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scam warning signDo you think your child could be a model or an actor? If a talent scout says they’ve got a future in the business, you might be excited and flattered.

But look out- you could be the target of a modeling scam.

We don’t want to sound discouraging. We just want to give people a good set of rules they can use to separate the scam artists from the legitimate talent scouts.

Often, what you think a job interview with a modeling or talent agency is really a high-pressure sales pitch for modeling or acting classes, screen tests, or photo shoots that can range in price from several hundred to several thousand dollars. It sounds legitimate, but the goal is really to get you to spend money – not to give you an opportunity to make money.

It’s important that you know how to spot a scam agency, so you and your family don’t get taken for a ride. In this blog post, we explain how to take the right steps to protect you and your child when going through the modeling process.

Signs of a Scam

You have to use a specific photographer. It’s a no-brainer that you’ll need professional photos taken, but you have the ability to choose a photographer at a price that’s right for you. If an agency insists you need to use their photographer, it’s a good sign you’re dealing with a scam.

The market for child models and actors is actually small, and since children’s looks can change quickly, legitimate agents, agencies, and directors will probably ask for casual snapshots and not professional photos. If someone is trying to steer you to professional photots, they may be getting a kickback from the photographer. 

They request payment upfront. Serious modeling agencies do not charge you an up-front fee. They get paid when you get paid. And if the agency says they only accept payment by cash or money order, that’s a double whammy sign of a scam. They’re more interested in getting cash in hand than they are developing your career, which is not a good investment on your part.

You’re told the opportunity could disappear if you don’t act now. Always take the time to research a modeling agency and all of your options. No legitimate company, modeling or otherwise, should ever pressure you into taking quick action. If they do, run in the other direction! They are probably not legitimate.

They guarantee work and big pay. Modeling and acting careers are just not a sure thing. It’s the nature of the business! Many people believe they’ve got what it takes to make it, and if that’s you or your child – great! But an agency has no way to follow through on big promises. If they sound too good to be true – they probably are. 

Do Your Research

Check its reputation online. Try searching for the company’s name with words like “scam,” “rip-off,” or “complaint.”

Make sure they’re licensed and bonded. This information is easy to confirm with your local consumer protection agency or your state Attorney General.

Get references. Ask for the names, addresses, and phone numbers of models and actors who have gotten work — recently — based on the company’s training. In some cases, companies have put up pictures on the walls of successful models they didn’t actually represent. If an agency says it has placed models and actors in specific jobs, contact that company to verify that they’ve hired models and actors from the agency.

Get everything in writing. Contract, promises, payments, correspondence, meetings, expenses. Document everything and keep these records in a safe place.


An opportunity for child modeling can be glamorous and exciting, but it’s important to keep yourself and your child away from people who are looking to make a quick buck. If you aren’t sure if you’re being scammed, do your research and enlist a professional to review any contract they may provide you. If you think you need a contract reviewed, feel free to give us a call and schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!

Next Steps

Want to know more? Discover what you need to know about Maryland law. Click here to see our Free Legal Consumer Guides and get answers to your questions today. Know your options. Be informed. Protect yourself.

Need an attorney? Please contact us for a consultation today if you need an experienced lawyer in Waldorf and Lexington Park for your legal case.

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