I have another blog. I have several blogs, actually. I'm not a great blogger. I don't post much. I'm too busy making art and trying my darnedest to keep up on facebook and twitter as well. Social networking is great... but it takes a lot of time and effort to make the best use of it. The irony is that I teach others how to use all these tools. But then have no time myself to be posting to everything effectively.
Not that long ago I posted something on my art blog (kathleenmcmahon.blogspot.com) and had gotten annoyed at all the emails I was receiving where scammers were pretending they wanted to buy my art. I never fell victim to it but got pretty close because the scammers have gotten pretty darn sophisticated and in this particular example, they happen to use the name of a woman who actually existed and could have actually been interested in my art (after my post was public, she actually found my blog and posted a comment!)
This led to me to creating a web page at my website (kathleenmcmahon.com) where I wanted to write out a list of typical characteristics of a scam email (so other artists could get better at identifying them BEFORE they got scammed) and I also wanted to start to keep a list of actual (okay - fake) names and email addresses they used in their scam emails. That way, when an artist googled (yes, that's a verb now...) a potential scammer they weren't sure about, I was hoping my webpage would come up for them and they could have validation that it was not a real request for their art.
And it has worked. Pretty well so far. I get dozens of emails a week of people who found my art blog or my website and were saved from actually sending any artwork or thinking that certified money order they received was actually real.
This blog is my next step in my personal battle to help as many artists as I can avoid the blackhole of scam artists. Not only will I continue to keep that list on my website (kathleenmcmahon.com/info/scammer-names.html) but I'm going to post them here as well.
Now remember - scammers never use their real names or email accounts that can be traced to them. They make this stuff up and use free email accounts like gmail and hotmail that are easily disposable. But still, the more we list here, the better our chances that an artist can search google and have some validation for them come up that the email is not for real.
This can be a slippery slope - because I don't want to post the names of people unintentionally who are NOT scammers, but I'll do my best to post on those that appear to be the scams going around online that are targeting artists.
Send or forward to me the examples of scams you get. I'll post them (removing your identifying information) so other artists can not only see the names and email addresses they use, but they can see the actual content of the emails and compare it to what they've received.
Here's how I feel. The scammers are taking full advantage of the internet to find artists to email and pretend they want to buy their artwork (or art classes or whatever variation they are working at the moment). It only makes sense that *WE* also take full advantage of the internet and combat this trend and educate as many artists as possible to reduce our vulnerability.
So feel free to send me your examples and I'll post them here. It will be their "wall of shame" and we'll spread the word and create a resource that all artists will benefit from.
Onward! Oh, and keep creating great art!