The violin scam came back to New Jersey recently. It’s a scam where someone plays beautiful music through a loud speaker in a large parking lot – like Target – which is where I spotted one, but more on that in a bit.
The con leads customers to believe this talented homeless musician needs help and they give money to help them get back on their feet.
What’s really happening is that the music comes from a smart phone and is routed through the speaker while the violin player mimes movements. A child or spouse near the players steps up to donors’ cars or walk-ups to collect the money so the musician doesn’t need to stop playing.
Of course, if the musician put the violin down to take the money, the scam would be exposed.
As I said, I confronted two of these scammers once and didn’t get what I expected. I tell the story on Music Scams in Season 2, Episode 7.