Some of you will recall a blog entry about Chikita titled There’s something about a beautiful, naked woman. In that blog I told how Chikita had contacted me, upset that she was being portrayed as an escort on the website of a London-based escort service. The photos of Chikita on the site were stolen from Torrid Art. I contacted the website and the photos were removed. By the way, two years later, that website is still up and running. Some of the “escorts” are gone, some new ones have been added.
I doubt models lose much sleep over this form of “identity theft,” where photos are stolen and used as a false bill of goods. A much bigger problem, especially for beginning models, is fraud directed at the model herself, and may involve something more than money.
For example, yesterday we were contacted by a young, beginning model. She had just been contacted by a photographer who claimed to represent Torrid Art. He offered her a job modeling for him and presumably her photos would appear on Torrid Art. The model was suspicious and called our attention to this swindler.
Apparently, the “photographer” had set up a suspicious looking profile on Model Mayhem just a few days earlier and was contacting models and offering them jobs. Both the model and our producer, who handled the email exchange, contacted Model Mayhem. Within a few hours the profile was gone.
I’ve heard of two types of fraud that models need to be aware of. One goes something like this. A new, inexperienced model sets up a model profile on one of the modeling sites, like Model Mayhem or One Model Place. Soon afterward she gets an email from someone offering her a nice job, maybe a one-day gig, with good pay. The scammer sends her a check for payment in advance, and may include airfare, then asks her to send a portion of the money to someone else, maybe the makeup artist or location. Maybe they say they sent the model too much money and ask for some of it back. Well, the check the model receives is worthless, and if the model sends some of her hard-earned money to “someone else” before she finds out the check is fake, she is out of that money.
That scam isn’t just used on models, but anyone the scammers can think of, including photographers. I once received a very legitimate looking email from someone offering to fly me to their location for a very lucrative job photographing whatever. That type of con got some publicity a few years ago. I’m not sure it’s around much anymore, but it is probably still used with certain victims, like young, excited, beginning models.
Another scam that may never go out of style is the GWC, or “guy with a camera.” A GWC is a guy who is not really a legitimate, professional or aspiring photographer. He uses that ruse to see naked women up close and personal.
The GWC may claim to work for a big website or magazine. Models may be so excited about the “job” that they overlook inconsistencies in the GWC’s story.
Alternatively, the GWC claims to be a beginning, aspiring photographer who wants to collaborate with the model for “TFP.” TFP, or “trade for photos,” is a collaborative photo shoot with no money involved. The work is done in exchange for copies of the photos that both photographer and model can use to build their portfolios. When it’s done legitimately, a TFP shoot can be of great benefit to both the beginning model and photographer alike. But in the case of the GWC, the “photographer” is not interested in portfolio photos, but in seeing the model as naked as possible, and the photos are for private use only. In this case, the model does not get professional photos at all!
Getting back to the model who contacted us yesterday, I don’t know if it was a GWC scam or the money scam, but I am certain it was a scam.
So, as it always has been, and always will be, there’s something about a beautiful, naked woman. They can make good men do stupid things, and bad men do bad things.
Models and photographers: beware of scams. Models, especially young, inexperienced ones working for TFP: beware of the GWC; be-very-ware!
How to Avoid GWC Scams on Model Mayhem
How to Tell the Difference Between a Legit Photographer and a GWC (Guy With a Camera)