Mom Blog

Instagram Scam: I Want to Use Your Photos for Mural or Painting and Steal Your Money

The latest scam I’ve been getting on Instagram are people who love my pics so much that they want to make them into a mural. Sometimes, it’s a painting. But either way all I need to do is accept a check for a large amount, keep a little for myself and then send them the extra for supplies. Art supplies can get pricey you know!

Of course, it’s just another fake check scam, and not even a very convincing one. So do not ever accept a check for more than it should be, and then send a stranger money! I feel like that should be common sense, but they wouldn’t keep trying it if people weren’t falling for it. Click here to read more about different types of Fake Check Scams from the FTC. Read on to see what happens when you reply back to the scammers and give them a little bit of a hard time.

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scam alert

I Want to Pay to Use Your Photos!

It starts with a nice complimentary message about how pretty your Instagram feed is, or how inspiring your photos are. So great that they want you to be their muse. The scammer I’m using as an example wanted to make my photos into a mural. I got this same exact message last week, so getting this from another person alerted me this was a scam going around.

One you reply back that they are interested, they will explain they will be sending you a check for a high dollar amount. This person was going to send me $2000, but once I got on board, they later upped it to $5000 because they wanted to use two photos. Lucky me!

This is where they start asking for personal information. I gave them an e-mail I never use for anything, the wrong bank name, and name of one of the witches on Hocus Pocus as my name. I kept asking them details about this amazing mural, but they don’t seem to have a lot of details for me.

After this, they started asking for my phone number, so I gave them a fake one. I wanted to make sure they had no usable information just in case they were going to try and get into my bank account. The main part of this scam isn’t to steal your info through, it’s to steal your money by having you send it to them yourself.

Pretty soon I had myself a very realistic looking image of a $5,000 check, written out to an imaginary witch. They e-mailed it to me as my “allowance” and requested I deposit it right away. I’m publishing the photo of the check with some stuff crossed out, because it’s a fake, but it could contain info obtained through identity-theft.

If I did try and deposit it, it may actually clear. And then I’d need to send them their part of the check. And then that’s when I’d be losing out, because pretty soon the bank would be coming after me to get back their real money to replace the fake check money.

fake check from fake check scam

Avoid Fake Check Scams

This fake check scam also comes in the form of people “accidentally” sending you too much money for an online purchase. Then they will ask you to refund the extra. Then later you find out the check is fake, and you can’t get your money back, and you have to pay the bank back.

So NEVER EVER EVER accept a check and then send a refund. Also never give out your bank info to strangers online. Don’t even give them your personal info like e-mails or phone numbers that you use for things like banking or credit cards. The less info they have to use, the better.

Also, don’t send anybody a screenshot of a log-in code! That’s a whole different Instagram scam that’s getting a lot of people lately.

So What Happened with My Fake Check?

They kept telling me I needed to deposit ASAP, so I asked them a bunch of silly questions and then pretended I deposited it. Then they kept telling me I needed to Venmo them the money, or use cash app. Unfortunately, I don’t use those (at least not for scammers, lol) so I told them I’d need to use Paypal and it will take a few days to get transferred. My scam artist was so sad, because she wanted to get to work right away!

She helpfully suggested I just go to the store and get an Amex gift card for $2000. So suddenly my cut went from $1000, to $3000! I’m just making money like crazy over here.

I asked repeatedly for her e-mail but she didn’t want to give it up. She then started trying to get me to hook a debit card up to my bank, or use Zelle or Paypal through there. I just continued to pretend to be confused as to how any of that works, so then she got mad and started threatening to call my bank and reverse the check I never deposited.

She got very nasty, threatening that my bank would close my account and that I wouldn’t be able to get a bank account anymore. And then she’d call the police and I’d lose my job. The threats kept escalating, and it was getting close to dinner time, so I finally let her know I was faking it. Funny thing was, she didn’t understand and still kept threatening that the bank would close my account. And by “my account” of course that meant Sarah Sanderson’s account. I even asked her if she’d seen Hocus Pocus and said I’d given her the name of my Halloween costume. So finally I just sent a message letting them know they are a terrible person, waited until it was read, and then blocked the account.

My last message before blocking the account

The account above is probably still active and trying to scam other people. If you get a chance, report @jamieson6594 for fraud. Or maybe send them a message and see if you can get them to send checks out to the other Sanderson sisters, lol.

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40 replies »

  1. I got scammed by these artists, the name is Andra on insta, I accepted the check and it somewhat went through. I got 100$ out of the 1000 they promised. I sent back those 100 and they still want 400$ for art supplies while i keep the 500$. The check has not cleared and I dont know what to do. can u please help.

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      • Hey so this happened to me and unfortunately I deposited the check but did not send any cash through anything I called my bank because they’d suspended my account temporarily and they said to call them back in the morning. Am i in danger here. Gosh I can’t believe it some people are just molded by evil

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        • Once the bank figures out it is a fraudulent check, they will suspend your account so no more activity can take place. Then they will need to talk to you to determine if you have committed a crime by knowingly depositing it, or if you are the victim of fraud.
          The bank will take back the funds from the check and may charge you a fee on top of that, depending on the bank.
          This scam happens so often that they are probably familiar with dealing with it.

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  2. My daughter fell for it today! She deposited the check and then started getting nervous and wanted to get rid of the money so she venmoed some back to them like they wanted. 🤦 The bank fixed some of it and changed her account but now these people are threatening to come find her and kill her! Now I am so nervous! Why don’t teenagers listen?! My husband is in IT and has told her for years to ask before doing anything.

    Liked by 1 person

    • oh no! They got very threatening with me as well. They told me the police were going to come have me arrested for stealing their money. I’m sorry to hear your daughter fell for it. I’m hoping people will Google this before that happens! They are just trying to scare her though. They are most likely on a different continent.

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    • I fell for it because I love art and I told them I would do it for free persisted on it, that it was necessary and when I gave in and gave my email, which wasn’t actually my email but where I messed up was my phone number. They were like oh now you have my check. I said I don’t even want it and I’m out because doesn’t seem real and I’m guessing you don’t just want to paint a picture. After that they got really mean. They threaten to kill me, they even sent pictures of people who they have killed before for and said that they have my picture so there’s no hiding, they said they will get somebody to assassin me. It was all very scary. To be honest I’m still kind of scared.

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    • This unfortunately happened to me too they threatened my life and those of my family and sent me really gruesome pictures and videos

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  3. Oh gezz I’m currently dealing with the same thing. I never cashed the check and they are sending me threatening messages that I did. I just keep blocking them. People are absolutely crazy! I was being nice about the artwork and when I said no thanks and she is going out of control.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One of them tried this trick with me tonight. I played along for a little bit, then fed them a fake sob story, begging them to stop trying to scamming me. They first asked for a screen shot from my bank, so I sent them a partial screenshot, with only the “daily limit” portion and no identifiable info… They kept trying to get me to write my name and date on a sheet of paper (was never going to happen). They also video called me a bunch of times, wanting to see my face (I didn’t let them). They used a code word that Nigerian scammers often use, “Alaye,” which means thug/scammer in their language. They wanted to know if I was one of them, trying to con them back. I wasn’t threatened, only accused of being a conman, myself. I’m surprised they didn’t get rude with me. They just said “have a nice life.” Probably because of the fake sob story I fed them. I told them I’m not some rich American, either, so I’m sure they got bored of me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. i just got this message 2 hours ago. ive never really been scammed before so i was just excited that someone wanted to paint me! at first i didn’t know that i would be “paid” so i complied, only then for them to tell me i would be compensated. i couldnt sense a thing!! i asked to see some of their previous work, and they showed me, which was a mistake. i have them my real name, phone number, and email, and told them which bank i associate with. they sent me up to 3 checks, and it seemed like they were gonna send more, which would have amounted to 2500 and i would get 500. i deposited 2 checks which both had 453.36 each and sent back 400 using apple pay, and then another 100 on cash app. before i could deposit the third check, i suspected something was weird, so o searched it up only to find “INSTAGRAM MURAL SCAM” as the first search. i sent back what i could but there’s still a pending deposit of over $400. i don’t know what to do. i am going to contact my bank as soon as i wake up tomorrow, but this happened right before i fell asleep and now i can’t sleep as i’m shaking. please give any advice on what to do in this situation. i was stupid and naive and im never falling for this shit again. im so MAD. i am still sweating cold sweat. i’ma broke college student, please help me

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  6. I just had someone try the scam on me. I luckily found this page and learned what to do. I didn’t deposit the check because it looked fake. For some reason they let me off the hook and didn’t threaten me. The scammer was toneysarthub on insta.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yep, this just happened to me but before they could proceed any further with the scam, I sent them a link to this post asking if anything seemed oddly familiar to what they were telling me. Needless to say, I was blocked shortly after. Thanks for posting this! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. First of all THANK YOU for putting your scammer on blast!!

    Ours was named Allysa Jade (IG iamjade_07)

    This just happened tonight- It was on my 18yr old daughter’s secondary account that’s focused just on her modelling- but I manage it and deal
    with all her DM’s

    (There is also a Reddit thread about this scam as well btw)

    It began with the scammer complimenting my daughter, saying she wanted her to serve as her muse for a mural she was going to paint and that she was hoping paint a picture (notice it was a mural first and then a picture) by using one of one of daughter’s modelling pic posts

    BUT the VERY QUICKLY she shifted to a LOT of talk focused on the payment that her “client” wanted to pay ASAP so that she could finish the painting by next week- (That was the first red flag- I mean who the heck can finish a detailed oil portrait in a week or less like the ones she had posted on her account???— but I figured I would get more info….

    Then came the jibber jabbering nonsense about her “client” wanting to pay by emailing a cheque and that the check would be $2500 and my daughter’s portion would be $500. – I was like, umm ok that’s weird sending a cheque by email but ok, cool.

    THEN- she wanted my daughter’s full name and an email – I (acting as my daughter) said, hmmm maybe I should give you my mom’s email.
    THEN –
    She says “btw I need the name of your bank for the endorsement on the back of the cheque”WHICH MAKES NO SENSE – People don’t need to know the name of your bank to send you a cheque – and an endorsement is a signature that the person receiving the cheque signs on the back,….. but I had some time to kill so I gave them a different bank’s name

    Then I asked what the client’s name was and if she (scammer) was based in Canada like me (my daughter) (I asked this cause she had an Australia flag and Canadian flag on her profile and Ottawa Ontario and Australia written there
    as well)

    She ignored my question about the name of her client and said “I’m from tamps (yes that’s how she spelled it) Florida ma’am” ( Keep in mind the pic of the scammer looked like a girl about the same age as my daughter” ) So she was definitely starting to slip up by the way she was messaging – What 18 yr old American girl calls another young girl ma”am???

    I asked again about her client’s name.
    She ignored me AGAIN and kept trying to explain about the cheque she was gonna send.

    Then she says- Are you near a laptop or an iPad rn?

    I ask why

    She says that I need a second device to open the email of the cheque she’s gonna send.

    I say “I’m not so sure about this”

    She immediately tries to calm me down and keep me focused on how to get the cheque opened and what to do.

    I’m getting annoyed at this point so I tell her (as my daughter) that “I think I need to talk to my Uncle about this he is a lawyer who works with PWC – an international finance/accounting firm to see what he thinks cause I trust him (and yes- my older brother is actually a lawyer and works at Price Waterhouse Coopers 🙂 )

    THIS next message WAS MY FAV – You can tell the scammer is getting flustered cause they COMPLETELYdrop the whole “attempting to sound like a young American girl who is an independent artist” and they say….. (lmao)

    “I under your skepticism but I want you to know that in this firm we work according to the policy of this firm so you have nothing to worry about”

    Like REALLY?? – I guess this young girl all of a sudden is working in a “firm” ???
    It was ridiculous

    Ugh, just ugh

    But at the same time this is when it hit me, how about all those other scammers sharing this with each other who were/are smoother talkers than mine? Or those dealing with a young impressionable 18 yr old who is flattered by the attention and wouldnt mind some extra cash?

    So I basically told her at this point that the jig was up- that I could tell this wasn’t on the up and up – and said what she wrote on her profile about being Canadian and Australian and then telling me she was from Florida made no sense

    BUT then the SCARY thing was she sent me a pic of half of a Florida License with the same name as her IG name written under the pic and what looked like the exact same girl that was on her IG profile pic— Of course I still knew it was a scam, but damn they really go all out!!!!

    (Now that I think about it, it’s probably real ID from a real girl who also got scammed somehow into giving up some info in order to get a cheque of some sort)

    I said it didn’t matter if she was who she said she was, that whenever I (my daughter) has been paid for anything *outside* of regular modelling through her agency (for magazines or clothing brands etc) where her agency takes their percentage and then directly deposits the rest into her bank account— That she gets paid through PayPal-and that it’s the only form of
    Payment that protects both people- I told her to look at my daughters second last post showing her backstage with Kevin Hart when he was here on his tour in Vancouver and that they paid her through PayPal for that gig that and anyone can easily pay that way.

    They ignored the message COMPLETELY and tried one more time to see if they could redirect my focus back to depositing the cheque

    I was about to leave when she sent 6 messages in super quick succession (obviously cut and pasting) detailing EXACTLY how I should open the picture of the cheque to full page resolution and then open my mobile banking app and use my cell phone to deposit the cheque

    I said Nope- not gonna do it – Told her my Uncle (my brother lol) said not to etc etc

    That’s when I just called them out completely and said “nice try scammer.”

    Within 2 mins they deleted all the art pics on their IG – I took screen shots of the messages to share with my other daughters (one of whom is also a model and has an IG account) and by the time I was done amd went to report them their account just said “Instagram User” amd had no pic.

    When I let my other daughters know, my eldest said “Yup, it’s a scam Mom, happened to me
    too” – She’s the one who told me about the Reddit thread.

    My 18 yr old asked me- what’s the point of them wasting time going through all that? I said to her, “Think of it this way, if this is their full time job- and they spend 8 hours a day doing this to countless people every day and get, say, even ONE person to fall for it and send them back that $2000 – that adds up to about $60,000 a month if they work every day of each month.

    She was like- “Ohhhhhh, damn!”

    This scam MUST be working otherwise they wouldn’t keep doing it.

    And think of all the people who are too embarrassed to come forward. – The scammers are counting on that, because they are appealing to people’s egos.

    Hopefully sharing this will allow anyone else who was targeted feel better knowing they aren’t alone.

    Years ago I used to have a Loss Prevention Company – we dealt with retail theft as well as internal theft and fraud investigations – So I tend to be a bit more distrustful than the average bear, but I’m sure if I was a different person with different life experiences I would have reacted differently.

    These people are scum, they take and take and don’t care who they hurt. It’s really sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh wow they were all over the place with their background there lol. I actually posted in that Reddit thread, but added the link to my blog post and it got removed. I guess it’s not allowed.
      And it is really terrible what these people are doing, I agree!

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  9. I was talking to a girl, who wanted to use my photo for the Mural. And asking my permission to use it, i was supposed to say Yes and she will go to send me $500 however, I have researched about it and got to know this article. But By mistake, I have shared my email address, do you think that would be an issue?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That’s crazy I just had the same thing happen. I always look these situations up first and they tend to pop up with scam lol. Always look it up as usually someone else will have experienced the same situation

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have just recieved from a Christine on Instagram about the same thing…… I’m now getting emails from several different emails about the fact I haven’t deposited money or sent money to the person for painting supplies….. I archived all emails and saved a screenshot of the account which I have now blocked on Instagram

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  12. Thank you in alerting us !! The moment they replied i felt it was fishy and googled to find this so im not wasting time. I simply
    Blocked them immediately so i wont even need to msg further

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I ALMOST fell for it today!! I was googling to see if there were scams going on on Instagram before I would send the screenshot and I’m SO GLAD I found this post!! The account that tried the scam is “morgan_steph123”.

    Liked by 1 person

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