28 Jan Scam Alert: No, the Guild is NOT Soliciting Charity Funds
Scammers are continuing their downward spiral into truly reprehensible frauds. Once again, Graphic Artist Guild members appear to be targeted. This time, the scam is tugging on patriotic heartstrings, and using the Graphic Artists Guild as a cover.
Guild members reported in December that they had received an email purported to be from Guild President Liz DiFiore. The email solicited donations in the form of gift cards to benefit veterans in hospice care and/or patients negatively impacted by COVID (the email text is poorly drafted). The email claimed that the request is being made by the Graphic Artists Guild, and that President Liz DiFiore would take “personal responsibility” for disbursing the funds raised.
The full text of the email is:
Subject: Graphic Artists GuildHow are you doing? Are you available at the moment? I need your assistance to handle a little project. Can you please handle this for me on behalf of the association? The Graphic Artists Guild is requesting gift card donations to assist Veterans at hospice care welfare with patients who have been negatively impacted by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.Every gift helps provide resources that will stabilize a Veteran and ensure a positive upward trajectory during this critical time.I have decided to make it a personal duty and I’ll be responsible for the reimbursement of cards bought. Kindly confirm if you can help out.
We don’t believe that any Guild members were taken in by this scam. But, at the risk of stating the obvious, we feel the need to point out that the Graphic Artists Guild would never solicit funds in this fashion. As a trade association, the Graphic Artists Guild does not engage in charitable fundraising. Our mission is solely focused on improving the economic conditions of graphic artists.
There are several clues to indicate that the email is a scam:
- The “from” email address was not Liz DiFiore’s official Guild email address, and in fact referenced someone else entirely (we believe that email account was spoofed).
- The fundraising plea requests contributions of gift cards, a common ploy of scammers, since gift cards can’t be canceled or contested once purchased.
- The email is poorly drafted, and appears to contain cut-and-paste errors.
As scams become more sophisticated, associations such as the Guild are being used as covers to create a false sense of legitimacy. As we reported last July, scammers were targeting Guild members with hiring scams they claimed were approved by the Graphic Artists Guild. We have even discovered LinkedIn profiles created for fake Graphic Artists Guild employees.
Check out our previously published guidance on how to identify a scam. You can also detect when a “Guild” email is not legitimate:
- If the email claims to come from a Guild staff or board member, check that the “from” email address matches an official Graphic Artists Guild email address (Guild email addresses contain the full domain, “@graphicartistsguild.org”).
- Also check that the individual is listed on our page of board members, regional reps, and staff. Don’t rely on LinkedIn or other social media websites, since scammers do post fake profiles.
- If the email claims to come from an individual outside the Guild, check that the email address matches that of the claimed sender.
- Check that the language of the email is grammatically correct and doesn’t contain spelling errors. While admin exhaustion and tight deadlines mean that the occasional error escapes us, in general we take care to craft our emails coherently.
Never respond to an email which you believe is suspicious. You’re welcome to forward questionable emails to us. Please forward us the email rather than cutting-and-pasting the text of the email.