope to hear a lot more about any available piece in your inventory ready for immediate sale.
Thanks
Thank goodness Frank didn’t go for it! Except for the very robotic repeat of the “I’m Gregory Jenkins…” he sounds like a pretty interested buyer. And what excellent details about his life, and why he is making the request so complicated. Very clever. Have you ever experienced these kind of scams? I like to think of it as a sign that I’m a legitimate business, like it’s a test of my gullibility or something. Of course, I failed the first test, but I got it right on the re-take! Brave on, mighty creative entrepreneurs!