As much as we would like to believe otherwise, there are quite a few dishonest people out there posing as potential art buyers. This is especially distressing for new artists, because many want to be "discovered" and who wouldn't want to be exhibited somewhere prestigious or have their work snatched up by a wealthy client? Even experienced artists are having trouble with art buyer scams, so this article will include some tips for keeping yourself safe as you sell art online.
1) Be Cautious
Look for common traits often found in scammer conversation such as writer errors (punctuation mistakes, poor grammar/spelling, etc), a sense of urgency (buyer needs the item ASAP) in combination with an overseas contact/buyer/shipper/etc.
2) Always Confirm Payment
An honest buyer will understand that you need to confirm that their payment has cleared your bank with no problems. Often scammers will insist that their payment is on its way or will pay by check and insist that you cash it right away and ship the art to them immediately.
3) Never Accept Excess Payments
Many scammers will present you with funds in excess of what you have quoted them for your art plus shipping expenses. They will excuse this and ask that you send the extra funds back to them via another payment service. Do not do this, instead let them know you will not accept a check for over the amount you quoted, and that you will wait for it to clear your bank before shipping. Alternatively, ask for payment via Paypal or another online payment portal.
4) Do Your Homework
If you are contacted by someone who claims to want to promote your work in their shop or gallery, do your homework! Even galleries of art online can be investigated to tell if they are legitimate businesses so make sure you take the time to confirm the details before you even respond to these types of messages. They could be legitimate, but it never hurts to be sure before acting.
Selling your art online can be a positive experience, and once you know what to do and what to watch for when communicating with potential buyers you will be able to sell art with ease and confidence. It is far better to be safe and miss out on a potential sale than to hurry through a transaction for art online and realize later that you have been a victim of a scammer. So keep your mind open, your spirits light, and wear your caution like a badge of pride when you sell art online!