Text scam targeted at bands

Lisa JacobiOur friend (and former correspondent) Lisa Jacobi shared news with us this morning about a new scam that is being targeted at performing bands via mobile phones. It appears to be a variant of an old con where someone contacts you and asks if you can help them retrieve or collect some money using your own bank or credit card account.

In this case, Lisa’s group was contacted by text message about playing a wedding not far from their home base in Georgia by an unknown person, who after initial questions about costs, then requested that the band add an additional fee to a potential credit card transaction to cover a photographer’s fee and remit that to them.

Fortunately Lisa sniffed out the scam right away, and asked us to share her story and some screen captures from her phone to hopefully alert any other possible victims to this con.

Here’s how she described the exchanges…

Scam Booking Attempt 1I received the initial text two evenings ago from a phone number with an Orlando area code for a booking for our band Lisa Jacobi & PLANET. I engaged in the back-and-forth conversation yesterday.

It is the first time a party has ask to engage our band services via text instead of the typical email or phone call, which I found to be somewhat surprising method for doing so..

Scam Booking Attempt 2The first text seemed suspicious due to the lack of what I felt should be obvious needs-to-knows. I requested further details as you will see. The individual had done their research – our 706 area code is in north Georgia and he selected an address that is 30 minutes north of us. When it came to the very last request by the individual, I knew right away it was an attempt to swindle us out of nearly $3k. I then researched the address of the event location and it is an abandoned house for sale in north Georgia on Trulia that has its untilities disconnected.Verizon is now activley pursuing and since the conversation between me and the *booker* is still open, we will be acting as agents to try and snag this guy. But, if he is doing this with us, then he may be in negotiations with others in the bluegrass music industry.

Scam Booking Attempt 3It is important to me that we are very transparent with out detials and get the word out as fast as possible. If even 10 bands fall for this, this guy will make almost 30k in a week.

Attached are screen shots of the exchange that I encourage you to use. Yes, it shows our financials, but this is more important that being secretive. And, I encourage Bluegrass Today readers to please share this across their social media areas… if we can save even one musical artist or band from heartache and financial loss, it will be a very good day indeed.

A bit of online research later, and Lisa had found discussions with others who had been contacted similarly from the same number (407-337-4147).

It may be a new wrinkle using this con game specifically with performing artists, but it’s an old trick that has been successful with kind-hearted marks for generations. Forewarned is forearmed (praemonitus, praemunitus), as the proverb tells.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.