Any artist with a website has probably received one; an email that almost makes your heart sing.  “Dear Ms Sutherland, my wife has been on your website and I secretly looking over her shoulder realized she is in love with your work.  Please email me with the price on your painting "Threading the Needle”  There’s more and I’ll go into that in a moment.  Um…”I secretly looking”?  The English is not quite right.  And, if they’ve been on my website, they’d know the price of the painting because I always list prices.  You realize something is a little fishy, then reading on, it starts to really stink.  It’s boilerplate; “I have a second home in the Bahamas (Tahiti, Aspen, San Diego) and I’d like to furnish it with your works”  OK, this guy is rich except it’s “work” not “works”.  “I’ll be passing through your area on my way to my second home next week and will stop in with a check” Interesting how he might be driving to Tahiti.  Sometimes these emails attempt to tug at your heartstrings:  “My only daughter is leaving for college”, “my wife has an incurable disease”.  That’s when you’d better realize that this is a scam and delete it.  

And what if one did follow through?  Either the wealthy writer or his courier comes to your home with a check or money order much larger than the worth of the paintings.  Then the artist is asked to just write them a check for the difference.  They drive off with your good check and the paintings and later when you get to the bank, you find that the one in your hand is worthless.  

I know at least one artist who nearly fell for this scam  He had a sculpture ready for pick up when he excitedly told me of this sudden windfall.  I told him he’d fallen for this common scam.  He called his wife who was supposed to meet with the courier and warned her to NOT let him have his work.  Just in time!  © Dawn Sutherland  2017