Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Models Beware....

I get a lot of questions from younger models about how to get started, how to pose, what they should wear, etc.  I also get questions about offers they receive and whether they are legitimate or not.  This happened yesterday.  

A 17 year old contacted me on Facebook.  She was really excited because she had just gotten an email from a photographer, Michael Johnson about a very high paying job that she was offered, but she wanted me to look at it and let her know if I thought it was a legitimate job.  The email read as follows:

Good day,

My name is Michael Johnson. A professional photographer/Manager. I got your profile on model Mayhem and I've a client who wants to update her Catalog with her new year Fashion outfits release & I'm interested in you for the shooting,your pay for the job will be $2,750.Here are the details for the job. Also, all make up will be taken care of in the studio.

You will have 10 different Fashion outfits to cover,which would be provided by my client on the day of the shooting.
Dressing outfit is Jeans and Jackets.

Name of client; Michelle Keller and Company Name; Fashion.Bg

Your total pay for the job is $2,750 and you will receive $500 upfront as your part payment. The shoot will take place around your city, so no traveling

The date for the shooting is not fix yet,I will have to make arrangement for that ahead from now and I will email you the exact date for the shooting a week before as soon as the arrangement is completed with my client.

Your must possesses the following qualities to qualify for the shooting which are : Very Attractive,Classy,In Great Shape,Extremely Outgoing & Personable,out spoken,Must be Reliable.

I will keep you updated as to when my client wants to make upfront payments.

Let me know if you are interested in the job to commence with next arrangement and please I will urge you to check your email on a regular bases,I might have updates for you.



The first thing I did was "google" the client and company name.  What was the first thing that popped up?  Models!!! Beware of these email scams. I wrote her back to tell her not to do anything with the email that it was in fact a scam.  

Please be aware that this scam is floating around.  I've read that once you reply back, they send you another email asking for your name, address, etc and a promise to mail you a check for the $2,700.  The catch is, when you get the check, you are supposed to cash it and only keep $500, then send the rest to some photographer.  Other girls that have gotten to this step, have already contacted the FBI.

ALWAYS do your research.  If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.  There are exceptions, but most jobs that pay this high will go through an agency.  

Many young girls look at emails like this and don't read into it.  They are probably thinking, "Oh my gosh!  That's a lot of money!"  It is a really good thing that this girl messaged me about this, so now she's not involved in this crazy scam.

How do you recognize scams?

1.  You might notice that some scams have different names, email addresses, or company names.  That doesn't matter. They are basic templates, but they are same procedure. They ask you to email them. They then ask you for your full contact information, so they could mail you a check prior to a promise they mentioned in the scams such as catalog, runway, and magazine.

2.  Poor grammar

3.  No sincere / personal / individualized message 
If they send out enough messages, a certain number of uninformed people will respond. 

4. Asking for a full contact address to mail you a check beforehand.
Why would someone hire you sight unseen and offer to pay you up front?

5.  Location status 
Why would someone in England contact someone in Atlanta, GA for a shoot?  There are plenty of models in England.

6.   Using non-legitimate email address such as Yahoo and Gmail 
Most legitimate company representatives have legitimate email addresses. An agent at Ford Models, for instance, will have He will not ask you to send mail to or

7.  Scammers browse the default profile search on MM. MODEL, US, NEW TO MM.  Models are not the only ones affected by scams like these.  Photographers, MUA's, and stylists also get these emails.  The best way to avoid these scams is to be well informed about how they work.

8.  They want to sell you on their scheme.  You want to be on the runway, in a catalog or published in a magazine and be flown all over the world? Who doesn't?  But most offers like this will not come through an email.  Scammers can make you believe that they are legit. They have fake websites and phone numbers. Scammers can make websites look like official websites. They may give you an official number to call, so you could verify them, and the person answering your call will sound quite convincing, but remember, they are part of the scam. 

9.  Don't post your personal email address to your Model Mayhem profile.  If they want to contact you regarding a job, they can do so on MM.

Just remember to be careful.  If you don't know if it's legitimate or not, ask someone.  There are plenty of people in this industry that are willing to help.  Look on the Model Mayhem forums to see if others have gotten the same email.  There is a lot of information out there, but you just have to know where to look.   


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