AC/DC ID scam
The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that AC/DC producer and former EASYBEATS guitarist George Young (Malcolm and Angus’ older brother) was the victim of identity fraud that has seen aspiring musicians in the U.K. fleeced of thousands of dollars.
A man befriended a series of people at a pub in London, convincing them he was George Young and claiming he managed and produced AC/DC.
But the industry hopefuls ended up with only empty bank accounts and stolen IDs after the fraudster skipped the country after extracting all he could.
When contacted via e-mail in Europe by SMH.com.au, the real George Young, who had been made aware of the scammer by AC/DC’s recording label Albert Music, expressed his sympathy for the people who had been duped and said: “I hope the cops catch him quick.”
The baffling fraud came to light when Albert Music began to receive e-mails from people in the U.K. saying they had been defrauded by someone claiming to be Mr. Young.
In response, they posted a warning on their AC/DC fansite warning that a man passing himself as Mr. Young has been extracting money, credit cards and personal identification such as passports by promising bogus opportunities in the music industry.
The scam began in the Churchill Arms, a pub in the trendy London suburb of Notting Hill.
The fraudster introduced himself as George Young, even bringing along copies of AC/DC’s latest DVD release, “Family Jewels”, to give to his newfound friends.
According to one of his victims, Fernando, who refused to give his last name to SMH.com.au because his “level of trust in strangers is not the greatest at the moment”, the fraudster targeted a group of about six people, all aged between 30 and 45.
He told them he could get them jobs in rock and roll, starting with enrolling them in an “Events Management” course.
The course, he said, required a cash deposit in advance which would be refunded when the course began.
He also offered cheap tickets to concerts and health and safety courses.
But when the time came for the would-be rock and roll students to begin their course they found, to their horror, the scammer had disappeared with their money and ID.
“He works [by] imposing pressure, saying that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, always very aggressive with a lot of yelling,” said Fernando from London.
“After I told him I had no more money, he said that I should go to a bank, get a loan and give the money to him.
“Then he told me to call my family, friends and whoever I could for more cash.”
Fernando even said at one point the man demanded he sell his jacket for cash.
In the end Fernando gave the man £700, as well as his passport, other ID and his credit card, which the man claimed he needed to organise Fernando’s working visa to Australia.
Executive director of music at Albert Music, Fifa Riccobono, told SMH.com.au she was very concerned by the actions of the scammer.
“He keeps parading himself around as being someone from [Albert Music] and in most cases as George Young,” she said.
Ms. Riccobono said she is exasperated by the ongoing fraud, with police in the U.K. and Europe — including the world’s largest policing organization Interpol — unable to catch the fraudster.
“From what I can gather, and from everybody that has mentioned him, he is incredibly, incredibly clever at talking his way through things,” she said.
“He is a prize scammer.”
There is no better place to be on the 12th June 2006 than celebrating metal with Metal Hammer at the annual Golden Gods Awards, this year at Koko in Camden.