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Don't be fooled by popular Instagram tattoo scams

As with many industries today, especially those where independent contractors rely heavily on person-to-person business exchanges, the tattoo industry has been beset by online scammers. In Cleveland, both Kollective Studio and our friends at Red Lion Tattoos have both been victim of fraudsters using the following Instagram accounts:




These individuals post using stolen photos of other artists' tattoos, and even use pictures of other people to pose as themselves. Their posts claim to offer tattoo services at very low prices, with the goal of taking advantage of people who are unaware of just how "too good to be true" these offers are. We feel it is truly disgusting and shameful that these people are taking advantage of so many in our communities, particularly targeting younger folks. 

Once these fraudsters establish contact with a person, they ask for deposits and other payments, usually using CashApp (one account we know has been in use is $Onnababy2024), telling the customer to meet them at the tattoo studio at a set time. Of course, when those persons arrive, no such artist exists, and due to the nature of CashApp, oftentimes the victim is unable to recover their now stolen funds.

We have tried very, very hard to educate people and to report and stop these scammers. Unfortunately, there is very little we legitimate artists and studios can do to stop these frauds - Instagram is rarely proactive about scams or fraud when you are a small business, seeming only to care about silencing marginalized people and amplifying hate speech. However, here are some words of advice we would like to offer anyone who should find themselves in this situation or who want to avoid it in the future. 

GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND. Doing some quick, simple research will give you a lot of answers to questions about an artist or a studio, including their official websites and contact info. 

ALWAYS CALL THE STUDIO. If you want to know who works at a shop, just call and ask. And if you think you're being scammed, let that studio know so they can let others know. Asking questions will go a long way

NEVER PAY A DEPOSIT OUTSIDE OF THE INSTRUCTIONS ON A STUDIO WEBSITE. Kollective and its artists will never ask you for a deposit payment using a personal account, or anything that isn't on our website. We do not accept CashApp, Venmo, or personal aka "friends & family" PayPal payments. Most studios have similar policies, which again calling the studio in advance can help you immensely in knowing. 

IF IT'S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY ISN'T. These fraudsters are hoping that you'll see a deal and feel impulsive enough to act fast - its a classic scam tactic that has only become easier in the digital era. If you don't want to spend a lot of money on a tattoo, you probably should wait until you can spend money at a proper studio with a legit artist. Otherwise, you will continue to open yourself to scammers.

If you have already been the victim of this scam in CashApp, you can do the following:

1) Select the payment you believe was a scam.

2) Tap the “...” in the top right corner.

3) Select “Report an Issue.”

4) Select “I was scammed.”

You can report a payment you believe was a scam within 30 days.  

We hope that we have been able to educate and help you, and if you have any questions or concerns please use the contact page on our site to reach out.

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