Artists Beware–Scammers At Work

The scammers are doing the rounds in email this week so please be careful! Several members have received this one from Tracy Holmberg of California. It’s a ‘moving home’ scam. If you get an email like this just delete it.
It’s a scam.

This is what it looks like…

1st email


I’m Tracy Holmberg from California. I hope this message finds you well.I was going through some of your works and my eyes caught this particular piece,I want to purchase it as I am moving to a new apartment this month.Please let me know if you still have the piece available, if yes let me know and it’s final price and more information
about it. I will be waiting to read from you.

(323) 835-1260

2nd email

Thanks for your prompt reply.

Unfortunately, I’m on my way to France on an official trip(I’m a marketing Executive) and wont be back for another two weeks.

If you’d like to know, I’m relocating to South Africa soon and I’m trying to gather some good stuff for my new abode. I’m buying yours amongst others,quickly! before someone else grabs it.So, I’ll arrange to send you payment ASAP.

However, I’ll have to notify my shipper who’s helping me move my stuff to get set for the pick up of the piece from your place as I MIGHT be delayed depending on how things goes.

PS: In the mean time, kindly get back to me with your contact address and phone# so I can get a check prepared and have it mailed out to you right away.

This is how it works…

  1. The scammer wants to make a significant purchase
  2. They are either moving to or located in a foreign country
  3. They are using their own shipping company
  4. They will be paying via cheque or credit card. If you offer an alternative payment method like PayPal they’ll have some story as to why they can’t use it.
  5. They send you a cheque or pay via credit card but the amount is MORE than the cost of the paintings.
  6. They ask you to pay the shippers fee via Western Union with the extra money. They’ll have a story ready about why they can’t pay it and why it has to be via Western Union. This is the POINT of the scam. The shipping company doesn’t exist, it’s the scammer you’ll really be sending money to.
  7. You pay Western Union and a few days later the cheque or credit card payment bounces. It’s a FAKE.
  8. You have just been scammed for the Western Union payment. It can’t be reclaimed, it’s like handing over cash. Or worse, you’ve ALSO shipped off the paintings and you’ve been scammed for both.


There are many more scams listed on this excellent web site Stop Art Scams by Kathleen McMahon and reading through the different emails on this site will help you spot the scammers.

Another interesting web site is Max Magnus Norman who gives a detailed look at some of the scams and how they work.

2 thoughts on “Artists Beware–Scammers At Work

  1. I’ve now had a couple of approaches by scammers. Another trait seems to be that no particular painting is mentioned (where genuine buyers may gush enthusiasm for an individual piece of work).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s