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Agents warn of increase in email scams

The Entertainment Agents' Association has issued booking guidelines for promoters after a sharp rise in the quantity of emails from fake 'agents'

By Jon Chapple on 15 May 2018

Promoters received emails about booking Justin Timberlake purporting to come from John Giddings

Promoters received emails about booking Justin Timberlake purporting to come from John Giddings

image © Brennan Schnell

The UK’s Entertainment Agents’ Association has issued a checklist for promoters following a sharp increase in the number of bogus emails purporting to come from leading booking agents.

Recent scams have seen fraudsters posing as the representatives of major artists, including Adele (Lucy Dickins at ITB), System of a Down, Justin Timberlake (John Giddings/Live Nation), Beyoncé, Mark Knopfler (WME’s Brent Smith and Andrew Zweck at Sensible Events) and Eminem, emailing concert promoters and asking for deposits in exchange for (often non-existent) live dates.

“We’re seeing a worrying increase in this style of email scam,” says Neil Tomlinson, who joined the association (formerly the Agents’ Association) as president last April. “Before agreeing any show and sending deposits, promoters must be 100% sure that they are dealing with the real booking agent for that artist.”

If unsure of an agent’s identity, the association is urging promoters to adopt the following steps:

1. Check the email address is correct – in particular the email domain – and if in any doubt call the agency to confirm it. Do not use the telephone number on the email
2. Check the artist’s website for any conflicting touring plans
3. Make sure you have full contact details of the agent with which you are working and speak to them on the phone at least once
4. Before sending a deposit, call the agency to confirm the booking and check their account details
5. Check with promoters in other markets to verify the artist is touring in that region at that time
6. If an offer is accepted and seems too good to be true, it probably is

“If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is”

“Please be very careful if you get mails that don’t quite look right,” says Emma Banks at CAA, who represents System of a Down.

“Follow the common-sense steps that the Agents’ Association have suggested and don’t send any money until you have double checked that the ‘agent’ is indeed who they say they are.”

She adds: “Please get on the phone to the agents you are doing business with – everything on email makes these scams so much easier for people to instigate.”

Members agencies of the Entertainment Agents’ Association include 13 Artists, Asgard, ATC Live, CAA, Coda, ITB, Primary Talent International, UTA, WME and X-ray Touring.


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