A catfish is swimming online, attempting to dupe cash from unwitting musicians by posing as Cooking Vinyl Australia’s top brass.
“Some dickhead is going around impersonating Melbourne’s hottest independent record label,” reads a social post from Cooking Vinyl. “Please don’t fall for it.”
The post captures an email, sent from a bogus Gmail account which claims to be Cooking Vinyl Australia co-managing director, Leigh Gruppetta.
The scammer walks through the services provided, including marketing and distribution, and graphic design work. The clincher is the “small fee” of $200, which would supposedly position their music to be considered for either a distribution or publishing deal.
“Might seem obvious but a good rule to live by is you don’t need to pay cash up front for your record deal,” reads the Cooking Vinyl post. “If you did receive this email please report it.”
Gruppetta has done just that.
“Our marketing coordinator alerted me to it as her partner received an email which instantly looked suspicious,” Gruppetta tells TMN.
“I was subsequently alerted by a number of artists throughout that day as they had also received the email.”
Cooking Vinyl reported the scam as phishing/spam to Google and asked anyone who alerted the indie to follow suit.
“We also posted a scam alert across our social media pages. Interestingly enough, it garnered a lot of interest and engagement and it would appear this type of thing, unfortunately, is becoming more and more common,” Gruppetta adds.
“As frustrating as it is, anyone that knows the slightest thing about us and our reputation would immediately spot it as a scam.”
Scamming is a big, dark industry.
Australians lost a record amount of more than $2 billion to scams in 2021, despite government, law enforcement, and the private sector disruption, the ACCC’s latest Targeting Scams report found.
The report compiles data from major banks, money remitters and other government agencies, and is based on analysis of more than 560,000 reports.
“Scam activity continues to increase, and last year a record number of Australians lost a record amount of money,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.
“Scammers are the most opportunistic of all criminals: they pose as charities after a natural disaster, health departments during a pandemic, and love interests every day.”
“The true cost of scams is more than a dollar figure as they also cause serious emotional harm to individuals, families, and businesses,” Rickard said.
Cooking Vinyl Australia launched in 2013. It’s an extension of Martin Goldschmidt’s Cooking Vinyl, which was founded in 1986 with a leaning to folk music.
In the years since, it has grown to become of Europe’s leading independents, guiding the careers of Amanda Palmer, Underworld, Ron Sexsmith, Billy Bragg, and others.
Cooking Vinyl Australia’s roster includes Emma Donovan and the Putbacks, Fanny Lumsden, Eliza & The Delusionals, King Stingray, Parkway Drive and The Chats.