Dear Registry and Marketplace Artists,
It has come to the attention of the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) and Maryland Art Place (MAP) that there is an aggressive artwork purchasing scam currently underway. We have heard from several artists on the MSAC Registry and Marketplace who have been solicited by this scam.
Essentially, an artist is contacted by the predators to purchase the artist's work. The artist is subsequently sent more money (by check) than agreed upon for the sale. The artist is then asked to cash the check and send back the balance via money order. During this period of transaction, the initial check sent to the artist is returned for insufficient funds and bounces in his/her bank account. The artist has lost the funds paid out for the money orders.
We ask that you please be careful when approached by a potential buyer during this time. At present, we are sharing all of the information we have. If we receive any new information, we will be sure to share it with you.
MSAC & MAP
About a week earlier, we received the type of email scam they were warning us about. The following message was sent to us through our Appalachian Studio website.
I am so excited that I came across of your work on internet search,I am interested in purchasing these creative artworks from you.....................
Snow Bowl “Jupiter Light”
“Scattered Frost” “Honeycomb Falls”
Let me know their various price and how much discounts are you going to give? I will be happy to have these selected artworks hung in our new home in Miami. As well,I want you to take out the shipping cost.I have been in touch with a shipping firm that will be shipping other house decoratives.
We are traveling from our Seattle home to our new apartment as soon as possible. On Paying for the artworks,I will be glad to pay you with a Money Order or Cashier`s check in US funds that can be easily cashed at your local bank,please let me know on how to proceed for the payment of the creative artworks.
I will await your advise on how to proceed.Have a wonderful day.
Take care, Kathryn Edwards
We've received these kinds of messages before, so we've had some experience in sifting through the requests to figure out which ones are legitimate. When we get them, here are things that alert us to a possible scam.
- Grammar that does not sound quite right..."I am so excited that I am across of your work on internet search"...
- Any mention of shipping costs or that they will make the shipping arrangements. Legitimate buyers may ask what the cost of shipping will be, but we've never had one that wanted to make their own arrangements. When was the last time you wanted to make your own arrangements for shipping an online purchase?
- Proactively telling you how they will pay, especially when it does not involve a credit card.
Not wanting to assume the worst, here is how we always respond to this kind of request in order to determine whether or not we are dealing with an authentic buyer. If it's a scam, we won't hear back.
Thank you for your interest in the work. Our policy is to ship via the U.S. Postal Service, Federal Express or UPS. Depending on your purchase and location, we will determine which service will work best for your purchase and give you a quote prior to shipping. We accept credit cards only via Pay Pal or Square. Please let us know your shipping address and we will provide you with a shipping quote.
It's natural to get excited about a potential sale, but make sure you are dealing with a genuine buyer before you proceed with a transaction.