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I'm a songwriter and I post all of my content on Instagram. I recently got offered to be paid $300 to write a song for his son's 6th birthday, coming up next week. I agreed and he's asked for my Full Name and Email Address, but nothing else. I'm worried that he might be trying to get a free song out of me and not pay me. But couldn't he just rip the music I have posted?? I have over 150 original songs and I find it strange that someone would like to fraud me for a song. Unless he's going to start asking for proof of deposit (which I obviously will know it's a fraud if he does) Does this seem like a scam, or he genuinely wants a sweet gesture for his boy doesn't know about Venmo? Or could he be using my name and email address for fraud? I feel skeptical, but then guilty because he might be legit. Can someone please help me with this? Thank you in advance for your time!

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  • Which Country are you in?
    – Aganju
    Aug 6 at 0:17
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E-mailed checks are now a thing that exists. Here is one such vendor: https://checkbook.io

Your full name and e-mail address are more or less public information; think about how many people you give that information to every day.

Of course, an e-mailed check needs to be treated with the same caution as a paper check; it could bounce or be fraudulent. You’ll want to watch for things like names/addresses not matching the customer’s info. And certainly if the check is for more than the purchase price and the customer asks for a partial refund, that is a clear sign of a scam.

If you don’t want to accept a check, you can insist on PayPal or Venmo, but of course it is possible that the customer will say “no, thanks” and walk away.

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Name and email is enough information for someone to spam you, but not scam you. (An exception would be if they start spamming you with phishing emails and you eventually fall for one, but that's pretty unlikely unless you are being specifically targeted.)

To help avoid scams, you should be dictating the method of payment rather than the customer. If the customer has a preferred payment method that you've never used before, ask them to provide more information on it so you can check if it will work for you. (And then you can research it more thoroughly to confirm it's legit.)

My suggestion for this would be to request a down payment. This is a reasonable request that shouldn't put off any legitimate customer. (Unless it's someone you personally know well.) The main benefits of the down payment is you get to confirm the payment method is acceptable to you before you start working and that the customer is serious about paying you. You can even accomplish this with a small down payment like $25. But if you set it high enough (perhaps 30-50%), then you get the additional benefit of getting partially compensated in the event that they don't pay you at the end.

If you decide to go with a low down payment, and you're concerned they may not pay you at the end, you could modify the demo version you provide to them. Perhaps exclude the final 10 seconds, or talk over part of the song in a way to make it undesirable ("This is a demo version only."), or something similar. (But maybe not, "Happy Birthday dear I'll say your name here after your daddy pays me, Happy Birthday to you.")

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In Canada, you can email transfer (Interac E-Transfer) money with only a name and email address. I'm not sure how many other countries in have this kind of option in their banking system, but if the buyer is from Canada or a country that offers a similar service, they may be thinking they can "e-transfer" you the money.

Ultimately the best approach for you is to ask for payment either part or full in advance, before you deliver the song. For example I'm a freelance software developer, and I require a 50% deposit to be paid before work begins. This protects both sides, we are both risking half the agreed value prior to delivery.

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