Beware of art scammers!

Casey Weldon

Art Scams

I know how exciting and flattering it is to have an online buyer interested in your artwork please beware of SCAMMERS. Cheri O'Brien and I have both been contacted very recently by someone using the exact same wording in their email. Here's what we got and what to look out for. Don't fall prey to these numbnuts art scammers! I know someone who fell for these kinds of things recently so am trying to share the story.

IP Address OR 154.66.36
1 - Hi,
My name is Joey XXXXX. I'm in the process of moving to Italy to expand my business field. I just bought a house in Milan, Italy and I'm interested in collecting an artwork for a space within my house to make it unique and beautiful.
Can I look through your website so as to pin point my choice , request for a quote and more information about a piece of my interest?
I look forward to hearing back from you soonest.

2 - Hi Paula,
Thank you for the email.
I went through your gallery and found the work titled ""A and B" " interesting. How much do they go for excluding shipping to Milan.
I'll be glad to remit payment via my credit card.
I look forward to hearing back from you soon.

3 - Hello Paula,
Feels a bit sad to know that painting B has been sold.
I went back to your website and took interest in "C and D" excluding shipping.
How much are they?
Sounds nice that you can process credit cards. I'll call in my card info to you for processing when I receive an invoice.
I look forward to hearing back from you.

Signs of suspicion

They're moving to another country soon and want something fast and don't really care which piece it is.

Their shipper will pick the art up.

They want to overpay.

Sue Rubira

Check their IP Address

Emails get spoofed. Sometimes, "Bill" isn't really Bill. And sometimes the fraudulent email will make it past spam filters and into your inbox. Don't get fooled. Find out the real sender by quickly analyzing your email headers.

Check their IP location

Read a very well written scam account by D. Michael Coffee.

Best practices

Best practice is often to not reply a reply (or clicking any link, or loading external resources, e.g. images) could provide an indication to mass-spammers that your email address is a valid one, and someone is actually reading it.

Block sender in your email program.

Mark as spam.

Make them pay with PayPal

Have them use their credit card through PayPal. People steal other peoples identities and get or use innocent peoples credit cards and the credit card company can theoretically come back on us to collect their money. No Cashiers Checks, no personal checks of course, no money orders, and no certified checks. All these can be made fraudulently. Pay Pal makes sure all is legitimate before paying the artist or telling the artist to ship and provide a shipping order from a recognized carrier, like UPS, FedEx, DHL. (thanks John Cox for that one)

Stay safe and protect yourself from those dumbskull spammer. Real art buyers will have more meaningful conversations with you and will be prepared to wait for their funds to clear before forcing a pickup. I'd love to hear your stories of successful online art sales AND falling prey to scammers. Please comment with your own experiences so we can share the knowledge.

Some of you reported:

John Cox
Absolute scam! I ha one like this with some minor changes. My guy was moving to Italy also, but would make payment through his attorney's direct to me. What was interesting and this sort of made me wonder how this was going to work when I looked up the law offices in New York and it was legitimate, but they told me they get 2 or 3 calls each week from artist checking on this. They do not know who this person is or understand the scam. That makes them and me wondering. I told him to pay me through my Pay Pal account, as that would be a secure way for both of us. I never received another email from this clown.

Mark Seifred
This looks a lot like some scams that are often found on Craigslist. A typical CL scam goes like this. Someone offers to pay you for an item for sale but that the item should be shipped etc... The person claims to be overseas. Then they claim to have sent you an amount in excess of what was asked. The money never comes through, and then the sender asks for a refund of the excess and gets aggressive about it. We had some idiot try this on us when we sold Rowans old stove. Easy money never comes knocking on your door. BEWARE.

When we sold Rowan's old stove on CL, this is what happened. Some guy who claimed to be on a US Navy ship in the Western Pacific contacted us and said he wanted to buy the stove sight unseen and that his "agent" would contact us. We were asking $500 for the stove. Agent then emailed and said he had sent us via Paypal $1500. Then he started asking for $1000 back and sent several aggressive sounding emails. Meanwhile there had never been any Paypal payment at all. The emails kept coming but we just stopped responding.

The reverse of this classic web scam is someone selling something for way less than it is worth. I have seen multiple instances of that on eBay, CL and others. There is no such thing as Easy Money.

Alice Sherman Simpson
I received the same email and deleted it. Also, when trying to sell my 'girlie' dinnerware, I received CL email from sailer aboard a ship, who wanted to purchase entire set and said his 'on land buddy would contact me, etc., etc. and so forth! Same old, same old. Hoax, hoax, hoax.

Kicki Masthem almost got taken by these suckers, here's her story.
Nov 21, 2014

Scroll to Top