Is nothing sacred? It seems not as even the genteel world of expensive art-dealing is now being hit by cyber-villainy.
Galleries in America and London have had their email accounts hacked, with the thieves then sending out duplicated invoices with new bank account details.
London’s Rosenfeld Porcini gallery has been had, and is currently trying to get its bank to retrieve the money. Owner Mr Rosenfeld said: ‘Around seven or eight hours after we had sent our invoice, the buyers got another email saying that the invoice we had sent out was in the wrong currency and that they should make payment to a different account.’
According to the Art Newspaper, a gallery told them that some vendors had been swindled out of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The Society of London Art Dealers’ Director General, Christopher Battiscombe, said: ‘As all of us are compelled to do more and more of our business online, it seems to me inevitable that criminals will focus increasingly in this area and we all need to think about the risks involved and whether we are doing enough to protect ourselves against them.’
So, if you’re planning on selling or buying a £150,000,000 Picasso this weekend it might be best to eschew online transactions and meet up in a B&Q carpark, cash only.