The annual Academy Awards is a popular time of year for con-men to turn up the volume on modeling and talent agency scams, warns the San Diego Better Business Bureau (BBB). Scamsters will fuel dreams of strolling down the red carpet and promises of stardom while they steal thousands of dollars in up-front fees for acting lessons, consultation, photography or video services that result in nothing for the aspiring celebrity except an empty bank account.
The BBB recommends caution when you hear the smooth-talking, name-dropping stranger say, “You’re just what we’re looking for,” or “You’ve got what it takes to be rich and famous.” Also, be aware that up-front money for registration, consultation or administrative fees, including insistence on a check or cash deposit for audition tapes or photography, can be the red-flag characteristic that distinguishes a legitimate talent agency from a phony one. Legitimate agents in the entertainment industry work on a commission. They don’t get paid any money unless and until you get paid for doing the work they have obtained for you.
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