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Keep Yourself Safe From Online Art Scams 13 June, 2017

Paul Bradley, a Waikato based artist and Creative Waikato employee, recently received an email that seemed too good to be true. A buyer wanted to purchase his paintings and was willing to pay top dollar. However, something didn't seem quite right, and through a bit of research, Paul discovered he was a target for an art scam.

The email came from "John Davidson", who claimed to be very keen to buy one of Paul's paintings as a surprise for his wife. He would send a cheque, arrange the courier, and would pay very well for Paul's work. Great news right?!

The first alarm bell for Paul was that the email was obviously written by someone with English as a second language. This didn't match well with the name John Davidson from the U.S.A. It also all sounded a bit too good to be true. So, Paul ran a part of the email through a Google search, and discovered online forums discussing the exact same email - word for word. "John" was an art scammer.

What probably would have happened, had Paul been taken in, is "John" would have sent a cheque for more than was required to cover the art and the courier. He would then have asked for a refund the difference (out of Paul's money of course) and the cheque would turn to be fake.

This seems particularly mean to us given that artists aren't always the wealthiest people around. So remember to stay alert, and if you're not sure about something, do some research. If an offer seems too good to be true, take a moment to work out if it is or not.


For more information on this scam, and how to recognize other art scams, visit

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