Choose Your Own Adventure: Bo Gus Records Artist Signing Scam
Scenario: Melody Rhymes is an aspiring (but amateur) musical artist looking to sign with a record company. Will she sign with Bo Gus Records? You decide!
Melody Rhymes was going to be the next big thing in Pop music. All her friends and family thought so anyway. She had progressed far enough to be on a singing competition show called "So You Think You Can Sing Better Than The Rest Of Us, Do You?" Unfortunately the judges didn't think so. One of them said that her singing wasn't fair for anyone to hear. Another one told her to stop singing even if she was the last person on Earth.
It was rough to hear but Melody couldn't give up on her dream. She had been messaging different record companies, submitting some of her best work in the process. Then one day she received a message. It appeared that an up and coming record label had heard her. They appreciated her talent and wanted to sign her immediately.
Bo Gus Records said they were seeking new talent across a wide range of music. Those signing just had to provide their personal information, bank account information, and sign on the dotted line. Once completed, they would begin the process of sending money for things like equipment and personnel, which the musical artist could then send out through their bank account.
What Should Melody Do?
Melody should not communicate with Bo Gus Records - proceed to A.
Melody should follow her dreams and sign with Bo Gus Records - proceed to B.
A - Melody recognizes that Bo Gus Records is not legitimate. She doesn't respond to the message and keeps working at her dream. [THE END].
B - Bo Gus Records seems like an amazing opportunity that Melody needs to take advantage of. She provides the required information and signs on the dotted line. [KEEP GOING].
"I, Melody Rhymes, hereby sign an official contract with Bo Gus Records," she wrote. It was as simple as that. Being a record label star wasn't what Melody thought it would be, but she was just starting out. The Bo Gus Records executive she was working with told her that the first order of business was finances. With her bank details already provided, he had what he needed to take care of it all.
Over the course of a few days Melody saw money going in and money going out. This, the exec said, was because it had to go through her account to pay for musical equipment for her. Weird, she thought, but what did she know. It was better to not make a fuss, right?
Melody Thinks The Activity Is Weird, Should She 'Make A Fuss'?
Yes, Melody should question this and make a fuss. She should ask others about it because something is off here. Proceed to A.
No, Melody really needs to just go with it. Better to not question it and ruin a good thing! Proceed to B.
A - Melody asks a lot of questions and eventually contacts her bank. They review the activity and confirm that Melody has been involved in a scam. She ceases all communication with Bo Gus Records and continues on her quest to be a musician elsewhere. [THE END].
B - Melody feels weird about the activity but doesn't want to stop what she has going. Plus, she signed a contract, a point that the executive has made a few times. [KEEP GOING].
The in and out activity continues but Melody isn't seeing any results. A month after, she still hasn't had any recording sessions. In addition, the bank has been asking a lot of questions that she has trouble answering. The executive tells her that the bank can't know the truth because they have to keep her identity as a musician secret. He tells her how to lie to her bank when they ask questions.
Should Melody Lie To Her Bank About The Activity?
No, Melody needs to tell the truth and explain what is going on. Proceed to A.
Yes, Melody needs to lie to the bank because it makes perfect sense that her identity as a musician needs to be kept secret...plus, what can a bank do if she tells the truth? Proceed to B.
A - Melody tells the truth to her bank about what is going on. They identify that Melody has been involved in a scam. She stops communication with Bo Gus Records and continues on her quest to be a musician elsewhere. [THE END].
B - Melody lies to her bank with a story that the record exec has fabricated to avoid suspicion. The lie works. [KEEP GOING].
Things get stranger the next month when Melody is sent a large check with instructions to deposit it and send the funds out through wire transfer. The check is drawn on a concrete mixing company account, but was made payable to her. When she asks, the record executive says that the company is a sponsor. The wire, he says, is supposed to go to secure her person studio!
Should Melody Deposit The Check And Send The Wire?
No, this is getting really absurd and Melody should recognize the scam by this point. Proceed to A.
Yes, this is an amazing opportunity and completely proves that Melody has made the correct decision by signing with Bo Gus Records. Proceed to B.
A - Melody brings the check to her bank and they determine it to be counterfeit. If she would have deposited it and sent the wire she would have been liable for the money when the check returned. She stops communication with Bo Gus Records and continues on her quest to be a musician elsewhere. [THE END].
B - Melody deposits the check and sends the wire as soon as the funds become available. She is on her way to musical greatness, right? [KEEP GOING].
Days after the check deposit and wire transfer take place, Melody finds out that the check was returned as counterfeit. Her account is overdrawn as a result and she doesn't know what to do. The bank launches an investigation on the activity. It turns out that Bo Gus Records wasn't a real company. They used Melody (and her bank account) to mule money. They then convinced her to negotiate the fraudulent check. Because Melody did not recognize the risk, continued when red flags were present, and lied to her bank, she is in a bad spot. In addition, the Bo Gus Records executive she was talking to has ghosted her.
Melody has some tough times ahead. Her banking relationship is in question, her finances could be ruined, and there could even be involvement from law enforcement. The point of this is that in any scam there are many places where a consumer can identify the risk. The sooner they identify and respond to the risk, the better the outcome.