BgArt News Blog
Thursday, April 27, 2006
  Art Scams
I haven't been receiving any of them annoying email scams from people in Nigeria, China, or Russia looking to buy art lately, but they're obviously still out there.
Proxima has left a comment here, asking what to do. He has received a check (cheque) for the work, it's more than they agreed on, he can't contact the buyer, and now he's thinking of cashing it.
My advice would be to just throw it away (I'm guessing that he didn't send the painting yet). But I've never had any experience with them, apart from deleting their emails, so I can't really say I know much about it all.

Has anybody dealt with these people?
Here's Proxima's comment..
I received a check
Yes, it's more than we are agreed upon
Yes, the address is the same
Question: Is there any others that received a check and if the answer is yes, what happened after that - can I try to take cash or what? I am still thinking, and am trying to contact her but she has not answered me...what do you think ?
See also the previous art scams post.
>> Art Scams News
BgArt News Blog Comments:
Take a look at this posting. It's a long discussion about people who had experiences with these scammers.

Julianna Yau
This is an old Craigslist Scam: I copied this from one of their info pages...I wouldn't cash cashiers check!

Types of Scams

2. distant buyer offers a high-value (but fake) cashier's check in exchange for your item
you receive an odd email (actual examples sent to craigslist sellers below) offering to buy your item site unseen.
cashier's check is offered for your sale item, as a deposit for an apartment, or just about anything else.
value of cashier's check often far exceeds your item - buyer asks you to wire the balance via money transfer service
banks will often cash these fake checks AND THEN HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE WHEN THE CHECK FAILS TO CLEAR
scam often involves a 3rd party (shipping agent, business associate owing buyer money, etc)
3. distant seller requests payment via Western Union or MoneyGram:
seller often claims that an MTCN or confirmation code is needed before he can withdraw your money - this is FALSE, once you've wired money, it is GONE.
common items currently: laptops, plasma TVs, cell phones, tickets - but could be almost anything
common countries currently include: Nigeria, Romania, Ukraine, Spain, UK, Italy, Netherlands - but could be anywhere
deal often seems too good to be true
4. distant seller offers to send you a cashier's check and then have you wire money:
this is ALWAYS a scam, in our experience - the cashier's check is FAKE
sometimes accompanies an offer of merchandise, sometimes not
scammer often asks for your name, address, etc for printing on the fake check
deal often seems too good to be true
The Check is most certainly fake. I had an email address that was bombared with multiple requests from africa. Also years ago, before the internet I recieved a check with and order to purchase art from Nigeria, but I waited to see if the check cleared, about 10 to 15 days, it bounce written on a phoney account, these people play on your need to sell art and offer to good to be true deals. Take a look ar the Worldwide Art site wwar to see updates on the scams
Not to be too cynical, but sometimes when I go to modern art museums, I get the feeling that "art scams" reach to the highest levels, and go way past phony checks...
Maybe I'm missing something here, but surely the simple solution is to pay the cheque into your bank account and wait to see if it bounces or not. Don't try to cash it or you'll get stuck with the bill if it's fake. If the cheque clears, which it probably won't, then you send the goods, insured and requesting a signature on delivery. This is good business practice and both parties are covered. Cut corners or get greedy and the scammers win.
A word about banks (UK ones at least): they love to stick you with quarterly statements, because it saves them money. Don't wear it. You want monthly statements, and if you're worried about a cheque bouncing, explain the problem and ask your bank to send you an intermediate statement in a week or two's time. That cuts your worrying time.
I received this email from a "buyer", do you think this is a scam?

Good day, and thanks for the mail .Am o.k with the price of the (pod and cube).Am still interesting in purchasing it..
Dont worry about the shipping,i have my shipping agent that will carry out the shipping and other neccessary arrangements.
I am sending you the check of 2,000 pounds,so you have to get your own $300 . for the (pod and cube),and send the remaining excess funds on the check to the shipping company, through (Money gram security office) for the pickup of the (pod and cube),from your place.
Here is the information that i need from you ,where the payment will be made out to.

Your Full name that will be written on the check:
Full Address..........
Zip Code.........
Phone Number........

Get back to me as soon as possible with these information today. I will await ! this information from you.
Thanks and God bless..
and here is my number +31620043292 you can give me call anytime
also here is the shipping company email , who is going to come for the pick up you can email them any time. and also am from Netherlands.
Hey Skip
It looks and smells like a scam.. which means it probably is a scam.

Would you send a 2000 pound check to some one that you dont know, for a product worth $300?
I received the email below.

Thanks alot for the response and am really happy to read from you,So now am from netherlands and regarding the payment am sending you the payment through cashire check which am going to send to you in your name.So am sending you $4000 for the payment of (Art [No.8] ) which is $1200.The reason why the payment is so high like that is due to, i have a shipping company who is going to come for the pick up at your location, and the shipper instructed me that they want their shippment fees to be send to them through the saler so there wont be any problem regarding the pickup thats why they bring out this policy and i do hope you understand it.After you would have recieve the check form me, I will want you to transfer the remaining funds back to the shipping company through MONEY GRAM SECURITY OFFICE NEAR TO YOU.In a case you will love to have a conversation with the shipping company your self you can email them to this email address for
any information regarding the shippment.Meanwhile get back to me with this below information in other for me to send the check to you.

Your Full name that will be written on the check:
Full Address ..........

You can call me on this number if there is any questions +0031643632911 call only in our night time, or send me an email and i will get back to you instantly.
Thanks and hope to read from you and we can proceeds with this transaction.

If you have a yahoo menssanger you can add me with this my yahoo id name and lets talk more and better there regarding the arrangement, and if you dont have a yahoo id, well you can go to and download the yahoo messanger and register for one and give me the id so i add you now cause i notis you are online now and likewise me too.
Much Love,
Best Regards.

Maybe some other people get these kind of email.Be careful !
i recieved an e-mail for one of my paintings. what i did was have them send a money order to my lawyers office, when i got the money order there were two of them. the painting was only 400 u.s.d. yet the money orders were for 1,300u.s.d. i sent an email asking for shipping arrangements, and the reply was this, oh dear, my brother who lives in the u.s. accidently gave u too much money, he got confused and was suppose to send me money, which he sent to u by mistake...please send the difference by cashiers check to this address and make it out to this name...heres the best part......the u.s.d. money orders came in an envelope from london england, yet the name and address on the money orders came from the u.s.....he wants the money that his brother sent, who has a different last name,well, actually the brothers name first and last name are the same.....lets call, bill, anyways....the us post office money orders are with my bank, and at this point shipment of the painting will take place when the alloted time has passed.....also, as for sending him a chashiers check to someone with a different name then his, wont happen.....when i next contact him, i will advise that his funds will be returned to his brother(with the different last name) that lives in the usa yet mailed the us postal money orders from london england? and he sent 2 of them each worth 650 usd, made out to my name.. if this is a ligit deal, i will be very surprised.....time will tell, as i wait for my bank to come back with me with any difficulties with the money experience is....always clear the funds, ship nothing, and wait out the time for everything to clear, then ship the goods, as for overpayments, well, that is taken care of by mailing them a check, that they can cash and wait out with there bank. i dont care for someone telling me how to return overpayments to them, with exact details,and in another name other than there own...too many players in this one.....what i thought was a regualr transaction, has turned out to be a complicated deal......oh by the way, this guy lives in belgium, yet wants the money his brother overpayed, sent to a different name in london........oh by the way, he has no idea what he bought..its a painting, yet he refers to it as a sculpture.......
Thanks for sharing the ordeal youre going through anon. I'm betting that you won't get any money from it all though.
Good luck with it!

If these guys used the thinking and effort that they use scamming people, to do something useful, they would be richer AND feel a bit better about themselves.

update, yes the pu.s. postral money orders were fake..they came from a john u see this anywhere, avoid it...the're not very bright though......good thing i sent nothing, and gave the money orders to my bank to take care of to see if they were real.......had i completed the transaction i would have lost over 1000 dollars and a painting..instead i lost nothing.....i suggest, bank transfer or nothing from anyone, also,i use a website that takes 10%, well worth it...they take visa and such......i have always got paid from them within a week.....and thier checks are good.....
A scam is a scam is a scam! IF it is too good to be true, it most likely it.

Yeah, we all say that but there are many that still still fall into the trap.

Some of the comments here offer excellent tips about how to avoid getting into something you will regret.

Keep your eyes wide open!
I just received a forged cashiers check to purchase one of my paintings from a Hanks Thomas (he gave an address in Scotland as the ship to address and the check was mailed from MA but the check was drawn on a bank from Texas)His email address: should have know this was a scam when he refused to pay for the painting via paypal's email invoicing option. The check was for more than the purchase amount (even with shipping charges included). Thank God, I didn't cash the check and I still have the painting! Please call to verify funds before attempting to cash even cashiers checks.
This is happening to me as we speak, check out this email:

Dear Lisa,

Good to hear from you and The check you received was issued from my financial department. My financial assistant said the amount that was sent to you on the check is include the payment for my shipping company to come and pick up the paintings from you including other items they are picking up for me around Europe. I want you to cash the check from your bank and i ll get the info that my shipping company want their fund to be send too, then you will help me to send the money to them via bank to bank transfer or western union money transfer.

These are the 3 paintings i m buying from you:-

1. urban Environment, 2000 - £1,000 - this piece is 3D and is made from
various materials such as cardboard etc., it will probably need framed.

2. Better Together, February 2007 - £500 - framed in a black box frame,
painted with acrylic on card. I love this piece!

3. The Dark Night of the Soul September 2005 - £525 - also framed in a
black box frame, acrylic on canvas. Also very popular.

The amount that was sent to you on the check is 3700GBP. I want you to deduct how much i m paying for the paintings and will get the info from my shipper you going to send the rest of the money too and will send it to you via e-mail as soon as possible. I ll be waiting to hear from you to confirm those paintings.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Best Regards,
Colin Williams.
This was my reply:

Thanks for the email - fortunately I was lucky enough to get talking to someone who experienced something like this and thankfully told me what you are doing is a scam.

If this isn't a scam you will kindly send me the correct amount: £2,050 for the paintings below and pay the shipping company yourself.

Many thanks,

Look out for his email and beware:

I'd like to report this cheque to someone, does anyone have any suggestions? I want to expose these B**** the end of the day it's hard enough being an artist and trying to make it - without some arse giving you false hope and then ppl potentially falling for it and being out money. Luckily I spoke to some1 today who had the same thing happen to her and it shocked me back into reality...
From what I have been told, there's not much you can do about it Lisa.

The important thing is that you woke up to it before they got your money.

I mention them a few times each year on BgArt News Blog, and people leave comments with the names and emails of the scammers, so hopefully artists do a google search if they get suspicious.

It's sad, but we have to share the world with people like "Colin Williams" and authorities don't seem to want to do much about them.

i have received a cashiers cheque for double the amount i asked for my paintings.
I was lucky to read these comments.I have not cashed the cheque. Any ideas as to what i should reply to the buyer? what do i do with the cheque?
Anon, keep the cheque as a reminder to be more careful or throw it away and forget about it, just don't waste your time cashing it.

And, depending on how nice of a person you are, you could politely tell the buyer that you worked out his scam, or call him every vile name you can think of.

Either way, it doesnt make much difference to him as youre probably just one of several people that he is currently scamming.
Hi, I am an Irish astist, I too have been in correspondance with a girl claming to be from London and wanting to by my work , apparently a check is on its way for 20 times the agreed price!!!!!!!!!!! smell a rat???? apparently she will be out of the country when i send artwork, so her assistant will arrange for me to send the reminder of money once i take price of Art work.
Run for the hills Cathriona.. don't look back.. it's a scam.
All I can say is use PayPal. I wonder how many artists fall for the bad check scams each year?
so annoyed....was literally on my way out the door with a handfull of fake checks when I decided to do a google search "Hanks Thomas scam"....take a looksie at my emails with ol hanky panky...pretty much word-for word:

Hello Andrea,

Thanks for the notification. I just got to know now from my associate that he made out checks for the wrong amount to you as i have instructed him to send just $680 to you and have the rest of my funds sent to my travelling agent who's going to book my wife's air ticket for holiday in Egypt,but he made a mistake sending the whole $2000 to you.Am so sorry about this mistake.The traveler's checks are easier to cash for you once you sign them according to him.

Please,have the checks signed and proceed to your bank to have them cashed.Deduct the amount for the item plus exact shipping cost immediately and have the rest of my funds sent to me here in London via Western Union using the information below.The charges for the transfer can be deducted from my balance as that's not a problem. Am very sorry for the inconvenience this may cause you.Please,provide me with the MTCN and the exact amount sent or scan the western union receipt to me as soon as the transaction is done.

Am looking forward to doing business with you again in the nearest future.Have a wonderful day

My Information:
Last name: Hanks Last Name: Thomas
city: London
Country:United Kingdom

Best Regards,

On Tue, Dec 15, 2009 at 9:02 PM, andrea dupree wrote:

Hi Hanks,

I received your payment today: four travelers cheques totaling $2,000 USD. I believe this amount is different from the amount I had quoted you, but will definitely be useful in shipping, as the price I had originally quoted was a bit low. Let me know if this amount is correct with your records and I will proceed with cashing the checks and preparing the sculpture for shipment this week.

thank you-


Andrea Dupree

Date: Mon, 14 Dec 2009 20:21:25 +0200
Subject: Bank Instruction from my fund Manager

Hello Andrea,
How are you today? I hope you should have receieved the check by now.If not,then you will have it in the next 1 or 2 business days.

Once you get the check in the mail,please sign it in black ink immediately you open the letter as this is very important then you can later proceed to the bank where you will be asked to countersign on the check infront of the cashier. This instruction is to make it easy for you while cashing your money.

Please,send me an email as soon as you get the payment.Thanks and have a good day.

more from hanks thomas, these were the first emails I received from him:

Hello Andrea,

Thanks for the quick response.The price of the piece is quite okay by me but your payment method.We do not use paypal as we've not tried it before therefore we will be paying you inform of US certified check/US Money Order or Traveller's check according to my funds manager there in the US,while you ship the piece immediately after check clears your bank .Kindly let me know if that is okay by you.Have a wonderful day.

Best regards,

On 10/21/09, andrea dupree wrote:
Hi Hanks-

I apologize for not getting back to you sooner, I've been feeling a bit under the weather. Yes,my ceramic sculpture "being tree" is for sale, at $450. I accept payments through paypal. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase I'll send you an invoice through paypal, you'll be able to pay this way even if you don't have a paypal account. I've estimated the shipping cost from New Orleans to Bradford to be $230, using FedEx. I'm willing to consider other shipping options if you know of a more cost effective method.

I'm excited about your interest in my work, and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.


Andrea Dupree
985.856.7700 985.856.7700

Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2009 10:41:40 +0200
Subject: being treeceramic, glaze.22”x16”x10”; $350

Hi Andrea,
My name is hanks.I'm an art dealer/exhibitor based in bradford in the united kingdom.I deal in original artworks and also showcase them in exhibitions all over the world.I got to see your works via the search engine while looking for artworks of great impression and i'm willing to buy from you the artwork stated as the subject of this email.Kindly let me know if it's available for sale.If yes,quote the price and let me know the method(s) of payment that is acceptable to you.I'm looking forward to reading from you.Have a wonderful day...
+447031862581 +447031862581
+447031815972 +447031815972
Watch Out!
Translation Scam:

Hanks Thomas
Hanks Blake

On Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 5:19 AM, on behalf of Hanks Thomas wrote:


My name is Hanks Blake from Georgia but presently on an official assignment in Bucarest,Romania.I will need your service to translate a write-up for me.I actually need to make a presentation to some group of portuguese speaking people abroad and I will be provided with a translator in the country where I have to present it,so i will need you to help me translate the paper to portuguese,so each participants can have a copy in portuguese language and they can follow through. Let me know your rate for a total of about 22 pages presentation.

Thank you.


Thanks for the quick response.See attachment to view the text.Let me know the exact quote.I want it to be delivered by March 17 and my method of payment is by Cashiers Check or Personal Check. Have a wonderful day.



On Tue, Mar 2, 2010 at 11:00 PM, Hanks Thomas wrote:

See attachment for the billing address is 106 elam street,gordon,ga 31031.Am in romania for similar presentation at this time.Thank you.


RE: Hanks Blake & Translation Scam.

Thanks for posting the warning. Got the same e-mail but for English-French translation. THINGS just seemed fishy, so I got the text to be translated, googled the tittle and first sentence, turned out to be a published article by somebody completely different, while the HANKS pretended to be the author that had to present the work to an audience in Romania (!)..

See E-Mail:

From: Hanks Blake
Sent: Fri, March 12, 2010 7:41:34 PM
Subject: Payment
Vous avez reçu un message via
Auteur: Hanks blake [NOTE : l'auteur n'est pas un membre de ou n'était pas identifié lors de l'envoi de ce message.]
Adresse IP de l'auteur:
Type de message: Request for quote


My name is Hanks Blake from Gordon,Georgia but presently
on an official assignment in Bucarest,Romania.I will need
your service to translate a write-up for me.I actually need
to make a presentation to some group of french speaking
people abroad and I will be provided with a translator in
the country where I have to present it,so i will need you to help me translate the paper to french,so each participants can have a copy in french language and they can follow through. Let me know your rate for a total of about 22 pages presentation.
Thank you. Hanks Blake

Then He sent 2 docs, 12 pages and 23 pages each, was asking for the address but wouldn't give his even with an "invoice/quote"....But Claimed he Had sent "money" through his "associate Isaac Hunter", Before even He got an official invoice?! ...etc etc

See E-mail:

How are you today?I hope you are fine.Well,i just want to let you know that payment for the translation has been sent out first class today by my associate(Isaac Hunter) as he will be traveling this weekend.However,you should have it next week.Please,let me know as soon as you are in receipt of it.Have a wonderful weekend.

Best Regards,

Really thanks for posting the warning on this site. That's how I found out...
Hey everyone,
I just found out about the scam "Hanks Blake from Georgia" right now and let me tell you that I wish I had seen it earlier. I received the same email about the translation from English to French about a month ago, and I didn't make enough research on it. I went ahead with the translation, not knowing it was a spam and today I received a $4000 cashiers check in the mail instead of the rate we had agreed on. I had previously received fishy emails of spam for translations and I always saw through them but this time I totally believe it. Now I lost a month worth of work, and I would like to know if there is anything I can do. I know there's no appeal or anything because I don't have any address and I'm sure it's not his real name. The fact is that person answered my emails every day and I was wondering if I should email him to ask him about the checks, play stupid in order to get information, or if I should totally drop it.

Thanks for your advice,

My niece had the same disappointed the last week. She lost 1 month for translating. This kind of people that hide your identity with alias as Hans Blake or Hans Thomas, are professional fraudster that they never mind anything. I will try to find the real identity ( I studied security information), in order to collaborate with the US govern for that these people pay with the jail as soon as possible.
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