REPORT A MODELING SCAM
Reporting a Modeling Scam
Report fraud and deceptive trade practices to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). TOLL FREE (877) FTC-HELP / (877) 382-4357.
Report a model agency scam to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).
Florida Bar Attorney Referal Program.
Modeling Scam Research
Florida modeling and talent agency laws as defined by the State of Florida DBPR (Department of Business and Professional Regulation). Mirror on Tampa Bay Modeling is current as of fall 2009.
Search for modeling agency TA# License on the DBPR database mirror on Tampa Bay Modeling.
NOTE: See our DISCLAIMER before using. All perceived advice on this page are opinions by modeling industry professionals and should not be taken as professional advice. For information only. Anyone doing anything described on this site assume all civil and legal liability, and waive Tampa Bay Modeling from any potential legal and civil liability. Please obey your local and state laws. This section is not intended to offer legal advice or advice that is given from a licensed and regulated professional. For legal advice, consult the appropriate professional.
So, you've been scammed or know of a model scam. Now what? Well, there are many legal ways of helping to shut down model scams, and this is what this page is about.
If you know about a scam that we do not currently covered in our model scam section, please let us know all about it. We can then study it and come up with countermeasures and tools that models can use against it. For all other scams, report them to the appropriate authorities.
Tampa Bay Criminal Searches
Do you see anyone that you know in these databases? We found at least ten so-called modeling industry professionals in Tampa Bay listed in these databases, and the listed charges and convictions are very interesting!
Modeling and Talent Agency Scams
It is against state law for a model agency to operate without a license (In Florida, a TA#), and the license MUST be posted in their registered place of business. Agencies work for the model, and the model does not work for the agency. If any single person or organization refers a model to a job and collects commission from the model, then they are operating as an agency, and if they are unlicensed they are breaking the law (a Felony in Florida). If a licensed agency also provides additional services such as portfolio photography services OR mandatory instructions to have a portfolio done by a certain photographer, then it is a conflict of interest as defined by state law, and they can lose their license as well as get fined up to $5,000.00 per infraction.
You can report a Florida modeling agency scam, too, which is on the web site for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
Deceptive Trade Practices: False Advertising and Model Job Bait and Switch Scams
Casting scams and fraudulent model go sees are set up to sell services to models, using the promise of a booking or a job to bait them. Model scams that are set up for a bait and switch get around agency laws because they do not "make money" by referring models like an agency is supposed to do. They advertise themselves as a model school or casting company that helps businesses cast or book models, and are paid by the business a flat fee for booking. That would be fine, but they actually don't make money that way. For example, a recent report had a so-called casting director who told models and actors that he could cast them in major movies and the like. What happened is he cast them in jobs that did not pay a dime to the talent, or extra roles that anyone who reads the newspaper or watches the news could have easily landed. Where they make their money is by getting actors and models to sign up for workshops and classes on the promise of jobs that never materialize (actually, it's still unethical even IF they actually were casting jobs). Some of these scams might think that this is safe and perfectly legal, when in fact it is fraud. Models who are ripped off can sue the scam in civil court for their money back as well as have a government agency such as the FTC investigate and prosecute them criminally. Often, the FTC can fine them heavily, bankrupting them and forcing them out of business so they cannot scam any more models. You can also notify the police so that they can document the fraud. A final tip for models, actors, and other talent who have been scammed by these criminals: It is smart to make friends and exchange phone numbers with other models who are enrolled with you in a workshop or school, as this will prove to be useful if it turns out to be a scam. As you all begin to figure out you were scammed, you can each INDIVIDUALLY report the fraud to the FTC to escalate their investigation, and THEN all of you as a GROUP retain the same attorney for a class action lawsuit. Attorneys love cases when there are several plaintiffs, as it strengthens their case and pays off a lot more- in fact, it's easier to get an attorney in these cases!
If you discover a scam, and avoid it, by all means be professionally responsible and report it the FTC. Don't allow yourself to be scammed to set the model scam up for a lawsuit, either, as that would be both unethical and more trouble than it is worth. By all means, though, if you know of models who are being scammed, send them to Tampa Bay Modeling so they can take take a look!
Investigated by the Federal Trade Commission, also called the FTC. To report a scam, go HERE. For information on getting an attorney, read on.
Recovering Your Money- How To Get An Attorney Inexpensively
Some models may not want to consider filing civil charges in a court of law because they think that attorneys are too expensive. Well, just like anything in life, it all depends on how you research and start the case. It's well known to those of us that go up against scams that most of them are low-rent operations with little or no legal muscle. Once threatened with a lawsuit, they fall apart and settle. Some scams, too, don't know when to quit. With a lot of scams twisting the law to protect themselves and attack anyone who tries to shut them down, a good attorney may be just the ticket. The Florida Bar has a referral program where they can help set up an appointment between you and an attorney for the consultation cost of around $25.00 . For more on this, visit the Florida Bar by going HERE.
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