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.
So where’s the scam, you may ask? Eventually you’ll be sent a check for “oops” too much, and asked to return the excess. This can be thousands of dollars. But when the original check bounces, you have no way to get back the “excess” you sent to them.
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. If they send you a check that’s “oops” too much, do not deposit it. (Needless to say, never give out your bank account number.)
Another step is to 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!