December 1, 2023

Arts group

Expert Arts Folks

How To Spot an Art Scam

6 min read
email scam of artists

By chris kirkland in How To

We’d like to assume we’re sensible to countless range of spam emails, but the art fraud e-mail can be notably difficult to spot.  Not for the reason that these phishers are specially canny, but for the reason that they prey on our hopes and vainness.

However, anonymity of the World-wide-web and the temptation of on line sales will usually bring in con artists.  Luckily, these art scammers are commonly fairly uncomplicated to location.

Read on to obtain out what these art cons seem like, how to detect them and how to reply.

email scam of artists
Beware of the email scammer’s empty flattery.

Why do scammers concentrate on artists?

At this point, any individual with an electronic mail handle has gained their share of fraud e-mail.  Someone from a suspicious email address asks you to please validate your on-line banking login details.  Or they alert you of fraud in your credit rating card.  Or suggest you that your warm water will be turned off tomorrow (in February!) due to the fact you didn’t spend your heating bill…

All frauds have selected widespread factors: bogus urgency, worry of reduction or humiliation, or an option for a windfall.

Artists are definitely not the only team these con artists focus on, they can be uncomplicated marks for numerous explanations, both simple and psychological:

  • Straightforward to Come across: Your website tells the planet you are an artist and will make it pretty quick to get in touch.


  • Substantial-Ticket Items: Scammers can reap a greater windfall from the “purchase” of a single artwork than they could from dozens of scaled-down e-commerce buys.


  • Art Involves Specific (and High priced) Delivery and Managing: It’s a lot easier for them to make the ask for to reimburse the big difference on transport and handling, as these premiums can be both large and challenging to estimate in progress.


  • Artists Value Praise and Industrial Achievement: Is there an artist alive who doesn’t want to hear that their work is wonderful, and that somebody urgently needs to acquire it for top rated-greenback.  Compliments normally cloud our judgement.


Anatomy of an Art Scam E mail

Let’s seem at an illustration of this typical phishing electronic mail.

You open up your e-mail to uncover a information from an eager collector.  They extol your function and tell you they want to purchase a piece immediately.  Sounds terrific, ideal?  But that is wherever it usually will get weird.  They push you with a feeling of urgency — they have to have your artwork NOW!  Oh, and by the way, a routine credit card transaction will not operate for them.  Why do not they ship you a look at?  Incidentally, there is some reason why they need to have to send you far more than the charge of the artwork.  But no trouble!  You can just refund them the difference…

The fraud is ordinarily from a world wide web mail address (Yahoo, Gmail, and so forth.) from another person abroad who asks to acquire your artwork perform.  They want to ship you a examine, income purchase or credit rating card quantity to pay for the artwork.  The payment they give you is for the charge of the art work and the price tag of delivery overseas. They will quickly check with you to ship the overpayment to them or their “shipping agent”. So they essentially get you to deliver them dollars in advance of you discover the payment is fraudulent.

ArtWeb members have been given hundreds of these phony requests.  So to protect the harmless, here’s a design of what these e-mails seem like:

Dear [Artist],

My wife noticed your work on-line and she seriously enjoys it!  Your paintings are incredibly superbly and we will be overjoyed to individual one.

I would like to purchase your painting identified as [Title.]. I see the price tag is $3,000.  I will mail you a verify for $7,000 from my friend’s bank account.  You see, I am traveling proper now and my lender is closed for a national holiday.  My spouse handles the credit history card and I never want her to know about the surprise!!  

So, you appear to be like a very reputable human being.  You can obtain the additional $4,000, use it to pay out transport, and then I will give you my bank account and you can wire me the revenue.  PLEASE!  It is incredibly urgent.  My wife’s birthday is next 7 days and she will be so unfortunate if I don’t give her this painting.  

I know i can rely on you.

How to Identify an Email Fraud

Right here are the symptoms that the e mail ormessage you obtain is not a genuine purchaser:

  • Much too Great to Be Accurate: The customer might want to acquire quite a few goods at once or gives to spend above the rate.


  • Extreme but Unspecific Praise: Your function is wonderful, they say, but they never supply any specific causes or detect a work.


  • Grammar Errors and Odd Syntax: The email may be penned in bad English, in official and very titled prose or have a lot of typos.


  • Urgency: The writer offers an implausible motive why you need to act NOW or possibility losing the sale.


  • Specific Arrangement Requested: A unique shipping agent, refund of overpayment, and so on.


  • A Request to Reimburse Them: You are asked to deliver money for a transport or transaction fee.  Remember it is you that is selling the product!


  • Generic E-mail Tackle: The e mail deal with may well be from a Gmail, Yahoo or other significant webmail account.  The username may perhaps also be nonsensical or seemingly unconnected to the buyer’s stated title.


  • Deficiency of Info on Your Get the job done: The “buyer” has skipped some basic detail.  For case in point, they ask about your paintings, but your are a sculptor, or asks for rates that are evidently on your internet site.


  • One thing doesn’t really feel really suitable:  Trust your instincts!

What To Do If You Suspect a Rip-off?

If you are not fairly specified whether the consumer is legit, but you’re not nevertheless ready to alienate a possible shopper, you can also do a minimal exploration to confirm the validity of your consumer:

  • Lookup the internet for the “buyer’s” e mail tackle, and see if any stories of fraud appear up in the final results.


  • Check out with other artists. Facebook teams and subreddits are a particularly excellent place to search for/annouce scam e-mails.


  • Stick to your usual sale course of action.  Insist the buyer employs PayPal or a credit score card.  Often the fraud revolves close to the payment system, especially a look at that normally takes a couple times to bounce.


  • Under no circumstances do just about anything until finally you can verify that you have cleared resources from a income transaction.  This can’t be stressed adequate.  You need to be familiar with the clearing method of your lender and payment processors.

What Motion You Can Get

  • If you are specific you are dealing with a scammer, make no additional communication.  Block their e mail tackle.
  • Produce the scammer’s electronic mail company at their “abuse” address ([email protected], [email protected] etc.) and involve the message with its headers.  Complain about the information and request that the account be shut down. You may well also file issues with watchdog type providers like Spamcop to get the e-mail accounts shut down by their ISP.  Spamcop and other products and services like it will parse the headers of the e mail and attempt to see via solid data to uncover the precise origin of the e mail, which is typically valuable in these matters.

How To Guard By yourself

  • Remain informed by keeping abreast of buyer fraud developments.
  • Really do not open up spam.  Delete it unread.
  • Protect your pc from viruses, spy ware, adware, worms, trojans, or other malware.
  • If a gallery needs to exhibit your operate, or a enterprise needs to license your artwork, be confident to examine the company’s validity.

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