A number of US bluegrass acts have been targeted by an email scam from someone posing as a representative of the Didmarton Bluegrass Festival in the UK. The email looks legitimate at first glance, and the scammers appear to have done their homework, giving pertinent festival details and reading as though it has come from actual Director David Rozzell.
Where the fraud comes in is once an act accepts what seems to be an offer to perform at Didmarton, the scammer then asks for a service fee to help get work permits for all the band members. They inform the bands that the festival can not return a completed contract, along with a 50% deposit, until that fee is received.
This is a variation of a well known email fraud, known generically as the advance fee scam, where con men offer something of value to the mail recipient, only available once a fee is received. Other variations involve an offer of receiving a large sum of money, but requiring a small fee to process the transfer.
The festival staff has been made aware of this attempt to defraud bluegrass acts using their name, and has posted this warning on their web site…
Hi folks, we’re sorry to say that someone named Mrs. Lily Thomas, who claims to be in the U.S., is contacting American bands under false pretences, claiming they are representing us and wish to book them for Didmarton Bluegrass Festival 2020. Please be aware this has nothing to do with us, we don’t know who they are and they do not represent us in any way shape or form! So far we have heard from two U.S. bands who have received communications from this person and we have found another UK festival (non-bluegrass) is having similar problems. There is little we can do, other than to warn bands not to have any contact with this person. This is as frustrating for us as it is for the bands involved, but luckily, so far the bands have contacted us directly first before giving over any of their details or information. We hope by posting this publicly on Facebook and our website, we can warn bands to be wary and to please contact us directly to confirm whether we know of any offer from agencies or promoters, before imparting information to third parties.
Thank you, DBF Committee.
Needless to say, most experienced entertainers and their representatives will sniff out the scam at the root of this attempt, but we wanted to let everyone know to be wary. Thanks to Dick Kimmel for sharing this information with us.