"Models – Earn $100 per hour or $500 per day as a fashion or commercial model. Full or part time. No experience necessary. Real people types, such as children, grandmothers, college students, and construction workers welcome. No fee."
If you have dreams of becoming a model, this ad may be tempting. But before you sign a contract, learn how to spot a potential scam.
How the model scam works. Scam ads usually state "No fee." However, the models who are "selected" are required to pay several hundred dollars for classes or photographs that the agency requires before they can work as models. In the end, most of these would-be models receive no job assistance from the agencies, no job leads, no modeling employment, and often no photos.
How to spot the scam. It may not be easy to recognize a modeling scam because advertising claims and practices may resemble those used by legitimate modeling agencies.
Here are some common advertising claims that should make you suspicious. They said "No fee." You should be wary any time you are asked to pay. Most legitimate agencies make money only by taking a commission from their models’ work. An exception, however, is that you may be charged for your picture to be in an agency book that they send to clients who hire models. Make sure you pay only your portion of the printing costs.
Earn high salaries. Only experienced top models can expect to receive large salaries.
Real people types should apply. Remember, modeling opportunities are limited even in large cities. Opportunities do exist for "real people" models, but they are rare.
Protect yourself. The best protection against losing money to a phony modeling agency is to take precautions. The following list may help you reduce your chances of losing money,
Be wary of an agency that requires you to pay for photographs or pay an up front fee in order to represent you. Check out all claims made in agency advertisements, sales presentations, and literature.
Ask for the names, addresses, and phone numbers of models who work through the agency and clients who have used its models. Keep copies of all important papers. Be sure to get all verbal promises in writing.
Where to go for help. If you have paid money to a modeling agency and believe they are involve in a scam, first contact the company and request a refund. If you are not satisfied, register a complaint with your local consumer protection agency, Better Business Bureau, and state attorney general’s office. Also, contact the advertising manager of the newspaper that ran the ad you answered. For ethical and practical reasons, the advertising manager may be interested to learn about any problems you have had with the agency.
Source: Federal Trade Commission