Modeling is one of the most ‘cool’ money making ideas that we cover. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most scammer infested. If you are naive, this is a difficult field to survive. Even before you realize what happened, you can get caught up in a scam. You can avoid being a victim if you know what to look for.
Scams usually start by a scam artists approaching you with compliments followed by a sentence such as, “Have you ever thought about a modeling career?” While there are some who do pay you this compliment and genuinely mean it, there are others who do it with the sole intention of scamming you. Generally, with the above compliment, they will also hand you a business card and if you call them, they know that you can easily be manipulated. Remember the episode in ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ where Robert gets “discovered”?
Signs you are being scammed
If someone does hand you a business card and you cannot resist the invitation, be on the lookout for signs that to may be getting scammed. When you walk into a modeling agency, if see many others who are there for the same reason as you, ask them how they found out about this ‘opportunity’ – was it a talent screening call, or were they all invited to call up and then asked to come in? Do they have similar stories as you of being ‘discovered’?
When you arrive, if you find that everyone working there is pushy about everything from registering to taking one of the many offers they have available, you should start thinking that there may be an ulterior motive involved. Another red flag is if they try to sell you a spot in an acting or modeling class, offer you a screen test, or even a photo shoot; but it will cost you a lot of money.
You should know that when you start as a model, you will need photos from a photographer. You will need only a head shot of your self. This is usually done in black and white and consists only from the neck up. It is usually size 8×10. The back of the photo is plain white so you can print your resume on the back of it.
A composite card is a tool that models will use to advertise themselves. This one card will feature several shots of you in different poses and in different wardrobe changes so potential clients will be able to quickly look over your work on one page. Don’t let a scout try to talk you into something different unless you know or have been told by an agent that you need something else.
If you are asked to take an acting class or modeling class by an agent or an agency, you may not be promised work after you have completed the course. Most of the courses will offer such things as basic posture, proper etiquette, proper walking, skin care, and how to apply make-up. If an agency claims to help you find work after you have completed the course, check their credentials to make sure that they are legitimate.
When enrolling with a particular agency, you may want to avoid them if they require that you use only one photographer. Chances are, their prices are much higher than other photographers in the area and you don’t get the quality you paid for. If you are asked to pay for an agent before hand, this may also be something to avoid. You should always have your choice of photographers.
You know that you are trying to find employment as a model, but make sure that the person that approaches you is legitimate by checking him out. Search him or her on social media sites and other internet search options. If someone is doing something wrong and people catch them, you have a better chance of finding out if you do a little bit of online sleuthing. When someone approaches you, ask them for references of other models and actors/actresses that they are currently serving or have served in the past. Verify and check everything you can.
If the company or agency will only accept money orders or cash, then you may want to avoid them. If they are scamming, they only take these two methods of payments in order to avoid being traced. Also, with other forms of payment – for example, some credit cards – you may have a way to stop the payments if the services promised are not delivered. While these measures were put in place to protect from online fraud, you should check with your credit card provider if it can be extended to protect yourself again other kinds of scams.
If you are told that your money is refundable, you need to see the proof before you pay anything. Read all agreements and understand the fine print carefully. If it looks genuine, be careful to see if there are any disclaimers – you may be able to get a refund, but you may have some strict guidelines and restrictions to follow in order to qualify for a refund of your money.
Don’t assume that you can get high dollar paying jobs right from the start. Most scammers will get you by telling you that you can make $100 or more an hour. Run in the other direction, because if it sounds too good to be true, it is more often than not, a scam. If nothing else, this should be your first indication that you are probably being scammed.
You should check to see if the agency, school, or company that is interested in you is bonded or licensed. This is not required by all states but most legitimate companies will go ahead and get licensed or bonded in order to prove that they are trust worthy. Call or go online to the Better Business Bureau to verify all their information. If someone has been scammed, chances are they will report it to the BBB or to their Attorney General in the state they are dealing with.
Finally, to protect yourself, get everything in an agreement that needs to be signed. If you verbally agree to anything, you will not be able to validate that if you have to take them to court. You need proof so you will not be scammed.
There are many people out there trying to prey on gullible people. In your quest for finding great money making ideas, do not end up a victim of one of these scam artists. Always be on the watch out, and always, always cross check your information from multiple sources to make sure that things really are what they seem to be.