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Recently, we were contacted by an aspiring model asking if an email she received from a UK company was in fact legitimate.

During her correspondence with this ‘modeling magazine/company’, they promised her a fair wage in exchange for using her photos. In fact, they forwarded her copies of their magazine covers as proof of their legitimacy. Imagine our surprise when, within the email correspondence she sent us, the UK company had in fact included covers of PLUS Model Magazine, as well as Elegant Plus, as the work they were producing!

We were offended….
We got mad…
It was time to take action…

First of all, we dealt with the scammers quickly and swiftly. Second, we sent out the word to our viewers that this UK company was not representing PLUS in any way, shape or form. It was an amazing site as we watched the word spread like wildfire as models reached out to models to warn them of this scam. The ‘Power of PLUS’ was in full-force on the internet!

Once the dust settled, we realized that the age old ‘modeling scam’ business is still alive and well, and in search of victims. Because of this, we ask for your continued support in saving aspiring models from companies preying on newbies in search of their ‘big break.’ It is up to each of us as stewards for plus modeling to protect and uphold the standards of this industry.

How can you recognize a scam when you see one? Well, let’s first define the word ‘scam’.  To PLUS Mode Magazine, a scam is a company and/or person misrepresenting themselves to aspiring/working models. This usually involves them accepting a fee for services that are not required to be a model, and/or are not delivered as promised.

Modeling scams come in many forms and just as you think you have seen them all, another one pops up. As one is shot down, another comes along to take its’ place.

What are some types of scams?

The internet is a wealth of information, both good and bad. Make sure to read job postings carefully and check references and the legitimacy of companies with trusted industry professionals.

Be careful when responding to jobs where they require you to meet in their hotel room. And yes ladies, this is STILL happening!  When in doubt, grab a friend or family member to accompany you.

Watch you email for opportunities that look ‘too good to be true’. And we have noted that many of these offers  have poor spelling and grammar (not sure why, just a pattern we keep seeing).  Do your homework, check references and play it safe!

Watch for offers from foreign countries. The likelihood that they cannot find a model worth using in their own country is ludicrous!  Only models represented by legitimate agencies or have been freelancing and have built up a solid network of legitimate bookings/companies should consider engaging in work out of the country.

Beware of ‘Internet Agencies’ and/or ‘Online Talent Promoters’. These companies usually charge some type of monthly/yearly membership fee. The truth is that a model should work with legitimate agencies where they have walked into the door and shaken their agent’s hand. You must establish a relationship with your agent, and this cannot be done online.

There is no fee, paid by the model, to work with a legitimate modeling agency other then the cost for photo shoots and comp cards. If an agency is charging a fee to belong/market you, this is a scam!

What kinds of things DO models pay for?

Yes, models do pay for their photos and comp cards, but be wary of an ‘agency’ selling a photo package. Always get references. Always check the photographer’s work in advance.

Magazines and other companies offering a model contest sometimes charge a fee. If the company is of high standards and has a great reputation, expect to pay a reasonable ($20-$35) entry fee. Anything over that is questionable.

You can expect to pay a fee to attend a ‘model search convention’ offered around the country. You might learn something about the industry, but expect to pay a hefty fee for this knowledge (upwards of $5000 for some).  Is attending a convention like this necessary to be a model? No.

Some sort of training in the capacity of a reasonable priced model ‘boot camp’ or seminar may be a good investment. Is it required to be a model? No. But for many, this small investment helps them to build the confidence to take the next step towards a modeling career. Again, check references.

Where to go for help?  Look to:

Better Business Bureau (BBB)
www.bbb.com
The BBB is a private, nonprofit organization with offices all around the country that can provide you with a report on local businesses.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
The FTC is a government agency that is headquartered in Washington, DC and enforces laws to protect consumers. The FTC makes sure that the company has a clean reputation and has not been involved in unscrupulous or questionable business practices as well as letting you know if there have been disgruntled customers. You can reach them at 202-326-3650

State Attorney General
www.naag.org
This is the chief legal officer of the state and can tell you if the organization in question has been charged with any crimes involving false advertising, money, drugs or sex.

And remember, never compromise your reputation in pursuit of stardom. Without a doubt, it ill come back to haunt you when the legitimate opportunities come along!