SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (FOX 2) – Over the past year, national police have issued warnings about people setting up outside grocery stores or other retailers with a sign saying they need help. They also play the violin – or at least that’s what it sounds like.
The bogus violin scam dates back to 2020, but an Oakland County supervisor is reminding locals to think twice.
The scam works like this: near or even in the parking lot of the grocery store or retailer, there is someone set up with a violin and a sign saying they have kids and need help to pay the rent.
Music is beautiful, and when accompanied by the sign of having children and needing help, it can really tug at the heart. But all of this is false. The person standing with the sign does not play any music at all. It’s coming from a loudspeaker.
Springfield Township Supervisor Laura Moreau shared an article earlier this week about the fake violinist scam. Moreau shared a link from FOX5DC and warned the city’s “compassionate and kind-hearted residents” not to get ripped off.
According to Moreau, it was at the Kroger in Davisburg and said the people participating in the scam are “not your neighbors in need.”
And this is nothing new. In February 2020, a Texas television station reported on the scam.
Last fall, FOX 5 DC and FOX 13 Tampa said it was happening there as well.
“They stand in front of stores and businesses like they’re playing fiddles and they solicit donations from people as they walk in and out of stores,” said Corporal James Gatti of Crime Prevention and Prevention. Pinellas Park Community Police.
And earlier this week, WWMT in Kalamazoo captured it on video as a reporter confronted a violinist who had stopped “fiddling” but the music kept playing. He claimed he did not speak English.
Similar downsides have been reported across the country. Florida police said they believe the fake musicians were part of an organized group that made big bucks playing with people’s emotions.
“There are plenty of other places where you can give yourself that hard-earned money, to use for what it is intended for, as opposed to someone cheating on you with what they are asking for money for” , said Gatti.
VIDEO: FOX 13 Tampa report on fake violin player scam: