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This is The Real Hustle - Celebrity Scammers.
In this series, the hustlers carry out scams that are bigger, tougher and more devious than ever before.
With the help of their celebrity friends,
hustlers Alex, Jess and Paul
pull off the riskiest scams of all - long cons.
Intricate webs of lies and deception designed to separate the unwary from their money.
On tonight's show,
singer Jonathan Ansell falls over himself to become a hustler.
-What on earth is...
-You all right?
Paul is on cloud nine.
There are no numbers in this.
And these people find out why
you shouldn't always believe men in suits.
Oh, my God, I trusted them.
The hustlers have invited celebrity friends to help them carry out their long cons.
They'll be thrown in at the deep end,
no training and no practice, just straight into the scam.
This week's celebrity guest hustler is classically trained tenor
and former member of pop-opera boy band G4, Jonathan Ansell.
I haven't got a clue what to expect today.
I am completely none the wiser to any of it.
I've been told to come not like I normally dress, so no suit for me today.
I'm in my hoodie, and I've got to mix into the background
and we're going to see what happens.
Jonathan has been told to go to a London cafe and wait for someone to tell him what to do.
Excuse me, got the time?
Yeah, nearly twenty five to one.
-Alex is going to be here soon...
-He's going to cast some people for a commercial, you're going to be lucky..
-Just help him convince the others if he asks you.
-Don't overdo it.
With little information, and even less time to prepare,
Jonathan needs to get his act together for The Audition.
Jonathan's role is to help rope in some marks and persuade them
to come to an acting audition Alex is holding later on.
The con is on.
-Hello, excuse me.
Sorry to bother you, we're doing some open casting, some open auditions, it's for an advert for the States.
-And we're doing a street casting so we're picking people off the street.
-Where is it?
-It's round the corner from here. Would you be free to come at about 3 o'clock?
-I guess so.
-Yes? It costs you nothing.
-If you come, we put you on tape and if you get the part, you can make a lot of money.
-Have you done anything like that before?
-You haven't appeared in a future commercial or anything?
-It'd be a nice break.
-So Alex is a talent scout
searching for ordinary-looking members of the public
to star in a US TV commercial.
Jonathan does his part by agreeing to come along to the audition.
Sorry to interrupt. We're doing a street casting for a commercial...
But will these potential marks be as keen?
Pulling people off the street to audition.
Just put you on videotape and, along with this gentleman here as well,
and if you get the part, you end up making a lot of money because it's for the United States.
-I'll see you there.
They've obviously got that star quality Alex is looking for.
Oh, you get paid loads.
It's worth it, isn't it?
The marks are thrilled at their unexpected shot at fame and fortune,
but Jonathan's job isn't over yet.
-Hello, mate. Hello.
-All right, hi.
-Sorry to bother you.
-The more the merrier for this scam.
Cheers, man, thanks.
Excuse me, ladies, we're doing a street casting for a commercial for the States...
And once again, the bright lights of Hollywood are too temping.
These marks also jump at the chance of a trip to America and that starring role in a commercial.
What time did he say?
Jonathan takes the initiative and makes 100% sure the marks will turn up later.
I'm going to check it out. I'll see you guys later, yeah?
So far, so good.
The auditions are due to start shortly, so Jonathan joins Alex and Paul
as they make their way to the Hustle location.
They're hoping the weather won't put off the marks.
Jonathan's in the waiting room.
-And there's Jess doing the meeting and greeting.
-All right, guys.
-How you doing, all right?
Yeah. Thought I'd come down. How you doing? All right, nice to see you again.
It's a good turn out. All the marks are here, along with some others who have responded to Alex's flyers.
Ben, are you ready to pop in?
Time to get those auditions under way.
Thanks for coming down. Have a seat.
Now, I'm going to be chatting to you, but I want you to talk straight into camera,
so forget the fact that I'm here.
Pretend I'm the camera.
So I'm going to throw some stuff at you.
Don't be embarrassed. I might ask you to do some silly stuff, so just go for it. Is that cool?
-OK, well if I could ask you to stand up.
Can we have a mid-size please, Jess?
That's the one.
Can you walk on the spot?
To get the job, these guys need to demonstrate their acting skills.
Be very happy. Very, very happy.
Mmm, what am I going to have to eat tonight?
OK. Oh, I'm going to have a nice, hot soup when I get there,
and that makes you feel very, very good.
Conveying these complex emotions is hard enough without some workmen
bumbling straight through the middle of the audition.
Can you not make sound please, mate?
Because we're in the middle of recording. Thank you.
Paul putting the ladder right there
is just asking for someone to have an accident.
You need to open the fridge. There's no soup.
Oh, what am I going to have for dinner? And now you remember your neighbour is having a roast dinner.
When I clap my hands, I just want you to freeze, OK?
Now strike a very, very happy pose, ready?
That's great. Now, I want you to just strike a powerful pose.
OK. Great, Ben. I know it was a bit weird...
Alex is impressed with the awesome talent he's seen so far,
-but there's one more hopeful left in the waiting room.
To make the scam seem believable, Jonathan also needs to audition.
Walk on the spot, so you're walking on the spot, walking down the street.
OK, and you're feeling very sad.
Not only that, the marks listening in the waiting room need to get the impression he's an acting virtuoso.
That's good. Just thinking, "What am I going to have to eat?"
-If you wait outside.
Guys, can we have you all in please?
The waiting is over.
All the hopefuls get called back into the room to be told who will be the face of this big-money campaign.
Thanks, everyone, for coming.
There are a few commercials happening, one of which is this one, the Yum Gums one,
which is going to be the next big sort of product to hit the States.
For this one, Tim, we know that we want to get you back on.
Alex and Jess have chosen Jonathan, or Tim, as the marks know him,
so it sounds like the others have wasted all that time and effort.
-In fact, because I need you to come back...
In about half hour, 40 minutes, do you want to go off, do what you have to do?
Jonathan leaves, triumphant, but this is his big moment.
The whole scam rests on what happens when he walks through that door.
Thanks again and I'll see you in about 45 minutes.
-Thanks very much.
-So what I want you...
Argh, BLEEP, argh!
-Oh, my God.
-You all right? Hello?
Oh, my... Are you all right?
The ladder. God.
Did you trip over the ladder?
-Hang on, excuse me.
-Oh, my God. OK, OK, get in, get in.
OK, oh, oh, oh. Do you want to take him out the back?
Star auditionee Jonathan looks like he's seriously injured.
There's blood gushing from his head.
Come on, no, no, take him back, take him back.
Jess will have to take him to casualty.
One thing's for sure - he can't be in a toothpaste commercial with a big gash on his forehead.
Yes, yes, no, it's just...
Everyone is shaken up, but with Jonathan out of the picture,
that means everyone else is back in the running for the job.
He must have gone over the ladder.
And that's exactly what the hustlers were planning.
Before the auditions started,
Alex told Jonathan exactly what he had to do.
So Paul's going to bring this ladder in.
All right, this is going to be left open like that
-and inside, there is a sponge that's got lots of stage blood.
It was down to him to use the blood-soaked sponge
and cause a mighty racket at exactly the right moment.
-Thanks very much.
-So what I want you to...
Argh, BLEEP, argh!
-You all right? Hello? Oh, my...
There was no doubt there'd been a catastrophe.
Guys, do watch your step on the way out because there's a bit of blood on the floor.
That idiotic builder!
What I'm going to have to do is I'm going to ask you guys to come back and see the producer
because you're all good for this commercial and if he decides you get the job,
you've got it and we'll have to let you know by today because it shoots very quickly.
Alex arranges for the remaining auditionees to come back later and meet the commercial's producer.
Somebody in this room will get very lucky later on today, but it won't be any of the marks.
I'm extremely happy with what I've seen.
It's up to you if you want to take it.
When hustlers go out, they don't bring money.
-They go armed with prop bets.
But a prop bet only has one rule...
-Do you give up?
-..And that's that the hustler always wins.
We need six of these.
One, two, three, four, five, six, yeah?
One, two, three, four, five, six.
We can get rid of these.
So there's six here, plus five.
You've got to make nine and use all the matches.
-Six plus five is?
The benefits of education!
Yeah, you were like...
I ran out of fingers.
So to get out of buying Paul a drink,
his new friends have to add five matches to six and make nine.
Something doesn't add up.
-You know this one? Oh, wait.
-No, I don't!
Can we put them on top of each other like this?
There'll still be two there, though. Are you going to make the number nine?
-A guy did that this morning. There are no numbers in this.
-Oh. All right. No.
-We could just take some away.
But they've all got to be in place.
See, I made the rules so I just...
I haven't got a clue.
It's a toughie.
-All right, shall I show you?
Remember what I said, you've got six matches -
one, two, three, four, five, six...
and you've got five more.
-And you're not allowed to make a number nine.
-It was a good guess, though.
-Trying to be a bit clever, yes.
I didn't say anything about letters.
All right, and I think you'll find that spells...
-Very good, very good.
-How's that? That definitely makes nine.
Once you know how, it's easy.
Paul just spells out the word "nine" using all 11 matches in the process.
Now, we did say that was for a bottle.
I'll have to run out to the cashpoint. Yes.
Why don't you give me the card and the PIN number, I'll go?
Another day, another suburban neighbourhood that's getting a little visit from the hustlers,
but the residents should be on their guard, because they're about to become the target of...
The Telecoms Con.
Hello there, Mr Khan?
Good afternoon. We're from the Fraud Protection Office.
We're from the Fraud Protection Office.
They certainly know a thing or two about fraud.
-Nothing to be alarmed about, I'm here with my colleague.
One of the major stores around here has been compromised, their systems have been compromised.
People have been collecting credit card information.
-Do you use your credit card in one of the local stores?
-Yeah, I do.
They've found that a great number of credit cards have been found on a terminal that an employees has.
It sounds like there's been a spate of credit card fraud in the area, and apparently,
these residents have their names on a list of possible victims.
They've given us your name and a lot of your neighbours as well.
So all they want you to do is to make sure that they're not on the register that they've collected.
What we're trying to prevent is people's details coming out and being on sale on the internet.
The marks are obviously concerned about criminals running up debt in their name.
If you could give them a quick call...
The hustlers advise them to make a phone call and check their card details are secure.
Would you be able to give them a call as soon as possible?
The longer you leave it, the more your credit card is at risk.
Don't worry about charges. So long as you register, you won't be liable for anything
but it's important you register.
They'll let you know whether you're in any risk.
Thank you, have a good evening.
The residents are all grateful for the tip-off. So where's the catch?
Why are the hustlers handing out all this helpful advice?
When they told them to make the phone call,
they helpfully gave them a number of a credit card task force
set up to handle this spate of fraud.
What we'd like you to do is just call the number.
But that number is a direct line to losing all their money...
because it goes straight through to Jess.
She's been in the Hustle van the whole time, waiting for her phone to start ringing.
She's even brought along call centre sound effects to add that final touch of authenticity.
It's not long before the worried marks hit the phones,
wanting to check their cards and put their minds at rest.
Hello, credit card hotline.
'Hi, good evening.'
The callers have no idea that they're speaking to one of the hustlers
sitting in a van at the end of their road.
It's several cards.
Several cards. I can run a check on all of those for you.
Jess is happy to check as many cards as this caller can lay her hands on.
Can I just please take your full name and date of birth?
OK, can I just take the long digit number of the first card, the one on the front?
-'And expiry date is...'
Finally, can I have the three digit security number on the back of your card, please?
It's as easy as that.
What started out as a safety tip from two protection officers
has turned into a seriously bad day for these marks.
We told them they'd just given their credit card details to hustlers.
They got all my details.
Two card details I gave to them because I trusted them.
I actually thought...
Oh, my God, I trusted them!
I looked at their badges first so then I went in
and I called quickly because it was going to close,
and I went through four of my cards.
I feel so stupid. Oh, my God.
I usually wouldn't... Oh, my God!
The hustlers got hold of this sensitive information by setting up a fake credit card hotline,
but they were actually trying to demonstrate a massive security risk.
Criminals can listen to certain phone calls, even if you're calling your own bank.
Now, the way we've done this scam is we've obviously conned someone into calling us
so that we can get their details, but there's a way of monitoring calls without people's knowledge
and completely from the outside and it uses digital cordless phones, the type all of us use in this country.
It works like this, you have a PC with a special card
that's been designed to monitor the air looking for conversations between this type of technology.
Now when it spots it, it adds it to the list,
we've got quite a lot here. In fact, we've got hundreds.
We can't listen in to these conversations because it's so illegal we would be breaking the law
and we'd be liable to arrest. If we were willing to listen to them,
what we'd do is simply save it as a wave file, a sound file on the disc, and listen to it later.
What we could also do is set the computer to actually monitor certain numbers.
Once we've got the ID code for the base station, we can simply monitor
every call that they make, whether it's to the bank or a private call between two people.
If you do have to make a phone call to your bank,
or any other organisation that requires you to pass on sensitive information,
then try and avoid using a digital cordless phone.
Use a phone that's plugged directly into a wall socket.
That way, you and your money can stay safe.
Earlier today, singer Jonathan Ansell helped the hustlers
persuade some marks to come to an audition.
They gave it their all, performing for director Alex,
but Jonathan was ultimately chosen for the high-paying role.
-Until an unfortunate accident involving a ladder
put an end to his acting career
and meant all the marks were back in the running for this dream job, in The Audition Part II.
It's a couple of hours later and the remaining hopefuls are back for the recall auditions.
First up is Ben, who gets his chance to meet the big boss, producer Paul.
Hiya Ben, thanks for coming back.
This is Rob. Ben, Rob, Rob, Ben.
How are you? Nice to meet you.
Can you just stand on the X-spot?
So I don't know how much you know about what's happened with us. We had somebody perfect earlier
and there was an accident...
He's had about seven stitches but he's fine.
That idiot of a builder that we had left there...
Yes. We're very keen to see what you can do. Why don't you let Ian walk you through the scene?
You know, try not to be conscious of the camera, give it your best.
Alex talks Ben through the storyboard for the commercial.
It's for Yum Gums, the world's first edible toothpaste.
OK, so put the pillow back on the chair and we'll do it from the top.
Time for Ben to show just what he's made of.
And ring ring, ring ring.
Bit of yawning, bit of stretching.
Good. You're a bachelor, you don't care. Yes, that's it.
Go to the kitchen first.
-God, I've really got to eat but I've got to go brush my teeth now and get ready for work.
And go to the mirror. There's the realisation that,
"Hang on a minute, I can just eat that."
-Yes, go on, finish off the tube, you like it so much. Brilliant.
And now the walk, give us the walk to camera.
Brilliant. Brilliant, that's very good.
-There's no doubt in Paul's mind...
this is the acting talent he's looking for.
We're looking for someone to come out for one week to two weeks in January.
The whole thing would be done in LA.
We would pay you an engagement fee, just to engage your services, of around £2,000.
We'd then pay you, the fee is 50,000 less the £2,000.
There are also residual fees on the back end as the commercial is used round the world,
so you could be looking at making a fair-sized amount of money.
Paul is offering him a once in a lifetime job that'll earn him a minimum of 50,000.
Now to just sort out the formalities.
When does your US visa expire?
Do you have a US visa?
Have you ever worked in the US?
And there's the catch.
In order to film the commercial in LA, the mark needs a US work visa.
For the second time today, that dream job could be snatched out of his hands.
I'm probably going to need to speak to Johnny.
Yes, I can get him on, he's in the office in LA, isn't he?
They call up their British lawyer in LA.
Maybe there's some way round this deal breaker of a problem.
-Our company has...
-Can I see up here please?
Yes, yes, yes.
-There you go.
-Yes, how are you?
I'm good. You?
-But that's no lawyer and he's not in LA.
It's Jonathan, ready to play his final and most important role in this scam.
If he gets recognised as a fellow auditionee, the scam is over.
As you know, we'd a bit of a disaster, we've got that kid who hurt himself...
We have another candidate who has the look that they're looking for
but we just found out he doesn't have a US visa.
How do we get the visa in time for this shoot in January?
Well, there are forms to be filled out.
We need to ensure he has a valid passport
and then there are fees involved, I think £500 for the visa itself and all of the documentation.
So the mark could still get his dream gig if an emergency visa can be sorted out straight away.
I don't want Ben to be out of pocket.
Can we cover those fees for him?
Of course. The only issue is we need to have the money wired from his account
to make it a valid application,
otherwise there's all sorts of issues with fraudulency,
but we'll pay him directly back for all of the admin costs.
The bad news is he has to cough up £500 of the processing fee,
but the good news is that he'll get that money straight back, in addition to a £2,000 advance.
OK, so if I give Ben the forms, he takes them home
and then I send a courier round tomorrow morning, will that do?
As long as we have the money in movement for transfer straight away.
Ben, are you serious about this?
How would you pay?
All right, let's do that.
Producer Paul gives him and his mate as long as they need to get the money together.
To put the pressure on further,
Paul has a cheque for two and a half thousand pounds.
All he needs now is that cash in return.
-How can he refuse?
-So, you know, I'm making the offer to you now...
It's up to you if you want to take it.
This is, when you write your biography, this is the story so...
The mark wants the job.
He gives Alex £500 and receives the visa forms and a cheque for two and a half grand.
Right, if I could ask you guys, on your way out,
don't mention anything about getting the part, because I need to audition them anyway, just as a courtesy.
-Yes, they've been waiting.
-They've been waiting. Great.
-Ben, a real pleasure.
No wonder the hustlers asked him to be discrete,
because they pulled the exact same scam on others left in the waiting room.
-I'm extremely happy with what I've seen.
They all did their best in the audition and amazingly, all got offered the job.
-Yes, brilliant, good.
-Can you hear me, Jonathan?
For some marks, it was all moving too fast and they didn't go for it.
I'm sorry you've made the wrong choice.
It was very nice to meet you.
But some of the others were happy to hand over the considerable visa fee.
In return for a fake cheque and a promise of fame and fortune.
Really nice to meet you. I'm so happy we found you today.
A guy came up to us, invited us for a casting here today and I got the part.
I'd to hand over a £500 fee.
That's for the passport documentation and give me a cheque to say,
like, to give me my money back and obviously the £2,000 in advance.
For the visa, it was £500 and I gave them my card details to take that off.
But they did all get a cheque.
-All the documentation's there.
Let me see it.
Does it look fake?
No, he's got his... Oh, my God! That's...
It does look a bit funny though.
It was 500 quid cash so to anyone else it might be little
but to us it's a lot of money sort of thing,
so losing that, it's just a big kick in the teeth, isn't it?
So how did Jonathan feel about shattering people's dreams?
It was a real weird thing. When the money was handed over by
the two guys and he literally handed over £500 cash and you're sat there knowing that this is a complete lie.
You could have hundreds of people coming through in a few days and do the same con on them
and yes, shocking that that could actually happen to people and that they believed it.
This is a very common scam that preys on actors, musicians or models.
You're asked to go to a free audition and then told that
you're in the running for a huge commercial or a modelling contract and then comes a request for money,
whether it's agency fees or modelling portfolio costs, or in this case a foreign work visa.
A genuine casting agency may well approach an individual in the street if they've got the right look.
But the difference in the process will be that they will never ask for money.
If somebody asks you for money in those circumstances just walk away, phone the police - it's a con.
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