How to recognize a scam online and what to do about it:
Recently we have engaged in several conversations with actors who have been approached online or sent breakdowns/job postings asking for their participation in projects that turn out to be scams. The old saying “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is” comes to mind. Your presence online as an actor is important and our digital footprint as a society grows daily. Unfortunately, access to your info will sometimes attract people who don’t have the best intentions. Here are several ways to spot a scam and what you can do to protect yourself and your fellow artists.
- The hiring party is ready to book you without an audition or without knowing much (if anything) about your work. This is a red flag.
- The rate being offered does not match the scope of work. Specifically, if the $$ being offered is huge when you have little involvement in the project.
- They want to give you money upfront. One scam required the talent send money for the fitting and they would be “reimbursed” once the job was finished. This is never how things are done. NEVER
- The intro to the email or breakdown sounds like a scam email. Dear Sir/Madam, Dearest One, etc.
- The language and spelling are noticeably off. For instance, the sentence structure is backwards and words are misspelled throughout
- Contact info is a 1-800 or 1-888 toll-free number.
So, what do you do if someone is targeting you in a talent scam?
One of the many perks of having a legitimate agent is that someone is there to advise you and protect you. Make a copy of the post or email and send to your agent BEFORE engaging with the person. We have a good eye and ear and can pick out a scam pretty quickly.
If the scam email or breakdown uses the name of an individual or company that is legit, let the actual owner of the name and info know. They have the right to seek legal advice and contact the FBI if necessary.
Together, we can protect our industry from those who seek to take advantage of hard-working artists.
Source: (1) Pastorini Bosby