Far it be for us to rain on your submission-deadlines-parade–especially now as we head into a new season of gallery openings and art fairs–but we should warn all artists that the wretched art scammers are, once again, up to no good. Since the internet has become a platform for artists to market their portfolio, all the more vulnerable they are to modern day Thomas Crowns. Now, as scammers become more creative in their heists, the problem not only persists but evolves; and artists need to be aware of how scammers operate. 

Image Title: Displacement By InLiquid artist-member Mark Havens

The most common art scam is for a scammer to directly contact an artist, praise their work and inquire the artist’s asking-price for a piece they saw online. Usually this scammer does not live in the Unites States, or will say they live in a remote town miles from the artist’s and will definitely offer more than what the artist is asking. If you already find this odd, good work on the investigative eye and stop communication immediately. Here is what happens: they offer more than the asking-price because they will then ask that the difference be sent back to them—even after giving the impression that the extra bit of cash is incentive to hold the piece. While their check to you is being cleared by the bank, you will be asked to send the overage amount back to them by wire transfer. By then their check will bounce and the wire will no longer be traceable. The age-old tip on never accepting a first offer couldn’t be more golden than now.

A new scam trending upon the internet is the false premise of an online gallery. Recently, one of InLiquid’s members received a scam. It was a “call for submissions” to a now-non-existent business called Faburry Gallery, supposedly located here in Philadelphia. With a rather vague and platitudinous description of their mission, they have asked artists for submissions via email, also asking for a small fee of $5 per submission. Yes, it’s a small price, any independent contractor could eat up the loss, however it gives way to an entirely new scam-frontier: identity theft. Although we would typically suggest to deal art locally, this only further raises our eyebrows on what is considered safe. While eager to have one’s art visible on a national scale, this style of enticement couldn’t be more of a bait-and-switch. 

So to all our hard working artists out there, our only suggestion is to always be aware. Most scams come in patterns and, quite often, are too good to be true. As an organization dedicated to the promotion of artists, we will do our best to always keep you posted. 

Do you know of a scam you’d like to report? Send it to Elizabeth@inliquid.org and we’ll be happy to post it to the blog under the new Art Scams section, which you can find by clicking on “Categories” at the left-hand side of the screen.


The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3):

Alyse C. Bernstein

See Alyse C. Bernstein's full Portfolio