Identifying Modeling Scams

1) Agencies that won’t let you join their roster unless you take model classes (especially the ones they offer) or that sell photoshoot packages (which they use make money off you) are scams. 

Paying an agency directly instead of the photographer doesn’t make sense. An agency is supposed to connect you with photographers so you can pay them to build your portfolio. An agency that makes you pay them directly to work with their on-resident photographer, instead of having you pay the photographers that they should send you to in order to build your portfolio, want to become the middle man. This way, they can increase the charge of the photoshoot and keep the extra money. So, if X photographer works with Y agency, and X photographer’s usual rate is $700 to build a portfolio with a model, but then Y agency tells the Model it costs $1,200. Then Y agency is keeping the $500 for themselves. And if they’re already making money off of you, what motivation do they have to book you jobs where you make money? 

2) Also never pay for casting calls. Casting calls are free. 

3) Any legit agency will contact you via email first, not WhatsApp, when scouting you. Sometimes they’ll duet you on TikTok or DM you on Instagram, but then they’ll give you an email address to continue the conversation on.

Only if you or your agent live in or are from another country, and only after you’ve signed with them, is WhatsApp appropriate and acceptable professionally. It’s strange to be reached out to via WhatApp in The United States with a message saying “we love your look and would like to sign you as a Model”.

If you want to ask someone via Instagram if an agency is a scam use vanish mode to protect you and the person you’re talking to. 

Shit Model Management on Instagram also has lists of scam agencies and exposes major abuses committed by some of the top Modeling agencies. You can also report abusive agencies, agents, and photographers to their Twitter blacklist. is a great resource to find agencies that don’t charge signing fees. Not all legit agencies are listed on their site, and your experience with any agency will vary depending on which agent you get. Unfortunately, fair treatment at all agenciescaround the world, even the top ones, isn’t guaranteed, and won’t be until it’s made into law.

Learn about The Fashion Workers Act proposed by The Model Alliance NY which aims to make it illegal for Modeling Agencies to charge signing fees etc… This’ll greatly reduce Modeling scams and industry abuses within New York! They can also help you if you need to pursue legal action against a Photographer, agency etc… And you can report Modeling scams in New York anonymously to them.

☆ Click here for a Guide to Spotting Model Scams

☆ Click here to Report Modeling Scams to the FTC

☆ Report scam modeling agencies Instagram pages to Instagram.

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