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 Art of Display Part III

Preparing for exhibits and art shows takes much forethought.  In this article, The Rickie Report will look at lighting issues and quantities of merchandise.  Is natural sunlight enough to showcase your work at an outdoor exhibit?  How much inventory should you have on hand and how much should you display at one time?  Display Part III highlights what you need to consider.

 

 

The Art of Display Part III

 

 

Lighting

 

  • Lighting serves many purposes. You will need to consider each one depending on what you are displaying
  • Lighting creates an ambiance ( just like in your home)
  • High end creations, such as jewelry, need bright light sources
  • If you have closed cases, you can install lighting inside
  • We have found that small, tabletop self-powered lights can diminish rather than enhance your display.
  • Make sure that your application includes your electrical needs!  No one wants to arrive and set up only to realize you have no power.
  • Flameless candles are popular and set a mood, but cannot be relied upon for brightening your space.  If you are selling candles, these are a good option especially when you are at an outdoor show. They give the effect of your own candles without the worry or danger of an open flame.
  • Consider bringing your own generator to outdoor shows. Have enough fuel to power all of your electrical needs, considering the extra time for setting up and taking down, when you will want lighting.
  • If you are selling vintage pieces, a few older standing lamps can not only provide lighting, but set the tone of your display.
  •  Experiment with different light bulbs before your event
  • The quality of your lighting is just as important as the art objects you have created.
  • There are good quality, battery operated lights for 2 dimensional artwork hanging on walls.  Your investment is worthwhile!
  • Using mirrors for reflection is also a good use of light, whether natural or electrical.
  • Thinking about reflectivity: make sure your lights are not shining into the eyes of your visitors!
  • We have seen some exhibitors close off their booths with dark cloth. Once you step into their booth, their lighting truly enhances their artwork.  The sense of secrecy heightens the aura of their display and art pieces. This is especially effective when their work involves light and fiber optics.
  • Consider spot lights, flood lights, down lighting and valance lighting depending on your exhibit space and budget.
  • A word about CORDS:   SAFETY !!!   Make your best efforts to keep cords out of the walk ways in your space.  Does this mean you will need more outlets?  More extension cords?  IF you have to run cords  within your walking space, use heavy duty duct tape to keep them flat. (This is where a floor cloth or carpet comes in handy – it can minimize the “bump” of cords).

 

 

How Much to Display?

 

  • Don’t feel that you need to display all of your inventory at the same time
  • Remember to leave “white space” for your visitor’s eyes to rest between glances at your artistic works.
  • Showcasing a particular style of pottery:  If your exhibit space is large enough, show one of each color.  If not, show only a few AND have a color chart showing the various glazes you offer in that style.
  • Wood working:  Most of your pieces will vary according to the type and grain of wood as well as any finish or stain you’ve used.  Keep complimentary shapes together so clients’ eyes can see the variations in one spot.  Remember to use varying heights to bring interest to your display.
  • Jewelry…some people think “the more, the better”.  Depending on your creations’ colors you might want to rethink this.  We’ve been so overwhelmed by the cacophony of colors in some exhibits, that we have walked out.  Consider groupings by type ( rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings)  and even by color or gemstone families.   A mishmash is hard to focus on. With lack of focus comes lack of sales.
  • Wall art should be hung so viewers can see the details you have painstakingly created. Not too high and not too low.
  • Consider placing some pieces on easels – both on the floor and smaller ones on table tops. Be sure the easels are stable!
  • Art pieces also are displayed on shelves, especially if they are small and can be grouped with books or other objects.
  • Have a sign indicating that you have more inventory that is not displayed. Encourage people to ask to see what else you have.  The mere act of you opening some packaging for someone else evokes a certain sense of excitement and anticipation ( like opening a gift).  Your actions will also bring more people to your exhibit space (they want to see what had previously been hidden and is about to be revealed, too!)
  • As your supply diminishes, replenish and move items around.  Showcasing smaller objects in a large basket?  Move them to a smaller basket. The smaller basket will look fuller.
  • What if you actually SELL OUT???
  • This is why you have a photo album!
  • If no replacements are available, you can rearrange your walls and displays so your lack of inventory is not so obvious.
  • Consider keeping the price and label for the item already sold and placing a “SOLD” sign  above it in large font.  Leave an obvious space.  (Customer’s remorse can play a strategic role when you are back in the area again.  They will be sure to come to your booth early next time!)
  • We urge you to display work on all sides of your walls ( especially the outside walls, which passersby see).
  • For a multi-day event, we suggest you change your wall displays. People who have attended the show on a previous day may not have noticed some of your pieces. Being in a different position, it may stand out and call to them!
  • Another use for outside walls is to hang your signage.  Let people know who and what is being exhibited and sold in your booth before they make the next step and are in front of you.

 

 The Rickie Report looks forward to sharing your news, when you are taking part in an exhibit or a show.  

An article in The Rickie Report is an opportunity to showcase

YOUR OWN CREATIVITY.  

 

 

 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kari Chapin Offers Personalized Approach to Marketing and a FREE Giveaway

Kari Chapin is a small business “how to” guru.  Her newest book offers crafters and artisans and  small businesses owners marketing basics.  She includes advertising and publicity, social media, selling online, in brick-and-mortar stores, and at fairs. She gives the one-woman business everything needed to become successful. The Rickie Report interviewed Kari, who lives in Portland,OR  for this article.  In addition to sharing her business suggestions, we are offering a FREE COPY of her book to our readers!  Kari will be offering a FREE webinar on July 5 & 6.  More details are in this article.

 

 

 

Kari Chapin’s

THE HANDMADE MARKETPLACE:

How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally and Online!  

 

 

THE HANDMADE MARKETPLACE is aimed specifically at crafters, but the advice is universal.  This is an exceedingly practical guide on how to start a small business. (For example, the chapter entitled Establishing Basic Business Practices covers sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations; getting a tax ID number; basic bookkeeping; collecting money; pricing work; hiring professionals such as lawyers, accountants and publicists.)  You may work at home alone but you’ll feel like the CEO of a Fortune 500 firm!

 

 

 

KariHandmade2ndEdition_Cvr-2

 

In 2010, Kari Chapin worked as a manager and buyer for an upscale store in the Berkshires (MA).  She was looking for high-end textiles with a partiality toward recycled fabrics.  By contacting sellers through Etsy, she was able to find the pieces she needed.  However,  she found it difficult to get them to stock their work in her store.

 

 

 

She tells The Rickie Report, “I saw that they didn’t have the business skills necessary to market themselves to the fullest of their potential.”    Kari is an activist!  She began working with those sellers and creators forming a business plan to help them sell their goods both wholesale and retails.  She helped them market themselves!

 

 

 

When the store she was working at closed, Kari decided to draw on her own dream of being a writer.  The result is her helpful and insightful book.  Kari speaks to the psyche of the crafter and the artist.  Owning a creative business is different than other retail businesses.  “Crafters and artists are selling something very personal, almost a part of themselves.  Their mittens or paintings are not just another commodity”, she explains.

 

 

Karikari-slider-daisy1

Photo courtesy of KariChapin.com

 

This is Kari’s second book, an updated version of the first.  This is a DIY crash course in entrepreneurship.  She has broken the book’s lessons/activities into three parts: “Getting to know yourself and your business; Spreading the word and images; and Getting down to selling.” There are tips from business cards, pricing, photographing your work to blogging and being your own boss.  This is an easy-to-read helpful and insightful book.

 

 

 

Kari Chapin

Kari Chapin

 

Kari believes that certain areas of the United States are more conducive to successful creativity.  “Anecdotally, I see that highly creative people across generational lines are successful when they live in an environment that promotes and supports handmade products.”  The Rickie Report believes that Southeast Florida is one of those areas.  Which is why we will be offering a FREE copy of Kari’s book to our readers!

 

 

To Enter the Drawing for a FREE Copy  of Kari’s Book:

  • Send your best business suggestion and 1 jpg of your work to: rickie@therickiereport.com
  • Put “FREE book drawing” in Subject line
  • All suggestions will be entered into the drawing
  • The drawing will take place August 14th at 5pm
  • One winner will be picked from the drawing and notified by email
  • All entries will be considered for inclusion in a future article in The Rickie Report, giving proper identification to each suggestion.
  • Please include your email address, phone number and website

 

The next  CreativeLive Broadcast will take place July 5 & 6th. For more information go to:  http://karichapin.com/creativelive/     

Or  visit karichapin.com .  

You may also contact us at:karichapincommunity@gmail.com 

 

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