Dealing with Art Scammers and Trolls

Today, we’re diving deep into a topic that many artists face when they put their work online – scams and annoying direct messages. This morning, I received a message from a frustrated artist, patzer, who’s been dealing with a barrage of fraud and scammers on Instagram. It’s disheartening, but it’s a reality we all need to address.

So, let’s get down to business and talk about how to protect yourself and your art in the digital world.

The Red Flags

One of the most crucial things to remember is to be vigilant. If someone contacts you out of the blue, especially through social media, be cautious. Patzer mentioned plausible chats, where scammers engage in seemingly meaningful conversations. They might say something like, “Your art is beautiful,” or “I love your profile,” which seems flattering, but it’s often a red flag.

Personally, I’ve adopted a rule of thumb – I block anyone who contacts me out of the blue without a specific message or inquiry. Legitimate art buyers will ask detailed questions about your work, like, “Do you have the painting with the Redbird available?” Be wary of vague, general messages, as they’re usually a sign of trouble.

Specific vs. General

When someone genuinely wants to buy your art, their message will be specific. They’ll inquire about a particular piece, its availability, or details about your art. If someone’s interest is incredibly vague, such as “I’m really interested in buying some of your work,” consider it a potential scam.

The essential thing to remember is that if you’ve provided all the necessary information about purchasing your art on your profile or website, potential buyers should find the information there. If they can’t, and they reach out about a specific piece, it’s a good sign.

Getting Educated

Dealing with scams is part of the online landscape, no matter where you post your work. Don’t let these negative experiences deter you. Many artists encounter scams, and you mustn’t let it affect your self-worth or enthusiasm for your craft.

The key is to educate yourself on how to identify scams and develop an “I don’t care” attitude. As you build your online presence, scams will become more of an annoyance than a threat. Think of them as spam emails – delete, block, and move on.

Persistence and Empowerment

Patzer asked how to overcome the BS online and the fear of being perceived as a “sucker.” You can’t control how scammers view you, but you can control your response. It’s crucial to persist happily. Don’t push through challenges with resentment or frustration; face them with empowerment.

Keep your focus on your art and your creative journey. If you let the fear of scams or negative comments paralyze you, you’re only hurting yourself. Don’t take it personally. Scammers are everywhere, and they’re not a reflection of your talent or worth.

Remember, your art deserves to be shared with the world. Don’t let scammers and trolls get in your way. Delete, block, and keep putting your work out there. With time, you’ll become more resilient, and you’ll no longer care about those who try to drag you down.

Keep creating, keep sharing, and keep believing in your art. Don’t let scammers or trolls define your online experience. Stay strong, stay empowered, and have a fantastic, creative week.


8 thoughts on “Dealing with Art Scammers and Trolls

  1. One of the larger cat rescue creators I follow was just scammed by someone who wanted to “interview” them online. They were setting up on to livestream on Meta (IG and FB), and “appeared” to have difficulty. They managed to get some personal info from the creator, and was then able to gain access to their accounts, which they immediately changed PWs and locked them out. And you know the hoop jumping you have to do to get your account back, if you even can.

    Once they get into your account, they attempt sell the pages to other creators in the same field. That’s what happened to the CatLady. She was contacted by another rescue/creator saying someone had contacted her and asked if they wanted to buy CatLady’s pages. I swear, scammers will figure out a way to make a buck any deplorable way they can.

    I share all that to let you all know that it’s just a matter of time till that scam trickles down to us artists. I mean, everyone’s flattered when they are asked to be interviewed, right?

  2. Yes If I’m not sure if its a genuine custom order ask (I’ve had some vague first inquiries that were legitimate) then I send them to my website to read my commissions page. If it’s NFTs or a really vague request “I am blind and I want to commission you to create art” or “your art could be NFTs” then I block and move on. Also watch out for the “We want you to be a brand ambassador” stuff. Or “join our network”.

  3. I was concerned that the scammers would be more sophisticated than they seem to be. I was expecting money laundering levels of shenanigans. But the broken English coupled with empty profiles is amateur hour. I also wonder why they think they’ll get much from an artist. You’d think they’d go after collectors.

  4. I just had someone hit me up on my messages on Instagram two minutes before I read this, lol!
    I simply reply with my web address and move on. If they persist with some nonsense like “ I don’t use that platform” or “I only buy NFT’s”, I delete the message and move on.

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