Violin Scammers Spotted in Danbury’s Whole Foods Parking Lot
Imagine, you're running through your daily "to-do" list, stopping at one store after another.
You've already hit the mall to get a gift card for you niece and you grabbed a pair of sneakers for your son. Next, it was a trip to the dry cleaners and then you did your food shopping. You've spent hundreds of dollars already and you're not done, you need to get gas on your way home.
You've worked hard, live a comfortable life and are grateful for what you have. Despite your hard work, you may still feel guilty about your way of life, or you are just extremely empathetic and want to help your fellow man.
That is when it happens, you see what appears to be a family "in-need." A man is holding a sign explaining the families woes and asking for money, while his son plays a beautiful violin. This is a situation where you feel like you can help your fellow human being, so you stop and share a few dollars with them.
This is a scam and you bought it hook, line and sinker but don't be embarrassed, they got a lot of people. According to published reports from all around the country, this popular and deceptive game is aimed at removing you from your money.
It was after that published report that we first talked about this on our morning show. We heard from our listeners that they'd see this duo or another like them, doing this in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties in New York. We heard from other listeners who said they'd seen this happen in Fairfield and Litchefield counties in CT.
I've been told the duo is not a family "in-need", they make a lot of money doing this. I've heard the kid isn't even playing the violin, people say he's pretending to use the instrument while they play a back-track.
That is where it gets to be a touchy subject because we can't know if any of that is true. There are people who do this, who are legitimately in need of help, and are real musicians. A Texas TV station spoke to a musician who was understandably upset when he learned about the scam. His name is Douglas Hansen, and he had this to say to KETK TV:
“It’s a sore topic for a lot of us because I’m out here in 100 degrees or 40-degree weather, playing my violin to help make ends meet."
The choice to give, or not give is yours but beware.
I saw what I believe were a pair of scammers in the Whole Foods parking lot on (6/22/22) and stopped to record one of their performances. Check it out below.
We also spoke about this on the Ethan and Lou Morning Show the next day (6/23/22) and you can listen below:
You can see the older man was "on to me" in a hurry. After I stopped recording, he paid close attention to my movements. I went to the AT & T store afterwards and he watched me pull in, and was whispering to the kid. There are truly families in America that are in-need. So, it pisses me off to think that anyone would take advantage of charitable individuals.
If you'd like to donate money that truly goes to a good cause, reach out to the Hillside Food Outreach. They are an organization that we (I-95) work closely with on an annual event called "Camping for Cans." They are wonderful people who feed "in-need" families, right here in the Greater Danbury area.
Below is a video of a guy who got caught by an ACTUAL violin player.