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Although, as an active member of the community, it's nearly impossible to have missed this huge issue, I think it's very important to warn people for this.
What happened is a large case fraud in which apparently one user (under multiple names) scammed several members of DeviantArt community. Leaving some people as much as $3000 in debt!!! Money they, most likely, never see back.


Even though the user is banned by DeviantArt now, there's no reason why it won't happen again. 
After all, the problem is caused by a loophole in PayPal's rules. So basically everybody that's using PayPal for its business (and that's a lot of us) is at risk.

That includes;
:bulletblack: People doing commissions
:bulletblack: People selling adoptables

To understand where all of this comes from, it's first of all important to know what a PayPal chargeback actually is.
This video offers a proper explanation of what chargeback is, and what it should be used for.


Seeing how the video talks about 'proof of shipment' or 'proof of contract', it's easy to understand how easy it is to scam people with this. And why this way of scamming makes so many victims on websites like DeviantArt. After all; many of us sell digital goods (no shipment) and work without a contract (since it's often a one-time customer). There are, however, a number of ways to protect yourself against this kind of fraud, as are listed in the journal below.



And a few years of freelancing experience helped me come up with these golden rules:

:bulletpurple: Check your customer. How long does he have an account? Are there other artists having experience with this customer?
:bulletred: Google your customer's name. If he appears on fraud sites, it's not a good sign (Yes, people. Sometimes it's as easy as this).
:bulletorange: People coming up with fishy reasons to delay payments is often a no-go.
:bulletyellow: If something seems too good to be true, it often is.
:bulletgreen: Trust your feelings. If something doesn't feel right, then don't do it.

Happy freelancing,
And be careful! 
Add a Comment:
 
:iconwhetsit-tuya:
Whetsit-Tuya Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2014  Student Filmographer
I don't get it
Reply
:iconflutist:
flutist Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2014  Professional General Artist
Once, from browsing I got info about "paysafe" but I haven't tried it. Is it good? Is it better than paypal?
My client mostly are from 8-10 years ago, so I can trust them. I think I'm going to stay with paypal for a while...
Reply
:icongracedragon1:
gracedragon1 Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
There's someone who faved this journal and has charge backed loads of people
Not only have they lost the money she paid, but $20 on top of that
There's so many artists been scammed and it's horrible 
Reply
:iconjakerrundle:
jakerrundle Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Top advice! 
Thanks for this journal article! :D
Reply
:iconburning-red-sky:
Burning-Red-Sky Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014  Student General Artist
thanks a lot for the information! i noticed the fuss but haven't searched for what was entirely happening. i thought it was an isolated case.
Reply
:iconstormfeather-cat:
stormfeather-cat Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks Mika! :)
Reply
:iconsynoiren:
Synoiren Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2014  Student General Artist
Thanks for this! :hug:
Reply
:iconatlantifique:
atlantifique Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
><
Reply
:iconshaozchampion:
ShaozChampion Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014  Student Digital Artist
thanks for giving us the heads up ^^
Reply
:iconvirtuepub:
VirtuePub Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thanks for this.  I didnt even know this was going on.  I don't do commissions right now however this is good to know.
Reply
:iconflies-in-my-eyes:
Flies-in-my-eyes Featured By Owner Edited Aug 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Hi! I represent :iconartist-awareness: and we would be honored to have this valuable info featured in our group!

Thank you. Please have a nice day.
Reply
:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've added it :)
Reply
:iconflies-in-my-eyes:
Flies-in-my-eyes Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I know. Its appreciated. :)
Reply
:iconthefunkeyways:
TheFunKeyWays Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the advices!! :)
Reply
:iconanisa-mazaki:
Anisa-Mazaki Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014  Student General Artist
I hate saying this but, Paypal is making themselves look bad and at the same time is discouraging people who were interested, to not join -.-

What's the point of signing up for a service that doesn't actually protect you and willing gives the customer whatever they want once they file a claim? Then customers can take advantage of anyone they want and that's not right... If things have to run like that, then it would make no sense for anyone to run a business -.-

Also, it should be Paypal's job or part of it should be their job to get up their lazy asses and investigate claims to -.-
People who use Paypal's Accounts are technically customers too...cuz I'm sure you guys have to pay a fee to use their "lame ass" service.

And you can't say it's free, cuz that's a lie, Nothing in business is "free"

And why do they not cover digital workings? Are they really that stupid?
How many artists are their who does "house calls" and makes the work for you in person or ships the canvase to the costumer?
Artists go beyond painting. People do graphics design -.- You cant "ship" a graphics design -.- ...Geeze...Paypal have some of the most air-head working to "try to make people's life better"
(shakes head)
Reply
:iconemberguard:
Emberguard Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014   General Artist
And why do they not cover digital workings? Are they really that stupid?
 well there's not just paypals rules but the credit cards rules as well. when a charge back is made paypal has to negotiate with the credit card company or bank for the chargeback to be reversed. If the law in that country, or the bank/card issuer doesn't cover digital goods, then that's not paypals fault and no amount of changing of paypal rules will get the artists money back from those other companies. The only other way would be to set up your own online shopping cart and then it could still be exploited in the exact same way as paypal as Paypal is little more then a middleman.
Reply
:iconanisa-mazaki:
Anisa-Mazaki Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014  Student General Artist
Hmmm...
Reply
:icondantebayo:
Dantebayo Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks mika chaaaan ^^
Reply
:iconmonskie:
Monskie Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I've been looking through a load of these posts, but not got time to read them all, a form of protection against PayPal chargebacks is to
1 - ensure that the customer is "PayPal verified" only email or post the work to the verified address
2 - if a claim is made contest it as "custom work" / if digital only advise PayPal the work is "intangible" Custom works are NOT covered by EU distance selling regulations and are exempt from the PayPal chargeback policy.
Unfortunately if you are not aware that this is the case it can be hard to fight it.

Hope this helps some people x

M
Reply
:iconmonskie:
Monskie Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Another suggestion (for more expensive artworks) to save yourself the costs incurred with chargebacks is to mail them a copy via the postal service, send a confirmation of sale (like a heavily watermarked print) through a tracked service and give them a code to then email you & you will release the digital file or original artwork to them, this way you have a confirmation of delivery & a proof of signature to go with the digital work as proof of shipping/delivery.

Yes its more work, yes its a few more $£ onto the cost of the item (but you should be able to absorb it into the item cost)

Credit card companies want a proof of delivery (if the chargeback is made via the CC & then passed to PayPal this might be your only chance of getting paid!)

x
M
Reply
:iconangieart93:
AngieART93 Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014  Student General Artist
That's why I am looking for another way of payment instead of paypal, I had already have a bad experience with it, don't want to repeat that again T_T and less with a fraud. Thanks for sharing!
Reply
:icondark-spectrumds:
Dark-SpectrumDS Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is a great and informative journal but I truly dislike how many people are not understanding what this is saying. No, it does NOT mean to say that you must never open commissions or only commission the most popular and well-known artists. It is teaching you guys how to avoid fraud, it does not say to eradicate your dreams of buying another artist's work or selling your own work. If you guys are THAT paranoid, you might as well pretend you do not exist because there will be ALL types of fraud as long as there are human beings in this world. I think that is pretty seflish thinking if you ask me. For example, I am an unpopular artist who does commissions and I make sure that I am strict about paymemt WITH PAYPAL ONLY and what and when I upload and so far, every last commission was succesful and I hope to expect more if people woke up, just saying. You know, you could be messing up career opportunities let alone smashing up dreams out of a severe caseof paranoia.:no:

One thing I think may be a good way to prevent fraud in this case is to develop a serious following with a SPECIFIC target audience in mind. Though it may be tempting, please do not accept requests from just anybody passing along. That way you get to know the people who are interested in your work as opposed to being too open wirh a broader audience. The more folks you deal with though, the greater the risk.

Thanks for the journal. I appreciate your efforts. I apologize if there was something confusing in my comment but the statements on the most part were geared towards the naive and self-defeating commenters who should be a little more optimistic about this situation, especially if they are serious about making it as an artist in this world.:nod:
Reply
:iconkiwicocktail:
KiwiCocktail Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I read about Pixlett a couple of days ago too. It all just seemed way too easy, it really made me question whether or not I want to open PayPal commissions or not :no:

Thanks for the article :)
Reply
:iconlithroxid:
Lithroxid Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Same here. I feel you.
Reply
:iconthe-forest-spirit:
O.O danke fur die info thats scary ;w;
Reply
:icondalekcaanii:
DalekCaanII Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I had no clue that this was going on! Thank you for informing me, I truly appreciate it.
Reply
:iconpolarazultigris:
PolarAzulTigris Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Very useful
Reply
:iconhannyah:
hannyah Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
thank you for the info 
i was about to get a paypal due to the fact that i wanted to open point and paypal comms., 
and now i know the bad sides to some people here 

thank you again c:
Reply
:iconsamecancertrollfan96:
SameCancerTrollFan96 Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for telling me. This info is really helpful to me and other people.
Reply
:icontsitra360:
Tsitra360 Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014
I'm constantly receiving commission requests by a single individual that doesn't take no for an answer. Looking on their DA information its never over a month old. I can identify this person from the way they ask for commissions, lack of DA icon, and that their lifespan on DA is no more than a month.  I always feel this person may just be a fraud. So I never accept commissions from users who is relatively new to DA or has no background information, its just too risky.
Reply
:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You can always say no if you don't feel safe
Reply
:icongoldentiqers:
goldentiqers Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014
ergh, one day after i started my paypal, someone commissioned me for 10 dollars.
i asked if they could afford it, and when i was finished they said they couldn't -o-
Reply
:icondead-ink:
dead-ink Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
thanks :) this is helpful info, especially the golden rules
Reply
:iconemberguard:
Emberguard Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014   General Artist
On the bright side, the issue with Paypal has been resolved :D fav.me/d7vjn2c Now all the artists are getting their money back :3 BUT from what I can tell it was only resolved in the artists favour after someone called Paypal about it. Which is not the first time I've heard about an issue from Paypal being unable to have the chargeback reversed until a phone call is made to the company (or in one case, the owner of Paypal).

 So, if anyone does have an issue with Paypal either as the buyer or seller, it's best to talk to Paypal over the phone as they treat that more seriously then email. 

 
Reply
:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well, Paypal finally takes matters seriously.
It's about time.

And about talking to Paypal over phone.
I guess that kind of thing is easier when you're in the USA. For me (a person in Europe) it's way harder to get in touch with them anyway ^^
Reply
:iconemberguard:
Emberguard Featured By Owner Edited Aug 19, 2014   General Artist
And about talking to Paypal over phone.
I guess that kind of thing is easier when you're in the USA. For me (a person in Europe) it's way harder to get in touch with them anyway ^^

 Never really thought about how easy/hard it'd be xD I'm in Australia. 
Reply
:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I can't even talk English without an accent XD
Reply
:iconemberguard:
Emberguard Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014   General Artist
That could potentially be problematic. At least you understand English well enough to communicate though. Working in a Indian restaurant over here it took me a while to get used to the accents from the people working there and the customers from a similar ethnic background. Hopefully if you ever have a need to contact Paypal you'll get someone who can understand foreign accents. 
Reply
:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well, it's not too bad.
It's just... not pure English ^^
Reply
:iconthedagmar:
TheDagmar Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you for making this! Very kind of you.
Reply
:iconappeltjesgroen:
Appeltjesgroen Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014
Fun part? This is not only online the biggest problem, there are many 'customers' in real life within the Illustration and Art department jobs who won't pay anything because they have 'legit reasons'.. which are bullocks most of the time. What a fun to look forward to as an Illustrator..
Reply
:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That's one of the reasons I work at an office :la:
Freelancing is great when it comes to being your own boss, doing whatever the fuck you want and working your own hours... but the dealing-with-customers-part is usually a pain in the ass XD
Reply
:iconappeltjesgroen:
Appeltjesgroen Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014
And the dealing with the BTW and taxes and shit, haha it's gonna be a hard time for me when I have a KVK number and start doing it for realz, haha!
Reply
:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes. 
Administration is a pain in the ass as well.
Been there. Done that as well XD
Reply
:iconauroraart:
AuroraArt Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Thank you for sharing. :hug:
Reply
:iconwildheart1125:
WildHeart1125 Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh gosh, I had something this happen to me this summer. I decided to start cosplay for the first time before I go in to my first anime convention at Chicago for the day after the 4th of July. Apparently the person who supposed to sell all types of cosplays but only sells hats along. So after all that I'm finding it again from a different person a little later the convention in November comes up. It would pretty much be my birthday present since it's awful close to that day anyway. :l
Reply
:iconillutorium:
Illutorium Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014
If a does a Destroy True Freedom... That's this is a will be strong interventionism world. About a wiki's Truth's.
Reply
:iconhosseinkhoramnezhad:
hosseinkhoramnezhad Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
thank you for that....just because i don`t care about that...and now i know that must be careful ... such a shame !!!
Reply
:iconfenrisxwolf:
FenrisxWolf Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks so much for the great advice as always, I hope people can be as safe as they can out there from now on ~
Reply
:iconsierra-g:
Sierra-G Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014  Professional General Artist
This is why I'm not willing to work with Paypal. I just can't trust customers online enough yet... Need to learn more businessy stuff.
Reply
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