Scams and More Scams

Since starting this blog – or maybe since posting more on Facebook, I have been inundated with fraud attempts.

I suspect, that as an artist promoting your work, you either have been, or will be solicited from all sides.

The first PMs – and comments on Facebook posts – were about NFTs. NFTs are “non-fungilble tokens”, that is, digital copies of your work that are bought and traded.

Wouldn’t I like to make NFTs of my work? Several people approached me stating they were NFT sellers and they could sell my work easily. I would get 50% of each sale.

What’s not to love? I told the first few that I just was not interested and was happy doing what I was doing, but one persisted. That’s what got me curious about what the scam was behind this. You know there has to be a scam, right?

It took some googling to get a good idea of how this all works and I could not find a comprehensive article to share here, so I will just give the basics.

If you want to make an NFT to sell, you need a site to do it. There is one very popular and legit site, Opensea, but the person contacting you will likely tell you that they use a different site. Now, to “make” an NFT – or to “mint it” – costs money. They call this the “gas money” or fee. Usually, it is around $300 – from a scammer. So you are being offered a LOT of money but you have to pay this $300 first. Or maybe even more, as there are some scams where you pay the “gas money” to the site, see lots of bidders show up offering thousands, but then are told that you have to pay more “gas” or fees to sell the work.

And of course, nothing gets sold. The site is a scam. The person contacting you has a deal with the site and gets some or all of the money you have just paid to get your work “minted”

All of these scams work – and have worked – for as long as humans have been around, because the lure of “easy money” puts stars in people’s eyes not red flags. What could it hurt? It’s a little cost and… maybe I could pay off that credit card. Maybe all this work really has been worth it. Maybe I have really been discovered. And on and on.

There may be legitimate NFT traders and sites out there. But will they contact you on Facebook or Instagram? Emmmmmmm…

And then there is the usual “paying too much” scam that has been used on artists and other small business people for years. I got one of these this week on Facebook.

A female – that I did not know and who did not have much on her profile – messaged me and asked if I accepted commissions. I responded no. She messaged the next day saying, “you do sell your work though?” I said yes, and sent a link to my print site.

She responded with a photo of one painting and said she wanted to buy the original.

This was not my first rodeo. I thanked her, told her the price and that I shipped flat, no mat and that shipping in the US was included in the price (there’s a reason I said that!). I requested her name, address and email.

I also said “Paypal only”. After awhile, she responded “Only Paypal?” I said yes, unless she was local and then I would take cash.

Of course I did not hear from her again.

This scam works because the person will send you a certified check or money order for MUCH more than the cost of the painting and then, when asked about it, will say that they are sending their courier or decorator or framer or whatever to pick up the piece and the extra $ is to give them the difference in cash for their service. Or they will direct you to the “shipper” that they use as they are currently overseas. You pay the shipper out of the check they send you. Your money is real. Theirs is not.

As an example, if the painting is $500, they will send a check for $1,500. Of course the check they sent you bounces – but only after you have given the other party cash or a good check. Or worse, your credit card number.


Here’s one write up on the scam –

Read the comments! Even though it is an older article, the scams still go on.

My advice is to have firm policies. Mine basically are that I do what I do because I love what I do. I take Paypal or cash. I have sold locally and did take a check from a minister’s wife – in her own home – after I dropped off the second piece that she bought from me. But in a transaction with a stranger? Nope.

Now I am not saying Paypal is the be-all and end-all of services. There are many out there. It is just the one I use. It’s easy. Pick one and use it.

Do not be lured out of doing what you do how you do it and you will be fine.

One comment

  1. One good thing to do is to freeze your credit. It will help protect against credit card fraud. It’s free and fast, but you need to go to all 3 companies and do it. Experian Transunion and Equifax. If you need to apply for credit, insurance or a loan, you;ll need to temporarily unfreeze, the re-freeze it.
    I really hate that there are so many ways to scam people! Great blog!

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