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An artist on Instagram asked me if they could do a painting of me. They told me that their client would be sending me the check, but they needed me to send my full name to write on the check and email to send it through.

The reason why I’m getting paid is because it will serve as a reference that I was paid, in case of future references if I end up trying to file a lawsuit for using my pictures without my permission.

I feel like I should just be dealing with the client instead at this point, but I just want to know if it’s a scam and if it’s safe for me to send someone that info.

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    Are you a supermodel or otherwise so distinctive in your looks that it would be worth someone's money to commission an artist to paint a portrait of you? If not, then this is a scam.
    – Vicky
    Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 11:23
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    This question seems like its describing your situation more or less: money.stackexchange.com/questions/152275/is-it-a-scam-if-someone-asks-for-my-full-name-email-and-bank-name
    – Anm
    Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 18:57
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    Appealing to a person's vanity is a common scam technique. Please note that I'm in no way claiming you are vain, I am just stating that appeals to vanity are a common scam technique. Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 5:28
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    It seems very likely they will send you a check worth much more than the amount you agreed on, and they will then demand you send them the remaining money. If that is the case, DO NOT cash the check, just cease contact with them, block them etc. - The check will either bounce or you will have participated in money laundering, if you play their game.
    – Gertsen
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 13:01
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    Does this answer your question? Is it a scam if someone asks for my full name, email, and bank name?
    – Trang Oul
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 19:47

7 Answers 7

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they need me to send my full name to write on the check and email to send it through the reason why I’m getting paid is because it will serve as reference that I was paid incase of future references if I end up trying to file a lawsuit for using my pictures without my permission

Being paid does not in any way preclude you from suing them for using your photo. If they want that sort of protection, they have you sign a contract of some sort (e.g., a model release) where you explicitly give them the rights to use the image, plus list which specific rights they have (right to mass-produce vs. a single work, ability to sublicense rights to others, etc). Sending someone a check doesn't confer any rights to the other person. Whatever this person is wanting to do, this isn't going to accomplish it.

It's not uncommon for an artist to be the middleman between client and subject. Names and contact information for both parties to an agreement are fairly common things to include in a contract. If this is a legit offer, there shouldn't be any issue providing those. Just ask for a copy of the contract before you send any info.

You did well to pick up on the red flags in this situation as it's highly irregular. It's not clearly a scam. It's bizarre, but it seems very convoluted compared to most normal scams. To me, it's equally likely that this is just some high school kid who's an aspiring artist and has no idea how the law actually works. I would personally decline the whole thing because even if this is merely ignorance and not malice, that artist clearly doesn't understand the legal side of things and there's no telling what else he might think he has the rights to do with my likeness. After all, he already lined up a client for this painting before securing the rights necessary to sell it.

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    Okay u were like the only person who actually helped me so thank you 🙏. But now I’m being asked to give my bank name in case a deduction comes up in the clients account so he would know it went through the right account. The artist is also young so their either in or just got out of high school.
    – Ken
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 16:51
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    Full name, email, and bank name gives them enough to make a good effort at hacking your bank account. If it's not too late, I would give the "artist" a burner email address ("Hide My Email", "Firefox Relay", etc.). Otherwise, change the email you use to log in to your bank, and take the opportunity to change your password to something much longer and more secure.
    – Mike
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 19:31
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    There's no need to guess at whether they can hack the account with the given info... next they'll simply say they need the account number, then claim it's not working and ask for login info. Just stop engaging.
    – stannius
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 23:34
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    @Ken I wouldnt be surprised if "the artist" was someone who used another scam to get access to a kids Instagram account.
    – JMac
    Commented Oct 19, 2023 at 12:34
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    Strongly disagree. This is obviously a scam, and just a new flavor of a very old and common scam. If the OP receives a check it will be for more than the agreed amount and they will be asked to return it. The OP's bank will eventually figure out that the check is fraudulent and demand their money bank. If the scammer also gets enough info for identity theft, bonus! This exact scheme has already bee discussed multiple times on this exchange. Do you really think that there is a fad of high school students offering to pay money to paint the portraits of strangers? Commented Oct 24, 2023 at 18:32
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There are signs of a scam here, but this is not it.

The claimed situation is that a client wants to pay you for the right to use your likeness in a portrait. This strikes me as very unusual, but not inherently absurd. If we assume that they indeed wish to enter a contract with you (and pay you), your full name and your email address is very reasonable information for them to have. This kind of information is also not private.

So, what is the suspicious thing here? Someone is offering you easy money on the internet. That's not conclusive evidence of a scam, but a warning sign. The most likely plan is the following: The "client" will indeed send you a check, but they'll ask you to forward the "artist"'s share from it. The check will then bounce (because it is forged or stolen), but you'll be out of the money you've forwarded.

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    Or, if the oversize check doesn't bounce, it will turn out that you're being used to launder criminal money. Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't true.
    – keshlam
    Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 14:59
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    ... "it probably is [too good to be true]" is the normal turn of phrase.
    – user26460
    Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 17:41
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    Do you think your answer could mention a model release agreement that the querent could sign to provide a documented reason why they are getting paid and how much?
    – svavil
    Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 18:05
  • A check is very weird. I'm an artist and every other artist I know uses paypal to handle commission payments.
    – Pyritie
    Commented Oct 19, 2023 at 10:24
  • @svavil I think its quite likely that this is a scam, and I don't want to risk the OP (or someone in a similar situation) to latch onto the "here is how it might not be one"-part. Also, the question is "is this a scam", not "how do model release agreements work". And finally, I don't actually know how model release agreements work (but I believe it to be country-dependent).
    – Arno
    Commented Oct 19, 2023 at 11:30
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This situation seems very suspicious and could be a scam, or at least a very unprofessional or inexperienced team.

Scammers are actually notorious for spending a lot of time and effort to trick you. The wildly popular YouTube channel, Scammer Payback exposes their tactics and how far they are willing to go to gain your trust.

If you do decide you want to work with them, you should research the artist and the client, and get a contract that protects your rights and expectations.

You should also be careful about giving them your personal information, like your name and email address, BEFORE getting more information, because they can use it to hack you, spam you or sell your information.

Here is an article that explains what hackers can do with just your email address published in Reader’s Digest.1

Stay safe!

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The reason why I’m getting paid is because it will serve as a reference that I was paid, in case of future references if I end up trying to file a lawsuit for using my pictures without my permission.

If they are looking to authorize the use of your likeness in a picture, especially if they are painting you specifically, they should have a stronger legal agreement than simply writing your name on the back of a check.

If they were really looking to paint your likeness, and pay you for it, then both they and you would want a written contract. They would want one to confirm an agreed upon payment for the service, and you would definitely want one to make sure you are being paid the agreed upon amount (and of course to avoid being scammed - which is more than likely what is happening here).

If they aren't presenting you with any kind of legal agreement that you yourself sign, or at least have the opportunity to review and save a copy of for your own use, then it is more than likely a scam.

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They told me that their client would be sending me the check, but they needed me to send my full name to write on the check and email to send it through.

That would be the scam there. They want to email you a check. Assuming you went through this, the red flag mentioned here would be followed by

  1. They email you a check
  2. You print the check and photo deposit it
  3. They need some of that money back and want you to use a money transfer service like Zelle
  4. The check bounces, leaving you out the money you "sent back"

Best not to reply to them.

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If person A is paying person B to draw a portrait of you, it is not unusual for them to ask your name and email.

Usually, there are laws about using someone's face for commercial use. You're not supposed to just randomly grab an instagram photo, draw from it and use it in your professional materials. The person could one day find out about it, decide you owe them money, and sue. To avoid that, it's normal to get the person's written permission ahead of time. This normally happens by signing some paperwork. They can't send you the paperwork without an email, and you can't sign it without your real name.

If you have a problem with just giving your name and email over instagram, you're probably not going to like the paperwork. So I would just tell them no, now, because if you tell them your name, see the paperwork, decide you don't want to sign it, you can't un-tell them your name.

It could also be someone lying about the art stuff just to trick you into giving your name and/or email so they can target you for ads or scams. But it sounds unlikely because usually people don't go to this much trouble for that.

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    This answer takes an unique and interesting approach by assuming that it's not a scam, but still recommending to not proceed for logical and well-stated reasons. But I can't upvote with that last paragraph in there--because this probably is a scam, a worse one than what you imply. Commented Oct 17, 2023 at 21:30
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You could let them have your lawyer's contact details. She could negotiate a higher fee, in the highly unlikely event that this isn't a scam.

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    Or just someone (maybe you) pretending to be your lawyer or agent, to negotiate a higher fee.
    – Ivana
    Commented Oct 20, 2023 at 11:34

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