The Strange Case of the Fake McAloon…

jewelDuring one of my periodic Google trawls for interesting things, I came across this intriguing little snippet from a site offering services relating to identity theft, McDaniel’s Law. It’s apparently dated at the start of 2015.

There have been various reports of institutions ‘losing’ people’s individual data; bank accounts, account passwords and even computer login details. The ability to pretend that you are somebody else, sometimes on a mass scale, is more prevalent than ever. It is so important to ensure that you keep your details safe. But what do you do if you find somebody impersonating you?

Enter Martin McAloon. For those of us of a certain vintage, Martin will need no introduction as younger brother of Paddy and integral part of 80s pop legends Prefab Sprout. In mid-November Martin was contacted by a well-known fan and journalist.

He had received an email from what appeared to be Martin McAloon asking for help identifying and supplying back catalogue and rare recordings of Prefab Sprout. Eventually becoming suspicious, the fan checked with Martin to see if the account was genuine.

“I was taken aback when I was contacted, that anyone could be bothered to impersonate me and the lengths they’d gone to, was one thing, but primarily at the prospect of other damage that could be caused in my name”, said Martin. “The impostor had gone to a lot of trouble to masquerade as me including setting up an email account using my data. Looking at the email and its content, I can see how most people would have been fooled”, said Martin.

Martin contacted Niall Head-Rapson at McDaniel & Co who told Martin to get in touch with PIPCU (Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit) based in the city of London. “On the face of it”, said Mr Head-Rapson, “This was a case of seeking to procure copyright material by deception and just the sort of incident that PIPCU was designed for”

Within a day of having the fraud notified to him Martin had contacted the police and they are dealing with the incident. However the scenario is not a rare one. You must remain vigilant to ensure that those in society who seek to gain by pretending to be others should not prosper.[…]

Whether or not this was an attempt at impersonation for financial gain or an ill-advised and ham fisted attempt by a fan to dig material out of the archive is open to question, and I’d suspect the latter personally. Having said that, however much I invoke the spirit of A. J. Weberman and his Dylanology, it’s not a line I’d cross myself.

Be interesting to see how this plays out anyway.

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