Neil Capozzi Speaks About News, Tools And Resources For Artists Beyond Paint, Paper And Supplies. Staying Safe From An Artist Scam And What To Do If It Happens

Scammers take advantage of emotions when approaching their victims. Visual artists are just as vulnerable as other scam victims. Art scammers play on your emotions and your desire/need to make a living from your art. Now that galleries, art shows, and art exhibits are closed due to the Covid19 outbreak, we are more vulnerable than ever!  We all know internet art scams exist, but sometimes it’s easy to forget about the warning signs with the excitement of a potential sale.  The Rickie Report speaks with Neil Capozzi, owner of Stuart Art Supply & Artists’ Nook Studio about the latest scams exploiting visual artists, how to avoid being a victim, and what you can do if you’ve been victimized.

 

 

 

 

 

Stuart Art Supply  & Artists’ Nook Studio

43 SE Kindred Street  Stuart, FL 34990

http://www.stuartartsupply.com

772.220.4500

n.capozzi@stuartartsupply.com

MONDAY – FRIDAY  10 AM – 5 PM

SATURDAY  10 AM – 3 PM

 

 

 

 

WARNING!   WARNING!   WARNING!

 

 

 

TRR:   Tell us some of the aspects of an artist scam

NC:

People figuring out how to exploit striving artists is nothing new, but technology and changing market structures have opened up some new ways to do it.  While I don’t subscribe to the notion that all artists are “struggling” or “starving”, these are creative people who are at their most vulnerable when approached for a “big sale”.

 

As a small business owner, I’ve experienced many unusual events throughout the years and one instance seems to be recurring. This is a good time to remind those in the creative sector to be careful with their online presence. If you get an offer to purchase something you sell, be attentive. Sometimes if an offer is too good to be true then it most likely leads you into a trap.

 

I was recently contacted by a client/artist (we’ll refer to as “A”) who is a novice in the online art world. Like so many, she posts her images on the web on various social media sites and her own website. “A” mentioned that she was contacted from her website by someone who was interested in purchasing some art as a gift for her husband. Since this was a cold contact via a website that doesn’t offer online sales, I was immediately suspect!

 

I asked “A” where she was in the transaction and she said they’d agreed on a price and the method of payment, shipping and how to compensate the shipper. I instantly suggested she not do anything else.  Understandably, she became nervous and we agreed that she would no longer make any attempts to move the process forward. The buyer continued to email “A” and praised the work she saw on her website. “A” called me, and we talked some more, and we decided to play along. The buyer would not give her address or her telephone number. The excuse was that this was a gift and that she uses a local company to ship the order anyway so there was no need for her to provide the information to the artist. The only contact was via email.

 

“A” was contacted via email by the buyer with updated payment information. The buyer said she issued a bank draft and gave”A” the UPS tracking number. “Wow, the buyer still seemed serious”, “A” thought!  “What should I do?” I told her to wait until the check arrived. The check arrived a day later. “A” was tense – “what do I do now?”. The amount on the check was $2500 and this amount was well above the agreed upon purchase amount. The buyer’s instructions were to pack the purchase and she would send her shipper to pick up the items and send them to her, the shipper would collect the balance of the $2500 check in cash.

 

I told “A” to call the bank on the check and asked if there were sufficient funds. When she did, the bank told her that the check was drawn on a fake account. So, if my client proceeded with the transaction, she would have been out the art and the cash she gave the shipper. It’s an old scam and it continues to catch people off guard. Remember, if you get an offer that is to good to be true it usually is!

 

 

 

TRR:  Preying on the vulnerability of an artist, whose ego is what is on the canvas, in a sculpture, or part of any visual art is appalling.  This is not the first time I have heard about this, which is why we want to share some specific information to avoid being scammed.  What are the “red flags”?

 

 

 

 

 


NC:

 

RED FLAGS

1. Impersonal Stories

The “buyer” uses a story to hook you about their wife liking your work or wanting art for a new home, but it sounds stunted and impersonal. A big tip off is that they do not even address you by name, but simply start with “Hello”. This way they can send the same email to thousands of artists.

2. A Foreign Emailer

The “buyer”usually claims to live in another country — far from where you live — to make sure the art has to be shipped. This is all part of their dastardly plan.

3. A Sense of Urgency

The “buyer” claims they need your art quickly. That way the art will be shipped before you find out the check or credit card details are fraudulent.

4. A Fishy Request

The “buyer” requests your personal information, including back accounts

The request doesn’t add up. For instance, the “buyer” wants to buy three pieces and asks for prices and dimensions, but doesn’t include the pieces’ names. Or, they want to purchase a piece that is marked as sold on your website. It will reek of suspicious activity.

5. Poor Language/ Spelling and Phrasing Errors

The email is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors and doesn’t flow as a normal email should.

6. Strange Spacing

The email is oddly spaced. This means the weasel carelessly copied and pasted the same message to thousands of artists, hoping some will fall for the scam.

7. A Cashier’s Check Request

 The “buyer” suggests non-traditional payment transactions or sending money to a third party.

The “buyer” insists that they can only pay by cashier’s check. These checks will be fake and you could be blamed when your bank discovers the fraud. However, by the time this happens the scammer will have already received your art.

8. Outside Shipping Wanted

They want to use their own shipper–which is usually a fake shipping company that is in on the scam. They often say they are moving and will have their moving company pick up your artwork.

9.  Be Cautious of “Relay Calls”

People with hearing or speech difficulties legitimately use relay calls. Scammers may also use this communication service to contact you.  Do Not Accept relay calls unless you know the person using this service.  Scammers often use a “third party” who “works” for a communications company.  Often, an “overage amount” is involved.  Hang up!

 

 

 

 

 

Remember that a scam email might not have all of these signs, but go with your gut.

 

Scammers can be clever.

 

Stick with the old adage: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRR:   If you are scammed, What can you do?

 

NC:

Being scammed or even experiencing an unsuccessful attempt can feel incredibly frustrating and insulting. It’s normal to want to somehow “get back” at the scammer. Some people satisfy this urge by engaging with the scammer in order to “waste their time”, but honestly this is just a waste of your own valuable time. Your best response is to ignore it and move on, or possibly submit a complaint to the FTC using the link below.

 

TRR:    As AARP.org reminds us, “It’s about emotion, not logic!”  Read the fine print of everything you sign!  If your eyes glaze over, it’s time to consider asking for legal help.  As I say in my art-marketing seminars…”do you know how to fix a car engine?  No?  So, you decide to bring it to someone who does. Then, why are you hesitating to get legal advice?”

 

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 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. 

 

This sickening strategy allows them to either steal your original works, money, or both. It’s crucial to know the signs and how to protect yourself, so you can continue to benefit from legitimate online opportunities. And, continue to sell your art to a whole new audience of interested, REAL buyers.

RESOURCES:

 

 

TRR:

Here are some helpful websites with information on frauds and scams.  Stay a step ahead of scammers and keep yourself updated with the latest information on scams and tips to help prevent yourself from becoming a victim.

Art Advocate and colleague, Carolyn Edlund, from ArtsyShark tells us, “I have seen this exact scam, but it doesn’t even need to be a payment for an art sale. I got one from a weird address at Paypal billing me for a domain name (which I do own) but for three times the price! I didn’t bite, but contacted Paypal and they asked me to forward it to spoof@paypal.com. One of my clients got something similar, simply telling her there was an issue with her account and that she should log in through a link. Paypal must address these problems, because surely there are a ton of people, including artists, getting ripped off”.   Again, when in doubt, contact Paypal!  For more information, contact Carolyn@ArtsyShark.com or visit www.ArtsyShark.com

 

Read this article from Agora Gallery:   https://www.agora-gallery.com

          (Look under “For Artists”  and then  “Artist Advice Blog”)

Read Kathleen McMahon’s Art Scam blog:  www.kathleenmcmahon.com

Federal Trade Commission – Scam Alerts

 

www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov

The Federal Trade Commission’s Scam Alerts page keeps consumers up to date on recent scam alerts with what to know and do about scams in the news.

www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts

Federal Bureau of Investigation – Common Fraud Schemes

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has developed their Common Fraud Schemes website to inform you on the most common scams that the FBI investigates and tips to help prevent you from becoming a victim.

www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud

USA.gov – Consumer Frauds and Scams

The USA.gov Consumer Frauds and scams website hosts information and tips on how to avoid scams and fraud with a special section dedicated to current scams to be aware of.

www.usa.gov/topics/consumer/scams-fraud.shtml

Better Business Bureau – Scam Stopper

The Better Business Bureau’s Scam Stopper website has information on scams including top scams, the science of scams, who gets scammed and report a scam.

www.bbb.org/council/bbb-scam-stopper/

For more information about art supplies, art classes, or the opportunity to conduct art classes:

 

 

Check Out The Classes/Workshops  Here:

 

Stuart Art Supply  & Artists’ Nook Studio

43 SE Kindred Street  Stuart, FL 34990

http://www.stuartartsupply.com

772.220.4500

n.capozzi@stuartartsupply.com

MONDAY – FRIDAY  10 AM – 5 PM

SATURDAY  10 AM – 3 PM

 

 

For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

Rickie@therickiereport.com   561-537-0291

17019 SW Sapri Way   Port St. Lucie, FL 34986

 

Good Business Practices: After You’ve Made A Sale-Editorial From Rickie

Congratulations, you’ve sold a piece of your artwork! The Rickie Report shares some good business practices in this article, to not only acknowledge the sale but create opportunities for more.  We’ll focus on 2 Dimensional, 3 Dimensional and wearable art.

 

 

 

GOOD BUSINESS PRACTICES: AFTER A SALE

 

 

 

There is nothing as exciting as connecting with someone who loves your creativity as much as you!  This article’s focus is “after the sale” of 2 Dimensional, 3 Dimensional and wearable art pieces.  Now that you have sold your art piece, what are some next steps to not only acknowledge and celebrate that sale, but to bring more buyers?

 

 

IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS

 

Remember “thank you” notes?  This is the time to send one to the buyer!

 

Your effort will make an impression on the buyer – how many people actually do this? Few – which is why you will make an impression by doing so.

 

The buyer begins to realize this “sale” means more than the monetary value exchanged.

 

You are not only thanking them for their recent purchase, but you are reinforcing that this is now a relationship of artist/art patron.

 

The next time you are exhibiting, you can feel comfortable reaching out to previous buyers, letting them know about your newest work.

 

The next time the buyer is in your area, they will feel more connected to you and contact you.

 

When a buyer feels that there is a more informal relationship, you will pop up in more of their conversations – a buyer marketing for you is worth gold!

 

 

PICTURES TELL A BIGGER STORY

 

Take a photo of the buyer with your art piece!

 

Ask the buyer to send you a photo of the art piece in their home or office.  This encourages others to truly “see” your art on someone’s walls, in a niche or on a shelf.  

 

If you are selling wearable art, ask the buyer to send you a photo of you or the person gifted with the item wearing your piece.  Most buyers will be flattered to be part of your portfolio of happy clients!

 

Once you’ve established a relationship with a buyer, feel free to ask for their story which you can share on your website.  How did wearing your necklace make the new graduate feel?  How did the buyer propose, using the ring you created?  Have you just sold a piece of artwork that is destined to become a family heirloom?

 

A photo of a real person (not a model) wearing the clothing you’ve created tells other people than your wearable art is accessible and comfortable.

 

A WORD ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA

 

Sharing your successes on social media sites is an easy way to let people know about your sales.  

Who is reading your social media site ?

 

According to business experts, you are reaching YOUR audience

 

Is that helpful for future sales?

 

Are your followers buying your artwork or merely celebrating the sale with you and “liking” that you made a sale?

Good friends will share your news about sales on social media in a different way.

Now is the time to ask YOUR social media friends to share the photo of your artwork in your client’s space with THEIR social media friends!  

 

 

Remember the buyer with whom you now have a relationship?……

Encourage your art patrons to share their excitement about their purchase with THEIR social media friends.  

Thank them for referrals!

Would your art patrons consider offering you the opportunity to have an exhibit or special showing of your work in a different space than you normally display?

Are you available to help your art patrons’ favorite charity through an exhibit and sales of your artwork?

When you have formed a relationship with your art buyer, these and more possibilities will arise.  The Rickie Report looks forward to sharing more business tips in the future.

 

For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420

Rickie@therickiereport.com

561-537-0291

A Personalized Approach to Marketing

There are any number of ways artists or other professionals can choose to market themselves.  Let’s be honest:  if you want to be in business, you have to consider your marketing strategies.  The Rickie Report shares some ideas and observations in this article.

 

 

A Personalized Approach to Marketing

 

 

We all market something, even when it is not of our own making.  The clothing we wear tells our surrounding society a lot, especially items with logos, the name of your favorite bar or the latest place you’ve been on a vacation.  Let’s take that a step further.  What do you really want and need to market to be a professional artist or creative?

 

 

 

MARKETING  is an extension of your creative output, be it jewelry, paintings, sculpture, ceramics or decorative art.  Within the word itself is “MAKE” and we believe that hitting your “MARK” intensifies the word’s meaning even more.

 

 Have you looked at your website lately?

 

  • This is your face to the public.
  • Is it time to spruce it up?
  • Have you ever asked anyone to proof read it for you?
  • Let us be clear:  A “website” can be a landing page with your business information and a contact email and phone number.  It does NOT have to be complicated.

 

 Are you public relations monster?  

 

  • You can be effective and lovable without being overbearing.
  • Ten messages on Facebook in one day is overload.
  • Use different modalities to get the word out ( Facebook, Twitter, e-newsletter, The Rickie Report, print media, radio)
  • Once you are accepted to an exhibit or show, THAT is the time to contact the media.  Most media outlets need 6-8 weeks lead time, especially print.  The Rickie Report needs 3-4 weeks notice but you can always check with us in case we have an opening.
  • Have a general press release prepared. Include Who, What, When, Where,Why as well as How people can reach you.  Always include your website, Facebook page address, email and phone number.

 

WIIFM: What’s In It For Me?

 

  • Appreciate your supporters ( buyers and fans)
  • Send a thank you email to your clients when they make a purchase
  • Send an art card for Holiday wishes, birthdays and special sales
  • Give returning patrons a discount on their next purchase.

 

 

How does your creative work transform other people?

 

  • Know who your audience is
  • Who are your ideal clients?
  • Accept that you cannot meet everyone’s interests
  • How are you reaching out to your clients and potential patrons ?

 

Share something about yourself that goes beyond your art

 

  • In your Artist Statement, do you share the feelings that drive you to create?
  • Art patrons make purchases that touch their emotions.   This is an opportunity to connect with them.  Tell them the story behind your necklaces, how you began making mugs, why you chose the subject matter in a painting.
  • Do you have a favorite charity?  Tell that story.  Offer to donate a % of that day’s sales to a charity.
  • Offer to do a trunk show or exhibit for a charity.  If they receive a % of all sales, you can be sure they will let their supporters know about the event!
  • Be a little off-beat.  Have an unusual give-away which costs you minimally but will remind passersby about your artwork.  (We still use a fragment of wood as a paperweight from an artist who cut up his unusual frames into small pieces.  He took the time to sign it.  Every time we move it, his artwork comes to mind.)

 

 

 

A more personalized approach to marketing will help you connect with your audience.  It helps your audience become fans.  

For you to succeed in the business of art, you need both.

 

 

 

 

For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420

Rickie@therickiereport.com

561-537-0291

 

 

SAVING The ARTS We LOVE: Finding Resources When Economic and Public Support Falter

The staff of The Rickie Report has been involved in both the for-profit and the not-for-profit world.  Certainly, it is no surprise that the economics of our own area have affected changes in behavior, affiliation and support of our cultural institutions.  Recently, we met Wendy Weiler and had a frank discussion about some of these issues.  Because The Rickie Report sees challenges as new opportunities, we are pleased to share our discussion with Wendy and hope some of the local cultural and educational institutions will call her!

 

 

             Studies Show Art Audience Declining-

The Time is Now to bring back the LOVE OF ART

            Stop the doors from closing….

Art is here for a new generations

 

 

Consultant, Wendy Weiler

Consultant, Wendy Weiler

 

The National Endowment of the Arts began documenting participation in the arts in 1982.  An article written by 

Jacqueline Trescott, June 16, 2009, of The Washington Post, indicates,

 “

Separate national surveys gauging youth and adult participation in the arts report that visits to art museums are declining.  

A study of nearly 4,000 eighth-grade students, part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, found dwindling field trips over the past decade. ‘The percentage of eighth-graders who reported that they visited an art museum or gallery with their classes dropped from 22 percent in 1997 to 16 percent in 2008,’ said Stuart Kerachsky, the acting commissioner for the National Center for Education Statistics, which administers the assessment.

  • The National Endowment for the Arts also released new data showing that fewer adults were choosing an art museum or a visual arts festival as a leisure-time destination.
  • From 1992 to 2001, 26 percent of adults reported that they visited such attractions, but the number for 2008 dropped to 23 percent. The decrease is small, but it may portend coming declines as the most loyal part of the museum audience ages.
  • The exception, the NEA said, was in the D.C. metropolitan area, where 40 percent of adults said they had visited a museum in 2008 — reflecting tourism and free admission at most major museums.
  • In addition, the agency noted sizable declines between 1982 and 2008 in almost every performing arts field.
  • It reported double-digit rates of decline for classical music, jazz, opera, musical theater, ballet and dramatic plays.
  • The NEA survey “shows that audiences for the arts are changing,” said Patrice Walker Powell, the acting NEA chairman. “While many now participate in arts activities available through electronic media, the number of American adults who are participating in live performing and visual arts events is declining. The findings underscore the need for more arts education to foster the next generation of both artists and arts enthusiasts.”

 

 

TRR:  

Dire predictions?  Looking at our local Palm Beach County cultural landscape, how many attend not-so-filled audiences of musical and theatrical events?  Do you have trouble finding a parking space at other cultural institutions and are they so filled that you wonder when might be a better, less crowded time to visit?  Wendy Weiler shares her observations, concerns and offers some solutions here in this interview.


WW:
The article written by Jacqueline Trescor, June 16, 2009, highlights a growing national problem.  Without the support of communities, individuals and the next generation of art lovers, museums and other educational/cultural institutions around the country will be forced to close their doors.  Membership numbers are down due to economic issues and the decline of art supporters.  As the Baby Boomer generation and their parents age, there needs to be a new generation that embraces and supports the public arts. 

TRR:   Given this crises,  what would you suggest as a call to action?

WW:  

A strategic plan of action is necessary to draw the public back to museums and make them community friendly.   Families, seniors, singles, children and teenagers need to feel at home when they experience art.  Creating events, classes and exhibits that speak to each niche market brings them closer to wanting to be a part of this inviting circle of patrons.  

Education is crucial for the next generation to feel involved and the best way to create that bond is by building a program with the schools and early childhood centers.  This way children grow up with the love of art and don’t look at art museums as a place where only adults go to learn.  It would be a normal part of their milieu.  Some unique programs that could be developed such as parent/child events.  This would be for young children to go to the art museum during the day with a parent, while other siblings are away at school, giving special time for a child and their parent.  Special hands on exhibits and classes would give parents and their children ways to express themselves together and see the venue as a “fun” place to be.  In addition, families with different cultural values will have the ability to connect with the tradition of venerating the arts and cultures of our past. 

TRR:  There are a number of places in Palm Beach County that do offer these types of programs.

WW:

The Art Museums that have been successful understand how to maximize their facility by giving back to their community. They have developed programs that integrate art, music, dance, food and fun and sharing all of those experiences with their members/visitors. The museum then becomes transformed into a place to be involved in culture and not a place to visit once every couple of years.  It becomes a  “happening place” where corporations, Chambers of Commerce members, visitors and the public could join and make a difference by sharing the types of exhibits and programs they would like to support.

 

TRR: Tell our readers about your experience in this field, before your recent move to Florida

 

WW:  

As one of the creators of the first privately owned convention center in the country, my background in launching and maintaining a public facility has given me a wealth of knowledge in marketing and sales strategies.  The Meadowlands Convention Center was conceived by my colleagues and I and we pitched it to Harts Mountain who then built the center.  My role was to ensure occupancy and I did so by building an aggressive marketing campaign to promoters from around the country.  We also developed in-house events and had national entertainers.  That experience and those skills have enable me to develop promising strategies to meet the needs of  the art and cultural world we’ve been discussing.  Art Museums, galleries and other attractions are just like building attendance at a convention center.  Know your market and give them what they want and build customer loyalty for renewable revenues.
TRR:  What is EduStrategies’ mission?
WW:
As founder of EduStrategies, a marketing and sales strategy consulting firm for education, our mission is to capture a larger market share for each client.  By knowing your competitors and creating your own niche market we develop a marketing plan that ties into your sales goals to ensure success.  This formula can be transformed to any industry.  Because of my passion for art and culture,  I have chosen to divert my path from education to the art world.
TRR:  If I have a venue and am interested in hearing what you have to suggest, how would we work together?
WW:
The first step is to do an evaluation of the organization’s goals and initiatives:   to see what is working and what is not. Then we would work together to create a strategic plan with milestones and deliverables.  My role could be as an out-sourced resource or I could come into the organization and take role as Director of Business Development.
TRR:  It sounds like you have a lot to offer not only to educational institutions, museums or art-related constituents.  This is a model that can be extrapolated into any business field.  Most often, artists do not see themselves as business people.  They focus on their creative energies and find consumerism difficult to deal with. The Rickie Report believes that we need to help find a balance between the two, in order to make a living at being an artist.
WW:

If you would like to learn more about turning around your art museum, gallery or art retail store then feel free to contact: Wendy Weiler – President of EduStrategies-wendylweiler@gmail.com, phone:508-320-4710.  This consulting firm can create a road map of marketing strategies to drive membership, secure corporate partnerships and build a branding campaign to create the buzz regionally as well as nationally.

 

For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420

Rickie@therickiereport.com

561-537-0291