New Work Opportunity!
When I started drawing professionally in the late 1980s, everything was new and exciting.
Seeing my work getting printed and/or framed felt great!
At first, it started slowly, my first postcards (badly) printed, starting illustrating articles for local magazines, an exhibition at Neilson Hays Library, etc., etc.
But over the years routine started creeping in and I kind of slowed down, artistic hibernation perhaps.
In 2012 I took up my pen again and for a while really enjoyed drawing for the fun of it.
From only working on paper I’d moved on to a digital hybrid which offered new possibilities.
Occasionally I sold prints of my work and even had a few exhibitions (*), but the last one ended so badly that I can’t be bothered anymore.
I posted a lot on all kinds of social media but by now only use Twitter and Instagram for an incidental drawing.
3 days ago I suddenly received on Instagram out of the blue a request for a commission!
It was for a portrait of an American(?) woman but to be honest I don't like doing portraits as my style isn't that suitable.
I explained as such, but she was persistent and willing to pay…
For any commission nowadays I ask 50% advance payment otherwise it becomes an unpaid waste of time, sad but true.
She agreed to that and this morning sent me a message that she’d transferred the full amount!
I checked my email and indeed there was a PayPal message about her transfer BUT there were some problems as I didn’t have a business account…
Now I hadn’t used my PayPal account in ages so things might have changed over time?
Even so, it seemed weird that I would have to request her to send me more money and afterwards transfer it back???
Keep in mind I was reading this early in the morning before 6 AM over breakfast, so I guess my brain wasn’t really functioning properly.
Surprise, surprise, there was a 2nd email from PayPal, this time from a completely unknown person with a weird name (Crystl Brittany) and my own name replaced by a Ngamting Wangsu…
By now alarm bells started ringing, but I decided to leave it for now and go cycling, much better.
Of course, during the ride these 2 emails kept popping up in my brain, irritating.
But cycling for me clears the mind and I suddenly remembered the 2 basic rules with weird emails:
a. Never click any links & b. Check the email address!
I stopped cycling, got my mobile phone out, and went to the emails in question.
Apparently, PayPal was doing really badly as nowadays they use Gmail accounts?
Seriously, firstname.lastname@example.org anyone?!
Back home I checked my PayPal account where of course there was no record of either payment…
Over the years I sometimes look into my spam box and found countless bullshit emails, most of them amateurish rubbish, but some real works of art.
But this commission attempt is brand-new though!
In hindsight there were plenty of warning signs:
- Her message was sent as a request instead of a comment underneath one of the posts.
- Most requests (if not all) are from rubbish companies offering to get me more likes and/or scum influencers.
- She didn’t read carefully whatever I wrote and 2 times I had to repeat information.
- I asked her to mail me some high-resolution photos of herself which she never did.
- Instead of 50% she paid the full amount.
- The name mentioned in the PayPal email, Amberly Gibson, was slightly different from her Instagram account, amberly_gibbins!
I checked one of her photos with Reverse Image Search but didn’t get any results.
Nowadays that means nothing because it is so easy to use an AI-generated fake person photo.
Who really is amberly_gibbins?
No clue, but probably some Nigerian scammers or similar!
Anyway, I reported-blocked her account and learned something new again!