Internet safety is not something to ignore. With so many young people looking to get into modelling, there are plenty of opportunities for scammers to take advantage of them.
You need to know how to spot a legitimate agency from a fake one. Here’s what you need to know.
Make sure you watch this helpful video for industry advice:
How to Spot a Scam Artist
The best way to spot a fake model agency is in the finer details. You will normally be targeted online, so first keep an eye out for simple spelling mistakes in emails and a misuse of the English language (words are often a bit jumbled up in the sentence). Professionals will not usually send out an email before it is 100% grammatically correct. Having said that, humans do make mistakes, but it’s something worth keeping an eye out for.
Look out for who the email/message is addressed to. Ignore emails that start with sleazy terms of endearment like ‘hey sexy’. This is not how a professional organisation would reach out to models.
If an email from an “agency” says anything remotely unnecessary – whether that’s comments of a sexual nature or asking for bank details or an upfront payment – ignore it. Never give out personal details, never forward your phone number on and do not Skype people, even if they say it is for an interview. Never meet up with anyone who you have met through social media alone as you are putting yourself in a very dangerous situation. Even if they say they are inviting you to open calls, be wary and do your research.
This is not how the real modelling industry works. Trustworthy companies and agencies operate through the correct channels. Unfortunately, scam artists try to prey on young, naive models by pretending to be model management companies.
If you are a young model, you must ALWAYS have a parent or guardian accompanying you; any agency who says otherwise is lying (and breaking the law).
The Internet is easy to hide behind. Some people are easily lured by the idea of international modelling, but it’s important you don’t get swept up in the excitement as it might not be real.
If you receive anything seriously concerning, contact the police or speak to a parent/teacher/adult.
Do a Little More Research
If everything seems legitimate up until this point, we now want you to do a little more digging.
The Social Media Account
If you have been messaged on a social media account, look at the profile/page that the message came from. Legitimate businesses on Facebook use a page rather than a profile; that is your first clue. If they use a page, you can normally tell if they are real or not by the number of ‘likes’ they have; the more the better. However, people can cheat by buying likes at which point it’s important to look at the engagement on their posts. A high level of engagement is significant of an active following, which means they are more likely to be real. Look closely at comments – are they repetitive? Are they closely relevant to the image in question? If that answer is a no, it may be bot accounts (which are fake/bought) commenting.
On Instagram, agencies will usually have a business account but again can easily create a fake. Those that are not legit are quite obvious to spot as soon as you check out their profile. The grid usually does not look genuine.
Most proper agencies have a blue tick next to their names, meaning they are verified.
If you are approached directly on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter by a supposed agency or scout, get in contact with the official agency (their details should be on their website) and ask whether it is a real message. While some models are indeed scouted on social media, it is unusual and the correct steps must be taken to ensure it is a legitimate invite.
If it is a profile, have a quick scan through the ‘friends or followers list’. Without sounding judgemental, a friends list with hundreds of girls from across the world on it tends to be a bad sign. Please note that a huge proportion of professional companies will not contact you initially via social media.
We strongly suggest not accepting a request from anyone that you do not know. Remember that it is incredibly easy for a far older person, possibly of the opposite sex, to make a fake account.
Is It Legitimate?
Look out for pointers that your message is real and from a legitimate company.
Your email should be finished with a full name, not a nickname. It should have the company’s details at the bottom: a website, Facebook page, Twitter account, phone number or address. A logo will be present and the email address will contain the company’s name. If there is no reference to a company at all, it is likely to be a fake account.
Have You Been Contacted By UK Models?
If you think you have been contacted by UK Models, here’s how you can confirm that it is us (or indeed a fake account trying to pose as UK Models, in which case ignore and block it).
- A member of the UK Models team will only contact you if you have contacted us first. People can contact UK Models via our website, Facebook page or UK Models app. We do not cold call people and do not add people on Facebook.
- UK Models are not a model agency (we are a model support service). We do not email models telling them that we want to sign them. We will never invite you for an ‘audition’ or ‘casting’. The only time we will invite you to meet us is at our London studio for a portfolio session after you have expressed an initial interest in this.
- Remember that our name is UK Models. We are not linked to UK Teen Models or Models UK.
- This is our phone number (the last 3 digits may change according to the consultant you are speaking to): 0207 079 4501 (it could appear as 02070794502, 02070794503, 02070794504, etc). If you are unsure by a message you have received, simply phone us on our number to check if it was us (don’t ring back the same number that rang you!)
- We will never say ‘Don’t worry that you’re under 18, we will still photograph you, and no, you don’t need to bring your parents along!’ This is not how we work. We always talk to your parents if you are less than 18 years of age and we will require your parent/guardian to be present at any photoshoot.
- We will only send you emails from a legitimate UK Models web address. (e.g: email@example.com) so if you receive emails from any other addresses it’s not from us.
- If you have ever received an email that worries you, or if you receive an email in the future that you’re not 100% sure about, ask an adult for their opinion. Don’t feel bad reporting anything suspicious and be confident enough to delete and block fake and inappropriate messages. If you do want to speak to a legitimate member of the UK Models team, you can do so by visiting our official website: www.ukmodels.co.uk.