From our ICOMON colleagues:

It has been brought to ICOM’s attention that there are some websites and individuals pretending to be ICOM and claim to provide, for a fee, fake certificates of authenticity or allowing free import and export, particularly concerning African cultural goods. False collector cards are sometimes offered as well.

The scammers claim that these certificates exonerate the holder from the obligation to present any other document such as the ownership title, the export license and certificate, the certificate of expertise, the certificate of authenticity, etc. They act most often by phone, email, and through fraudulent sites usurping the name, logo and appearance of ICOM’s website.

ICOM, the international association of museums and museum professionals, does not participate in any way in negotiations in the art market. ICOM does not issue any certificate of expertise, origin, authenticity, registration or circulation for cultural property. No international organisation has a mandate in this area. Only competent national authorities are authorised to issue this type of document.

This scam has already claimed many victims, especially concerning Cameroon. We urge you to be extremely vigilant, and to respect the national and international legislation in force when you carry out transactions involving cultural goods.
UNESCO is also a victim of this scam and has published an alert on its website.

Be very careful of:

  • websites that mention several associations or international organisations in their URLs (eg ICOM and UNESCO)
  • persons who get in touch with you proposing expensive documents: ICOM does not issue any!

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