One of our members recently posted about a potential scam “buyer” that seemed off on Instagram. She was 100% right to be concerned. Today I’m going to share a few red flags current art scammers.

Red Flags

  • The buyer is pushy. He wants your attention NOW. He wants to pay you RIGHT NOW. That’s weird.
  • The buyer doesn’t seem to care which painting he gets from you, he will take anything. That painting of a random dog? A painting of clouds? The paper towel you clean your brushes with? He doesn’t care. There is NO consistency in his taste. This is NOT something an actual collector will do unless you’ve built a HUGE name for yourself. I mean huge, so huge very few people (myself included) will ever see that level of fame.
  • The buyer gives a fake address or just a state. This is common with scammers outside of the US. Use google maps and check where their address is located. Is it a random parking lot or a warehouse? It’s a red flag. I mean sure, it’s possible someone is having something shipped to their work, but it’s just something that should at least make your spidey senses tingle.
  • The buyer’s grammar isn’t quite right. The majority of scammers for what I’m talking about today are actually located in India or Africa. No, I’m not saying people from these locations aren’t good. I’m saying that this is where a lot of the scams originated. It’s just a fact. The reason I bring that up is when someone claims they’re John Smith from Texas, but their grammar is off, it’s one more thing that should make your spidey senses tingle. Is it proof they’re a scammer? Of course not, but it’s one additional common ingredient used in this pot of theft.

How do these scams work?

There are several things that the scammer might do. One is really common lately with photographers. They will contact a photographer claiming to be an artist. Their profile has a bunch of paintings (that are actually stolen from real artists). They say they want to pay you (and quite well) to use your photo for a client. They will have their “client” zelle/cash app/whatever you a large portion of the money, and you will forward a small portion of that fund to them for the painting portion of the job. You get t0 keep the rest. Problem is, it’s a stolen credit card and once the fraud department gets involved there will be a chargeback for the thousands of dollars they paid you. The 200 or whatever amount agreed on that you sent the “artist” is gone too, since using those apps to pay people is the equivalent of giving someone cash. You can’t get it back.

Another scam is to insist on paying through paypal. They don’t want you to send them a bill, they want your email to send it to you that way. They will then claim there is a problem with their paypal account and say that paypal will be sending you a code you need to give to him. Yeah, that dude is trying to log in as you and steal your account.

There are a lot of variations of these scams.

How do you avoid it?

Have your own website set up with a shop. You could even do etsy or ebay for your items if you don’t have a site. If someone wants to buy something from you, send them there. You should have no other interaction with this person for the payment portion. There is NO reason for someone to pay you directly.

We all need to be reminded “Don’t drink the paint water”  and other fun artist sayings. 
Why not wear it on our clothes or coffee mugs to make sure we don’t forget?

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