Published May 20, 2009As the old saying goes, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is, and the Mocking Shadows have learned this the hard way. Today the Calgary R&B/ska band are warning other Canadian musicians about an internet scam that duped the group into thinking they had landed the gig of a lifetime, as well as nearly swindled them out of their hard-earned cash.
As CBC News reports, the Mocking Shadows recently received a message from someone alleging to be a Rev. Dr. Mike Gary of the Heritage Music Company Music Awards and Festival. He offered the group a spot at a major festival in England this June, telling the band that the "promoter" would pay their airfare, hotel accommodation and a hefty $17,000 for a half hour performance. However, warning bells soon went off, so the band's manager called the London venue named in the email.
"They looked at their schedule and they had no idea what I was talking about and said they couldn't help me out and that was the end of the conversation," manager Jon Pettigrew told CBC News.
He then called the promoter, asking for more information about the supposed dream gig. "He wanted my work address, along with my home address, my phone numbers and any relevant banking information," Pettigrew said, explaining that he then cut off all communication.
Apparently, the scam artists are preying on bands like the Mocking Shadows by promising large amounts of money for lucrative gigs and then sending the musicians contracts that include a line saying a UK work permit will be "handled by artist," which has resulted in some performers forking over hundreds of dollars to the promoter to cover that fee, said the group.
"They're targeting the wrong people here because musicians don't have that much money anyway," said Jory Kinjo, the lead singer of the Mocking Shadows. "They're playing on the hopes and dreams of people and they can really break the spirit of a band."
The initial emails sent to Mocking Shadows contained a line saying, "We promote and give international exposure to musicians and entertainers all over the globe," and other variations of the scam include offers to play in California and at other venues in London.
When CBC News tried to get in touch with the Heritage Music Company (which does not have a website) on Tuesday, emails bounced back and the phone number listed did not appear to be working.
Over here you can take a look at what appears to be one of the scam emails in question.