This is a warning to all my art friends out there---watch out for Art Scammers!!!
I recently created a new website through artspan.com. They have a section on each person's site where potential customers can email you with questions about your art. I received an email from a "Sean Gate" a few weeks ago who inquired about one of my murals and how much the "painting" cost (should of been my first clue). I explained to him that the mural was on the side of a building and could not be sold, but I that I could recreate that image on a canvas for him. His english was not that wonderful and he came across as a wealthy foreigner wanting to buy art-cost really wasnt an issue. I quoted him some prices to recreate the piece. He told me he would send me a check for the entire amount and that he would have a shipping agent contact me and handle the shipping arrangements. I was a little leary because the whole thing sounded too good to be true. So, I gave him my dad's post office address and told him he was welcome to send a check to that address.
A couple of weeks went by and no response until the other day. He sent an email and tells me he is so very sorry that their has been a delay with his check and it will be coming very soon.
This morning, I get the following email:
"Good morning Lissy. I can see now that you have received the check which was delivered by USPS with the tracking number (EO 906------) via http://iship.com/trackit/. You are expected to have the check deposited in your account this morning, the check sent to you includes the price for what I am purchasing from you and my shipping agents as he would be responsible for pick up after the check must have cleared in your account. please have the difference withdrawn this morning or you can have it all deposited in your account instead of carrying cash around and locate a western union/money gram store closer to you or a Walmart and have the difference sent using money availbale in minute with your debit card to my shipping agent so they can make arrangement for the pick up by later today or first thing tomorrow morning.
I would appreciate you have the money sent this morning and email me the transaction details so I can have it fowarded to him asap below in the information of the Agent details
Name: Shirley Ortiz
Zip Code: 23320
I appreciate your prompt response.
I have no idea if there is a check waiting at the post office-I will check tomorrow. But basically, this guy was trying to send OVER the amount we discussed. I would cash or deposit the check and then give the extra he sent to his "shipping agent" to cover the cost of shipping. The check would of ended up being bad and I would of been out alot of money.
I also heard from another person by the name of Philip Weber who was trying to do the exact same thing. He claimed he wanted a painting for an upcoming family reunion in Belgium!! I googled these two names and other artists had received the same emails from the same names.
While researching about art scammers on line, I read how they love to prey on artists because most are trusting souls who need money!!! And that this all started years ago in Nigeria. When I went and looked at my statistics and tracking on my website, sure enough, I had ALOT of hits coming from Nigeria!!! I contacted my website host to let them know of this but I realize they can not really do anything. So friends, please be warned...if something sounds too good to be true...IT IS!!!!
(The above painting was created in 2009 from The Einstein Series "Two Wrongs and A Right",
mixed media on canvas, 30" x 30")