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Awareness of artist scams: my experience XD


Ice Princess Silky

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Hello, lovelies! 

There's a rampant amount of art scammers reaching out to people and I just wanted to make you all aware of this so that you know that 1. you're not alone, 2. please do not feel bad either reporting or removing these people from your messages.

With the new digital age of AI - a lot of incredible things can be observed from these advanced forms of technology. Sadly, as above, so below... in this context meaning, with the good there is also a wiggle room for the bad. So, scammers are getting "creative" with using A.I to try to rob users of their money.


I repeatedly get random messages from strangers. Some of them have a sob story that makes you want to rush to assist them. Others simply seem like really chill people you wish to get to know or support as an artist.

But they all tend to have something in common. Apart from the weird moments of calling you "dear" without knowing who you are, the consistent patterns tend to be:

1. They do not have their own steady artist portfolio online. No DeviantArt, no consistency. The reason being that their art would be reported as either AI or stolen if they did show you a consistent portfolio. 

2. They tend to reach out to you because they noticed you have an OC. Scammers are aware of how sentimental we can be about our own OCs and they try to play on that.

3. It's always a random message from a stranger who has EXTRA confidence in offering their artistic services and that you will be pleased. This is not how clients work. Even the most amazingly talented artists are aware that not everyone is going to like their style, even if they have a confident raving review of the majority.

Either way, I decided to test one of these many random people and the results were... oddly hilarious. (posted screenshots in spoiler below).

While I am usually very protective of private conversations with users, friends, etc, in this case, it is simply a scammer and I have no qualm with revealing these to inform anyone who needs to know: 

 

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That image is literally an old art that I myself made of my own OC and he simply put a black and white filter over it - claiming it was a "sketch." lol
I was literally speechless... this is what he was asking $50 for. I guess it's time for me to pay someone else for art that I made. :laugh:

But in all seriousness, I just wanted to raise awareness. Regardless of any messaging platform that you use, any artist insisting to draw your OC for a "cheap and reasonable price" (without a set portfolio that a real community can backup and confirm is legit) is to be seen as a potential red flag or suspicion. 

Don't feel guilty or shy about removing them or asserting your firm boundaries. 

Stay lovely :grin:

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What do you mean he is fake? As we all know, real artists are known to have highly inconsistent art styles between their works.

28 minutes ago, Silky The Smoll said:

That image is literally an old art that I myself made of my own OC and he simply put a black and white filter over it - claiming it was a "sketch." lol

Oops.

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1 minute ago, Luna the Great of all the Russias said:

What do you mean he is fake? As we all know, real artists are known to have highly inconsistent art styles between their works.

Oops.

He literally posted a sketch that Lauren Faust herself made before FIM became a thing :laugh: I guess Lauren should pay him for that, too :LunaMCM:

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I have had a similar experience today. I saw @Silky The Smoll's screenshots before my encounter, so I knew exactly what I was dealing with. The best way to deal with these people is to NOT accept random friend requests from people you don't know and to have your DMs set to block out unwanted DMs on Discord. 

 

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Image_8-13-23_at_12.06_PM.jpeg?width=577

 

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Gr8 PSA! I've never heard of anyone editing and sending a "sketch" to the actual artist who drew that. That's so funny LOL

I also experienced something similar around last year, no money was involved though. At the time I was pretty shaken up with a few attempts from people trying to steal, of all things, my Roblox account.

This person kept trying to reassure me even though I knew how "GFX" on that game is made. I don't need to send any files at all to them. The file they wanted me to send, for whatever reason, is used as a security loophole to enable them access to the account of whoever sent it.

If they were a proper "GFX" artist, they would know that if they get the character (imported into Roblox Studio with a plugin that's free and well trusted), export it as an .obj from Roblox Studio and bring it into a 3D modeling program like Blender, the textures will already be there and it should render out fine aside from some added lighting sources and texture adjustments. They may not be able to see it in the viewport if they don't have something like the Material view enabled.

Funny enough they actually DID import my character into a 3D modeling software but still asked for it.

And if it were for practice, I gave them the okay to use my avatar for it so why would they ask what decorations I want as if i commissioned something? I'm not commissioning anything so that's something I didn't pick up on until way after this happened. Plus one of the renders I'm pretty sure was stolen and they slapped their name on top, and the other two were just .pngs that were poorly upscaled from the roblox website.

And at some point they deleted their account so...

Never exchange files with people you don't know. Heck, be sure the person you're talking to is actually that person in case something seems off. Social engineering hackaroos, yaknow.

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Screenshot_20230813_144832_Discord.thumb.jpg.7151e574b7542c8b70c2823b780e3631.jpg

 

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These type of folks are everywhere on Twitter. You like one popular picture on there and you suddenly have 4 different accounts with fake/stolen art following you asking you to commission them if you leave your messages open. I'm glad I haven't been hounded by them on Discord yet.

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4 hours ago, Props Valroa said:

The best way to deal with these people is to NOT accept random friend requests from people you don't know and to have your DMs set to block out unwanted DMs on Discord. 

This. So much this. Even if it's not happening on a specific platform or MLPF, having a sense of community and protection is key. If a stranger messages you, check your mutuals. Have mutuals? Ask your friends who they are. Don't have mutuals? Le sus. 

We've been at this for years. Creating a sense of union and community. You guys are absolutely wonderful and I hope you can feel a sense of trust with staff or each other to communicate, report or create boundaries for protection of oneself as well as each other. Even if on other platforms. We're in this together <3

my-little-pony-grop-hug.gif
 

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LOL!!! if the person keeps on saying the word dear its a chinese scammer! Hahaha no kidding! They always start with that... Or is it the new international pick up line of scammers? I dont notice indian scammers starting that line though...

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43 minutes ago, Treeglow Flicker said:

As a self-employed commission artist that dabbles in various different creative pursuits, I thought I'd throw in a little information on how I work. :catface:

First thing first, I never approach others for work. Any work I receive, the client always comes to me. As for my clients, they are always people that I know well or are vouched for by people that know me already. It can be a very slow process of getting a pool of regular clients built up, but doing things this way means I am guarunteed to get paid. On the subject of being paid for my work, I only accept payment once the job is done and when the client is happy with what I have produced. So I'm pretty much private in contrast to advertising publicly.

Prior to any work, I have a consultation with the client. This is where they can tell me what they want, provide relevant reference materials and I discuss various ways that I can create what they want. I also share a private portfolio of my work for any newcomers that are vouched for. Also I use the private portfolio to show any specific samples that might be relevant to the consultation that could give a client a clearer idea of what they might be after if they're not exactly sure. Or to just show them what I could potentially do with their request.

After the consultation, I then quote a price. And if they're happy to proceed, work begins. Occasionally, I would share progress on the work and ask if they are happy with things like the layout, poses, expressions, etc. Once feedback has been dealt with, I then continue onwards to completion. Once complete, I then give them their requested work and they then make the agreed payment in a timely manner.

I have yet to black ball anyone for failing to pay. Also it helps that people know that I'm not something to be crossed lightly. :catface:

So basically, in my experience and from my point of view as a commission artist.

  • A genuine commission artist will never approach you for work directly
  • A genuine commission artist will speak in detail about what you want from them and won't jump to talking about payment straight off the bat
  • A commission artist doesn't always keep their work online or public so always ask to see several samples if they don't have a public gallery. As I mentioned, I keep a private portfolio and if someone asked to see samples, I am able to supply consistent examples. Keep in mind, they might not be able to show samples straight off the bat due to needing time to search through their stuff. To prevent the risk of having a con artist simply buying time to gather fake samples, try and be detailed about what sort of samples you want and check what is shown to you is consistent. Also helps to let the artist talk your ear off about each piece they show. We can get passionate about our creations which is a good sign of sincerity.

 

Whoa, thank you so much for the insight of an actual commission artist as well as some neat advice! I'm going to recommend this comment. 

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@Silky The Smoll

Something to add to scam awareness. Got this one from someone skulking around in the Poniverse server and sent me a friend request out of the blue. Happy reading! :kirin:

(I am Satori Komeiji, by the way. The scammer is Olivia Thomas.) :P

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So seeing as Olivia Thomas decided it would be a good idea to try and scam me. An actual commission artist who earns an honest living with their work. I'd figure I'd take this time to not only expose them, but to use them as a guinea pig.

Now then.

They randomly sent a friend request which I accepted out of curiosity due to them being on the Poniverse Discord server. Now I'm not known as Treeglow Flicker in that server and go by my default Discord name. So the only way they would mutually know me is through someone who I am already friends with on the forums who knows my Discord name. So this is an immediate red flag.

  • I don't know them
  • Only thing in common is a single mutual server
  • Why the sudden contact?

Moving on to the fun stage. First contact with this new face who suddenly wants to be my friend (supposedly).

I indulge in the usual greeting pleasantries and try to learn more about them. Only immediate thing in common being? That we belong to a mutual server. One that I know is related to the forums where I am actively active when not occupied with stuff. I first try to identify them tosee if I know them from the forums. Their response to my question "idk". Another red flag right there. Followed immediately by brushing off my inquiry by jumping straight to their motive. Apparently they really like my avatar and try and use it as an entrance to *GASP* offer their services to draw it. So what do we have at this stage?

  • A stranger who despite being on the Poniverse server doesn't know whether he is from the MLP Forums :confused:
  • Rather than getting to know who I am, immediately jumps to generously wanting to draw my profile avatar
  • Immediately talks of a reasonable price for their 'services'

So we now have someone who has randomly approached me solely because they happen to have taken a liking to my profile image and wants to draw it for a reasonable price. Immediately eager to show off a portfolio. Obsviously, at this point friendship is not on the cards for them. They are after money for apparent services. But are they genuine? Well the portfolio speaks volumes.

INCONSISTENT SAMPLES!

I continue to play along and try to get him to tell me about them. He merely posts more inconsistent images.

I continue to play along. All is fair after all. If they are trying to take me for a fool, it is only right that they get a taste of their own medicine. Especially considering that at this point that I'm doing it for a good cause.

Now then! Plenty of pony samples. Apparently hangs out on the Poniverse server. So they MUST be a fan of the show, right?

...

Right?

Apparently yes. But doesnt have a favourite character and instead wants to return to the subject of wanting to draw something for me? Now then. Let's not beat around the bush. I'm pretty sure that any fan of the show would gladly talk people's ears off about their favourite ponies. Every fan has them. Could it be that Olivia Thomas ISN'T a genuine fan but is up to no good? I'm shocked, I tell you! Absolutely shocked! Look at this Applebloom emote to see how shocked I am. :catface:

So at this point, I'm curious as to how much wants to try and steal... er... I mean wants to be paid.

A vague answer leaving up to me?

Sure we genuine commission artists sometimes ask about a budget depending on what a client wants. But it's a rather strange thing to say when he doesn't even know what I would want (if I was actually going to be fooled). A genuine commission artist at this stage would normally lay out some prices of what they would charge for sketch work, inking, colouring etc.

Anyway. I decide to break it to them that I'm actually a commission artist who wouldn't require their services, considering that I could draw whatever I needed for myself.

...

They immediately jump to wanting to see my work. No doubt to add to his portfolio of lies! :yeahno:

I blatantly lie and tell him that I suppose I could do so. (At which point I was actually drawing a mocking sketch of absoulte dog shit quality)

While working on said sketch, I decided to, tongue in cheek call them out with all the faux sincerity and oblivious innocence that I could muster before they fell idle without any further responses. At which point I removed them from my friend list and blocked them seeing as I got enough evidence to suggest that they were up to no good.

Anyway. If you recognise any artwork in the Discord screenshots that belong to anyone you know, then warn them. Or if you are the owner. Olivia Thomas is using them for a bogus portfolio as a suspected scam. Release the hounds!

Anyway. Just wanted to give a heads up as well as highlight how these scams can play out on the social side of things.

Obligatory smug Satori face.

 

image.jpeg.c2a56b2e9c16c479131d0bb6b7a646cf.jpeg

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  • 2 weeks later...
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On 2023-08-21 at 7:30 PM, Treeglow Flicker said:

@Silky The Smoll

Something to add to scam awareness. Got this one from someone skulking around in the Poniverse server and sent me a friend request out of the blue. Happy reading! :kirin:

(I am Satori Komeiji, by the way. The scammer is Olivia Thomas.) :P

 

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So seeing as Olivia Thomas decided it would be a good idea to try and scam me. An actual commission artist who earns an honest living with their work. I'd figure I'd take this time to not only expose them, but to use them as a guinea pig.

Now then.

They randomly sent a friend request which I accepted out of curiosity due to them being on the Poniverse Discord server. Now I'm not known as Treeglow Flicker in that server and go by my default Discord name. So the only way they would mutually know me is through someone who I am already friends with on the forums who knows my Discord name. So this is an immediate red flag.

  • I don't know them
  • Only thing in common is a single mutual server
  • Why the sudden contact?

Moving on to the fun stage. First contact with this new face who suddenly wants to be my friend (supposedly).

I indulge in the usual greeting pleasantries and try to learn more about them. Only immediate thing in common being? That we belong to a mutual server. One that I know is related to the forums where I am actively active when not occupied with stuff. I first try to identify them tosee if I know them from the forums. Their response to my question "idk". Another red flag right there. Followed immediately by brushing off my inquiry by jumping straight to their motive. Apparently they really like my avatar and try and use it as an entrance to *GASP* offer their services to draw it. So what do we have at this stage?

  • A stranger who despite being on the Poniverse server doesn't know whether he is from the MLP Forums :confused:
  • Rather than getting to know who I am, immediately jumps to generously wanting to draw my profile avatar
  • Immediately talks of a reasonable price for their 'services'

So we now have someone who has randomly approached me solely because they happen to have taken a liking to my profile image and wants to draw it for a reasonable price. Immediately eager to show off a portfolio. Obsviously, at this point friendship is not on the cards for them. They are after money for apparent services. But are they genuine? Well the portfolio speaks volumes.

INCONSISTENT SAMPLES!

I continue to play along and try to get him to tell me about them. He merely posts more inconsistent images.

I continue to play along. All is fair after all. If they are trying to take me for a fool, it is only right that they get a taste of their own medicine. Especially considering that at this point that I'm doing it for a good cause.

Now then! Plenty of pony samples. Apparently hangs out on the Poniverse server. So they MUST be a fan of the show, right?

...

Right?

Apparently yes. But doesnt have a favourite character and instead wants to return to the subject of wanting to draw something for me? Now then. Let's not beat around the bush. I'm pretty sure that any fan of the show would gladly talk people's ears off about their favourite ponies. Every fan has them. Could it be that Olivia Thomas ISN'T a genuine fan but is up to no good? I'm shocked, I tell you! Absolutely shocked! Look at this Applebloom emote to see how shocked I am. :catface:

So at this point, I'm curious as to how much wants to try and steal... er... I mean wants to be paid.

A vague answer leaving up to me?

Sure we genuine commission artists sometimes ask about a budget depending on what a client wants. But it's a rather strange thing to say when he doesn't even know what I would want (if I was actually going to be fooled). A genuine commission artist at this stage would normally lay out some prices of what they would charge for sketch work, inking, colouring etc.

Anyway. I decide to break it to them that I'm actually a commission artist who wouldn't require their services, considering that I could draw whatever I needed for myself.

...

They immediately jump to wanting to see my work. No doubt to add to his portfolio of lies! :yeahno:

I blatantly lie and tell him that I suppose I could do so. (At which point I was actually drawing a mocking sketch of absoulte dog shit quality)

While working on said sketch, I decided to, tongue in cheek call them out with all the faux sincerity and oblivious innocence that I could muster before they fell idle without any further responses. At which point I removed them from my friend list and blocked them seeing as I got enough evidence to suggest that they were up to no good.

Anyway. If you recognise any artwork in the Discord screenshots that belong to anyone you know, then warn them. Or if you are the owner. Olivia Thomas is using them for a bogus portfolio as a suspected scam. Release the hounds!

Anyway. Just wanted to give a heads up as well as highlight how these scams can play out on the social side of things.

Obligatory smug Satori face.

 

image.jpeg.c2a56b2e9c16c479131d0bb6b7a646cf.jpeg

I hope you know that I've had to link this thread to several people who have asked about it and this image shows up on the thumbnail and I am SO here for it lol Thank you @Treeglow Flicker for your contributions :laugh:

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7 minutes ago, Silky The Smoll said:

I hope you know that I've had to link this thread to several people who have asked about it and this image shows up on the thumbnail and I am SO here for it lol Thank you @Treeglow Flicker for your contributions :laugh:

I so wish I knew who originally created that image. :ButtercupLaugh: I actually have a print out of it on my bedroom wall because I love it so much.

Anyway. Always makes me happy when I am am able to entertain. :eager:

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  • 2 weeks later...

BewareBeware of a person named ★彡 ʟᴜᴄʏ ʟᴏɴᴇʏ 彡★ / @Lucyloney11.

She scammed money in the name of creating OC art.

Please do not accept her friend invitation.

After I reported and blocked her, she was anxious

Screenshot 2023-10-08 083341.png

Screenshot 2023-10-08 083622.png

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3 minutes ago, Felis Amafeles said:

BewareBeware of a person named ★彡 ʟᴜᴄʏ ʟᴏɴᴇʏ 彡★ / @Lucyloney11.

She scammed money in the name of creating OC art.

Please do not accept her friend invitation.

After I reported and blocked her, she was anxious

Screenshot 2023-10-08 083341.png

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I have had this user banned from so many servers! She promised me she would stop harassing users -- months ago! Seems she's still at it again. I am very disappointed. You're a very kind person, wishing to help. It makes me sad that they come after innocent people who just want to help.

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40 minutes ago, Silky the little magus said:

I have had this user banned from so many servers! She promised me she would stop harassing users -- months ago! Seems she's still at it again. I am very disappointed. You're a very kind person, wishing to help. It makes me sad that they come after innocent people who just want to help.

It was okay, I was prepared for the possibility of being scammed at the beginning, but I didn’t want to lose the opportunity to help someone who wanted to create art because of my doubts. I think the real victims are the creators of art...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Instead of getting scammed by others....

Would you be willing to get scammed by me? I'll make art works at the cost of Derp Points.

And the only way you could get derp points is if you joined the Derp Legion Club and do the quests there.:muffins:

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

A new scammer has emerged and her name is Amelia Warner
It seems like she doesn’t understand MLP and art.
And gain sympathy by talking about the difficulties in her life...
 

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  • 1 month later...
On 2024-01-05 at 7:04 AM, Felis Amafeles said:

A new scammer has emerged and her name is Amelia Warner
It seems like she doesn’t understand MLP and art.
And gain sympathy by talking about the difficulties in her life...
 

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Brahhh... Thats some harsh words you throwned in there 😆

@Felis Amafeles

Oh! What if i blatantly scam you guys for art? For free!

Would you like me to draw something for you @Felis Amafeles.? 

I need it to pay for my dog's house rent.

It'll only cost you 0 dollars I'll even give you a 50% discount!

 

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On 2023-08-13 at 1:51 PM, Ice Princess Silky said:

That image is literally an old art that I myself made of my own OC and he simply put a black and white filter over it - claiming it was a "sketch." lol
I was literally speechless... this is what he was asking $50 for. I guess it's time for me to pay someone else for art that I made. :laugh:

the AUDACITY! your own art lmaoo as if you wouldn't recognize it?? How did they ever think that was going to work? :Pip-giggle:

On 2023-08-21 at 7:30 PM, Treeglow Flicker said:

They immediately jump to wanting to see my work. No doubt to add to his portfolio of lies! :yeahno:

I blatantly lie and tell him that I suppose I could do so. (At which point I was actually drawing a mocking sketch of absoulte dog shit quality)

Oh lord they were totally going to add anything you shared to the Portfolio of Lies! They just don't respect artists at all, and then they think you'll be gullible enough to give them more fodder for their scam? Ridiculous! So based of you to immediately start drawing a crappy sketch to mess with them lmao

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