Art Scams: Don’t Fall For Them

It’s unfortunate, but in today’s world hardworking artists are increasingly being targeted in internet scams. A struggling artist wants nothing more than to be “discovered” too, which makes this scam all the more devastating once they realize they’ve been swindled. The scam itself is simple.You receive an email from an admiring collector and wealthy buyer who is interested in purchasing your art or using it to exhibit in their gallery. They will usually want to make the shipping arrangements themselves or have someone pick the art for them rather than have you ship it to them. You receive payment in the form of a cashier’s check and hand your artwork over to the party. Only weeks later (after an attempt to clear) you discovered that the check is fraudulent and you’re art is lost forever. It’s important to remember these things before selling your artwork:

  • Never ship your artwork to someone without making sure the payment has cleared.
  • Don’t deal with people who insist it is “urgent” that they receive the item in a hurry.
  • Check to see if the gallery actually wants to exhibit your work, or a company wants to license your art.
  • Beware of galleries and publishers who will charge artists to have their work included in an exhibition or publication.

And always remember, if you suspect fraud or are a victim of fraud, take immediate action by contacting the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) at or the Federal Trade Commission through their web site at

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