Model Scams - Nigel Aves Photography

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Modelling Scams.

If you are new to modelling then I would highly recommend reading this.

Who Is a Model?
A model is a person with a role either to promote, display or advertise commercial products or to serve as a visual aid for people who are creating works of art or to pose for photography. Though models are predominantly female, there are also male models, especially to model clothing.
Modelling Agencies vs. Modelling Schools and Programs

Modelling and talent agencies find work for experienced and aspiring models and actors. They get paid when you get paid. Some agencies will let you sign up only with them, while others will also let you register with other agencies.

Modelling schools and programs teach you skills they say you’ll need to start a modelling career, like how to do your hair and makeup, use proper diction, and walk on a runway. You’ll typically have to pay in advance to enrol.

Before you sign up with an agency or school, do some research and get details in writing about what they’ll do for you and any promises they make.
Signs of a Modelling Scam

If you’re pursuing your child’s modelling career, watch for fake talent scouts. These scammers offer to set up a photo shoot or classes to help you get modelling or acting jobs for your child.

What they don't tell you is
  • the market for child models and actors is very small
  • because a child’s looks change quickly, legitimate agents, advertising agencies, casting directors, and producers generally ask for casual snapshots, not professional photos
  • casting calls for the “next child star” may be real, but the ads are often a way to get parents to enrol their kids in expensive acting classes

So, whether you run into a talent scout on the street, see an ad for a modelling agency online, get a message about modelling on social media, or hear about a modelling school or program, here are ways to know you’re dealing with a scam:

  • Scammers tell you to pay them. Real modelling agencies won’t ask you to pay for a test shoot, for your photographs, or to “secure your spot” for a modelling job. They’ll find jobs for you and pay you after the client pays them. The contract you sign with the agency should tell you what percentage the agency gets of any money you make on assignments.
  • Scammers guarantee you’ll get work. Modelling assignments can be irregular even for successful models. There are never any guarantees. And depending on where you live, the market for those types of jobs may be very small.
  • Scammers promise big salaries. Just like modelling assignments, what models can earn is also extremely irregular. If an agency or program makes these guarantees, walk away. That's a scam.
  • Scammers say you have to use a specific photographer. While some agencies do have photographers they regularly work with, they shouldn’t make using their photographers a condition of your getting assignments.
  • Scammers rush you to sign a contract. Take time to check out a company before you give them any money or personal information. If an offer is good today, it should be good tomorrow.
  • Scammers brag about their success…but no one’s heard of them. Unless the agency is new, they should be able to show they’ve gotten work for models. Ask for a list of clients, models, and actors who have worked with the agency. And if the agency doesn’t have a website, that’s suspicious. Even if they do, any guarantees they make about modelling jobs or requests to pay up front still make it a scam.

How To Avoid a Modelling Scam

  • Research the company. Try searching online for the modelling school or agency’s name with words like “scam,” “review,” or “complaint.”
  • Never pay an agency up front. Any agency asking you for money to represent you is a scam.
  • Don’t deal with a modelling program that tells you how you have to pay. If a modelling program or school requires certain kinds of payments — cash, money order, gift cards, wire transfers through a company like MoneyGram or Western Union, or cryptocurrency — that’s a sure sign it’s only interested in your money and not your modelling career.
  • Don’t deal with an agency that makes you use its staff for your photo shoots or auditions. If an agency says you have to use its photographer or makeup artist, don’t work with them. An agency should let you hire your own makeup artist and photographer.
  • Ask if the company or school is licensed or bonded, if your state requires it. Check this information with your local consumer protection agency or your state attorney general. Make sure the license is current.
  • Get references. Get names and any available contact information for models and actors who have recently gotten work through the agency. Sometimes, scammy agencies have pictures on their walls or websites of successful models they didn’t actually represent. They also use names of well-known companies who have supposedly hired the models they represent, so get contact information for the companies at which the agency says its placed models and actors.
  • Get everything in writing. That includes spoken promises or assurances.
  • Keep copies of important papers. Keep your contract and other important documents in a secure place.

What To Do if You Paid a Scammer
Scammers often ask you to pay in ways that make it tough to get your money back. No matter how you paid a scammer, the sooner you act, the better. Learn more about what to do if you think you paid a scammer. Report It to the FTC

If a modelling agency or program has taken your money and didn’t deliver on its promises, report it to the FTC at

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