I was recently watching one of my guilty pleasures i.e. the Wendy Williams Show when my ears perked up. Why? Because of Ed Sheeran being dragged into a charity scandal. Apparently, The Giving Back Fund, was scammed by someone pretending to be his manager. The charity bills itself as “a nonprofit that encourages and facilitates charitable giving by pro athletes, celebrities, existing nonprofits and all who truly desire to give back.” So,when someone claiming to be from his management agency got in touch with them asking whether they wanted Ed Sheeran to perform at one of their charity events, they jumped at the chance. In exchange for his performance, they offered four Super Bowl tickets reportedly worth $50,000.
The day of the concert came and Ed was nowhere to be seen. Apparently, the charity finally went online. They saw that he was in the middle of a major concert tour and playing in Australia that evening. Oops! Now, there is no suggestion that Ed Sheeran did anything wrong. The charity went to the police and found the people in the seats had purchased the tickets from someone else. Sadly, the real culprit was nowhere to be found. When they’re caught, it’s likely that they will face felony charges.
Don’t get caught in a charity scandal
There are some good lessons in this story for those who plan charity events. First, if someone comes bearing gifts, don’t offer anything for the scammer to go after in the first place. The charity probably would have been better auctioning off the Super Bowl tickets than giving them to Ed Sheeran – who probably could have easily gotten tickets . That should have been the first fishy sign. It’s also shocking that no one bothered to see what his tour schedule was. It is so easy to check on these sorts of things – any star has a tour schedule on their site. They should have also double checked with his management company.
This is also a good warning if you are a brand or charity ambassador. Ensure that you are on the lookout for people who want to use your good name for bad ends. Do your representatives reach out to charities so that they know who real deal is in terms of contacts and liaisons? Does your website feature your agency or talent managment information? Do you have a response prepared in case scammers try to attach to you? I can bet you that a lot of famous people will probably back away from The Giving Back Fund after this snafu (especially Ed Sheeran).
It’s really sad that some people out there would try to do things that hurt the community rather than help. If you work with a charity or are serving on a committee, it is crucial that you check and double check on free offers. Hopefully, we can all learn a lesson from The Giving Back Fund on how not to get caught in a charity scam.