The top 5 modeling scams and how to avoid them

Child modelLanding a modeling gig may sound glamorous, but be careful not to fall for one of the many modeling scams floating around.

Oregon's attorney general sent out an alert this week warning consumers about these suspicious opportunities. Other warnings have gone out, too, indicating trouble could be brewing.
Here's how to spot the scams.

High-Pressure Sales Pitch scam

What you thought was a job interview you signed up for online is really a high-pressure sales pitch for modeling or acting classes, shoots or screen tests. The salesperson asks you to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars in exchange for helping you with your modeling career.

"Hurry: This Opportunity Won't Last Long" scam

The salesperson or scam artist may try to convince you to sign up for a monthly subscription to a talent service, limited offer on a discounted shoot or a booking agent. It's best to request an in-person meeting before agreeing to pay for an agent or scout.

The "Easy Money for Small Work" scam

Earning large sums of money does not come easy. Some models in smaller markets can earn between $75 to $100 an hour but work is irregular. Research the company thoroughly. Talk to and meet the models or actors who have worked with the company before.

"Here's a Check for the Photo Session" scam
Promises of free photo shoots or paid trips to New York City should raise eyebrows. Scam artists may send you a fake check leading you to believe it's an advance payment for the photo shoot. They may also ask you to wire money to what you think is a photographer, studio or booking agent. Wiring money is never a good idea in these scenarios.

The "You Have the Cutest Baby Ever" scam

The modeling market for infants and toddlers is small, so don't fall for scam artists who say your child is modeling material. They may try to lure you by offering to set up a photo shoot for your infant or toddler, but very few children are marketed with professional photos.

To avoid being ripped off, follow these tips:
  • Ask for everything in writing, even promises made verbally.
  • Keep copies of important documents.
  • Stay away from companies that take only cash or money orders.
  • Ask the agency where previous models and actors have been placed.
  • Be leery of anyone who asks for an up-front fee before becoming your agent.
  • Be wary of companies that want you to use a specific photographer.
  • Check the BBB's web site for information about a company.

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