Beware of art scam

District Prevention Officer Garry Boles pictured back in 2013 with the same art print a door to door art salesperson tried to sell to a Howick resident last week.

A Howick resident is warning others to be on the lookout after she encountered an art scammer knocking on doors in the area.

Early last week, the woman, who asked not to be named, opened her front door to an art salesperson who was selling what was claimed to be one-of-a-kind artworks.

However, she said the work wasn’t one-of-a-kind, but exactly the same as that which someone had tried to sell to her years before.

She first saw the painting in 2013 when she read the Times article about art scammers who conned people into buying low quality artwork for more than $100.

“Tonight in Baird Street I had them come by again with the exact same artwork,” she says.

The resident confronted the women about how the painting couldn’t be an original as someone had tried to sell her the same art work before, but says the seller wouldn’t back down.

“She was so confident that she was doing nothing wrong selling the art for $140 and still claimed these pictures were originals,” she says.

“It worries me that other people will be tricked into this.”

Howick police became aware of the scams when at least two people were conned into buying art prints that were being mass produced in Asia in 2013.

Similar scams have been running in countries including New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Canada, China and Ireland since 2000.

If caught, it’s possible those responsible could be charged by police with obtaining by deception.

People worried they have been scammed by door-to-door art sellers can report it via the Ministry of Consumer Affairs website at www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/scams.