ART SCAM! How artists can avoid being scammed
Uh oh, I hated to be the one to burst his bubble...
I have been hearing about different versions of the "Nigerian scam" and "advance payment scam" that target artists.
Today, I heard from an aspiring artist friend who was very excited that someone had seen his artwork online and wanted to buy it! This would be wonderful, except - yes, you guessed it - it was a scam. I hated to be the one to tell him. These scammers do more than steal artist's money - they also cause artists wrongly to lose confidence in themselves.
I already have several art-related pages on this site, and decided that a page with information for artists to be able to protect themselves from these e-mail scams would be a good idea.
Students doing a "report" on an artist
I've been asked by some students about my life, with the student saying they need the information for a school report, and would I help them.
I've since learned that sometimes these might not really really students, but that it could be a phishing scam (they want to get your inside information, like where you were born, your mother's maiden name, your birth date, pet's names, etc) - because these are the things often used as security questions.
So, if you get questions from a "student," either do your research into their school, make sure it really exists, talk to their teacher, etc (even then, be wary)...but be careful of giving out any precise information. It could really be a student, but on the other hand, we have to be careful. It bears some hallmarks of a possible scam, because it is flattering to have a student want to do a report on you.
A good response is to ask for more information on the report. Where they go to school, and/or the email address of their teacher. In short, check it out.
Awards and Grants that you didn't request
If you receive an email or letter out of the blue, telling you about an art award or grant, and you know you didn't request this information, be very wary.
Normally, an artist needs to research grants and awards opportunities for himself.
Think about their motivation: people don't go to the work and effort of emailing all the artists they can, to let them know they could win an award or grant.
Wait and do your own research on the offer before you get excited and act on the offer. Don't even click any links in the email, because there could be malicious code. Type in the website address yourself. Do a web search, find out if any art friends have ever heard of the organization.
Some are valid, but require an "application fee" for your grant. Is it really an application fee, or is this just some kind of artist's lottery, masquerading as a fine art grant?
Art Business Books
Scams Targeting Artist Links
I've found several really good online references about scams against artists, and many have the writer/artist's firsthand experience included.
- Max Magnus Norman's Email Fraud Experience
Examples on E-mail Fraud attempts against particularly art dealers, artists and other dealers. Mugu and Nigeria letters.
- Art Scams: How to Avoid Becoming a Victim
Art Scams: How Scam Artists Work, Tips to Protect Yourself, How to Stop Them.
- Artist Portfolio Fraud Alert - absolutearts.com
A sign of a growing concern for artists - AbsoluteArts.com has found it necessary to create a long page about scams targeting artists to protect their website members.
- Handling overseas art sales - Art Biz Blog
How do you handle overseas orders? Michael Lynn Adams asks: I have a buyer who lives in South Africa (actually London, moving to South Africa)
- Art Scams: Resources to help you protect yourself
Art Scams: How Scams Work, Tips to Protect Yourself, Actions You Can Take to Stop Them.
- Things people attempt to extract money from artists
Things that people do to extract money from artists.
- BogusArtFair.Info | Protecting visual artists from online scams and fraud
BogusArtFair.Info Protecting visual artists from online scams and fraud Scammers still at it! shipping/cheque scam It's been quiet here for a while, but I got another tip that the shipping scams are still alive and"