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Thread: Scammers and avoiding being scammed

  1. #1
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    Scammers and avoiding being scammed

    Hey folks, with recent events I have been swamped with emails and messages from people who have been scammed in our industry. I can't possibly solve everyone's issues for them, so I created this resource guide for spotting scammers, and what to do if you get scammed. I hope it helps, please share it around.

    https://www.mermaidraina.com/blog-tu...e-mer-industry

  2. #2
    Senior Member North Pacific Pod Arking's Avatar
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    Oh handy read, thanks! :O

    Out of curiosity you provided some names of known scammers, is it common in this community for scammers to repeatedly try at scamming people or is it more common for them to get overwhelmed and disappear for good? I ask because the Anna Browne thing has been what seems like a years long repeated again and again situation but I've not heard of the others you listed before.

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    Adam Martyn tried to come back to scam people twice and we shot him down. Fishbutts tried to as well. There used to be a known scammers list but I can't find it. I think Anna is a special breed.... some people kinda fall into it by accident because of getting overwhelmed, but she seems to run scams 24/7

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    Senior Member North Pacific Pod Arking's Avatar
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    Oh interesting. That's good to know. I think you're right that a lot of times things start out as well intended ventures that just don't pan out.

    When I was making my crap tail I had people sending me emails asking for custom goods, or to buy it off me despite it being a display only intention. I put my foot down hard and sent them links to reputable tail makers that I read reviews about and looked up here on this forum. I will say when someones waving money at you it's tempting to say "sure I'll try" but there are far too many risks involved as an artist to protect yourself if a client keeps changing their mind, gains weight, wants deals, is impatient etc etc etc. As an artist I've dealt with all of the above just from a 2D standpoint and I know I struggled psychologically in those situations. So when it came to manufacturing something I'd only made once and made really poorly it wasn't so hard to say "no, please go to a professional".

    I found that two years ago, myself included, people were reluctant to pay artists thousands of dollars for a tail. It's different now with the printed fabric tails and knockoffs from China. But back then I had people wanting a budget of 200 tops for individually adhered scales and if that meant commissioning someone who'd never done it before they were willing to take that risk. As an aspiring artist that's a hard bargain to resist because 200 dollars extra per month is the difference between eating well and eating ramen. It's also really flattering to think someone appreciates you enough to ask you for work, but the sad reality is they just want a bargain for premium goods.

    Thankfully my passions are in making things for myself rather than making money. I could have easily turned into one of those overwhelmed scams, hell I'm struggling to make just 4 pairs of shorts for a friend for the past 3 months!

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    Yup I totally think you nailed it. I knew Mermaid Creations and he was a decent guy, honestly, so was Fishbutts. They just both failed in an epic way.

    I also think it's an issue if people don't actually function as a business. With my business set up right now and insurance etc if some unforeseen accident happened and we had to stop providing services, I have insurance in place to refund people. As an ultimate backup I have an available line of credit I'd use. When you function as an actual business you gotta prepare for these things.

    I think so many people rush into selling tails long before they should. There's nothing wrong with taking a chance on a new person, but it's a risk still.

  6. #6
    Senior Member North Pacific Pod Arking's Avatar
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    I find myself conflicted about "scammers" in many ways because of that desire to want to be better than you are, and to meet other peoples expectations as an artist. I mean I have a little voice that's always telling me I suck so that does keep me in check, but I think you're right that rushing into a business is hugely problematic especially with the new wave of artisan culture that's been cultivated and booming since Etsy, instagram and pinterest became big.

    Running a business meant having taken courses in business, business of art, some copyright law, and at least 3 years overhead to pay for supplies, insurance, and work space when I was a guppy, now it's something people say you can do out of your own home (though I do not recommend it as it's hell on taxes unless you have a designated work space though I'm not sure if that works the same here in Canada).

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    well, I do think there is a difference too between these types who get in over their heads, and people like Anna who honestly run fraud schemes to target people. It honestly will catch up with her, I'm curious if it hasn't already since she's claiming to be moving to a monastery with only women. Adam Martyn stole as much as he could and then when the news caught up with him, he fled to Budapest. (there was a news clip about it, that even covered mer-yuku the forum that predated mernetwork but it's offline now- you can see an archive thread here tho: https://mernetwork.com/index/showthr...am-Martyn-quot )

    incidentally, I found the tailmaker blacklist: https://mernetwork.com/index/showthr...-%26%239888%3B

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    Senior Member North Pacific Pod Arking's Avatar
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    Oh man that's brutal to read. Yeah I agree there's a huge gap between someone who maliciously lies and cheats to get ahead vs someone who's fallen behind and is dragging themselves down. Good thing you found that thread, surprised it's not a sticky someplace.

    Side note, the monastery thing had me chuckling because it used to be a running thing my friends would say whenever they felt like things weren't going their way like if they got dumped etc it was our code for "I need sympathy and extra attention so I don't have to feel bad" gag.

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    Senior Member Ransom's Avatar
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    I'd say with the Spellbound line, the Mertailor has managed to get his prices down to the point they're in reach. Fabric is also catching up and is photographing better and better every year.

    Silicone is expensive and represents a huge jump in difficulty -- I'd question whether it's worth entering, given the relatively low prices Mertailor and Mernation are able to charge. It doesn't matter what their character or intentions are, the industry may not support that many players at all.

    The best thing for new tailmakers would be to (1) make it clear that any payment to them will be an investment rather than an outright purchase, so customers don't give them what they can't afford to lose and (2) actually make it for yourself first, as Corvidae pointed out. For a supposed tailmaker not to do this is a huge red flag.
    Last edited by Ransom; 06-06-2018 at 07:25 AM.
    "Only in death does duty end." -- Warhammer 40,000

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    Silicone is expensive and represents a huge jump in difficulty -- I'd question whether it's worth entering, given the relatively low prices Mertailor and Mernation are able to charge. It doesn't matter what their character or intentions are, the industry may not support that many players at all.
    You really nailed it there.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Arking View Post
    Oh man that's brutal to read. Yeah I agree there's a huge gap between someone who maliciously lies and cheats to get ahead vs someone who's fallen behind and is dragging themselves down. Good thing you found that thread, surprised it's not a sticky someplace.

    Side note, the monastery thing had me chuckling because it used to be a running thing my friends would say whenever they felt like things weren't going their way like if they got dumped etc it was our code for "I need sympathy and extra attention so I don't have to feel bad" gag.
    I mean, I googled it and apparently those programs exist. But I have trouble believing her at this point.

    It took me a while to admit that she wasn't acting like someone who was just in over her head. The fact that she was still soliciting new commissions while shipping out these tails finally convinced me.

    But at the end of the day, I'm still out money whether she was malicious or clueless.

    I'm really glad you didn't try to take on commissions if you felt like you couldn't deliver.

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