When an unsolicited email lands in your inbox requesting you to do illustration work, it’s very exciting!
But is it legit? Recently a number of SCBWI members, mostly illustrators but also some writers, have received requests for presentation decks, workshop materials, catalogs, etc.
They read like any other request for a proposal … mostly.
Here’s one version:
My name is (name redacted), I am an academic event organizer and an Apraxia patient. I got your contact details online. I need the service of an artist or illustrator/cartoonist to work on a project for an upcoming workshop.
I will give the idea of what I need to be illustrated/drawn and you can get back to me with the price to get it done. I will pay your fees up front if you want.
Please get back to me for more data.
When the illustrator who received this phoned the included number for more details, something felt off. And when she researched the company who was sponsoring the workshop, found they knew nothing about it.
Here’s a link to another story from a design house about a scam that targeted them.
And here’s another one SCBWI members have recently reported:
We wanted to warn you about a current scam targeting designers, known as the “Veehaus scam”. Designers are being contacted by a person named “Paul” on behalf of a fictional furniture company called “VEEHAUS”. Targets are typically strung along with spare details about the job, until at some point “Paul” sends the designer a payment and then asks to be reimbursed when the project falls apart. The original payment disappears from the target’s account, leaving the designer in the red as “Paul” moves on to another target. Here are a couple of examples of people who have experienced the Veehaus scam firsthand.
As a freelance artist with an online presence, you may be vulnerable to this kind of attack–however, there is no cause for concern as your personal information is not at risk, so long as you do not share it with the scammers. If you receive an offer like the one described in the above links, simply delete it.
This, unfortunately, is just one iteration of the many online scams targeting freelancers these days–and it’s very possible that the Veehaus scam may evolve in the next few months, changing details to avoid detection.
So what should you do if you receive one of these emails? Hit “delete” and move on. Or if you want to make sure it’s not legit, pay close attention to any follow-up interactions.
Another precaution is to rely on the wisdom of others. Join the Southern Breeze Illustrators’ Facebook page. It’s a private group where you can ask your fellow illustrators about anything, including emails which might be scams.
May the new year bring you all lots of illustration work — the legitimate kind!