Recently, I received two separate email submissions sent from my web site’s contact form. Both were enthusiastic about my art and stated the senders wanted to buy a piece quickly as gifts for their wives. They weren’t interested in a specific piece, but stated “I love it all” and other general compliments. The wording of both emails sounded a little strange, and a little bit of online research confirmed my suspicions and avoided a lot of grief and wasted time.
The first was from a “Mark Thompson” - here’s the complete email:
Name: Mark Thompson
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Artwork Inquiry
Message: My name is Mark Thompson from Jacksonville, Florida. The images on your website are so fascinating and so vivacious, looking at each piece of work i can easily see that you added so much dedication in making each work come out to life, I will like to purchase some of your works for my wife as a surprise gift for our 20th anniversary. Please kindly send pics and prices of some of your art which are ready for immediate sale within price range $1000- $10,000, I could be flexible with price.
A quick Google search took me to a page posted on Agora Gallery’s site which discusses art scams. A few of the commenters had also received an email from this same individual. You can visit the page to find out more, but let’s just say that this scam attempt wasn’t unique. I replied by sending him the Art Scammer’s Lingo poster as an example of artwork he might like. He didn’t reply. Go figure.
The second scam email went like this:
Name: thomas wayne
Email Address: email@example.com
Subject: purchase enquiry
Good Day, I Am Thomas wayne from north carolina, i actually observed my wife viewing your work on my computer i must confess you got absolutely beautiful artwork and i love it all. my wife is an artwork lover in all it divines and i can see she has interest in your work. i wanna surprise her by purchasing a beautiful artwork from your collections as her birthday and our wedding anniversary is coming up please you can get back to me on available work on my email(firstname.lastname@example.org) Cheers
Again, a quick Google search found this posted on a complaints board:
So, once again, a quick search revealed that Thomas Wayne was not so much interested in my art as my money.
I won’t go into all the various methods these con artists have for transitioning from buying your artwork to taking your money, you can read about that here. I just wanted to “pay it forward” and warn people about these two and all art scammers in general. It’s sad that people feel it’s a good idea to pray on artists when it’s hard enough for artists to make a good living without getting conned. But, we all know these thieves are out there.
So, a word to the wise, if someone unknown contacts you by email and is immediately overly enthusiastic about buying any art you have available, it’s a good idea to spend a few moments doing a basic internet search. Often, you’ll find the offer is indeed too good to be true.