Visual Artists vs the Scam Artist: Don’t Get Conned


Scam artists often target visual artists with a common message trying to con them out of money. It is a common occurrence for visual artists, typically painters from what I’ve witnessed, to get these messages via email or social media expressing interest in purchasing their art. Recently, Dimitri Sirenko, received one of these messages and he decided to pursue the conversation and use it as a teaching moment to benefit and protect other artists in the community. With his permission, I share it with you here.

These scam artists often try to trigger with a sense of urgency by appealing to your desire to sell your paintings or other artwork.

Dimitri reels in some line.

Notice what Dimitri says above. They never saw your work, or if they did, they’ve seen so many that they’ve targeted, that they can’t keep their story straight. So, they get you to provide them with the details they didn’t have or didn’t remember.

There was no thought by the scam artist about which paintings he wanted. He just screenshots your profile and fishes for you to bite the bait and get all excited about the lucrative sale. I mean, let’s face it, if we were about to sell a dozen paintings all at once, what a joy that would be.

I can’t imagine that this con works but I suppose it must if they continue to do it repeatedly. I really feel bad for the visual artist who has gotten conned by the scam artist.

So, with the excitement of selling your paintings to a prospective buyer, you add up all the artwork they’ve said they’re interested in and you see a sizeable income from the sale of your art. Who wouldn’t get excited at the prospect? It’s almost too good to be true, isn’t it?

It’s very risky to conduct business by Bank Transfer. It’s much safer to use reputable online marketplaces and PayPal. If you end up sending anyone money via Bank Transfer, it’s very close to impossible to get your money back. You’ll see why shortly.

I’d like to add that there are many reputable online marketplaces, Etsy is only one of them. So are we at Arts, Artists, Artwork. Check out our Art Store. To learn about our art selling platform, you can read How the Site Works.


So, as the con goes on, the scam artist always uses this excuse that they cannot do things your way because they’re out of town and this is the only way for them to buy your art.

The irony here is that the buyer is saying they only use Bank Transfer for security reasons. Which is absolutely the worst possible lie. If you Google it, you’ll see plenty of stories where buyers are bilked out of thousands of dollars after making a purchase using Bank Transfers. Once the money is sent via Bank Transfer, it is next to impossible to get it back if you’ve been conned.

Now it’s Dimitri’s turn to have some fun at the scam artist’s expense. Watch what happens.


Dimitri really lays it on thick, doesn’t he? Haha. Are you enjoying this?


Let’s see what’s next.


To make things interesting, Dimitri changes the conditions of the sale.


Remember how urgent this message was in the beginning? Now, it’s take your time. He’s nurturing the lead because he believes Dimitri is falling for the ruse.


Now Dimitris sends along the revised cost to purchase the paintings and offers up false bank details, though the bank is a real bank.


And the scam artist replies that he’ll pay tomorrow. The receipt he’s talking about is the Bank Transfer receipt that proves the money has been sent. But would that be fake as well?


So, for whatever reason–the false bank information didn’t work–Dimitri hadn’t heard from the potential buyer for some days. So, Dimitri follows up to take things a little further.


Personally, I don’t use WhatsApp. I did have it once for a short while but all I got with it was constant interruptions day and night from people I didn’t know. And some of those were nefarious links that likely installed malicious code on my phone or scammed me in some other way. What’s your experience with WhatsApp?


The art buyer now sends a document that purports to be the receipt confirming the bank transfer. Whatever you do, do not click the link!!

And who in their right mind would overpay like this? This is where the risk of Bank Transfers catches the unsuspecting artist trying to sell their paintings. Once you accept their word, they get you to refund the difference. And once you send that money, you’ll never get it back.


Interesting, isn’t it? He wants to confirm details now, after he claims to have completed the transfer. Strange how that works. I’m LOLing.


Dimitri ends the charade at this point with a final message. Don’t you love how he used the buyer’s own quote “It’s alright, just keep up the hard work and stay determined.”

Dimitri has some final thoughts to share.

What do you think of Dimitri’s idea? Would you prank a scam artist or would you just delete and block? And looking back on previous comments, what is your experience using Messenger and WhatsApp? Have you ever received a scam message?

Leave your comments below and let us know your thoughts and experiences with similar cons.

While you’re here on our website, visit the Art Store to buy or browse the available paintings, sculpture or ceramics.





One response to “Visual Artists vs the Scam Artist: Don’t Get Conned”

  1. Anne Avatar

    This is clearly a scam, from the beginning your alarm-bells should ring loud! But the Paypal part I can understand, I don’t have paypal anymore since they started to require a mobile phone. Of course I don’t have one, I couldn’t even use it where I live. Etsy is something I heard of but gives me a cheap and negative impression, apart from the fact I don’t want any third parties with some exceptions for a gallery. There must be other ways if you don’t want a bank transfer, which I can also imagine.

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