Fancy a Share in a Rembrandt?

We are all probably aware of some of the many scams which people are being subjected to on a daily basis, especially those which attempt to obtain an individual’s bank details. People in the UK have had millions, if not billions of pounds scammed from them by a variety of criminal methods.

Among the newer frauds doing the rounds at the moment is the ‘art scam’. You receive a phone call offering you a share in a ‘valuable’ painting by a well-known artist – David Hockney, say, Tracey Emin or Damien Hirst. The caller appears reputable, you are invited to ‘visit’ the location of the artwork, and you are informed that the ‘offer’ is time limited. Really, you are told, it’s today or never. You will never get this opportunity again.

Even prominent museums have been caught out: recently the world famous Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam was deceived into sending over two million pounds to a London bank account which had been set up by cyber criminals to impersonate the genuine dealer’s real bank account. The money is then hastily sent offshore, making it difficult to trace.

These sort of sums might sound exotic and out of reach of the average person, but creative fraudsters are also happy to set their sights lower and offer works at more modest price tags, but to a wide variety of people. Don’t be fooled. It’s just another way of getting you to part with your hard earned money. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you have been the victim of fraud, you should contact the police.

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