Police in Maryland tweeted a warning about buskers who aren’t really playing the violins they’re holding.
Thursday’s tweet with a picture of a man with a violin and a sign reading “Please help me. I have 2 kids _ I need help to pay rent and bills. God bless!!!” got a number of responses from people wondering what the scam was.
“These people are going around and trying to convince that people they’re homeless or that they have a sick relative or something like that, and that’s usually not the case,’ said Sheira Goff of Montgomery County police. “Also that these people are not really playing the violin. They’re playing over a music track, so they’re kind of scamming people or conning people out of their money.”
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Video recorded recently in Woodbridge, Virginia, by News4’s Julie Carey shows a man with a young girl in which the man appears to be playing the violin. A sign behind him similarly reads “Please help me. I have two kids. Need help for rent and food.”
Goff says these panhandlers have been spotted at shopping centers all over Montgomery County.
“I have seen them in the Kentlands; I have seen them in the Germantown-Clarksburg area, so they do make their way around,” Goff said.
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Montgomery County police do not enforce panhandling laws, and there is no criminal violation, but they want people to know they could be getting played.
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