MCPD Warns of Scam Violin Players at Local Shopping Centers

by Patrick Herron

The Montgomery County Department of Police posted a warning on their social media accounts today alerting residents of a scam involving people pretending to play the violin in front of local businesses to solicit money.

There have been reports in recent months of such scams at the Milestone Center in Germantown and various locations in Rockville.


WARNING: This is a nationwide issue, please be aware of scam violin players that have become present in Rockville and other location’s shopping centers. These groups are known as buskers. They are illicitly soliciting money through cash AND electronic methods. Make sure to be cautious.

Please share this alert to others. Stay Safe.


Note: the word “busker” refers to a person who performs music or other entertainment in the street or another public place for monetary donations.


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Kevin Welber December 2, 2021 - 9:49 pm

This is terrible journalism. What is fake about the buskers? You can’t throw out innuendo that they are not really playing and then document it with the fact that they don’t have licenses. Instead your article is full of clickbait for ads. Titanic – really?

Wes the friend December 4, 2021 - 4:50 am

As someone who was fooled by this one time and caught it the second time, the scam is that I gave them money cause I thought they were playing music but they were actually *pretending* to play music. This was at Milestone in Germantown for me and when I called him out he said “doing what I gotta do.” Still a performance just not one I was willing to shell out any cash for.

AGallagher December 4, 2021 - 6:12 am

Come on, Kevin. You’re smarter than this! They explain what is fake about them and do not mention anything about licenses! Expect better from you.
As for the ads, I have nothing to add LOL.

MCS Staff December 4, 2021 - 7:18 am

Hi Kevin,

We are sorry you are not satisfied with our reporting of Montgomery County Police’s warning.

In regards to our ads, we use them to compensate our contributors while keeping all of our content free to our readers. The ads you see are based on your personal history, etc. as we don’t control what shows up for you.

Thanks for reading,
– Stephanie

Cor December 2, 2021 - 11:36 pm

Since they aren’t actually performing, they aren’t buskers. Just scammers.

Wes the friend December 4, 2021 - 4:51 am

They are performing. They are pretending to play the violin. It’s just not the performance I wanted to support monetarily so when I found out it wasn’t real I stopped. Five bucks down the drain.

Watermelon Man December 3, 2021 - 5:36 pm

It is really impossible to pretend playing violin!!
Is the problem that police think they are pretending to play violin, or that they don’t have a license to beg (thereby not generating revenue for the county)?!
I would rather give some one money for entertaining me and having a talent, than for them standing at a corner holding up a cardboard sign.

Wes the friend December 4, 2021 - 4:53 am

It’s an electric violin so it doesn’t make any noise when it’s not actually going through a speaker. They fooled me the first time and it is still a performance but not one I want to give money to.

F the Police December 3, 2021 - 9:56 pm

playing a violin in public and accepting donations is not a scam… just another attack on poor people by the police

Wes the friend December 4, 2021 - 4:55 am

The scam is that they are not playing the violin. They are pretending to play it and soliciting money for that. The reason I don’t like it is because it’s not made clear that they aren’t playing the music and I wouldn’t have given money if I knew the music was just a recording.

Freddy in the O-town December 4, 2021 - 11:40 am

I recall a guy playing violin a in 2020 near the Giant and Mama Lucia’s in Olney. We were eating outside at a Mama’s and the music was awesome for outside dining. He may have been a scammer (yes, he was asking for money), but the music served a good purpose then whether live or recorded. I had hoped he would return but never did.

Mose Cristophe December 4, 2021 - 2:06 pm

You can tell if someone is actually playing. Folks play along a soundtrack much as you see on TV. If not you would need the whole Orchestra. There is NO scam bc you give voluntarily. This is more a police scam with intent of attacking those who may need help. I play and you can give or not give.

J. acker December 4, 2021 - 2:31 pm

So you can pretend to donate money to them!

David December 4, 2021 - 5:15 pm

I have to agree your reporting sucks as I had to read the comments to understand “the scam”.
What’s next? Going to arrest Disney because they deep faked luke Skywalker in the mandolorian? Are you going to arrest a street magician because he really didn’t levitate or make the coin disappear? It’s called entertainment not journalism.

Nacho December 4, 2021 - 8:54 pm

Are you not bright? It says they are pretending to play. That’s the scam the police is warning people about. Just read bruv.

Mimi December 4, 2021 - 6:25 pm

What about performers who LIP SYNC at there concerts? You pay hundreds of dollars to see Britany Spears only to watch 2-3 hours of lip syncing! Is that a crime? I rather give a guy a few bucks to pretend to play a violin then dish out major bucks to watch lip syncing!

Nacho December 4, 2021 - 8:56 pm

You pay to see them because they are famous and performed their work originally. These people are not playing and have never played bruv.


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