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 Dean Friedman, scambaiter.

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wayne
Account closed at users request


Joined: 05 Dec 2005
Posts: 3630


PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 7:16 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

First up, let me say I'm a huge Dean Friedman fan. Have been since I borrowed my sister's LPs as a teenager. Anyhow, I got my newsletter from him in my mailbox and find it's all about how he was contacted by a scammer and how he did a mini bait on him. So I emailed him for permission to post it here and got this reply back.

Quote:
Feel free. My intention in writing about it was to get the word out.
Regards,
Deano



So here's Dean Friedman's bait. I'll send him a link to it so he sees it posted here too.



Musician-Targeted, Internet 'Scam' - Warning



Hey Folks,

First off, a very belated, but heartfelt, happy Groundhogs Day (yeah, I know it was two weeks ago). As I shoveled frozen blocks of ice off my driveway, pelted by gusts of sleet, I was warmed by the comforting knowledge that Puxatawny Phil did NOT see his own shadow and that, according to legend, spring is virtually over the horizon. This is putting a lot of faith in a giant, near-sighted rodent, but, hey, you've gotta believe in something.

But, I'm afraid the reason for this newsletter is not as uplifting as a fuzzy, chubby, groundhog.

I'm writing to alert everyone - working musicians especially - to a peculiar new internet scam which seems to be specifically targeting musicians with MySpace.com profiles (although the scam itself is clearly adaptable to any independent service provider.)

I know that all of us receive Internet Scam emails on a regular basis and are generally adept at recognizing them for what they are, however there was a personalized and tailored aspect to this one which caught my attention immediately.

It began when I received the following curious email:

Hello,
How is Business and your profession?, My name is Micheal Jones,I am a legal practisioner by profession and i based most in the united kingdom, The reason why i am contacting you is in regards to my wife {Mrs Sharon Jones} will be Celebrating her 40th Birthday Party soon, precisely on the 20th of febuary 2006 ,please check your availability for this date because I will like you to take care of the Music aspect of the event.
I came across your profile and am impressed with your services,experience,your kind of music of course is okay by me.
The venue address of the event is We are expecting about 80-100 guest & its going to be an indoor party. The party starts 12pm-5pm according to our program of the event. You are to start performing when it is 1pm till the end of the party. There will not be any dance from guest nor familly for any reason what we only need from you is for you to just give us interesting music. All expenses would be taken care of by me,Please I want the best service from you, because she is my only wife & i love her so much. So your best production is needed at this occasion.
Please let me know your CHARGES to work for 4 Hours on that day,1pm -5pm
when the event will be ending,moreso let me know how you plan to move down here with your electronics? I will want to put it to your notice that i will take care of your hotel only if requested from you,please let me know how many of you will be coming for this event?
I hope to read from you soon & also to have your service QUOTE which will only include your travel,feeding,and your service fee.I look forward to your response and also your price package so that i can make quick arrangement of paying you a deposit payment so that you can book my wife event on your calendar.

Pls email me back asap.

Best Regards,
Micheal Jones.

NOTE: All emails from Micheal Jones - represented in blue - were formatted exactly as shown, including all spelling and grammatical errors.

I had two simultaneous reactions:

1.

One, I was immediately suspicious due to the spelling and grammatical errors and overall misuse of language and context plus the reference to a 'deposit payment', which I recognized as the standard 'scam' device for acquiring a victim's bank account details.
2.

Two: In spite of all the above 'scam alert' warning alarms that rang in unison like our local Indian Point Nuclear Reactor emergency warning system, the specificity of the music performance party details lent it a tiny grain of believability. (of course, that grain of believability is what all of these scams rely on.)

Again, I was instantly suspicious, but I have to confess that, despite my suspicion, I was intrigued as to how the correspondence might play out, in part, because I do tend to get unusual, but authentic, email on a regular basis and, in part, because like any working musician, my curiosity is always piqued by even the most remote possibility of actually getting paid. Wink

So, I decided to reply and I quoted him an exorbitant fee of $20,000 for playing his wife's 40th birthday party.

He replied:

Hello Dean,

Thank you for your as soon as possible reply, i really appreciate it and that shows your puntuality in your works, like i said i really value your musical experience and here is my wife's party address

Jones Planet,
Cragwood Road,
South Plainfield,
NJ 07080-2448.

I will like to inform you that i will like to know if there can be a price reduction in the price beause the party is a indoor party and like i said i just want to make my wife happy, i will be waiting to hear from you as soon as possible.

Regards,

Micheal Jones.

As someone who is occasionally challenged by conventional scheduling (tardy), I was pleased to be acknowledged for my 'puntuality', and thus, theoretically, more inclined to grant him the price reduction he was requesting.

It did seem curious however when, upon typing the venue address into GoogleMap, I zoomed into a satellite photo of an industrial parking lot. Hmmmm... I thought, what an odd place for a birthday party!

I decided to grant him a generous 25% discount on my fee but asked for more detailed information on the venue, including a contact phone number to help confirm the actual location. He replied...

Hello Dean,

Thank you for the email and for the discount approved for my wife's party, i really appreciate your concern and effort, To be honest you a very wonderful guy and i am really looking forward to meeting you on or before the party.

Well regarding the price i believe its okay by me and more also here is the anwser to the required information:

1. Name and Address of the hiring individual (Michael Jones):Jones Planet,Cragwood Road,
South Plainfield,NJ 07080-2448
2. Phone Number of the hiring individual (Michael Jones):+447024052978. here is my home phone at the event venue 908 922 ####.

Venue address and phone number:Jones Planet,Cragwood Road,South Plainfield,
NJ 07080-2448.

Contact person at Venue to discuss technical electric and setup information in advance: Micheal Jones.

Please do get back to me with the rest details and information you might needed.

Regards,

Micheal Jones.

It did feel good knowing that he considered me to be a 'wonderful guy' and clearly this was going to be one helluva birthday party, but I remain puzzled by the fact that the UK phone number he provided was a non-working number and the New Jersey phone number was an internet, call-forwarding ,voice-mail account which anyone can acquire from anywhere in the world, for about $20 a month. And according to GoogleMap the party was still going to be held in an industrial parking lot.

When I pointed this out to him he seemed slightly put out and reassured me as follows:

Hello Dean,

Thank you for the email again,well i will like to inform you that my address is a private location and you have nothing to worry about, the party is taken place in my venue, i will arrange how you will get there without any mistake, you just relax and let me handle that.i am waiting for the performance agreement and lets make continue with other procedures.

Best Regards,

Micheal Jones.

At this point, I was becoming disturbed at what was clearly an internet scam designed to extract money from hardworking innocent musicians, but Alison encouraged me to carry the charade further and suggested I make the following offer to see what his reaction might be...

Hi Micheal,

I don't know if I mentioned this but my good friend is a professional animal trainer and has a 6 year old dancing bear. Would you be at all interested in having a dancing bear at your party? (He doesn't eat much. Wink

Just wondering.

Regards,
Dean

As you might expect, my penpal was not in an especially flippant mood...

Hello Dean,

I dont think that would be neccessary, because like i told you the party is for series of mature and professional people whom i dont think would want to watch a bear entertain them and i would like a professional performance from you,please do get back to me with the information of where am to send a check for the initial deposit $, and the performance agreement.

Regards,

Micheal Jones.

I appreciated the fact that the party was for a mature professionals and that a dancing bear might be considered inappropriate entertainment. In retrospect, I was also glad I hadn't included Alison's other generous suggestion - that, for an additional fee, I offer to provide his wife with a 'night of pleasure' for her birthday. I suppose he might have taken some exception to that.

In any case, he was not dissuaded at all by the dancing bear, and shortly thereafter I received the following email...

Hello Dean,
Many thanks for the contact detailes, and all the plan you have in mind regarding the upcomming event. This is how the payment will be made to you,I will instruct my associate to mail out a payment on your details in the amount of 8000$ and once it deliveres to you by the UPS courier services , you can then go ahead and deposited it into your account,Remove your deposit amount as planned and help me make the transfer of $3,750 to the Food Caterer who will be responsible for the Cook and also for the Drink at the party.I will want you to bring along the remainder of money with you after you are done with Your own part of money and aslo the food caterer's fund.

I hope to trust you with this splitting of fund and let me know if you have some western union outlet arround you where you can easily make the transfer to the Cook.I hope to read from you to know if you can be trusted with this or not.Regarding the phone number itrs working perfectly, but if you cant reach me on that here is another number which you can reach me also on+447024067877 or +447031838903,I will like to inform you that my venue is not a secret is a open place and here is the venue address is a simpler form Jones Planet,108 Cragwood Road,South Plainfield,NJ 7080-2448. I will mail you a copy of the signed contract as soon as possible so you can print your copy out.

Best Regards,
Micheal Jones.

Anyway, at this point the details for the endgame of this scam were becoming apparent, what with the convoluted distribution of funds, and I finally sent an email telling my prospective employer to cease all communications.

But, I am taking the time to describe the strange encounter for your benefit, on the off-chance that other musicians out there (or any similar indie profession) may become targets of a similar scam.

Because here's the truth, even though I knew, with absolute certainty, from the very first email, that this was a scam, there remained, even through to the very end, the tiniest glimmer of irrational hope that this was actually some rich UK based attorney, to whom English was a second language, whose wife was a huge fan of my music and who was willing to part with bags of cash to hear me sing my songs in the parking lot of an industrial complex in the wilds of New Jersey. That hope (or natural greed) is what these folks prey on.

In other words... the scam touched a nerve. Which is what creative scams do.

Anyway, because this scam was targeting musicians - and apparently musicians with profiles on myspace - I felt compelled to alert folks to its existence.

So, fellow entrepreneurs, do be warned. Don't take any wooden nickels, avoid gigs in industrial parking lots, and most importantly... watch out for dancing bears.

Sincerely,

Dean

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Jervis Tetch
Master of Master Baiters


Joined: 05 Feb 2007
Posts: 669
Location: Cape HATteras


PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:34 am Reply with quoteBack to top

wayne---
And remember, you can always say you got the munchies and made some spaghetti. That'll boggle 'em!

cheerz---jervis tetch---way on the other side of the Hudson [nowadays]
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usm
Not quite a Newb


Joined: 10 Apr 2006
Posts: 41
Location: Ballydung Manor


PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 12:51 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I wonder is that the same Dean Friedman that the glorious band Half Man Half Biscuit wrote an ode to a few years ago?

<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half_Man_Half_Biscuit">Band Profie (Wiki)</A>

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wayne
Account closed at users request


Joined: 05 Dec 2005
Posts: 3630


PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 5:35 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

That's the very man.

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