Warning: predators using legit photog websites to meetup w/ models
Well it just happened to me.
I was in Santa Fe when I get this call on my cellphone: "I saw your ad and are you still looking for models?" I respond: "I haven't placed any ad" and we chatted for a few moments and I thought that was that.
A few days later I get an email inquiring about my ad. Once again I mention to the model that while, yes I am a professional photographer and that yes I have hired models in the past, I definitely had not placed any ad recently anywhere. She mentions she saw it on Craig's List.
Well I search Craig's List but I don't see anything. So I think it is a fluke.
Get another email mentioning Craig's list. So I send a complaint email to Craig's List mentioning that someone is impersonating me, but I never hear back from them.
A few days later I get yet another email from another (rather cute) model. Same thing. However this one had the ad number. So I email Craig's List to complain once again, this time mentioning the ad number and this time they show me the ad.
Here's what the ad said:
[COLOR=Blue]So I respond to Craig's list that yes, this person was impersonating me and would they investigate and remove the ad. Well they removed the ad (I seriously doubt they did much in the way of "investigating") but it occurs to me that anyone on this or any other list could just as easily be scammed.
<link to the poster of the ad>
Females models needed ages 18-40. $150 - $500 a shoot
Experience Professional Photographer looking to establish himself in a new genre seeks female models of all types. Candidates will be asked to wear various outfits/costumes throughout the shoot. Extra compensation will be made for models who bring their own ideas, costumes and energy to the shoot.
Interested candidates shoot reply by email with self description and photograph, if desired.
Possible film work to follow.
<link to my flickr stream>[/COLOR]
So I would suggest that you regularly google the links to your own online galleries and see if any of the results returned by google look suspicious. I only wonder how many models emailed this creep directly before being shut down...
J Michael Sullivan
...SOMETIMES I SEE THINGS...
If I were you - I would have responded to the ad and included pictures of a fetching model - and made an attempt to meet up with the creep, perhaps with a law enforcement officer in tow, and give them a piece of your mind.
I like that idea. The sad part is that the scam executed by the "creep" has further eroded the trust in legitimate photographers. Last year I was updating my portfolio for my wedding photography business. I was looking to create well executed images of models that reflected my particular style of shooting. I purchased all the props for the pictures including several wedding dresses in different styles. I have plenty of client photos that I use as samples, but I wanted to create my own images in my own style. Not only did I need an updated wedding album sample, but I needed images for my brochures and an upcoming magazine ad.
Originally Posted by Sparky
I attempted to locate models (paid and TFP) through several online model search sites like OMP (hoping to get natural looking models, not the overmade clones of a local modeling agency). What a dissapointing disaster! I had many responses and ALL of them resulted in no shows. Several even had planned shoots with me for several weeks prior to the shoot. I was not able to find a single model to pose in a wedding dress no matter what or how much I offered. Yet, I saw many other photographers who were seeking models for nude, erotic, or sleazy shots and appeared to be very successfull at getting models.
My guess is that the so called models were either strippers looking for a second gig, or they were probably law enforcement officers posing to be models and when they found out that I was not a pornographer, they lost interest and did not show up.
My other guess is that maybe the models thought I was some creep (even though I was very specific about non nude shots and highly recommended shaperones on shoots). After all, there were many creeps posing as photographers. Unfortunately I was unable to create that portfolio I had in mind and have had to rely on purchasing stock photos for my advertisements. This is the price many of us legitamite photographers have had to pay thanks to a few ruthless perverts out there.
I'm not sure I get it; did the ad have your email in it, or the scammer's? If yours, then how is the scammer getting in contact with the models? If the scammer's email is in the ad, then how did the models get in touch with you?
Originally Posted by MAGNAchrom
My confusion notwithstanding, I'm glad you got the ad removed, at least.
I don't get it either. Why would they put your number and email in the ad if they were hoping to meet the girls themselves?
Maybe the person is not looking to meet models (and if they were how can we assume it's for something "bad" and how can we call them "predators" if we don't know what they really want?) but is instead trying to bother or harass you with the ad?
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Hmmm...interesting thread. Where do I start?
MAGNAchrom, I feel your pain. Take it a bit as flattery, but still, I wouldn't want anyone impersonating me. No matter what. Craig List is such an unmoderated sinkhole of crap.
snergon, I also feel your pain. I was a bit taken aback about your comment regarding the agency. I personally prefer agency model over internet models. In fact 90% of the models I shoot are agency tests, or the model just likes to shoot with me, so she calls me up.
Now I have shot models in Toronto, Montreal, London, Prague, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego and Los Angeles and most of them were agency models because they are reliable. Even though I have a network of internet models, I find with them, you have to get references before you can book them and have confidence they show. I always get references from fellow photographers in the city I am shooting wrt internet models. It would be a huge waste of time and energy for me, my MUA and often a stylist and assistant if I got a no show.
Another good source of models is fellow photographers. I would often get model references from them and I haven't been burned yet from that route or the agency route. I have once via the internet route but I also book 2-3 models so a no show is no issue for me. And if all 3 show up one's in make up, one's in hair/styling and one's with me on the set.
My wife's organization is a not-for-profit organization that assists youths and immigrants who wish to improve their training and employability. They got scammed like this by a for profit agency that posted an ad, saying that they were assisting my wife's organization in filling a job vacancy. The ad referred prospective applicant's to the website offered by my wife's organization for information, but told them to contact the agency to apply for the job. The ad expressly said not to contact my wife's organization.
Originally Posted by eddym
Then everybody who sent in a resume got advised that they were not a successful applicant but if they wished to join one of the agency's programs (for a hefty fee) they would soon learn how to find the job of their dreams.
In this case, the connection to the real photographer's website implies legitimacy, but I would bet thousands that the Craigslist ad gives different contact information.
With a Craig's List ad, the "main" link in the ad is to a hidden email account managed by Craig's List. If you click it, your email client launches and the email "to" field is something like: "Ad_123456789@craigslist.com". Thus you don't know who you are contacting. (this is a feature of Craig's List allowing annonymity)
Originally Posted by eddym
This way, the scammer can pick and choose which responses he/she responds to. (as you can imagine, this is ideal for personals).
So how to attract responses? Make the ad as authorative and as convincing as possible. So if you are a schmuck the easy way is to "steal" someone else's online content. Especially if you believe that possible respondees won't bother to "drill down" to find out if this online stuff is for real. This is why sites like flickr are easy pickings: you have to work to contact the owner of the page. Fortunately, the models that contacted me were suspicious, but after reviewing both my flickr stream as well as my real site, they had the wherewithall to contact me using my published email, rather than contact them via the hidden craig's list email.
Given the creepy nature of Craig's List, my hunch is that this guy was some sort of pervert, rather than someone who went out of the way to make me answer a few emails to some pretty girls.
J Michael Sullivan
...SOMETIMES I SEE THINGS...
Clearly a form of identity theft and very disturbing for legit photographers and models.
Sorry for your troubles...I know this doesn't help, but as I quickly scanned my unread threads, I read the title of this thread as:
"Warning: moderators using legit photog websites to meetup w/ models"