How to Recognize an Acting or Modeling Scam Before It Is Too Late
Just last weekend, Daily Mail posted a horrific headline about a British glamor model who was “cuffed, drugged, and stuffed in a bag” after she responded to a fake modeling ad online.
Twenty-year-old Chloe Ayling was the young woman behind the story. She claimed that she was lured by her abductors with a fake story about a photo shoot in Italy. Ayling was then taken to a farmhouse around Turin for a week, where she was injected with a paralysis-causing drug called Ketamine and auctioned for £270,000 ($353,000). The group behind the attack, The Black Death, is an international crime syndicate that auctions women off on the Dark Web. Ayling’s captors only released her after realizing that she was a mother of one.
As police continue to investigate this serious case, it is important to keep in mind that there are thousands of acting and modeling scams in the world. One of the most common techniques used by scam artists is the bait-and-switch method. You may come across an advertisement with the enticing words “Paid gigs for actors and models, no experience necessary!” As soon as you show up, the “casting directors” don’t seem to show any interest in your background or skills. Instead, they go on and on about how great you look and how much money you’ll make.
To avoid falling for any potentially life-threatening talent or modeling scam, here are a few tips.
How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Acting and Modeling Scam
Learn to differentiate what they say vs. what they really mean
Fake talent scouts always have their spiel ready. Below are a few examples to help you read between their lines.
- “We’re scouting for people with your ‘look’ to model/act.” The more people a fake talent scout signs up, the higher their commission.
- “You will have thousands of job aligned for you immediately.” Even the most famous names in the industry experience a dry work season. Work in both the modeling and acting industry can be irregular, so don’t be fooled.
- “You can’t afford our fees? That’s fine! You can work them off later.” First off, there is no need to pay a fee to an agency since they only collect payment once you start booking gigs.
- “Client commission is our main source of our income.” A fake talent agency’s main source of income is the money they steal from you.
Reputable agencies are picky when it comes to selecting their talents
If you show up to their audition and they ask you to sign up immediately regardless of your experience, then this is a red flag. Do question their motives when they start asking for money as well. This only means that they are interested with what is in your pocket more than your career.
Never let flattering words come in the way of logical thinking. Think carefully about how you were approached and what could be their motives before putting anything on paper.
They are hardly professional
If you show any hesitation about paying a scammer the requested fee or deposit, you are aggressively told that you don’t have what it takes to make it in the industry. In one disturbing case, a man was scammed to do a pornographic project by an agency. After backing out from the deal, the talent agent stalked the man and wouldn’t leave him alone. It was only when he finally threatened to call the cops that the scammer finally left.
Do not hesitate to ask for names, addresses, and phone numbers of talents who have gotten recent work with the company. If they name-drop companies they work with, get their contacts to verify if they’ve hired talents from the agency you’re applying for.
If you think you’ve been scammed or encountered a fake agency, immediately contact your local consumer protection agency, state attorney general, or the Better Business Bureau.
How to Recognize an Acting or Modeling Scam Before It Is Too Late by Holly