I just had a young friend ‘discovered’ by a modeling agency at the mall. They wanted her to pay money for photos, but after they balked at amount, the studio lowered it substantially. I warned them to check with the Better Business Bureau on the company, but they are convinced it’s legit and don’t need to check.
I hate to see this being a scam, but I’m not sure this will work out. Some models and actors have been discovered while going about their day to day business, but this is the exception, not the rule. The majority of models and actors have to work hard to get noticed and have to deal with rejections before they get a break.
If you’re looking at becoming a model or an actress, read up all you can on the scams in the industry to avoid being ripped off.
Modeling Scammers Will Say Anything to Get Your Money
The FTC has some information on what many scammers say to potential victims.
- “We’re scouting for people with your ‘look’ to model and act.”
I need to sign up as many people as possible. My commission depends on it.
- “Your deposit is totally refundable.”
Your deposit is refundable only if you meet very strict refund conditions.
- “You must be specially selected for our program. Our talent experts will carefully evaluate your chances at success in the field and will only accept a few people into our program.”
We take almost everyone.
- “There’s a guaranteed refund if you’re not accepted into the program.”
Everyone’s accepted into the program. Forget the refund.
- “You can’t afford our fees? No problem. You can work them off with the high-paying jobs we’ll get you.”
We demand payment, whether or not you get work.
- “Commissions from our clients are our major source of income.”
Our income comes from the fees we charge you.
When you are at the agency, ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask, especially if they are asking for your money.
What to Look Out For with Modeling Scams
Being informed about the modeling industry is your best defense. Check with your local Better Business Bureau about the company to see if there are any issues. Look at their successful clients and check to see if their claims are legit.
If you have to pay fees upfront for photos and have no guarantee of getting work, walk away. If they insist on a photographer, that is a warning sign. Shop around and compare rates with local photographers if you want to get a portfolio. They may offer a free photo shoot, but you have to pay for professional make-up for the photographs. Be leery of the arrangement and walk away. Remember, if they can’t make enough from from modeling to avoid charging upfront fees, how can you make enough?
If they only accept cash or money orders for payment, walk away. Having a trail may be needed later if you are scammed. Never sign contracts until you have reviewed them. Tell them you would like to review the paperwork with your lawyer or take them home for at least 24 hours and see their reaction. Legit businesses understand that you need to check.
Hard work and talent can pay off. It’s not easy, but it is the most reliable way to be successful. Like anything, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
Photo Credit: Latente