Lately there is a weird scam: people are pretending to play the violin, asking for money. Instead of actually playing, they mime on a hidden soundtrack.
It has been going on for several years, but seems to be reaching a crescendo this holiday season, with reports popping up all over the United States Last week, Maryland Police actually did issued warnings to the public about the scam.
So what exactly is the scam? Beyond the obvious insult to real musicians and real buskers, some of the buskers ask for donations and use credit card skimmers to steal personal information. They also manipulate emotions with an exaggerated bloody story, displaying placards asking for money to cope with tough times: needing money to help their mother pay the rent, for example, or to pay medical bills or to support a family.
The problem is, they’re not musicians at all, they completely pretend to play the violin.
The scam inspired a recent discussion on Violinist.com about fake street musicians, which makes me wonder how widespread this is? News about it seems to be coming from all over the United States (here’s another one history, Arizona) and beyond.
All of this, of course, is bad news for real buskers hoping to make some extra cash during the holiday season. While the difference between a real gamer and a faker would probably be extremely obvious to readers of this site, apparently some people are more easily duped.
With this scam made public, people will be wary of “fake street musicians”, perhaps casting a suspicious eye on real players, who are in fact playing.
So here are my questions for you this week: Did you meet any of these scammers yourself? Did it make the news in your own community? What do you think of this scam? Does it hurt real musicians? Thank you for voting and sharing your thoughts.
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