Artists should be aware that there seems to be an increase in the number of scams targeting artists in Ireland. Art Scams begin with email contact from a scammer looking to buy your work having seen it online. Art Scams are becoming more sophisticated by the day and it is very important for you, as an artist, to protect your art as well as your hard earned money. One way to ensure you are not out of pocket is to never accept payment by cheque and never give your bank details. Only accept payment from email queries through Paypal or Stripe.
Before agreeing to a sale it’s a good idea to Google the email address with “art scam” to see if it pops up in any forums. You can always send it on to us at email@example.com for a second opinion if you are still unsure.
Pay close attention to the language used in the emails. The language in Art Scams is the most recognisable characteristic, here are some examples:
“My name is Robert Edward, Please I will like to know your artwork price list ?”
“I have been on the lookout for some artworks lately in regards to I and my wife’s anniversary which is just around the corner. I stormed on some of your works which i found quite impressive and intriguing. I must admit your doing quite an impressive job. You are undoubtedly good at what you do….”
“I wish to buy some artworks as a surprise 60th birthday present for a dear friend who is an art enthusiast/lover ….”
“…I am purchasing the paintings for a Wedding Anniversary and it really need to be at my destination as quick as possible because, the date of the anniversary is around the corner…”
“…I would have suggested PayPal myself but I do have a strong personal anti feeling for PayPal and their services because of the stress I went through with them and decided early this year to never use them again after they one day randomly decided to place a 6 month hold on my money for no reason.I couldn’t access over 25k in my account which I needed for some business dealing….”
The scammer in most instances makes contact with the artist saying that they have seen your work online. After exchanging several emails they make an offer to buy some pieces of art and ship it overseas. The email will often ask if they can pay for the work with cheque – which will bounce. With scams like this cash is the goal. The scammer will send what appears to be an overpayment – a cheque for a larger than agreed amount and the artist is asked to refund the surplus amount, meaning the artist is not only scammed out of their artwork but cash also.
It should be noted that scammers often use a variety of names and addresses and if an offer seems too good to be true it most likely is and it is worth investigating before exchanging money or art.
There is a useful article in the How To Manual on How To Recognise an Art Scam.