Scam artists hit the coast to canvas the gullible
Police are warning North Coast residents that a group of door-to-door salespeople posing as overseas students are ripping off buyers selling mass-produced paintings for as much as $600.
The 'scam artists' turned up at Mr Luke's home earlier this week.
"A couple of young blokes came to our door late at night selling art. They were definitely overseas visitors with heavy accents," he said.
"The prints did seem to be original oil paintings, but I (later) learnt these 'salesmen' are part of a worldwide scam.
"The more vulnerable people in our community should be warned, particularly as some of these people visit after sundown, which can be intimidating."
Ballina police inspector Greg Moore said police were aware of the scam and that anyone with information about it, or who has been approached by the scammers, should contact police immediately.
"Tell them you're not interested, but try not to arouse suspicion," Insp Moore said.
"Take note of their appearance and if it is possible, get the registration number of their vehicle without putting yourself at risk."
Do a quick Google search for 'door to door art scam' on the Internet and dozens of pages pop up, many with personal stories by people who have been tricked by the scam.
Apparently the art is mass produced in China and importers pay a couple of dollars per canvas, then sell them to backpackers for hundreds.
The backpackers then use their spiel to sell the paintings for up to $600 to unsuspecting residents.
Go to www.scamwatch.gov.au for scam details.