Return of a Classic ‘Model’Scam – With a 21st Century Twist

A joint statement from the national fraud reporting centre Action Fraud and model agency Storm has warned that fraudsters have turned to social media and are claiming to represent the model agency in an attempt to scam young girls into handing over money.

The Action Fraud website warns that the scammers are setting up fake Facebook profiles and posing as scouts to ‘recruit’ young women with the promise of a modelling career. The victims targeted, some as young as 15, are spending up to £500 on portfolios of pictures that are useless.

Although the scam has a modern twist with the use of social media to target potential victims, the scam itself has been around for years, with fake representatives originally targeting girls on the high street or through press adverts.

Storm have also released information on their website that unless it is as part of an officially advertised competition, Storm does not use social networking sites to scout for potential models. If you receive contact from anybody claiming to be from the modelling agency using an email address in the form of: prefix@stormmodels.com then it is not official.

The modelling agency have offered the following advice for preventing falling victim to this scam:

  • Do not engage in conversation with the so-called ‘agents’ or ‘scouts’ on social networking websites as they are not from Storm.
  • Never agree to meet anyone in person, unless it is at Storm’s official London office.
  • Storm does not work with any third parties (including any photographers or agents), who may claim to work on their behalf to create portfolios for your benefit, as an introduction to Storm.
  • Do not pay for any pictures. Do not believe anyone who tells you that you need a professional (and more than likely paid for) portfolio to be considered by an agency.