Mon | Sep 24, 2018

Artistes fight scammers

Published:Saturday | December 13, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Tommy Lee Sparta supported by a crutch as he performs at Sting 2013, held in Portmore, St Catherine.-File

Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter

It's not uncommon for unscrupulous persons to pretend to be dancehall and reggae artistes and falsely collect money for dubplates and shows. While it is hard to completely wipe out the practice, industry insiders believe the problem can be reduced if the proper information is readily available.

Keona Williams, Tommy Lee Sparta's publicist, says her artiste used to be a regular target. However, a good way to remedy the situation is to provide information to the public.

"So far, the only solution we have is to put the information on their pages, social media and the website. Whoever follows you will see that the information is consistent," she said

fake social media page

While there has been some improvement, Williams says the practice of using Tommy Lee Sparta's name to scam persons of money still continues.

"It used to happen everyday, but right now, it is not as prevalent as before. It was really bad. We used to get emails asking for the money back and even copies of Western Union receipts. And there is nothing we can do but tell them to report it to the authorities," Williams said.

In addition, she says as soon as they get wind of a fake social media page, they try to get it closed down.

But Tommy Lee Sparta is not the only victim, as acts like KipRich, Kalado, Vybz Kartel, Aidonia, Alkaline, Gage, Potential Kid and Ishawna have had to deal with this problem.

As a recent victim, Kalado says some of the promoters are at fault.

"It will happen to some of these promoters because they love too many backdoor deals. That is why people end up scam them," he said, stressing that persons need to ensure that they find the right booking agent.

He also made reference to a recent case where a promoter had his correct booking information, but chose to approach someone else in order to get it cheaper. The promoter was eventually tricked out of his money.

Kalado says what is really upsetting about the situation, is when his fans turn up to see him for shows that he was not actually booked for. And although Kalado stresses the need to ensure that booking agents are correct, Headline Entertainment's Jerome Hamilton says the verification process is not always easy.

"Scamming has been around so long, that I don't think you can prevent it," he said. But what is needed, Hamilton said, is "a very clear organisational structure".

He also noted that many times, the public does not know about ways in which they can verify the information.

More than 10 years ago, he said JAMPRO had a guide that listed artistes, producers, booking agents and other persons in the music industry, but that is yet to be updated. Two years ago, Hamilton said he was approached by the Ministry of Entertainment to do something similar, but that never materialised.

Hamilton stressed that until there is a "central source" for this kind of information, these scams will continue.