Art scammers hit up registry | Rock Candy

Art scammers hit up registry


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Vermont Snow House, by Nancy Sadler
  • "Vermont Snow House," by Nancy Sadler

Artist Nancy Sadler called today to let me know about the art scammer who is contacting artists whose works appear on the Arkansas Artists Registry and pretending to want to buy work. Here's how the scam works: The buyer, in this case a man identifying himself as David Osborne of Texas, e-mails the artist, asks for a price, says he'll pay it, but is leaving the country and needs it shipped. He then sends the artist "money" — in the form of bad checks — for shipping. Sadler received two checks for $2,900 with instructions to deposit them and return a sum to Osborne for shipping. She smelled a rat and checked up on the scam. Apparently others on the registry have gotten the same call.

Osborne, or whatever his name is, isn't the only scammer. A little googling turned up the name of Debby Barnes, who several artists have complained about on the stopartscams blog.

If it sounds too good to be true, it isn't true. Sadler called the Attorney General's office. It wasn't news to them.

(I chose Sadler's painting "Vermont Snow House" above from the registry's collection because I liked it, not because, to my knowledge, it was involved in the scam attempt. Vermont plus snow ... my thing.)

A little update: Robin McClea, who manages the registry for the Arkansas Arts Council, said she doesn't believe anyone has lost any money, but that several artists have called the office to report receiving the e-mails. She has sent out two notices to registry members, warning them of the scam.

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