Unfortunately, young and aspiring models are often the targets of modeling scams that are potentially dangerous. To avoid a scam, it is essential that you do your due diligence before engaging with anyone who expresses interest in working with you as a model. Below, we have outlined warning signs of potential scams.
It has been reported to us that websites like Model Mayhem, which allow anyone to pose as a “professional” photographer or agent, are especially risky. It has also been reported to us that models have gone missing and have been sexually assaulted using sites like these. For these reasons, we recommend that it is best to avoid them altogether.
Some scams may try to contact you directly via e-mail or Facebook with an offer of a casting or modeling job. A professional working in the modeling industry would not seek out a model this way if they have not met them before. If someone asks you to send suggestive photos of yourself, pay him or her any amount of money, or offers you a large amount of money, it is most likely a scam. Additionally, if the message you receive is full of grammatical errors or promises you a meeting or job with a big-name photographer or designer, these are also warning signs that indicate a potential scam.
Because modeling agencies have classified themselves as management companies rather than talent agencies, they escape licensing requirements, caps on commissions, and other requirements that would safeguard their talent. Still, some agencies are better than others. Be sure to visit an agency’s website to see if they represent any recognizable faces, and ask to speak with models on their roster to gauge their experience of working through that agency.
Bogus Agency Contracts
Most agency contracts are one-sided in favor of the agency, not the model. Do not sign an agency contract without first getting the advice of a lawyer, and know that the terms of an agency contract are negotiable. A legitimate agency will give you adequate time to review the contract with an attorney and offer any proposed changes before you decide whether to sign with them.
Most important, you should NEVER arrange to meet alone with someone who you do not know about potential modeling work. If you are represented by an agency, be sure to field any work-related requests by your agent. A legitimate industry professional will not mind if you bring a parent, guardian, or trusted friend with you, especially upon first meeting.