Email Art Buyer Scams (Artists Beware!)

Greetings all—as art sales continue to grow on the web, so do the efforts of scammers trying to rip off today’s hard working creatives. These scams often take the form of emails directly to the artist rather than their gallery or dealer.) They appear to be from a rather nebulous collector who seems eager to take just about anything off of your hands and throw a few thousand bucks your way…

Fortunately, many of these email art collection/acquisition scams are somewhat easy to spot. Each one contains repeating language patterns and phrases as well as enough spurious vagueness to raise red flags rather quickly. Howard Rehs of Rehs Gallery in New York helped me to gather some of our “favorite” emails from these art phishers. See how quickly you yourself can assemble the criteria to identify the nature of the phishing expedition (the first one I received just a few days ago):


My name is David Burdeny , from Mineola Texas. I have been on the lookout for some artworks lately in regards to I and my wife’s anniversary which is just around the corner. I stormed on some of your works which i found quite impressive and intriguing. I must admit your doing quite an impressive job. You are undoubtedly good at what you do. With that being said, I would like to purchase some of your works as a surprise gift to my wife in honor of our upcoming wedding anniversary. It would be of help if you could send some pictures of your piece of works, with their respective prices and sizes, which are ready for immediate (or close to immediate) sales. My budget for this is within the price range of $1500 to $7000.I look forward to reading from you in a view to knowing more about your pieces of inventory. As a matter of importance, I would also like to know if you accept check as a means of payment.

*Best regards *

- david burdeny ( davburdeny3320@gmail.com )


Hello my name is James Jaap from Indiana, Thoughts of the best anniversary gift of the century to my wife has been roaming my mind for a while now, having found your listings for sales they are quite impressive and intriguing, I must admit your doing quite an impressive job. I am making the purchase as a surprise gift to my wife in honor of our upcoming 20th wedding anniversary a family reunion and my wife 50th birthday. It’s a surprise party for my wife and her families here in Mexico because we are both visiting presently for Holidays so am working on getting the piece over here, i think it’s worth it anyway. I hope my budget falls under your asking price, and if i have to pay more, there should be a reason in terms of worth and value. I look forward to reading from you in a view to knowing more about your pieces of inventory… vehemently I will like you to get back to me with the details at your earliest convenience.

*Your final sale price

*More details on its present condition.

Regards
James


Hello, I was looking for some artwork online and i found yours while searching. I will like to purchase some of your work for my wife as a surprise gift for our 10th anniversary. Please kindly send pics and prices of some of your artwork which are ready for immediate sale within price range $2500- $3000. I hope to hear a lot more about any available piece in your inventory ready for immediate sale.

Thanks and best regards
Roch.


My name is Larry Evans from Clarksville, TN. I have been on the lookout for some artworks lately in regards to I and my wife’s anniversary which is just around the corner. I stormed on some of your works which i found quite impressive and intriguing. I must admit your doing quite an impressive job. You are undoubtedly good at what you do.

With that being said, I would like to purchase a surprise gift to my wife in honor of our upcoming wedding anniversary. It would be of help if you could send some pictures of your piece of works, with their respective prices and sizes, which are ready for immediate sales. My budget for this is within the price range of $500 to $5,000.

I look forward to reading from you in a view to knowing more about your pieces of inventory. As a matter of importance, I would also like to know if you accept check as a means of payment.

Regards,

Larry.


Hello,

My name is Alan Smith from Washington DC. I have been on the lookout for some artworks lately in regards to I and my wife’s anniversary which is just around the corner. I stormed on some of your works which i found quite impressive and intriguing. I must admit your doing quite an impressive job. You are undoubtedly good at what you do.

With that being said, I would like to purchase a surprise gift to my wife in honor of our upcoming wedding anniversary. It would be of help if you could send some pictures of your piece of works, with their respective prices and sizes, which are ready for immediate (or close to immediate) sales. My budget for this is within the price range of $500 to $6,000.

I look forward to reading from you in a view to knowing more about your pieces of inventory. As a matter of importance, I would also like to know if you accept check as a means of payment.

Regards,

Smith


My name is Zev Rubin from Washington, DC. I was looking for some artwork online and i found your contact while searching. I will like to purchase some of your work for my wife as a surprise gift for our 20th anniversary. Please kindly send pics and prices of some of your art which are ready for immediate sale within price range $500 - $5000, I could be flexible with price. So i will hope to hear a lot more about any available piece in your inventory ready for immediate sale.

Thanks and best regards,

Rubin.


Here’s one that started out far more convincing. However, as Howard followed up some red flags popped up quickly.

Subject: ENQUIRY

Dear Sir/Ma,

We are interested in purchasing this work bellow.

Anthony Mastromatteo
A City Upon A Hill, 2018
Oil on canvas
36 נ48 in
91.4 נ121.9 cm

Could you please provide more information about the piece?
Kind regards,
Al Akeem Khalid
Eastern Eagle LLC
Emirate Tower

REHS RESPONSE: Thank you for your interest in the painting by Mastromatteo. You can see a nice image on this page of our website. https://rehs.com/Anthony_Mastromatteo_A_City_Upon_A_Hill_6277.html

Let us know if you need more information.

Howard
Howard L. Rehs
Rehs Galleries, Inc.
Rehs Contemporary Galleries, Inc.
5 East 57th Street
New York, NY 10022
www.rehs.com
(212) 355-5710
(212) 355-5742 – Fax
(917) 690-7766 - Cell

Member
Internal Revenue Service’s Art Advisory Panel
Fine Art Dealers Association (Past President)
Antiques Council (Board Member)
Art & Antique Dealers League of America
LAPADA
CINOA

SCAMMER RESPONSE:

Dear Howard,

Thanks for your offer, we have accepted to purchase the work and we would be handling the shipping aspect by picking up the work from your location.

Kindly send us your bank details attached with proforma invoice and we shall transfer the total amount of the invoice as soon as possible.

We are looking forward to read from you.

Best regard,

Al Akeem Khalid

REHS RESPONSE: In order to generate an invoice, we will need your complete mailing address (Corporate name, street location, etc.), phone number, and would appreciate a link to your website. In addition, if you are picking up the work at the gallery, then we must charge sales tax.

Howard


Hello Howard,

I really appreciate your swift response, My Name is Daniel Blanc, I am the Curation of Rosenfeld Gallery Israel and i’m actually looking into your work for a client who is very much interested so i will gladly appreciate if you can give me your best price and shipment to Los Angeles California. However, Some other pieces caught my attention from your website and I would like to know their prices too.

I have attached them to the below link, Please give your best price on each of them.

[ VIEW ATTACHMENT ]

Thanks and hope to hear from you soon.

Daniel.B

Fortunately Howard from Rehs Gallery actually knew the owner of the Rosenfeld Gallery. As soon as he referenced the owner in his response the scammer disappeared.

In addition—it is very important that you not click on ANY attachments or links in an email unless you can absolutely verify it is from a trusted source (and even then I would verify with the sender with an independent email, text or phone call.)


Have you spotted some patterns thus far? Aside from all the anniversaries going on? LOL!

The big ones I often find are :

Generic opening of email (not personalized)
Seldom any of any specific artwork or artwork characteristics
A mention of an artwork tends to have a different format (font, size) than the rest of the email

This article from the Artist Archive presents several more:

The Story Sounds Impersonal
The “Buyer” is in a Foreign Country or They Need an Outside Shipper
There is a Tight Timeline
There are Spelling, Grammatical, or Spacing Errors
They Request a Cashier’s Check, Bank Information, or Money Wire

Here’s a few more resources for you to reference when you get that email that raises an eyebrow:

Stop Art Scams– a blog by artist Kathleen McMahon that catalogues common art scams.

FTC Complaint Assistant– submit a scam complaint to the FTC.

Better Business Bureau– tips on avoiding art scams

Have you received any suspicious emails over the years regarding your artwork? How did you deal with it? Let us know in the comments below!

http://www.mesart.com/art/Account:Scam_and_Hoax_List

5 Likes

Here another one I received today from Fredrick Patrick (patrickfredrick946@gmail.com). Notice the bizarre formatting and spacing:

Hello there,
My name is Patrick fredrick from Atwater CA and was looking for some arts online and i found your contact while searching.
I will like to purchase some of your work for my wife as a surprise gift for our 20th anniversary.
Please kindly send pics and prices of some of your art which are ready for immediate sale within price range $300- $3500
*I hope to hear a lot more about any available piece in your inventory ready for immediate sale. *

*Stay safe *

Thanks and best regards

Sent from my iPhone

Dear kind sir, all that
being said,my offer still stands. I am eagerly awaiting your kindly
response and bank account numbers.

4 Likes

New one this week:

Name: Ashley Jackson

Email: ashleyjac436@gmail.com

Website:

Message: My name is Ashley Jackson from Conway, Arkansas . I have been on the lookout for some artworks lately in regards to I and my wife’s anniversary which is just around the corner. I stormed on some of your works which i found quite impressive and intriguing. I must admit your doing quite an impressive job. You are undoubtedly good at what you do.

With that being said, I would like to purchase some of your works as a surprise gift to my wife in honor of our upcoming wedding anniversary. It would be of help if you could send some pictures of your piece of works, with their respective prices and sizes, which are ready for immediate (or close to immediate) sales. My budget for this is within the price range of $1500 to $7000.

I look forward to reading from you in a view to knowing more about your pieces of inventory. As a matter of importance, I would also like to know if you accept check as a means of payment.

Best regards,

Jackson.

these e-mails are great! i do love a good scammer e-mail.

…but now i’m wondering if maybe all those scammers are just my hubby looking to buy me a present for our upcoming 25th anniversary :slight_smile:

he could just buy some of my stuff, that way he’d save time and a whack of $$$ and i would have the satisfaction of selling something (at last!). if that isn’t a win-win situation!!!

1 Like

Here’s another:

Aloha!

How are you doing? I am Jacob Dimick from Wichita, Kansas. I have been on the lookout for artworks in regards to my wife’s and my wedding anniversary which is just around the corner. I stormed on to some of your works which I find quite impressive and intriguing. I must admit you are doing quite an amazing job. You are undoubtedly good at what you do.

That being said, I would like to purchase one or two of your works as a surprise gift to my wife. It would be of great help if you could send me pictures of your piece of work, with their respective prices and sizes, ready for immediate (or close to immediate) sales. My budget for this is within the price range of $1000 to $5000.
I look forward to reading from you in a view to knowing more about your piece of inventory. As a matter of importance, I would also like to know if you accept checks as a means of payment? Best Regards.

- Jacob Dimick ( jacobdimick93@gmail.com )

New one from 4/10/2021:

My name is Jason Raji from Washington DC.I have been on the lookout for some artworks lately in regards to I and my wife’s anniversary which is just around the corner. I stormed on some of your works which i found quite impressive and intriguing. I must admit your doing quite an impressive job. You are undoubtedly good at what you do.

With that being said, I would like to purchase some of your works as a surprise gift to my wife in honor of our upcoming wedding anniversary. It would be of help if you could send some pictures of your piece of works, with their respective prices and sizes, which are ready for immediate (or close to immediate) sales. My budget for this is within the price range of $1500 to $5000.

I look forward to reading from you in a view to knowing more about your pieces of inventory. As a matter of importance, I would also like to know if you accept check as a means of payment.

Best regards,

Jason.
-Jason Raji ( rajijason79@gmail.com )

Today’s Scam:

Hello, I actually observed your works. I’m impressed and amazed by your level of creativity; you are doing a great job. I would like to know if you have any piece of art available for immediate sales, attach it to your next email so i could get to select my preferred choice, then we talk about payment., So i purchased one of it as a surprise for my Husband, I hope to hear a lot more about any available piece in your inventory ready for immediate sale.

I would also like to know if you accept a check as means of payment.

Edward Sinclair
Houston Tx
(eddysinclair29@gmail.com)

If these assholes ever hire a copy editor we could all be in trouble. :grinning: High entertainment value in their emails, however. Thanks for putting this together!

1 Like

:joy::joy::joy::joy: Right?!!!?

Today’s Scam:

Hi, My name is Nelson from Arkansas, I have been on the lookout for some artworks lately in regards to i and my wife’s anniversary which is just around the corner. I stormed on to some of your works which I found quite impressive and intriguing, I must admit you’re doing quite an impressive job. You are undoubtedly good at what you do. With that being said, I would like to purchase some of your works as a surprise gift to my wife in honor of our upcoming wedding anniversary. It would be of help if you could send some 6 pictures of your piece of work, with their respective prices and sizes( bearing it in mind that my budget is within $400-$5,000 ) which are ready for immediate sale.I look forward to reading from you.

Best regards,

Today’s scam (it seems some no longer bother with the “fluff”of a story. :joy:):

Subject: artwork

Email: bintasbe@gmail.com

Name: bintas benites

i’m interested in your artwork, kindly mail me back with more pictures of artwork at the range of $500 to $1000 8 Inches x 10 Inches or more.

thank you

Here’s a new one from this week (June 26, 2022):

My name is Robert Nell from Richmond Indiana. I have been on the lookout for some artworks lately in regards to our wedding anniversary which is just around the corner. I stormed on to some of your works which I found quite impressive and intriguing. I must admit you’re doing quite an impressive job. You are undoubtedly good at what you do.

With that being said, I would like to purchase some of your works as a surprise gift to my wife in honor of our upcoming wedding anniversary. It would be of help if you could send some pictures of your piece of work, with their respective prices and sizes, which are ready for immediate (or close to immediate) sales. My budget for this is within the price range of $1000 to $30,000.

I look forward to reading from you in order to know more about your pieces of inventory. As a matter of importance, I would also like to know if you accept checks as a means of payment.

Best Regards,

Robert…

This one came through an Adobe Portfolio contact form (at least Adobe added a hyperlink to report spam in the email.) :

Name :
nicholas britton

Email Address:
nickbritton787@gmail.com

Message:
Hello,

I hope this message meets you well.
How’re you doing today? I’m Nicholas Britton from Lebanon, Virginia I was researching on the internet and came across some art page, I honestly love your work & i must say you’re very innovative with a wide sense of creativity, I’d like to know if there’s piece of art that could be presented as an wedding anniversary gift available and their asking price list.

I would love to purchase some of your art(Because i want my present to be Heartfelt)as a present to my wife in honor of our upcoming wedding anniversary .As a matter of importance, Lastly I would also like to know if you accept a check as a means of payment. I await your response

Warm Regards
Nick.


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