Recently there has been a rise of scammers targeting artists. For illustrators, it usually starts with an email or other social media message that looks something like this:
My name is [NAME], I am an academic event organizer and I’m hearing impaired, i hope you treat me like any of your other customers and my disability doesn’t affect our dealings.
I got your contact details online, I need the service of an artist or illustrator/cartoonist to work on a project for an upcoming workshop, I’ll give the idea of what I need to be illustrated/drawn and you can get back to me with the price to get it done, I’ll pay your fees up front if you want.
Please get back to me for more details.
The scammer claims to want to commission work for a particular project and willing to pay top dollar immediately for the work. In other cases, artists are receiving emails regarding already completed work and a desire on the part of the scammer to purchase it ASAP as a gift for a loved one. The tactic is actually quite common. They want to pay by check, and the amount on the check is more than the negotiated price. There is either a request for a refund of the overage, in the form of a cashier’s check, or a claim that the excess was to pay for shipping, and please remit that amount to a named shipping agency, again the form of a cashier’s check. By the time the scammer’s check bounces, the cashier’s check is gone.
If you find that someone is trying to scam you, you can report it using https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/ and https://www.ic3.gov.