Artists Beware of Scams

Artists beware of scams – this recently happened to Linnea Hoover.  Take time to read it because it’s very good information to have!

A couple of weeks ago, I received an e-mail from someone interested in a picture I had done called Albi Equi. This happens sometimes, so I do what I normally do, tell them what the picture is priced at and wait and see if they are still interested. The person responded that they were indeed interested, and they wanted to know what had inspired the picture. Mentally I’m thinking that this seems pretty legitimate. If they were a scam they wouldn’t care what had inspired me, right? I tell the client I take checks and credit cards, and tell them who to make it out to, and where to send it. That is when it started getting hinky. The person responded and said that FedEx doesn’t deliver to PO Boxes and they would like my home address instead– I work from home. She said she was from New Jersey, but that her husband works in New York and he has his secretary handle his checks, so I will be receiving a check from the secretary. I’m thinking odd, but ok I can give them that.

Important aside: If you receive a fraudulent check through the United States postal service, the person scamming you has committed a federal offense.

At this point I’m working on getting my large commission piece done, and getting out of the house. So my first day on the road to Arizona, the check comes, and I give my permission for my Dad to sign it. I guess that is something that you can do. And he tells me that the check is for more than twice the amount I had quoted the picture. This sends up big warning flags to my Mom and me.  If you have read the Road Trip post you know my Mom went on my trip to Scottsdale, Arizona with me. We think this is getting a little weird, and at this point, we think it is a scam, but I’m still holding out hope it isn’t, because I keep thinking how much ink I could buy if I sell that picture.

So I tell my Dad to go to the bank and talk with a family friend who works there and see what we can do, because if this is a scam I really don’t want to get in trouble. So my Dad talks to the bank while I’m sitting on pins and needles on my way through Oregon.  The bank tells my Dad the check looks a little hinky. There isn’t any contact information for the bank it was issued from, but they can put a hold on it until the check has cleared, so we won’t receive any money before then. After that we informed the buyer of what we had done, and she said that was fine.

As an important aside to other artists: Make sure you put a hold on all checks you receive from people you don’t know or don’t know well. A common misconception that people make is that when you get a check from someone and you take it to the bank, you automatically have that money. This is not true, it can take up to 10 days for a check to clear both your banks and for you to actually physically posses that money. So if a check bounces or is fraudulent, and you spent that money, then you just spent money that didn’t exist.

The next day I got an email from our “buyer” saying that her husband would really like us to send the difference of the check as soon as possible, and that she had looked up different places where I could do a wire transfer, and I should send it to her husband’s secretary who now miraculously is in Illinois. If you have kept up so far, you now know that our client lives in New Jersey. Her husband and his secretary work in New York, but the secretary lives in Illinois.

At this point I’m in Southern California, and I’m just really thankful we didn’t send out the picture or the check. My parents advise me not to respond to this email, so I don’t. Later that day when we decide to head out of California from where we where resting, I get a text message on my phone from the buyer asking if I had gotten her earlier email. I do not respond and mentally make a note to myself to look up the area code of the phone number when I get home. When I do have time to check, the area code was from somewhere is Califonia. So to recap, The woman is from New Jersey, with a phone number in California. Her husband works in New York with his secretary, and she wants me to send the money through a wire transfer to the secretary who lives in Illinois. I don’t respond to the text message, and find out later when I get home I got an email saying the same thing as the text message.

Now I’m so sure it’s a scam it isn’t even funny, and I’m waiting for this to escalate and for the woman to demand her money back. I’ve finally arrived in Scottsdale and decide not to worry about it anymore.  There isn’t much I can do until I get home anyway. So I drop off the artwork and have a great visit with the people who run the Buffalo Collection, drop off the rental truck and fly home that very evening.

When I get home, I take part of a day to recoup, at this point I’m pretty positive someone on the plane has given me their cold. I think I’m going to invest in face masks for plane rides from now on. Does anyone know if they actually work? So I took part of the day to recoup, and then I call my bank to find out what is going on, and they tell me that the check is a fraud. I asked for some advice on whether or not I should file a police report, and they lady at the bank said why not. It can’t hurt anything.

I decided to look up how I should file a police report from home, so that’s what I end up doing. This may vary from place to place, so I would look up for your area what you should do if you are unfortunate enough to ever need to file a police report. The website for Monroe, Washington’s police department said that I should dial 911 and when asked what my emergency was immediately respond that is was not an emergency. Unless of course you as the reader do have an emergency then by all means tell them what it is. I, however, do not have an emergency and told them so. They then asked the purpose of my call, and I said something to the effect of “I would like to report that someone has tried to defraud me.” They asked if the person was someone I knew. I said no. They asked if the person succeeded, and I said no. They asked for a general account of what occurred and then took my information and informed me that an officer would call to take my statement later that afternoon. An officer did indeed call, and got a little more in-depth account of what had happened, and then told me an officer would stop by my home for my statement. He also asked if I had access to the check or if the bank would give it to the officer. I told him I didn’t know but that I would go and speak with the bank.

I head out again, I’m still feeling a little under the weather, but I’m pretty excited to get this taken care of and out of the way. When I get to the bank, the teller tells me they have sent the original check on ahead but they have a copy I can give to the officer. When I get home I get all of my email dialogue with the scammer, along with the number they texted me from, and the check.

When the officer arrived he was very friendly, took my statement, took the evidence and told me a little about what would happen. Sadly it probably won’t be a lot, but they always hope that the scammers will screw up somewhere, and that any evidence they have previously collected will be useful. The problem is that this person is probably not in my state, and there isn’t a lot the police can do to track them. And even if my police department could track them, they would have no jurisdiction because the crime did not happen in the State of Washington. So my advice to other artists is always be careful with your art, try and make the best decisions you can with the information you have. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

I would like to send a special thank you to my bank for all of their help, and to the Monroe Police department for their wonderful response time and kindness. To the other artists out their reading this, I know this may not seem like a lot to other people, but we work just as hard at our jobs as other people do. I don’t want to see anyone take advantage of you because you don’t know your rights. If you put a hold on a check, you don’t need to send your art out until the check has cleared, you haven’t received any money at this point, you are only protecting yourself.

Note: We were never contacted again by the scammer after the last e-mail asking if we had received the previous e-mail.

http://linneahooverartist.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/scam-aimed-at-artists-beware/

Thank you, Linnea!

Feel free to share my blogs, follow me on my Facebook artist page and Pinterest!

Barbara

Inspiration – Where does it come from?

Inspiration – Where does it come from?

My favorite definition of the word is “the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions.”  What steps are involved for getting inspiration?

We have to work at it first of all and along with that will come frustration.  If this is where you stop – don’t because it’s a very important stage.  This is normally a sign that you are uncomfortable and unwilling to let the ideas flow.  Many times, ideas have to sink in before the inspiration will happen.  Sometimes you have to let an idea just sit there until you can commit to whatever your medium is.  If we let inspiration bloom, wonderful ideas can happen.

My latest mixed media piece was inspired over a very short period of time.  It just seemed like that particular word continued be constant in my mind and it had to come out on canvas.  So this particular piece was an inspiration through church, those I associate with and my belief that positive thoughts work.  I became very aware of the word and my thoughts.  I took a breath and let it “talk” to me.  This particular piece was a journey shared on my Facebook page with great response.

What is faith.  What does it mean?

What is faith. What does it mean?

I created an online class that is available that helps you through taking a word, phrase or event and creating a mixed media canvas with it.  It honestly is a very easy class as well as a very difficult one.  Easy if you follow the steps.  Difficult to let those feelings be exposed.  For inspiration, this is an example of taking some simple word(s) and using them to create with.

It also seems that once you begin using inspiration that it just continues to flow.  Open you hearts and mind.  Listen to your inner voice.

Where does your inspiration come from?  How does it happen for you?

Barbara

Please feel free to share my blogs.

Have you checked out my website?

 

 

Inspirational Thoughts – Yellow Brick Road

Inspiration Thoughts of Follow the Yellow Brick Road – Ah ha!

What a wonderful getaway weekend we’ve had at KState.  We attended the White Coat Ceremony to watch our nephew receive this milestone achievement in Vet School here.  He has worked so hard to get to this point and is focused to complete his clinics next year. We are very, very proud of him.

THEN we headed to the Land of Oz and to a yellow brick road.  What a fun small Americana town Wamego, Kansas is!  We only had a short time to wander but some of the store fronts begged for us to walk in.  If we go back for his graduation next year, I hope to spend more time checking out some of the antique and boutique stores.

 

 

 

This little town is the host to the Wizard of Oz Museum.  A cute place with lots of the memorabilia from the movie.  Dorothy’s bike was in the window with the little basket on the front where Toto was.  The other window had a great scarecrow posed.  A huge Mr. Tin Man greeted you as you walked in the front door.  Across the street, they really did have a yellow brick road!  I do believe we will be watching that movie again soon.  lol

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Oz Winery was the hit of the day.  It has a large variety of wines with very fun names!  How about a red wine by the name of Ruby Slippers.  Okay, if that doesn’t suit you perhaps Curl Your Stockings or Lions, Tiger and Bears, Oh Merlot!  Don’t worry those of you that drink a white wine.  Can’t Find My Way Home or Blue Gingham Dress may please you!  We did some wine tasting and purchased some to serve when we have The Right Edge, friends of ours, over the end of May.  It will be fun to serve wine with the hilarious names (and it tastes good).  Of all the fun names, though, none were associated with the “yellow brick road.”

It’s now back to reality and working in the studio.  Getting away always inspires me to return home to my paint filled room and pick up a brush.  I want to follow that yellow brick road and see where it leads me!

That reminds me to mention once again that you can sign up for the Houston Expo.  On July 16th, I will be teaching a painting furniture class that will help get you going on repurposing some of your pieces.  Join me for this class that is offered at a very reasonable price and we will cover several different techniques.  A great class at a great price.

 

Follow the Yellow Brick Road – Ah Ha!

Barbara

Inspirational Thoughts – Mine is half full!

Inspirational thoughts are needed today for me to keep a positive attitude.  Is your glass half empty or half full?

1. We must be kind to everyone because their day is probably worse than yours.

2. Many times we do not realize how little things can have so much impact down the road on us and others.

3. Seeds need water and nurturing and God gives us growth.

Put these three thoughts together in your own manner and let’s all try to put faith into action!

My glass is always half full – how about yours?

Thank you, Pastor Phil, for once again giving us inspirational thoughts that will help motivate us for success  as we begin the week.

“Basic Beginnings” DVD is available that will introduce you to how to use furniture paint on furniture, cabinets and trim.  It covers four basic techniques that will introduce you to the paint and help you get started.

“Art is….” DVD is now available.  Walk with me on a journey of mixed media on canvas using burlap.

Maison Blanche Paint workshop will be help Saturday, April 13.  Details are available on my website.

Please feel free to share my blogs.  Also, you can travel to my Facebook Artist Page and “like” it for me.  It’s begging for more likes to make ranking (grin).  I’d appreciate your help!

Barbara

 

Inspirational Thoughts – toxic words can poison lives!

Inspirational Thoughts – Toxic words poison lives! Please feel free to share my blogs – this is a good thought for many.

There are several pastors that have great influence on me.  They have been a blessing to hear and I cannot thank them enough.  Their gift of speech and delivery is amazing and most definitely God given.  This week Pastor Rusty again has me thinking of our world of art.  How “Toxic Words Poisons Lives.”

We are a soul for the body and the body needs to be fed just like our soul.  We need to detox the soul like we do the body!  Toxic means poison and toxic thoughts lead us to be toxic people and engage in toxic behavior.  We have all heard those toxic, hurtful words that bruise.  How often do we hear the right words than can transform? Words that can heal, encourage, destroy, tear down and hurt.  We have all said those piercing words that are intentional and cause hurtfulness.  I have said, “This is a waste of my time,” or “Why can’t you be more like….”  Life giving words like, “I believe in you,” “You are so amazing,” or the three most powerful words, “I love you” are not said enough.  I have been on both the receiving and giving end of them.  How about you?  We need to guard our hearts agains those toxic words.  We cannot control what others day but we can control what we believe.  However, I am not what they say I am nor am I what they think I am.

As a young child, I was told you cannot create art – that will never bring you enough income to survive.  This really wasn’t said to be cruel, it never crossed their mind that art is more than creating for money.  This is probably why it took me so long to begin to learn how to create abstracts or multi media canvas.  Especially, with my own twist.  I had to pull and work very hard to overcome those toxic words.  Coming from a home where I was given confidence from my mom, I somehow have found myself  affirming that.  Beginning a new venture with the Maison Blanche LaCraie line of furniture paint was at first a very scary step.  It is a journey that I have to “guard my heart” and remove those toxic words to make room for the life giving ones.  I cannot let poisonous, pompous, prejudice words overcome me.  We are capable, chosen loved, blessed and called because our plans are full of hope.

Share those life giving words every chance you can.  It will change what we say and help us refrain from saying those toxic statements.  Can you imagine what the world would be like is we all did that every day?  For sure it would be more fulfilling.  Anytime we feel someone does something that we like we should say it!  We cannot rob ourselves of blessing others.  We can become what we believe and we need to help others do the same.

We are our own worst critic – believe me I can say all shorts of unworthy comments.  This, however, is when we need those hope altering words the most and we need to say them to ourselves daily.  If our burdens and challenges are great, we must take care of ourselves before we can take care of others?  Isn’t that exactly what the airline tells us when they review what to do with the oxygen mask?  Ours must go on first so we can take care of others.

When facing that large challenge we must have the faith.  Don’t speak about your mountain – how big it is – speak to your mountain. Have the faith of the mustard seed and guard your heart from toxic words.

Reflection – Is there evidence I’ve been changed?  Does the world see that?  Let’s continue to provide inspirational thoughts to everyone we can in a healthy way!

Barbara Cassidy

www.barbaracassidyartist.com

Misson Statement: To use my talents to serve as a communicator, artist and give support.  To inspire and be inspired by those I interact with.  To be driven by values and beliefs.