These days, getting your artwork online is an important part of generating fans, supporters, and sales of your artwork. Creating a basic artist website can now be quick, easy, and free, and places that you exhibit your work put your name and contact information out there so that people interested in your artwork can get in touch with you! Your artwork can be seen and bought around the world, and anyone who likes it can get in contact with you to buy your work! Sounds great, right?

Unfortunately, while your information is available for honest people who genuinely love your work and want to display it in their homes, having your info online can also open you up to scams. Luckily, there are some easy ways to tell if something is a scam or not.

  • A common scam email asks you to send the person a bunch of info (images of your artwork, prices, sizes, etc) even though it already exists on your website. If the information they’re asking for is easily found by googling you, be suspicious. You put all of that effort into your website and online store for a reason.
  • Check for correct spelling and grammar! Strange sentence structure or incorrect spelling of basic words can be a dead giveaway. 
  • Be wary of payment with cashier checks, money orders, or wire payments. Also, never accept or cash a check or money order that is more than you asked for. It is common for a scammer to send you too much money, ask you to send the difference back in cash, and then disappear, leaving you responsible for the amount with your bank.
  • Many scammers will say that they currently live in the United States but want the artwork for their new house that is overseas. These people may want their personal shipper to come to your house. This is not a good sign.
  • Pay attention to how they want to correspond with you. For example: you ask them to pay via PayPal and they must pay you with a wire payment, you ask them to give you a call and they ignore that request completely. You are the owner of the artwork and you are in charge of selling it how you want to!

A few more tips:

  • If you feel suspicious at all, google the person’s name plus “art scam.” Sometimes a quick search can bring up many tales of people being scammed by someone using that name.
  • Never, ever, put personal financial information in an email because email messages aren’t secure.
  • Be suspicious of links sent in emails. Clicking on a bad link could release a virus into your computer.

The most important thing is to not respond to anyone you think could be a scammer. Engaging anyone just gives them more information and more incentive to keep bothering you.

And remember, if you feel in your gut that a request to buy your work doesn’t seem quite right, ask a friend, ask us, or just don’t reply! 

art scams

MFA’s Thoughtful Thursday blog series: every Thursday we will post something that inspires us in the hope that it will inspire you too!

We want to know what inspires you! If you have an idea for a video/article/book/artwork that we can feature in a Thoughtful Thursday post, email it to


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