A couple of days ago, I got a message in my Etsy inbox from an “Elizabeth Sanders”, inquiring about my original Mission Point lighthouse painting. I listed it at $200, unframed. “Miss Sanders” also asked for my email, since she wanted to purchase it outside of Etsy.
I thought it was kind of weird, but I gave her my email anyway. Yesterday, I got an email from her saying she wants to pay me by sending a check. It eerily reminded me of another message I got from a “buyer” from Instagram (I will talk more about that later). Here’s the email that she sent to me:
Anyway, my gut immediately told me this was a scam. I looked it up to be sure: I googled “artist scammers”. It gave me a long line of results. Sure enough, this artist scam is a very real thing!
Anyway, about my Instagram scammer.
A few weeks ago, someone sent me a message on Instagram asking if she could buy one of my paintings. Since I offer many different kinds of paintings, I asked her which one she wanted. Did she want a commissioned pet portrait? A landscape painting? An art print? A human portrait? Watercolor? Graphite? Digital? Pastel? She seemed confused and asked for a sample. She said it was for her 90 year-old husband. Eventually, she said she wanted a pet portrait and sent me a screenshot of 2 dogs. I asked her what size she wanted and gave her the price options.
Red flag number 1: They don’t know exactly what they want
We agreed on a price, then she said she would send the check right away and someone will pick up the painting as soon as I received the check. I told her that she had to wait a couple of weeks since I had some commissions waiting to be finished. Again, she seemed confused.
Red flag number 2: They want to pay with a check.
She said she couldn’t wire me the payment because her husband controlled all of the bank accounts and she wanted it to be a surprise.
Red flag number 3: They’re buying it for someone else.
It all seemed reasonable at first, except she seemed really confused as to why she had to wait a couple weeks to pick up the painting. Also she was going to pay me extra and I was to give the difference to her property manager who was going to stop by for the painting.
Red flag number 4: It’s very urgent.
That’s when I knew it was a scam.
I also messaged another artist on Instagram that this scammer was following, and she said it did seem sketchy as well.
I looked a the snapshots of the dogs again. It seemed to have come from an Instagram page. It included the search bar on top that said “#petdog and also the owner of the Instagram page. I looked up the Instagram page that the dog photo came from. The page belonged to a guy from Cornwall! He didn’t look like someone’s 90 year-old husband either!
Anyway, I blocked said scammer right away!
As for “Elizabeth Sanders”, I just didn’t respond. I knew what she was going to say next, anyway.
There are so many slimy people out there. Be careful!