Bogus agencies: A model scam
Watch out for 'talent' scouts at malls and amusement parks; it's the season for modeling and acting scams.
For one, it's flattering (and who doesn't love flattery?) It also makes you think you're headed for a new glamorous and lucrative career.
Forget all that.
Less than savory agencies often set up shop at mall and amusement parks, sometimes pitching a talent show or casting call.
Consumer advocates warn complaints about the scam have started to pick up.
After your initial flattery-filled encounter, you'll likely end up at the agency's office — along with others who got the same spiel. The interview will be something more like a sale-pitch, and a high-pressure one at that.
Here's what you should watch out for:
- Being told you need professional photos shot, and that you must use the agency's photographer. There's usually a steep fee attached, either for the photos or make-up. A real agency might recommend some photographers, but you are free to choose yourself.
- A request for payment upfront. Real agents work on commission. In other words, they get paid when you do. You shouldn't have to pay them in advance. Be on guard double-time when they tell you the only payments can be by cash or money order.
- Being required to take, and pay for, modeling or acting classes at the agency.
- Guarantees that you or your child will get work — sometimes with the promise of a refund.
As in the modeling scam, beware of anyone who asks for money upfront. No responsible, professional in the industry will make you pay money upfront for a chance to be on a show.
In addition to paying attention for the warning signs, before entering into any deal with a supposed modeling agency or casting company, do a little homework. See what you can find out about the company's reputation, complaints lodged against it and what other aspiring models or actors had to say.
More from MSN Money:
- Suit settled over Skechers claims
- Getting ready to move?
- $1.7 million going to scam victims
- Smart Spending on the go: Get our app for Android or iPhone
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
ABOUT SMART SPENDING
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Tired of your wallet taking a beating at the grocery store? Here are some creative ways to save big on food costs.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
BLOGS WE LIKE
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'