Fake Photo Modeling Offers Promoted By Phone By Illegal TelemarketersA new scam on the market is the bogus photo modeling jobs offered to young women via the telephone. Illegal telemarketers rely on the vulnerability of the younger generation. They offer to develop portfolios, provide company cards which will supposedly make you a hit to modeling agencies and get the career of a lifetime. To create this portfolio, the person contacted is required to go to a certain studio to have the portfolio filled with impressive pictures. These pictures are paid out-of-pocket. Although you may get some great pictures out of the deal, this is not how talent agencies work. The money for this type of program simply goes into a con-artist's pocket.
Of course, everyone is excited when they see the pictures of models featured in magazines, on television, and so forth. It is obvious they are in a profession they like and make a lot of money from it. One of the newest versions of this scam is to sell online modeling school courses. It requires filling out registration forms and a 'registration fee'. In most cases, after the money is gone, so is the 'school'.
There are bundles of questionable model and talent agencies as well as agents. This has become prominent especially when TV programs started to show ordinary girls advancing to become famous in the fashion industry such as in America's Top Model. Would you be surprised to learn that there are only 12, yes that is 12, highly paid professional models in the United States? While there are numerous models in the industry, only a few become famous or earn high pay.
Here is a complaint we received recently that talked about the problem faced by a teen looking for a modeling career.
Wilhelmina Scouting Network, which is sometimes called Trans Continental Talent, is a scam and the people running it have been doing it for years under different names and in different cities. When they get shut down, they move on and do it again. If you've been to the office in Philly or Feasterville you've probably met Mike O'Brien or one of his associates. I went to an open call near the King of Prussia Mall and they took my picture, assessed me, and encouraged me to make the $1000 payment. I was told I was a 9 on a scale from 1-10. They said the money was to have my profile put on their website and maintained for prospective modeling agencies to request my service. I was under extreme pressure and had not had enough time to fully research the company when they called me back two days later and demanded that I make the payment immediately or else I would not be able to be on the website and begin my prosperous modeling career. The original presentation given by the Talent Executive Mike O'Brien, convinced me that the $1000 was the best deal that I could get, given the exorbitant price for head shots and portfolios. I also believed that I would get work in no time and be able to pay off the credit card within a very short time. However, the website stopped working about halfway into the year. I started calling their headquarters in Florida, but received a busy signal each time. It was then that I knew that they had exploited my modeling ambition and had duped me out of $1000 plus the $20 maintenance fee for my online profile. I still have the email they sent me once I signed up with them. I would really appreciate any help that can be sent my way to be refunded the $1000. Really, nothing good can come from associating yourself with this company. They have enough smoke and mirrors to create a pretty convincing front, just like many others do, but it is a deceitful business and if their tactics aren't downright illegal they are unquestionably immoral. Don't waste your money or your time.
Be aware that the best way to avoid scams such as this is to thoroughly educate oneself about the industry. Be realistic about your chances, and realize that very few people actually make it to the big leagues. If you have what it takes, a reputable agency will not charge you to establish a portfolio, find jobs, and make the necessary contacts to get you to the top quickly. Furthermore, check out modeling communities such as Models.com for legit agency listings and make calls to find out if there are open castings with reputable companies that have been thoroughly researched. And most importantly, stay persistent and level-headed. Don't trust anything that sounds too good to be true.
For those who feel they may have become a victim of a scam, file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Although the BBB is not a U.S. government agency and has no authority, its database is networked with the FTC and other law enforcement agencies. In other words, the FTC can refer to the BBB's database in their investigation. As a matter of fact, FTC has previously accessed BBB files. They did this before they prosecuted three scam modeling and talent agencies in Virginia. Indeed the BBB files precipitated the launch of the FTC investigation. Instead of becoming a part of the problem, become the force and help in finding a solution.