Advance-fee fraud variant 'Artists': cheque and job offer scams

Scammers are using more and more advanced techniques to get what they want: you could be cheated out of anywhere between a few hundred to a few thousand Dollars.

You have no doubt already received a 'traditional' scam email: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance-fee_scam. A traditional scam consists of sending spam to thousands of people: 'I am a rich heir with millions of dollars that need putting into an account immediately,' 'you have won $1 650 000 on the lottery.' Etc.

The variant 'Artists' is much more elaborate. Firstly they do not necessarily send thousands of emails. A scammer will look at your website and tailor their message to you.

How does the scam variant 'Artists' work ?

  • One person (the scammer) contacts you wanting to know if they can send you a cheque. There can be many reasons why. If you are a photographer or graphic designer it could be to order enlargements or for copyright reasons. If you are craftsperson it could be to order a work of art. If you are an actor, dancer or model it could be to buy plane tickets so that you can take part in casting held abroad. The possibilities are endless but you just have to realise that the scammer will find a 'valid' reason for sending you a cheque made payable to you. At this stage you won't be able to tell that it is a scam. Or you could try to find out by telling them that you do not accept payment by cheque and that you want them to pay by bank transfer. They will undoubtedly not agree to this.
  • The scammer asks you to cash the cheque and requests a refund because they have paid you too much. Once again, the scammer will find a 'valid' reason for requesting this refund. Some examples are: the scammer now only needs 10 photo enlargements and not the 20 they initially requested. They have sent you a cheque for $ 2 500 but the cost is only now $ 1 500. This request should set alarm bells ringing. If you send the scammer a refund they will have successfully scammed you.

What happens next

  • You cash the cheque at your bank. Don't count on the expertise of the cashier to tell you it's a fake. The bank will not immediately know that it is a fake. Don't trust the cashier if they tell you that there is not a problem with the cheque.
  • Your bank account is credited with the sum of money the cheque was made out for.
  • A few weeks later the bank will debit the amount of the cheque from your account because it is a fake. If you have already sent the refund you will not get hear from the scammer and you will never see your money again.

Another type of scam: Fake job offer

This type of scam does not involve fake cheques. The scammer uses the identity of a real company (name, logo…) and offers you a job with an excellent salary and brilliant working conditions. If they ask you to send them money (fees, work permits etc.) this should set alarm bells ringing. The scammer sometimes uses an accomplice. They will for example, give you the contact details of a (fake) public servant to help you get a work permit in return for some money.

What should you do?

If you have received a dubious message via your portfolio on Artfolio, let us know.

If you have not already been scammed do not reply to any more messages from the scammer.

If you have already been scammed it is important that you file a complaint and provide copies of messages sent between you and the scammer and your bank statement.