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Breakdown of an Art Scam

While there may be some slight variations almost all scams follow a pattern. 

Here is an example of an art scam, broken down bit by bit.

Scammer: Hi there, I think your art is quite captivating and very warm as seen on your website.

They start with a warm friendly complimentary greeting which is intended to lower your guard as everyone loves to receive compliments.

Scammer: My husband and I would love to collect your piece.

It is usually a husband and wife or often a spouse looking to purchase as a gift. This presents them as stable, loving and thoughtful people. Also intended to lower your guard. 

Also notice the grammar is not quite right. They would love to collect your piece rather than we would love to collect one of your pieces. Most collectors are specific in telling you what they are looking for. They all have very specific tastes and interest in art. They would verbalize. I'm looking for a landscape with mountains or a still life with a certain flower etc.

Scammer: Do you perhaps have any recent works up for sale? if so, please email photos plus pricing. Cheers. Clara  

They are sending this contact form from your website and are one or two clicks away from seeing everything on your site. Regardless of whether you list your pricing or not. All of your work is a click or two away.

If you continue follow the course of communication, they will insist on paying by check because they are likely going to be in the middle of a move and haven't gotten their credit cards switched over. The check they would send will come from a very official looking source possibly originating from "their attorney's" office. However, it will come back as bogus but will probably take about 3 weeks to do so.

They will start pushing to move really fast and want this matter to be treated urgently. They do that so you don't have as much time to do your fact checking. The address they provided is not likely connected to them and probably one they randomly found from recent real estate transactions since most of the time it takes a while for they county appraisal districts to update the most recent sales information.

Ways to handle a Scam Email

You can simply stop corresponding. 

Or if you want to experiment, you can tell them you can accommodate their request but your business is structured so that all sales must go through your website and you can only process credit card transactions that are handled by your Paypal or Stripe account as such your account is not capable of handling checks. They don't ever do this because of the seller and fraud protections that Paypal incorporates.

NOTE: The majority of the time, scammers will send the contact form from the artist's website, so they aren't sending these out like a bulk mailing or anything. FASO does add information to our blacklist in an effort to help minimize the scam, however, most of them will create a new gmail account and use a different name every time they contact an artist.

Also see FAQ: 
Signs of an Art Scam


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