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

 

The Gilt Complex Offers Free Art Talk On May 16. Learn About Framing, Art Restoration, Conservation Services. See Diverse Mat And Frame Selections Beyond Your Expectations!

Artists, students, and art enthusiasts are invited to an Art Talk: “Best Practices In Storing, Matting, and Framing Art” on Thursday, May 16 at The Gilt Complex.  This free event includes a prize drawing and will cover topics such as affordable framing options, tips on protecting and storing your art, styles & trends in displaying art, and photography frames that have a WOW impact!  The Gilt Complex will offer an Art Talk each third Thursday of the month.  We interview Duncan Hurd about this intriguing art resourceThe Rickie Report shares the details and a few sneak peeks.

 

 

608 Colorado Avenue  Stuart, FL  34944

772.463.0125     www.TheGiltComplex.com

Open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 to 5 

 

 

 

 

 

P R E S E N T S :

 

 

 

Art Talk:

“Best Practices In Storing, Matting, and Framing Art”

 

 

Thursday, May 16

5:30  –  8  pm

 

 

Free admission          Free parking

Free refreshments         Free prize drawing

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rickie Report knows that art is all around us – and we just have to stop and notice!  I was checking out what was happening along Colorado Avenue, known as the “artbeart” of Stuart,  and came across a frame shop called The Gilt Complex. Intrigued, I went inside and had a fascinating conversation with Duncan Hurd, the owner.

 

 

TRR:  So, what’s with the name?

Duncan: 

Our business was founded by a gilder and art restorer in New Jersey in 1982. He has a great sense of humor and rather than call his business something like “Ye Olde Frame Shop,” he decided to have a little fun and call it “The Gilt Complex.” We took over after he retired a couple years ago, and we just love the quirkiness of the name. If nothing else, it’s a conversation starter.

 

 

An example of art restoration: You can see the more vibrant colors (left side) after this piece of artwork has been cleaned.

 

 

TRR:  Tell our readers more about your business.

Duncan: 

The Gilt Complex is a custom framing and art restoration business.  We frame everything from original art painted by the masters to your child’s masterpiece. In our restoration service, we mostly remove dirt and blemishes from the painting’s surface and repair minor damage.  Although we have been known to reline and restore significantly damaged historical works of art. 

 

 

 

TRR:  I’m in love with all your frames!

Duncan: 

Thanks.  We have what we consider to be one of the most diverse collections of frames in the area.  From historical reproduction 22-karat gold leaf finished corner frames to modern unfinished corner frames.  In order to avoid mass confusion, we organize our samples by style, with room between each frame so you can distinguish one from the other.  We have traditional, ornate gold and silver, wood veneer, contemporary and eclectic, and rustic styles, among others.  We even have a bright and colorful Coastal Collection.  

 

 

The thin black liner inside the mat opening on “Blue footed Boobies” by Katie Gianni, heightens the space and distinction between the artwork and the matting. It gives the eye a space to rest and appreciate the artwork, without being too crowded.  This frame further intensifies the feather of the subject matter, while the frame’s corners capture the look of webbed feet.

 

 

 

 

 

TRR:  What’s unique about your business?  What sets you apart?

Duncan: 

Three words: selection, service and smiles!  We have well over 2,000 frame samples in our showroom.  Beyond that, we will never compromise on quality.  We only use acid-free mats and papers, and all our glass is UV protected.  We are very careful about how we handle your art, and we take the time to fit your frame the right way.  That doesn’t mean that everything we do is expensive.  Quite the contrary.  We’re happy to work within any budget, but the quality of our work will be consistent no matter what you pay.  

TRR:  And smiles?

Duncan: 

We have a lot of fun doing what we do.  Our customers often comment about what a happy place this is.  It’s much more rewarding to establish relationships than to squeeze every nickel out of every sale.  So, we talk to you and laugh with you.  Life is too short not to enjoy what you do, and we like to share the fun we have doing it.  Thus, the smiles!

 

 

The dark mat took attention away from the art itself and the orange-toned frame was a distraction.

Now, the artwork is the main focus, bringing the blue from the art piece into the mat lining.  Look at how much brighter this piece seems!

 

 

 

 

TRR:  Who else works with you?

Duncan: 

My wife Pam is an engineer and she does everything in our workshop.  She operates our computerized mat cutter, cuts the glass, assembles the frames and puts it all together.  What I love about her approach is that she spends as much time on all the little things you will never see as she does on what’s in front of you.  Katie Gianni is an accomplished artist who brings that level of creativity to designing the ideal frame for your art, whether it’s an original or a print.  Finding the perfect marriage between the art and the frame is what Katie and I most enjoy.  

 

 

TRR:  You said you’ve been around since 1982, but I didn’t even know you were here.

Duncan: 

For about a dozen years we were tucked away in a strip mall on South Dixie Highway near Port Salerno.  Last year in February we moved the store to Colorado Avenue.  We love, love, love being in downtown Stuart in what is rapidly becoming known as the arts and entertainment district.  Someone recently called it “the artbeat of Stuart.”  More and more people are finding us every day due to our more centralized location.  Just like you did!

 

 

 

 

TRR:  How else can people find you?

Duncan: 

Probably the best place is through the internet.  Our website tells our story pretty well at TheGiltComplex.com.  We are a big supporter of the Arts Council of Martin County and you can see our ad in their magazine, as well as in the Lyric Theatre’s magazine.  One of the great rewards of owning a small business is becoming an integral part of the community.  In addition to the Arts Council, we are active members of the Stuart/Martin Chamber of Commerce.  It’s hard to go anywhere without recognizing someone, and we think that’s wonderful.  

Note the red line incised around the middle of the frame and how this accentuates the outlines in the artwork.  This and the color of the frame itself offer subtle touches that enhance the artwork. 

 

 

 

 

TRR:  What framing advice can you offer our readers?

Duncan: 

An expression I often repeat when choosing a frame is, “What does the art want?”  In other words, what frame will best compliment the art and draw your attention to the painting or print?  The advantage of custom framing is having many options available to you – not only the frames, but also mats, liners and all the other components that go into creating beautiful artwork.  You can almost always find something appropriate within your budget.  But if your decision is driven by price alone, you may not even give yourself the opportunity to consider the best design solution.  

 

 

TRR:  Do you have any concluding thoughts?

Duncan: 

If you surround yourself with art, every day will be filled with joy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information:

The Gilt Complex

608 Colorado Avenue    Stuart, FL 34994

772-463-0125     www.TheGiltComplex.com

Facebook

Instagram:  @thegiltcomplex

 

 

 

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

 

“The Art Of Marketing Your Art” Seminar With Ilene Gruber Adams, Rickie Leiter and Hugh O’Neill Offers Tools And Support

Under the auspices of En Plein Air International Studios, Ilene Gruber Adams, Rickie Leiter and Hugh O’Neill will present “The Art of Marketing Your Artin a two-part series. Ilene is a well respected marketing professional for businesses of all types, a graphic designer and a fine artist. Rickie publishes The Rickie Report, a free-to subscribe website that promotes the art scene in Southeast Florida with a world-wide readership. Hugh O’Neill is an internationally acclaimed artist who has brought plein air painting back into the limelight in the U.S., and offers art workshops in Ireland and Europe, in addition to his own award-winning paintings. The Seminars take place on December 1st and 15th. We share the details here and look forward to empowering YOU! Spaces are limited to a small group so everyone receives the personal attention necessary to succeed.

 

 

 

ArtMarketingflyerHughIleneRickie

 

The Art of Marketing Your Art:

Are you ready to sell your art but don’t know where to begin?

Do you want to enter exhibits but not sure how to apply?

Do you wonder how other artists get into galleries?

 

Ilene and Rickie’s previous Art Marketing Seminars have taken emerging artists and hobbyists to a new level of professionalism. The information they provide in two sessions will be enhanced by Hugh O’Neill’s experience as a gallerist and international artist. The basic skills and knowledge necessary to take any individual to a more successful level will be shared through power point, hand outs, anecdotal information, suggested reading, sharing of resources and hands-on exercises.

 

 

While the seminars center of interest is on art, we welcome other entrepreneurs and business people to attend. Most of the principals are practical for anyone trying to market their ideas or products.

 

 

The two sessions will be held at En Plein Air International Studios located at 226 Center Street Unit A8 in Jupiter, FL. Pre-registration is required for the $100 two-part seminar. Payment can be made via Paypal or by personal check. Space is limited to 25 people, so everyone has enough time to share their questions. Light refreshments will be served. We will be happy to recommend local restaurants, if you want to eat dinner before the seminars,which begin promptly at 7 pm. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, December 1st and 15th and sign up now!

 

​To Pay by PayPal:

http://www.ileneadamsinc.com/#!the-art-of-marketing/cecc

For more information please contact:

Ilene Adams 561.346.0172

or

ileneadams@gmail.com

www.IleneAdamsInc.com
www.IleneAdamsFineArt.com
www.linkedin.com/in/ileneadams

 

 

For more information about Hugh O’Neill:

www.oneillgalleries.com

 

 

 

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