Artist Tip: Red Flags for Email Scams
This week’s blog is specifically for my fellow artists out there. I received an example of a spam/scam email the other day and I thought it would be a good opportunity to share in case this information can help you. I’ve received several emails like this over the years and noticed a pattern (almost like they’re just cutting and pasting into a template).
Take a look and see how many things you can spot that could indicate that the request is a scam. Scroll down to see what I’ve come up with.
Here are some red flags to watch out for.
Maybe you’re looking at this and thinking you don’t see anything wrong with it. Each thing by itself may not be a problem, but the combination together is where it becomes questionable and you’ll want to use caution.
1. The email starts with ‘I’m ___ from ____’. Many times there’s something off about the location – in this case the state is written before the city. Sometimes the name in the email doesn’t match the name in the email address.
2. There’s usually some sort of vague explanation of your work or where they found you from. I’ve noticed that authentic requests are more likely to mention a specific painting or theme of artwork they enjoyed, sometimes they’ll mention where they saw it in person, what caught their eye, or describe an aspect about it. For example “I really like your waterfall series” or “I saw your artwork at xyz show and really enjoyed it” or “I really admire how detailed your drawings are.”
3. It’s almost always a surprise gift for their wife. (Nothing wrong with surprise gifts in general.)
4. Almost always for an anniversary or birthday. Like I said before, these two things alone would be fine – it’s the combination with everything else that make them red flags.
5. There’s a sense of immediacy. It has to be done right away.
6. They give you a broad budget, usually in the thousands. Having a budget in mind can be very helpful, but it’s not information that I usually see in the initial first email/message I receive from someone.
7. And the biggest red flag: they ask if you accept checks. Bonus points if they also ask if they can write the check over the amount and get the remainder sent back to them in their initial email.
I hope that this information is helpful to you if you’re also an artist and begin receiving emails similar to this. If you did find this helpful, check out my earlier blog post about how to minimize spam comments and messages on your Instagram account.
So you’re reading this and you’re wondering, what IS a good way to email an artist about artwork?
Know that it will likely vary depending on the artist.
A good place to start is to check out their website. Do they have a shop space or give information about how to purchase pieces? Is the work in a style that you’re looking for? Is it at a price point that you’re looking for?
Are you looking for something specific or are looking for some recommendations – reach out. Let us know what pieces you like, how you found our work, what you like about it.
Is there a specific style or theme you’re interested in – ask us. Is it a gift? Let us know the types of things that the person enjoys.
Are you looking for something available immediately? Take a look at our available items in our shop spaces. And make sure to talk about any specific dates so we can make sure our timetables match.
Do you have a certain budget in mind. If you’re looking to spend a larger amount we might be able to suggest pieces that would work well together to create a larger gift or other pieces that may not be listed in the shop.
Understand that most artists will not accept personal checks because it poses a huge financial risk if the transaction doesn’t clear. Ask about different payment options that available.