The art of alternative investment scams

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In an age of low-interest rates and the talk of economic recessions, investors are shopping around for returns. Art is increasingly being offered as a potential alternative investment, but what pitfalls does this present? Unfortunately, uninitiated investors can be misled or bullied into spending on art with no or relatively little prospects of success. In recent months, we have seen more and more predatory business practices sail close to the wind and sometimes cross that thin red line into fraud.

The types of fraud within the art market are manifold: ranging from a collector or artist being invited to send an artwork for an exhibition, which subsequently disappears; to art galleries trading while knowingly insolvent; to selling shares in art to investors for more than the art is worth; or to multi-millionpound cybercrimes. As the art market is becoming more sophisticated so are these fraudulent schemes. The authorities have historically had a…

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