Let’s hold off on
making those moldy old Bono jokes, shall we folks?
By Fred Mills
Interesting story posted the other day at The Consumerist:
“Tribute Band Scammed By Fake Check.” Apparently a Los Angeles-based U2 Tribute
band, Hollywood U2, was booked by a gentleman named Rodrigues Collins to play a
party in San Francisco,
and after negotiations were completed Collins sent the band a cashier’s check
for $4500 to cover the 20% deposit plus airfare and accommodations. The band
deposited the check, and it cleared.
However, the check would subsequently turn out to be
fraudulent – this was an ages-old “advance fee fraud” scam; the Consumerist
site has links that will take you to breakdowns of how various scams work – but
in the meantime the band was also tricked into sending money back to Collins, who was claiming he
would take care of booking the flights, etc. himself.
While Hollywood U2 should have been immediately suspicious
about the situation (Collins had them wire the money to Spain via Western Union, which should have been a huge red flag
right there), the original cashier’s check had cleared, after all, before it, er, “uncleared.” And because of the way the
banking laws are written, the depositor is ultimately responsible for any
deposit he makes.
As the Consumerist puts it, the bottom line is that along
with the fact that the band should alter the way it accepts booking fees, “any
time a potential customer asks for immediate cash back on a deposit, consider
it a red flag that something might be wrong with the scenario.”
All you other bands out there, beware this scam.
And say what you will about tribute bands (I myself have had
a lot to say about them in the past, not much of it very positive): ripping off
musicians is among the lowest of the low things that anybody can do. C’mon,
crooks – there are bankers, lawyers and mimes out there that need a good
thrashing. Leave our artists alone.