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Classical Notes

Compleat Angler

Posted at 8:10 AM on August 11, 2006 by Rex Levang

Notes from the rarefied ivory tower that is classical music.

A piano teacher of my acquaintance recently got an email out of the blue, beginning this way:

Dear Sir/Ma,

I am pleased to contact you, My name is Nara Garfield, from Belgium. I saw your
Biography as Piano Teacher (pianist), hence, my purpose of contacting you.

I just mail to confirm if my 14yrs old son (Paul) can join you in your tutor so
that you can help me teach him how to play the Piano. I so much would love his
dreams to come true as a very good player and I am ready to support him both
morally and financially.

As I hope you suspect, this is a scam. If you respond, you soon receive a money order for a large sum, which you deposit. Then, you receive a message saying that there is some emergency, and the woman in Belgium needs some of that money back right away. You go to the bank, withdraw money from your account against the original money order (which was a very convincing fake) . . . . well, you see how it works.

It turns out this is a well-known fraud, known as the Piano Teacher Scam. There's also the Violin Teacher Scam, and the Banjo Teacher Scam. Educators, beware!