How Does an Art Living Scam Work?

Since the internet is full of scams of any kind, Art is not an exception either. Even though the same ones started decades ago now, recently Art Living Scam has been growing larger. But how does an art living scam work?

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?Art living scam

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 Art Living Scam?

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 time. 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 over-payment, most of the time 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 Art Living Scam Works

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 on the 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 about 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 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 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 time 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 at 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:

  1. Don’t answer any PM either through email or social media if you find it suspicious in any way.
  2. Keep calm whenever you receive an “over the top” offer. If it is too good to be true, it probably is.
  3. 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.
  4. Make sure the one who contacted you has a matching name and email account name.
  5. The individual or company who contacted you should have a physical address in their contact information.
  6. Don’t accept check payments from afar. Payments through the bank remain the most trustworthy way to receive your payment.
  7. 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.

14 Replies to “How Does an Art Living Scam Work?”

  • fantastic article. I agree completely. I would add to the artist an 8th step and that is if there is a check, wherever it is from- to take it into the bank and deposit it but do not do anything until it is cleared and confirmed legitimate. if it takes a month, so be it. If it is a real offer the customer is usually understanding that you need to protect yourself and your business. If they get upset and demand you ship the work it is likely a scam and you will find the check will be fake. I never ship my work, ever until I know that I know the money sent to me is real.
    Great advice to artists and I hope many see this and increase awareness of how much junk is out there.
    scammers get the buyers too, cant wait to read an article on that and shed light on the darkness of those who make a living by cheating others!

    • Hey Corey!

      The 8th step you just mentioned it has already been said under the best way to receive money from the buyer, which is through bank account or credit card payment. This has resulted to be the safest way to pay online and receive transfers as well, as bank is a trustworthy institution and the possibility to bounce back if something goes wrong is much higher.

      It is very sad that hundred of millions are vanishing every year from scam victims, that’s why the main goal of my site is to bring awareness to everyone who uses internet today. And the number of people who use internet passes 3 Billion people.
      Thank you for your visit and comment, Corey!


  • All I could say is that scams are everywhere nowadays. This is my first time hearing people talking about art scams. Just proves that how seldom people talk about this.

    Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge in this area and how to avoiding being scammed.

    I’m glad I came across your post. I’m sure this is helpful to many more people. Keep up the good work 🙂

    • Hey Jerry!

      Unfortunately, the truth that none of us want to hear is that scams are everywhere, and art doesn’t make exception. Art is about beauty and should be treated as such. However, there a lot of art lovers who tried to be a piece of art or the others who tried to sell their artwork and ended up empty handed. Since internet has every possible personality and some of them with no good intentions, we should definitely watch out and be cautious with who we make business with.

      Thank you for comment and kind words, Jerry!


  • I have heard of people in the past that have tried to forge great works of art but i can only presume it takes a certain amount of skill.,but selling them to the public must take some crafty selling skills. . I can only presume that there are ways of noticing a fake from the real item but art is not one of my strong points.

    • Hey Andrew!

      The same as a wine lover knows pretty much where the wine might come from and how old it may be, most of Art lovers have a great smell recognizing the fake and real art down the road. Is is true that there are a lot of scams on Art creations. However, gratefully there are a lot of wonderful artists making an absolute great job, as well. You just have to be careful who are you buying from. I hope this article will help you somewhat.
      Thank you for your comment, Andrew!


  • Hi!
    Great tips to stay away from art scammers. Thank you!
    I can imagine that if someone is already desperate to sell something and gets finally a (scam) offer, this person might likely fall for the scam.
    Therefore, the list you made is very important and helpful!
    Thanks a lot!

    • Hey Mia!

      Absolutely true. You know all those hours and hard work you put on something you LOVE, you will much probably be desperate to sell. The scams know that which makes most of their preys pretty vulnerable. However, if you follow these tips, there is a slight possibility for you to avoid it.

      Thank you for your comment, Mia!

      Best regards

  • In this day and age scams are everywhere but I guess they have always been there, it’s just that the Internet brings it to our attention more.

    I have bought original art myself over a number of years and found some great original artwork, especially on eBay and remember been in an auction one time and my internet connection was lost 30 seconds from the end and I missed out. Glad I did because I would have paid $2500 for a fake!

    Thanks for sharing this information and I really enjoyed the post.

    • Hey Mick!

      I absolutely agree. There have ALWAYS been scams in almost any industry, and that tradition has followed ever since. This is the ugly reality and I believe we have to deal with it and protect ourselves. As much as it made a lot of things easier, Internet made it easier for the scams to reach everyone by a click of a button, as well.

      Your story how you “missed out” is astonishing. I believe you were glad you did so, as everyone would be. I wish you always “miss out” on those fake products out there. Thank you so much for sharing your story in here. I loved it. A very rare and interesting story, indeed.

      Best regards

  • While I haven’t had my identity stolen this way as an art scam, I did have my identity stolen by being hacked somehow. It was not a pleasant process to recover from. They tried and successfully opened several cell phone accounts, I quickly caught them though and shut them down. Luckily the companies nowadays will not likely make you responsible for the equipment the scammers and identity thieves purchased, at least the ones I had to talk to. Thanks for the tips and warning on these scammers, no one wants to have their personal information and identity stolen.

    • Hey Jeremy!

      I am sorry to hear that you had your identity stolen, that is one of the worst scenarios all of us want to avoid on the internet. As there are a lot of ways scams use we can hardly expect from them to. That you caught them quickly and shut them down, that’s a very good news indeed. As the more your identity is in your hands, the more damage you can receive. I pray that you never fall prey of a scam again, and by following the 7 tips I mentioned above additional to your personal experience, there is a big chance for you to avoid them. Thank you for sharing your experience with all of us, Jeremy! That can many others, indeed.


  • Hi Heku.
    Thank you for this insightful article. It is so sad that Art is under attack, really. One of the forms of love of human-kind. However is good to have someone like you writing about it and saving so many people from being scammed. Certainly, your work is extremely useful for many and great information for everyone.

    • Hey Pablo!

      As first, thank you for your comment and your appraise for my site, I massively appreciate that. I absolutely agree with you that Art is supposed to be pure and simply enjoy it, like a flower in the garden. Instead of plucking it. However, fraudulent people do not think the same and we have to avoid falling prey of them, and I love to help people with that. I hope that my post on Art scams opened your eyes and you will be safe!

      Thank you again and God bless you!

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