Email buyer scams

A reader said “I received an e-mail from a buyer asking to purchase one of the paintings on my website. He sent me what looked like a cashiers check to pay for the painting and the shipping and asked that I send a payment to the shipper ASAP because he had scheduled a pick up. I went to the bank first to make sure the check was good. After several days of investigating they told me it was fake. In the meantime the buyer was pressuring me to pay the shipper or he’d cancel the sale. I know artists who have been taken in by this.”

Anyone else have experiences like this?

21 thoughts on “Email buyer scams”

  1. Quote a few people have approached me about this. It’s always a hurry or surprise gift where they want to send their own shipper. Thankfully I had done my research. Glad you were smart enough to catch this.

  2. I receive these emails several times a year. They are all variations of : laptop, wife looking at website, surprise, moving and will ship painting with sports car etc.
    I also got a follow up phone call for one, and the caller may have been the “Nigerian prince”.

  3. Sounds like an email I received. He wanted art for his wife’s birthday. Asked for prices. Then he mentioned the need to pay by cashiers check so she wouldn’t see the bill … what a scam …I was so angry that I had wasted time replying to the first email regarding prices. His brother in law is probably a Nigerian prince.

  4. i’m getting emails from a “prospective buyer” that looks suspicious to me. i asked who they were? and other questions about their collection and my work. all i’ve gotten from them is that they are “Bally Technologies, inc.” i’m not going to try for a deal because it’s clear they’re a scam.

  5. Yes, this happened. The emails were well written from Linda Rudy. The address was to Miami Shores, FL. The cashiers check from PNC Bank had security elements and was sent by USPS priority mail. I was scammed. My bank and PNC Bank said that they would not have been able to identify the check as a fraud. My bank sent a letter that the check had “errors” about 10 days after the online deposit. The police reported that a check can clear then can be rejected later. The banks and the USPS did not do a follow up with the reports filed. The police took a report and were difficult to reach.

  6. Same with me. I got nailed the second time with fake checks. Others mentioned poor English, cashier’s checks, private pick ups, trying to hurry me. Sounds exactly the same. The first time, it was so obvious it was a scam, I didn’t go along with it. The second scammer was much more clever. It’s sad how many of them prey on virtually unknown artists hoping they’ll get excited about having a rich patron.

  7. This was the first scam I was faced with. I became suspicious that someone wanted three or five of my paintings and I am a virtually unknown artist. I put the first sentence of the scam letter online and found the same letter had been sent to many others. Now I am suspicious with poor English, cashier’s checks, private pick ups, trying to rush me. I usually write back and say that I don’t participate in scams.

  8. I get these e-mails regularly. The tip off was ” They saw my work on my website and want to know how to buy it along with the long winded explanation about hoe they are moving and blah, blah, blah. My response is always. “I don’t accept checks as payment and if you saw my web site you know how to buy it. I never use a “Private carrier” but use USPS, FedEx, or UPS. That usually makes them go away.

  9. I had a similar experience about a year ago. I received an email from a woman wanting to buy three pieces that she had seen on my web site. She referred to them by name, so I belive she had seen them on my site. I told her one of the pieced had been sold but the other two are available. We agreed on a price and she indicated she would send payment. I waited and received nothing so I forgot about it. A month later she contacted me again and gave an excuse for not sending the payment. She said her husband in a different location would be sending a check. A couple of weeks later I received a check for about $1500 (I think in that range) more than the price we agreed on. She emailed and asked if I got the check. I told her the check was for the wrong amount. She said to send her a check for the excess amount and ship the artwork to her. I was suspicious from day one about the purchase. The emails sounded like they were written by someone not fluent in the English language although the name was not a foreign one and the address was in a small town in Iowa I think. I asked friends about this deal and they said it sounded phony so I decided to take the check to my bank, have someone look at it, and told them the story. They said this sounded like a scam and the check would most likely bounce. They told me to get the information together and send it to the FBI. I went to the FBI on line and discovered that this is a known scam and I gave them my info. I emailed the lady back and told her that my bank would not cash the check and I would not ship the artwork until I received a check for the proper amount. I never heard from her again.

  10. Sorry about the “were” after the FBI above. I’m typing on a small telephone keyboard. Moderator please feel free to delete it as I can not find an edit button. Thank you.

  11. I had someone contact me about buying a $10,000 painting and they FedEx’d me a check and I took it to the bank. I explained to them this was not a client I knew and I wanted to know if the check was good?
    The buyer was on an FBI watchlist for passing counterfeit checks and the manager showed me how the information had been washed down and re-entered. It was a very good forgery and I had to fill in some paperwork for the bank and FBI
    In 33 years as a professional artist I have not allowed a painting out of my hands until the money has cleared my bank. Commissions are 50% down and non refundable and clients have to sign acknowledging that. When a work is sold clients are given a list of art packers/shippers from local auction houses. They arrange and pay for the shipping.
    I do all of this because the painter I apprenticed with for 4 years had pretty much experienced every scam from galleries and clients in his long career. Even learning from his experience I’m sad to say I’ve still had some hits from dishonest galleries.

  12. This happened to me several times, but it never got as far as the money. I had a feeling it was a scam so just to make sure I asked a few questions, like: where did you see my artwork? What do you like most about it?
    They won’t answer personal questions and will stop contacting you.

  13. I had this happen as well but caught on quick. It occurred to me who would be willing to send me money on my art from my website, not knowing the specific artwork.

  14. It happen to me more than a year ago.
    I can’t recall the whole story but it was from Africa & was a fake cashier check over a $1000. & put pressure on me to get the remaining balance back to him which I didn’t.

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