Jakarta Movie Scam - new podcast

gemima

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Some of you might find this interesting - there is a new podcast about a hollywood movie scam that gets people to come to Jakarta on the pretext that there is a new movie they need to prep for:

Apparently its happened to hundreds of people!?

I've listened to the 1st and 2nd episodes and number 2 makes jakarta sound like an alcohol free hellhole. It was amusing to listen to as a single woman who lives here alone :)
 

harryopal

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Reluctant to pay to read the link. Could you copy and paste the gist of it?
 

gemima

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Oops - I can read it on my phone for some reason (I'm not a FT subscriber):

‘Chameleon’ is a true-crime podcast without a drop of blood Subtitled Hollywood Con Queen, the series probes a scam luring film business hopefuls to fake shoots in Jakarta ‘Chameleon’ investigates a con in which victims are lured to Jakarta, Indonesia

In Chameleon: Hollywood Con Queen, from Campside Media and Sony Music, we hear from Eddie, a US Navy officer-turned-personal trainer from Ventura, California, who wanted to work with Hollywood actors to help them prepare for their roles. So when he heard about a production company looking for trainers for a film being made in Jakarta, Indonesia, he was keen to be involved. Eddie was asked to pay upfront for his flights on the understanding that he would be reimbursed later. Once there, he was asked to cover more expenses, including transport, translators and assorted permits. More alarming was that the producers he was due to meet were nowhere to be found. Eddie, it turned out, had fallen for a scam orchestrated by an anonymous woman who pretended to be an assortment of powerful industry figures, using false documents and email addresses in order to gain her victims’ trust. Co-host Vanessa Grigoriadis In Chameleon, the presenters and journalists Josh Dean and Vanessa Grigoriadis attempt to get to the bottom of a most peculiar con that preys on those at the bottom of the Hollywood food chain, from personal trainers and security guards to make-up artists and fledgling actors. They unearth hundreds of scams spanning five years, orchestrated over email or over the phone, and involving scores of cash transactions — all relatively modest sums handed over voluntarily. We are three episodes in and the narration, while compelling, has its odd moments. Painting a picture of Jakarta, the hosts describe it as if it were on another planet rather than a regular, bustling south-east Asian city, while, ahead of an interview with the two managers of a British make-up artist, Dean warns us: “The accents are colourful, just so you know.” One is English; the other is Welsh. But despite these hiccups, there’s plenty to enjoy in the series, which spans three continents and takes in financial fraud, private eyes and a villain who remains tantalisingly opaque. So far, the con queen of the title is only a voice on the end of the phone persuading hapless individuals to do her bidding. Best of all, while there are victims in the story, there are (as yet) no corpses. In the bloodthirsty world of true-crime pods, this is quite a novelty.
 

snpark

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Well they will only get as far as their home airport checkin before they get turned back for no visa
 

Helpful Herbert

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I'm really enjoying it so far. Episode 2 about Jakarta is one of the most unintentionally hilarious things I've heard for a long time.
 

gemima

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I'm really enjoying it so far. Episode 2 about Jakarta is one of the most unintentionally hilarious things I've heard for a long time.
I know! I posted it here after that episode because I found it so hilarious (particularly because I live here as a female, mostly alone and can honestly say i've not once felt my life was in danger - bar some awful driving). I think she has some PTSD from her time living in SA and dumped it onto her experience in Jakarta. It would be very easy to run the scam here having the drivers and almost everyone on this end completely unaware it was actually a scam.
Apparently episode 4 is out today. I'm dying to know if they've figured out who is doing the scam.
 

Nimbus

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I read an article about it a while ago, it’s fascinating and saddening at the same time.

This story is not in Indonesia, but it’s also about a young woman with chutzpah:
 
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HappyMan

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So far, I've only listened to the trailer for Chameleon, but it sounds interesting (so many casts, so few work hours...). I'll probably wait for the binge when it wraps up.

In the meantime, here is about her podcast about scams, somewhat focused on MLM: https://www.witnesspodcasts.com/shows/the-dream . It probably has a less dramatic narrative line than Chameleon, but it is interesting. (Also not about JKT.)
 

Helpful Herbert

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Well that was really something. Last episode of the podcast was yesterday, today I opened up my UK newspaper app, and it is the no. 3 story. How the makers of the podcast managed to maintain the suspense for 10 weeks and then the denoument happened in a grotty hotel in Manchester a few days before the final episode was recorded. Definitely a big lockdown hit for the podcast team.
 

gemima

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Well that was really something. Last episode of the podcast was yesterday, today I opened up my UK newspaper app, and it is the no. 3 story. How the makers of the podcast managed to maintain the suspense for 10 weeks and then the denoument happened in a grotty hotel in Manchester a few days before the final episode was recorded. Definitely a big lockdown hit for the podcast team.
It was quite a wild ride - in the middle of the series I felt they were stringing it along a bit but it came together very nicely at the end (if a little rushed - they obviously were working to the Manchester event deadline!).
Don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't listened yet - it really is worth it!
 

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