Since the internet is full of scams of any kind, neither Art is not an exception. Even though the same ones started decades ago now, recently the activity has been growing largely. And this is not to be overlooked.
The same happens to us who own a blog and write an article. We all know the hard work behind it, all the hours required to research for your next project and the time to write it down. And then it comes the time when you finally are able to publish it and guess what? A short time, probably after some hours and you see someone who has completely stolen all that work of yours?
It is not fair at all, is it?
As in blogging and almost anything else, the same problem is evident in Art, as well. Saying this, I mean that each and every artist is in danger by this ugly event that is taking place around us.
Today I decided to show you how does this type of scam work, what are the ways they do use and how can you keep safe from happening to you? Let’s get right in!
Why in Art
The word Art itself means “the expression of human creativity or skill”, and that says enough that Art is about beauty. Separated from politics, hate or racism, Art is supposed to make people together.
However, the latest fraudulent activities happening to it has nothing to do with the meaning of the word it is related to. Stealing an artistic creation from the hands of an artist is none but an ugly, shameful act of deception.
If I would say that this HAS to stop, I would make an unrealistic expectation as it is not all about us and the ways the scams work are ever creative, as well. But you can save yourself and your artist friends as well by sharing your experience, or any blog posts that helped you to bring awareness to the thread.
One of the first reasons why scams have chosen Art as another industry they can put their dirty hands on is mostly because most of the artists have a pure heart of a child, and they would never imagine someone does that. Would you?
Another eligible reason is the delivery method. The artwork has to be shipped and the money has to be done from afar by either check, electronic wallets or credit card, most of the times.
Unfortunately, there are a lot who fell for it. I would love to hear that this article opened your eyes and you didn’t fall for the same.
Fake Offers Scams Made in Art
Some of the risks of an online art scam are money laundry and your work thief, while the most dangerous of all of them is your personal information also known as identity theft.
Identity theft is growing in large scales especially in US, UK and Australia recently and is seen as one of the main reasons Europe has taken a big step toward protecting their residents’ identity information with the new GDPR Rule that has already taken place in 25th May of this year.
Some of the most common ways scams work in art include:
Promotion Scam Offer – Promoting your artwork in any important art event, an artist is required to pay thousands of dollars after the application has been accepted. I want to say that this is not easy at all and certainly is not a “word of mouth” business.
What scams do is they promise the artist to promote their work for a slightly reduced price. Who would say no to an exhibition to promote the artwork, that most probably there are months they have been working on. PLUS for a reduced price.
That looks like such a great offer. The emotions flood and the brain stops thinking soberly. That’s why it is crucial to keep calm and think clearly whenever you receive an offer like this.
The reasons why they make this offer to you is like in any other art scam related – they want your money or identity information. The promise will never take place and you end up damaged in some way.
Shipping Costs Payment Beforehand – One of the ways the pretending buyer tries to convince you they are very interested in your art is by asking you for the total charges of shipping so they can pay them for you beforehand. However, just like in the case of the over-payment, most of the times they send a worthless fake check.
Overpaying Check – Another form how scams work is by asking you the value of your work with the only purpose to offer you a lot more than that.
For example, if the bill is $3,500, they will send you a check of $5,000 with the reason “in case if you need them for shipping charges” so you have to send back the remaining, as they say. All this is just a dirty trick, however, as the art scams are using fake checks to deceive the seller. The artist, in this case.
How Do They Contact You
One of the most common ways how they get in contact with you is by sending you a text message on the phone, if you have provided it in your contact page of your website or ad. If not, then you most probably have written down your email address and they will send you messages through it.
There are some very effective ways you can recognize a scam, especially those that contact you through email and I will talk about them below. Facebook, Twitter and other social media messaging are also included in this category.
Another way scams have resulted to be successfully deceiving their victims is by making a phone call. Most of them will start to say things like:
- “My wife uses my personal computer and I saw that she looked at your pictures and I want to make her a surprise”.
- “I have been looking over your art for a long time now, and I would love to take 5 or 10 pieces of them”.
- :You art is one of a kind and I would like to buy them all from you”.
Below, I will talk some more on how to recognize and avoid these scam calls.
How to Recognize an Art Scam
- Most scams are known for a lot of grammatical mistakes when writing. This happens because most of them are from overseas and probably because most of them do not bother to go the long path to learn the language, but instead, they decide to follow the path of deceiving whom they can.
- Their email can be *joe123@….com yet they can present themselves as Linda, which is contrary. As happened with one of my friends’ whos name of was totally different from the email account name. However, she knew exactly what was doing and ended up making fun of the scam, instead. (A funny story indeed, you can read the full story here). You will be able to do the same if you’re in the right mood to do so, but first, you have to be sure it is a scam.
- Their language is way too official and forceful -Trying to be as more official as they can, they use a forceful language and over authoritative, something you will smell from the beginning.
- They write in a way that is clearly shouting for attention – The reality is that a gallery or famous art event doesn’t necessarily need to shout on the message for attention, and use a forceful language or even BEG you to accept their offer. In addition to that, an art event who wants to offer you the possibility to have an exhibition, surely won’t promise you that you are ALREADY accepted. As we all know well, there are procedures and an application submission, and only after that you will be notified if you have been accepted or not.
- The email is in your spam folder – This will be a crucial sign that the one you are dealing with is a scam. Spam email should not even be opened, as most of the times have resulted in identity theft activities.
- The overpayment they will offer is just too good to be true, right? In addition to that, they will offer to pay for all your shipping charges or even promise you a huge tip. All these remain shallow promises, nothing true.
- There will much probably be a complex story behind it like they are moving and they want all the decorations to be from your hand, or their son or daughter is moving out and they want to surprise them.
7 Tips on How to Avoid Art Living Scams
Finally, let’s take a look on the simple steps that can massively help you avoid any Art scam. Some of the ways are well-known and very effective on how to avoid scams online in general. However, I want to mention some more to make sure you know all the knives the enemy got.
Some of the most crucial ways how to keep yourself safe are the ones below.
- Don’t answer to any PM either through email or social media if you find it suspicious in any way.
- Keep calm whenever you receive an “over the top” offer. If it is too good to be true, it probably is.
- Watch out for the time you receive any phone call that is willing to offer you or buy from you something. Regular working times are supposed to be from morning up to 6 PM. 8 PM is seen as a late call in many cases.
- Make sure the one who contacted you has a matching name and email account name.
- The individual or company who contacted you should have a physical address in their contact information.
- Don’t accept check payments from afar. Payments through bank remain the most trustworthy way to receive your payment.
- Search the internet for any reviews or extra information on the offeror.
If you follow these 7 steps, the possibility for you to be a victim of Art Scams in the future will slightly decrease. You have worked for your artwork for hours and hours and you surely don’t want to lose it in the hands of a fraudulent.
If there is a message you received on the same matter that made you a breathtaking offer, I invite you to leave a comment below to share it with others which will serve as an example for the others, as well. We can certainly give a hand to one another.