By Rachael Lovette
Could you really be a model or actor? Or maybe it’s your kids that have the right look? If a talent scout, photographer, or other strangers says you’ve got a future in the business -- be flattered, then be skeptical. You never know when or if you could be the target of a scam.
You have to use a specific photographer
You have to pay a fee to them to serve as your agent before they’ll do any work on your behalf
Only accept payment in cash or money order
Talk about big salaries and opportunities
Unsolicited contact via direct message asking for photos, videos, or personal information on you to send you more details about a casting
Come from Model Mayhem (it has been reported that models have gone missing and have been sexually assaulted at photoshoots or events site up through this site)
Ask you to come alone
Ask you to meet in an unfamiliar area
The modeling school has a special referral relationship with a specific model agency
Offer to “overpay” you and you reimburse the rest of the team
What to Do
Check out the business or individual online with the word “scam,” “rip-off,” or “complaint” to get real personal insight
Get references to confirm the credibility of the agent, photographer, or team
Get everything in writing including spoken promises, assurances and expectations and confirm that all parties have a copy and thoroughly read it before signing
Ask questions such as: the overall vision of the photoshoot or event, how long they’ve been doing it for, if there will be a safe place to change and store your personal belongings
Whether they are dropping you off or hanging out behind the scenes it's good to bring a buddy for an added layer of protection in case something goes wrong
Ask to meet up ahead of time in a public place with lots of people to discuss the finer details, review the contract, etc.
Ask your local Better Business Bureau, consumer protection agency and state Attorney General if there are any unresolved consumer complaints on file about the company.
Company using a personal Gmail account
Gives out way too much information or too little information on the project
Ask for personal information such as full name, address, etc.
Not having an actual date in mind or changing the date based on your schedule
Insisting on paying by credit card
Not using your first name or studio name
Asking to pay you through an uncommon portal because their PayPal or Venmo accounts have been “froze”
Having some sort of strange situation that prevents them from meeting locally or talking on the phone
Ask you to do a photoshoot that isn’t really your specialty
What to Do
Ask for details about the job they’re offering
Never give out ANY personal information beyond your first name
Never agree to pay another vendor with money from your account
Verify that person is really offering you a job by looking up the company online, finding the contact information for the person and calling them directly to see if it matches
Research and investigate the company online using: https://whois.icann.org/en. This site will provide you with details on when the domain was registered, created and last updated
Make them sign your own model release form
Rachael Lovette is the Digital Director at Flower Bomb Media with a passion for everything K-Pop, fashion, model advocacy, and pop culture. Make sure you follow her on Instagram as she journeys through the fashion industry from behind the lens.