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Deepwide Reports

MODELING SCAMS RIP OFF HOPEFULS

IF YOU SEE ANY ADVERTS IN YOUR LOCAL PAPERS, LIKE THE ONE BELOW, PLEASE INFORM THE HOTEL/PUB/VENUE AND NEWSPAPER IMMEDIATELY TO TELL THEM THEY ARE HOSTING AN ILLEGAL MODELING SCAMS VENUE, AS THE SO-CALLED AGENTS DO NOT PUBLISH THAT THERE IS A SEVEN DAY COOLING OFF PERIOD TO ALLOW REFUNDS FOR PEOPLE WHO CHANGE THEIR MINDS.

THIS IS ONE OF THE CLASSIC UP-FRONT FEES MODELING SCAMS. IF YOU MUST THROW YOUR MONEY AWAY, ALWAYS PAY BY CHEQUE, AS THEY CAN BE STOPPED. CREDIT/DEBIT CARDS CAN NOT BE STOPPED!

YOU HAVE ALL THE INFORMATION TO MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION! THESE MODELING SCAMS EXIST ONLY TO LINE THEIR POCKETS, WHILE LEAVING THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WITH A NASTY TASTE IN THEIR MOUTHS. DON'T BE SOMEONE WHO FALLS FOR ONE OF THESE MODELING SCAMS.


DISCLAIMER


Bearing in mind what you now know about modeling scams, any advertisers on this site are NOT endorsed by me. If you reply to them, please bear in mind what I have said about up-front fees. Be very wary of paying anything up-front, especially with people who are NOT modeling agencies but who merely offer to put you in touch with them. They will only pass on the best lookers to the genuine agencies, while lesser mortals get no work, but still pay through the nose for their pictures etc.!

Modeling Scams - Typical advert - Beware!

The Run-up

Modeling scams are usually advertised in newspapers as photo-shoots for wanabee models/actors, taking place in hotels or pubs. Genuine modelling agencies do NOTadvertise for new models in newspapers, or conduct photo-shoots in hotels and pubs. The genuine agencies take their cut from the fee the model gets from the client.

The Spiel

The wording advertising these modeling scams usually states that 'anyone is suitable', which further encourages people to go along and take a look. They never point out that quite some hard work and committment are involved to produce success, which of course is obvious to most sensible people. Their contract also states that should the prospect not hear from two agencies within a year, their money will be refunded in full. Lo and behold, two 'agencies' do get in touch, but with further requests for money to enable prospects to be included on the 'agency's' website, a website where no-one will find you! Sometimes the address of the follow-up 'agency' is at the same address as the company advertising the photo-shoot! How convenient and cosy for both parties in these modeling scams to be located in the same building! If it's from a different address, it could be because these modeling scams rogues share their prospect lists and take turns to follow people up. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.

In For The Kill

Registration with the 'agent' is usually around 180 and credit/debit card machines are prominently displayed, intimating legitimacy and a business-like attitude. If you pay via debit card, you have no redress from your card company; if you pay via cheque at least you can cancel the cheque, despite their promise of retribution! The modeling scammers will not want to run the risk of court action, for fear of exposing their lies, so I shouldn't worry too much on that score.

THE GOOD NEWS

Legitimate modelling agencies do NOT advertise hotel photo shoots in newspapers. They have enough wanabee models/actors contacting them to ensure a steady stream of new talent, without the need to advertise.

Photographer Gary Edwards has produced an excellent website detailing the various modeling scams used by rogue agents to lull people into parting with their money. By their very nature, con-artists are plausable and very good at allaying your fears. Visit Safe Modelling for a valuable insight what to watch out for to avoid modeling scams, before you part with your money.

Another very good source of information on modeling scams is by actor Clive Hurst on Anactor.net. Clive has campaigned for many years to try to get up-front payments outlawed, alas without much success, but not for want of trying. The stumbling blocks seems to be government officials and politicians, for reasons which most people with common sense would attribute to a lack of political will. The wording of the law too requires changing and should be made more specific.

An informative expose on modeling scams by the BBC can be found at Inside Out

Apart from this, there is not a lot more which I can say that hasn't been already said:-

* Don't be fooled into thinking that fame comes easily; it only comes to those who are determined to succeed.

* NEVER pay anything on the 'interview' day; ask to take their proposals away to study them at home. You have a statutory seven days cooling off period to get your money back; use it! If they demure, simply complain to your local Trading Standards Agency and ask them to take action. If faced with timidity on the part of the regulators, simply go to the next venue and threaten to tell everyone waiting to be interviewed in the hotel foyer what's going on, unless you get an instant refund. That usually works!

Up-front payment modeling scams in the modeling industry are a disincentive for these types of agents to find you work. Indeed, why should they, when they make a good income from fleecing people with registration fees!

If you have any queries concerning modeling scams or the legitimacy of your prospective agent, please contact me and I will try to point you in the direction of someone who might be able to help. Contact me, Mike Jozefiak, via Email.

Mike Jozefiak
203 Hungate Street
Aylsham
Norfolk
UK
tel: 01263-734990.


Inform as many people as we can about how these people operate, to finally put an end to these despicable modeling scams.

A very useful government site Directgov, with lots of advice on modeling scams, and others, can be found at Stars, not tears, in their eyes

FALLEN FOR MODELING SCAMS AND WANT YOUR MONEY BACK? SEE BOTTOM OF PAGE!


27th Oct. 2008. Letter to Mirror investigative journalists Andrew Penman & Nick Sommerlad, following their articles on modeling scams Penman & Sommerlad investigate

Hi Lads,

Glad to know you're in the front line against the despicable Mr. Chandler, though I only found you at the bottom of page 3 on Google (search term 'Erik Chandler').

Anyway, Erik's planned scam venue booking at the Norwich Ramada Inn was never accepted because the wily manageress smelled a rat and never took the booking. "20 years experience in the hotel trade teaches you something", she told me today. What a shame more hotel managers don't go by their gut feelings instead of accepting Mr. Chandler's Shilling.

He'll probably post either a notice or someone outside the hotel on 1st/2nd Nov to re-direct them to another venue in Norwich, telling them the Ramada was too small for the amount of enquiries they've had - Hah!

So, watch out folks, you can still lose your dosh if you leave your brains at home on the day. Why on earth would anyone place an ad in a paper asking for all and sundry to attend a photo-shoot, if it wasn't to ensnare as many people as possible?

If prospects really want to know if they have it in them for the modelling business, simply go along to any respectable modeling agency, that has at least a geographical phone number, and they will tell you for free, and in five minutes, what they think of your chances. Take their advice and save yourself hundreds of pounds!

I've contacted Ramada Jarvis head office and sent them email links to the relevant information from Clive Hurst's websites. Hopefully they will implement a nation-wide policy to refuse this scam advertising. The Eastern Daily Press, who ran the advertising, however, refused to acknowledge my concerns and have remained strangely silent. What is one to make of that, eh?

Keep up the good work lads!


Cheers,

Mike Jozefiak


PS. A copy of this letter will be posted on www.deepwide.co.uk/modeling-scams.html


LETTER TO EASTERN DAILY PRESS ON MODELING SCAMS.

Mr. Stephen Philips
Managing Director
Eastern Daily Press
Prospect House
Rouen Road
Norwich
Norfolk
NR1 1RE
26th Oct 2008

Dear Mr. Philips,

You are probably aware of the activities of up-front fee modeling scams, who advertise photo-shoots in hotels, pubs etc., through newspaper advertising. They often ask for money up front, around 180, for poor quality photos and say they guarantee to put you in touch with at least two modelling agencies in a year, or your money back. The money-back guarantee sound nice and disarming, and sure enough, 2 weeks later two companies contact the prospect, offering to put them on their books, for another up-front fee of around 140. These other 'agencies' are run by the same people who do the photo-shoots. No work ever results and in a year's time people give up waiting or are too embarrassed to complain, and so the modeling scams go on.

Legitimate model agencies NEVER work this way; they get their fees as a percentage from the work they get the model. They would never charge hundreds of pounds for poor quality photos. They have enough hopeful wanabees coming through their doors not to have to resort to external -photo-shoots. Check with any advertised agency and they will confirm this.

I notified your paper around a year ago and receive assurance that your advertising department would not take any more adverts from these people, and to date I have been impressed by how well you have managed to hold to that.

However, there is a series of modelling scam ads currently running in the EDP by Scoutfactory, the owner of which is Erik Chandler, who also owns 1st Class Images, Model Factor, West One & Hidden Talent. These are all previous company names that have evolved into Scoutfactory.

A check with Companies House will show that both 1st Class Trading Ltd & Model Factor are owned by Erik Chandler and both are at the same address. How cosy and convenient that the 'touting' people work in the same building as the 'agency'!

Reporter Julian Sturdy of BBC East confronted these people at a Novotel last year, with a woman who had been conned, and managed to get quite a lot of prospects to leave before they parted with their cash. The BBC even paid a reporter to sign up with an 'agency', to see if any work ever resulted. Needles to say, none did but when they tried to claim the refund, nothing happened either! They claim that they have contacted the prospect, but alas, no work came from it; "not my fault; not much work around, guv'"!

Most of the people who answer these ads are not so naive that they don't realise there is some hard work to be done before one is successful, nor will the majority of them be a success in the modelling business, but they certainly do not deserve to be ripped off by these scammers who prey on their hopes and dreams of a better life.

I most urgently ask you to please investigate these scammers and pull their ads, or at least print a warning alongside theirs, alerting people to look on the internet at www.anactor.net and www.deepwide.co.uk/modelling-scams.html and www.albamodel.info At least you could claim impartiality by allowing people to decide whether to attend the photo shoots or not. Please do not worry about legal action; these people abhor publicity like vampires do daylight!

I look forward to your soonest reply, as the scam dates are 1st & 2nd Nov. A copy of this letter will be posted on my site, to assist people in making up their own minds and to show that the EDP is alert to what is going on.

Yours sincerely,
Mike Jozefiak

Mr. Philips wrote back to say he had passed my letter on to advertising dept. for comment.

The Eastern Daily Press reply can be found at Archant Norfolk

My reply thanking Mr. Gary Attfield for his stance in refusing such ads, can be found at Archant Reply


Letter to manager of Novotel Ipswich following a photo-shoot at his hotel.



Dear Mr. Ughetto,
Thank you for your reply to my concerns about modeling scammers using hotel venues to persuade people to part with their cash. If you wanted to meet with me to discuss anything, maybe we could meet half-way, say in Norwich? My home phone number is 01263-734990.

I realise it is often difficult for hotels to spot these up-front fee scams, but I am sure you are now much better in the picture (literally too!). I too never knew this sort of thing went on, until my wife fell victim to this scam in Norwich. Could I request that in future you could stipulate that a hotel representative could attend all sessions to ensure no up-front fees were being demanded? That should cause some gnashing of teeth at the other end of the phone!!

One way to reduce the venues open to them might be if you could please mention the latest episode at your hotel, and the BBC coverage, when you next contact the general UK management team, and urge them to really scrutinise any bookings from West 1, Rondevous, Regardez, and many more such names which you will find on www.anactor.net .

These modeling scams rely on poor publicity about their practices, so it is up to us to publicise these rogues as much as possible and anything you can do to help will do their intended victims and the legitimate industry a big favour. It could be your daughter or son next!

More info about the dangers lurking in the modelling world can be found at Safemodelling.org
Alba Models (good info on rogue companies names - most scammers listed, though not exhaustive)
And a Government site


Hopefully, with your help, we can start to squeeze them out of 'business'. We would be grateful if you could please sign the Downing Street petition at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Modelling-Scams/ and to ask as many of your friends and colleagues (and their friends etc.) to do likewise. Many thanks.


Yours sincerely,


Mike Jozefiak


Letter from GM Hotels (13th March 2007) in, response to my alerting them to the operation of up-front fees modeling scams.




Dear Mr Jozefiak
Thank you for your letter dated 12 March 07 regarding the above company.

Firstly let me put your mind at rest in so far as, this Hotel will no longer accept bookings from this organisation. In doing this, I are not casting accusations of guilt at them, because I now very little of this matter. I am simply listening to Norwich people and making a considered judgment that it is in no ones interest to further upset local people by allowing Rendezvous to trade in this way on my premises.

Please understand that I, like the EDP have simply taken a booking from an organisation who wish to make use of our services as a meeting room provider. The searches that we do on such people are not generally carried out on moral grounds. This was a booking for a meeting room facility, confirmed and fully paid for and in that, Rendezvous acted quite correctly in my view.

I understand that some people, your selves included, may have been treated badly, but no one is forced to part with money ahead of a service provided. There is always the option to walk away.

If Rendezvous do approach us again, with a view to placing a booking, we will simply advise them that we do not have facilities available.

Regards Richard Holde
General Manager
Quality Hotel Norwich
Tel: 01603 741161
Fax: 01603 741500
gm@hotels-norwich.com
www.hotels-norwich.com


Letter to Managing Director of Archant Newspapers 9th Oct 2007, requesting action on modeling scams

Dear Richard,

You may or may not have see the Look East programme about a week ago on modeling scams, which showed what went on at a 'photo shoot' at the Ipswich Novotel.

These so-called free photo shoots are carried out by people who charge up-front fees, saying they will go into a register of models, and that if the prospect does not hear from two agencies within a year, they can have their money back. Sure enough, they are contacted by two more 'agencies', often run by the same people as the first lot, and with addresses in the same building. My wife was scammed by these people and when I checked with the OFT there were no such businesses registered at the addresses they gave.

BBC reporter Julian Sturdy went to the Novotel with a woman who had been conned, who spoke with prospects waiting to be photographed about her experiences. Many people left the hotel but sadly, many more were arriving. Up front fees is a scandal in the entertainment industry, recognised by parliament, but about which they have done nothing in ten years, despite many promises.

MP Mark Prisk has an Early Day Motion running to get the matter debated in parliament, again. I met with him in London earlier this year, also with anti up-front fees campaigner actor Clive Hurst (see www.anactor.net)

On the programme, Sandra Reynold Agency said "reputable agencies do not conduct free photo-shoots in hotels and bars". There are enough wanabee models coming through their doors without having to go touting for more!

These scammers often change their names, so it is difficult for hotels to spot them, however, it is much easier for newspapers, who carry their ads, to do so. They are always offering "...free photo shoots, anyone welcome, all ages considered..." (well of course they are, they want to maximise their profits!). In fact two of your papers carried the advert which brought all those hundreds of hopefuls to the Ipswich Novotel on 29th September. They were the East Anglian Daily Times and Evening Star. The scammers always choose local papers.

The good news is that since I spoke with the EDP editor about this problem, he has given me assurances that his paper will not carry any such ads, and to date I have not seen any, for which, on behalf of the unwitting public, I am truly grateful.

These rogues make many millions of pounds annually (a venue weekly somewhere, with hundreds of prospects each charged at least 180, with follow-up payments, soon adds up!).

I'm sure Archant does not condone this activity and has merely been unaware, as I have until fairly recently, that this sort of thing goes on at all. As parliament has done nothing in ten years to curb this menace, the next best way to choke off their cash flow is to prohibit their advertising.

Would you be willing to take a look at the evidence and, if you found the case against these people compelling, to place an embargo on accepting this type of easily-spotted advertising in the future? You need have no fear that you might be damaging legitimate modelling companies, because they do not operate in this fashion. Hotels too can assist by either not taking such bookings, not making phone lines available for them to plug their card machines in, or putting up notices that no cash must be paid at the venue.

Furthermore, I have started an Downing Street Petition to have up-front fees made illegal at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Modelling-Scams/ It would be a great help if you could publicise this link to make people more aware of what is going on. A petition is only as good as the publicity!

More websites of interest are:-
Safe Modelling.org run by a photographer.
The Stage News
Alba Models It has an interesting list of rogue agencies, including 'Rondevous' who scammed my wife, and 'West 1', who were at the Novotel. None of them appear in any list of reputable model agencies.

Kind regards,



Mike Jozefiak
203 Hungate Street
Aylsham
Norfolk


Fashion photographer Wolf Kettler has some excellent tips and advice on people starting out on the modeling business ladder. Take a deep breath and read How to become a Model

Tips and advice for aspiring models on a sucessful career in modelling.




DUE TO THE INACTION AND TIMIDITY OF VARIOUS GOVERNMENT REGULATORY AGENCIES, AND BOTCHED WORDING OT THE LAW ON SO-CALLED MODELING AGENCIES, THE LAW WILL NOT HELP YOU GET YOUR MONEY BACK. THE ONLY WAY IS TO FIND OUT WHERE THE ROGUES ARE NEXT APPEARING AND TO CONFRONT THEM AT THE VENUE, LOUDLY DEMANDING FOR YOUR MONEY BACK OR ELSE YOU WILL TELL EVERYONE ELSE WAITING TO SIGN CONTRACTS, THAT THEY WILL LOSE THEIR MONEY TO THIS SCAM.

CONTACT ME BY Email. OR PHONE TO FIND OUT HOW TO DO THIS.


If you have any comments or suggestions, please contact me, Mike Jozefiak, via Email.

Mike Jozefiak
203 Hungate Street
Aylsham
Norfolk
UK
01263-734990
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