With spending in flux this holiday season, we need to address scams. Scams in our industry are REAL and can strike when least suspecting. Your hard-earned year-end surplus deserves to stay where it belongs and utilized to YOUR choosing.
One of our members, photographer Ron Hutchinson, fell victim to such extortion in the guise of a lucrative photography gig. We wanted to take the time to relay his account and outline some red flags to be on the watch for so this kind of deception doesn’t strike twice.
Ron was contacted by a prospect named Paul Brownell, claiming to be the North American Editor of HypeBeast producing a photo shoot. The outreach looked official, Brownell used all the right language and the contract felt legit.
Ron received the request to pay the 50% deposit to the agent for the hair, makeup and model fees. This was when Ron started to feel slightly uneasy. But after talking with other photographers and editors, they all agreed that the photographer paying those fees directly to the agent is something that is common practice. So he continued to move forward with the job, reservations aside.
After paying the agent the solicited fees, the deal went sour. The compensation check bounced and Ron was out $3,647.
Here are the red flags to be wary of before excitement hits when first communicating with a prospect who “found your portfolio online”:
Be vigilant, ask questions and never pay anything out of pocket.
Hopefully, this unfortunate adage can save the next person from falling victim to an industry-specific scam.
Lindsay has been with Agency Access for four years. After a transition from Campaign Manager where she managed multiple client campaigns, she found her home as Marketing Manager. She enjoys working in the creative world and bringing her Public Relations background to the forefront.
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