It’s bad enough there are so many pop stars out there pretending to be country artists these days. But lately there has been a big rash of impersonator accounts targeting some of your favorite country artists, including ones reaching out to fans with private messages to solicit individuals for money, credit card numbers, etc., causing artists, their representation, and their fans great consternation.
“This hack asked me to buy an iTunes card to help him out,” says Saving Country Music reader Jeff, who was contacted via private message on Facebook by an account impersonating country artist Chris Stapleton. “[He] even gave me his cell number.”
You would think with the amount of success and money Chris Stapleton has earned over the last couple of years, it wouldn’t be required of Stapleton to personally solicit fans one by one for sales or donations. But similar to robo calls, it only takes one sucker to fall for the ruse to make it worth the scammer’s time. The fact they’re using people’s favorite musicians and the trust they build up with their fans as the conversation starter makes these scams especially sinister.
“Hey just wanted to let folks know if they get a follow request from this lookalike page it is not me. It’s actually a piece of shit, degenerate, wretched scammer,” Sturgill Simpson said on Instagram last week after an impersonator account popped up under the handle “sturgillsimposonmusic” as opposed to “sturgillsimpson.”
With the help of the artists themselves, often the fake accounts can be reported en masse, and removed relatively quickly. But that doesn’t mean a brand new account may not pop up instantly, or be out there simultaneously trying to scam fans and friends. Grand Ole Opry regular and SiriusXM Outlaw DJ Elizabeth Cook has been hit with a rash of impersonator accounts over the last few months.
“[It] seems someone set up a fake acct under your identity/pic,” fellow artist Robbie Fulks warned Elizabeth Cook on Sunday, August 13th. “I’m getting weird DMs from it.” An account at @CookBitowex on Twitter with the same profile picture as the real Elizabeth Cook account has been reaching out to accounts with private messages, even without sending out any public tweets through the account. On August 6th, another impersonator account using a slight misspelling of Elizabeth Cook’s name was also active on Twitter before being targeted by fans and shut down.
As these examples show, the impersonator accounts are cropping up for a wide range of country and roots artists, and on multiple platforms. Junior Brown, Margo Price, and many other independent country and roots artists have also been targeted by scammers. Obviously the tried-and-true rules of looking for the blue check mark beside accounts to confirm they’re verified to be who they claim to be, and never giving out private financial information to anyone you don’t know apply here, as well as reporting the accounts on the social media channels before somebody else gets taken advantage of.
Unfortunately, as of yet you can’t report bad pop acts impersonating country stars on social media, but you can always troll them instead. 😉