Beware of Art Scams
Artists are frequent targets of scams perpetrated through email, social networking, and web sites. One common type involves an offer to purchase art work. Often, the artist receives a check in excess of the amount due, and is asked by the scammer to return the balance. After shipping remitting the balance and shipping the work, the artist finds out that the check was a fake and the bank takes the money out of his or her account. The artwork is abandoned-it was never about the art. Other common scams involve fraudulent exhibitions and advertising in official-looking art fair catalogs. Be suspicious of offers from other countries, those coming from free email accounts (yahoo.com, hotmail.com, gmail.com), and emails with strange syntax or misspellings.
These scams all depend on us being anxious for a good sale or a big break, and on the fact that we are busy enough to overlook fine print or a tip-off that something is not quite right. Take the time to thoroughly check out the contact before signing anything, sending money, or shipping work.
Art Scam Resources
ArtScams.com has good tips on how to recognize and avoid falling prey to art scams.
Stop Art Scams blog posts examples of recent scams that are circulating and links to other sites that are keeping tabs on what art scammers are doing.
Snopes.com debunks hoaxes, scams, and urban legends. Before forwarding that email about free notebook computers from Bill Gates, check it out on Snopes and avoid yourself the embarrassment of emailing your 500 closest friends to tell them you fell for a hoax.