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Tips to Avoid Art Scams

Here is the story of a darn nice guy. One of our readers, Michael Coakes, helped us out with something for the magazine.
I said, “what can we do to thank you, would you like a sponsored post about your art?”
His answer was that he he had heard about the scams below (see the site artscams.com) and wanted us to help get the word out about predatory stuff going on online.
I repeat, that’s a darn nice guy, to take his gift and use it to help more artists. So Michael, this is for you.

Artscams.com is a site dedicated to helping artists avoid fraudulent scehemes that target artists. When you read the site, you realize how really sophisticated these scammers are. Below is a general tip sheet, but the site is filled with specific letters that have been sent to artists.

Tips from artscams.com:

Do you know how to protect yourself? Get the scoop on the latest Internet art scams and learn how to avoid becoming a victim…
Unfortunately, con artists are becoming more sophisticated and fraudulent activities are on the rise. Local police departments and federal agencies such as the FBI are overburdened with mounting cases of identity theft and fraud. Banks and shipping companies are also aware of these scams, but seldom intervene on your behalf. Thus, it is becoming increasingly important to learn how to protect yourself from these threats. While you can’t entirely control whether you will become a victim, you can take some steps to minimize your risk.
Ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim of a scam:

  1. Be skeptical… Artists are increasingly being targeted in Internet scams. After all, what artist hasn’t dreamed of being “discovered” and selling several works of art to an admiring collector or a wealthy buyer? A few tell-tale signs to look for in any email you receive from a prospective buyer: misspelled words, poor grammar, and an urgent overseas buyer (particularly one from Nigeria). They also typically want to make the shipping arrangements themselves or have someone pick the work up for them, rather than have you ship it to them.Examples of email scams aimed at artists »More info about art-related email scams, including known scammer names & email addresses »
  2. Never ship your artwork to someone without making sure the payment has cleared.Be aware that even though your bank may give you cash for cashier’s checks and postal money orders, they can still be counterfeit. Cashier’s checks and postal money orders can take up to a month to fully clear. If the payment turns out to be fraudulent, you could be held responsible for the entire amount withdrawn from your bank.
  3. Beware if you have been overpaid for an item you are selling by cashier’s check or postal money order and have been instructed to return the overpayment amount to the buyer or other party.Never agree to return an overpayment. See explanation #2 above.

For more tips, visit artscams.com and visit the blog at http://artscam.blogspot.com/