If you buy or sell artwork online - beadwork, jewelry, painting, crafts - then you need to know about the latest art scams. I was recently alerted to this problem by Diane Hyde who has posted her story on FaceBook. In response, I've decided to post information about the scams and encourage you to keep your eyes open and be alert when you purchase or sell anything online:
Art Scam Alert
This is a relatively new and serious scam. The scam has many faces but usually involves a buyer who expresses interest in purchasing one or more expensive items. Often their grammar is poor and they require that you jump through a number of hoops in order to complete the transaction. Think you can't be scammed? Think again! Please click on the link below - you will be redirected to Kathleen McMahon's website where she runs a listing of scams, scammers, and their email addresses. She's also posted stories regarding the typical approach these scams take.
If It Sounds Too Good To Be True...
Always research anything that sounds suspicious. And use a verified and trusted payment source for your transactions (such as PayPal). It's also important to exercise patience when dealing with overseas purchases that require time for the money to clear the bank. If you think a buyer or seller is not legitimate, then ask for references from other trusted sources (Who have they also purchased from? Can they give you three trusted sources with whom they've done business?) That might sound extreme but as a wholesale purchaser I am often required to give the names of three fellow wholesalers in order to open an account with a company. This is an acceptable industry practice. And never, ever, ever accept overpayment with an agreement to refund differences.
What I Do
I sell my work on Etsy. In the past Etsy allowed buyers to check out without paying for an item. As a result I've had a number of "sales" that were bogus. While that doesn't seem like it would be a problem... as a seller, it's exciting to get a sale and I want to package the item beautifully, which takes time. So rather than wait for the payment to come through, I'd often go ahead and package the item. After accumulating a number of "sales" that were never paid for (but packaged beautifully!) I caught on to the problem. Now I will not proceed with a purchase until the item is paid for and the payment has cleared (Note that Etsy has also worked to resolve this problem on its site).
I hope this information will prevent you from being involved in one of these unfortunate scams. To keep this information fresh for you, I'll post some permanent links on the left side of Beadweaver. Look there for more information or if you have questions!
STOP ART SCAMS