Models Beware Fake Agency Skype Scams

It is every parent’s nightmare. Their daughter is lured into having nude photos taken by a scam artist who then threatens her. It should be the nightmare of every model as well.

Skype Danger Caution by CourageGroup.com

Illustration by Ray Gordon

Recently, a modeling site posted this alert to their models on their private profile portals:

We have been notified from users, receiving messages from false agencies/businesses. Please be wary of who you talk too (sic), potential scams and false agencies.  We have disabled user messaging.

Here is how to avoid it:
Promises that sound like your dream come true of a modeling opportunity should be taken with a grain of salt.
If someone requests a Skype webcam interview with you:
1. Find out about the company and the person approaching you.
Make sure the person actually works for the modeling agency they claim to work for.
Does the modeling agency have an About page and list executives (lots of sketchy modeling sites out there). The less information you are able to gather, the more careful you need to be in agreeing to a Skype interview.
2. Take a screenshot of the person interviewing you.
3. If they say they their microphone is not working and all correspondence will be typed not spoken, be suspicious.
4. Keep records of all Skype messages from them.

Be aware that strangers can capture both photos and video of you during a Skype interview.

Scammers and bullies thrive on Skype where fake accounts are extremely easy to maintain.

How to avoid getting blackmailed through access to your Facebook

In this particular scenario, the scammer threatened the naive young model with proof that he had a list of her Facebook friends and a photo of her mother. This happened because she had recently accepted several friends without looking at them closely.

DO NOT accept friendships from people you do not know on Facebook.

The fact that they have mutual friends is proof of nothing. Your mutual friend could have been lax. There were two fake accounts in her “recently added” Facebook Friends group. One of them belonged to him. Fake accounts used by men can appear as fellow female model profiles as well. Be suspicious. Even if you have your Facebook set to post to “friends” only, your friends can scrape your full friend list, unless you close that availability to them.

How To Close Availability of Your Facebook Friend List.

How to edit privacy of friends on Facebook

Go to “friends” on the left column of your Facebook when you are in profile mode.
Click on the pencil you will find if you hover at the top right of your friends box.
Click “Manage”
Select “edit privacy”
Select privacy for exposure of your friend list to only you, a friend list, or custom.

Even if you have closed your friend list, if you have made a mistake by friending the wrong person, they can still see enough on your Timeline to scare you by sending you photos you have posted and mentioning names of your friends.

NOTE: It is important to realize that even if you post only to friends, on your past and future Timeline, Facebook will still expose updates you make to your profile picture or cover photo, along with any likes and comments you get for those posts. So if you are nervous about people you don’t know seeing who your friends are on your profile, then you should hide these posts from your Timeline. Just hover over the top right of that post and you’ll see a downward triangle. Click on that and one of the choices you will get will be to “hide from timeline”. Note then even your friends won’t be able to see it which is kind of sad because all those likes and nice comments about your new photo are a pleasure to see. But until Facebook recognizes this as a privacy glitch and fixes it so that updates to your profile and cover photos post only to friends, there you are.

In other cases, this Skype Video Chat scam has happened to people who were hacked on Facebook. Keep your Facebook secure with difficult passwords and heightened security for attempts to log in from other devices.

Both men and women have been victims of Skype scams. Please be very careful.

The following 2 million+ views video is in Spanish but it is quite easy to follow and does a good job at making you realize you should never allow yourself to be lured into taking your clothes off during a video chat with a stranger. You can turn off the sound, it’s just music that doesn’t add anything.

Update:
Beware Snapchat and FaceTime nudity. Anything can be recorded. Sexploitation case reported October 2015. Note that while women can be threatened with exposure of the images they have shared, men are vulnerable too. Men can be blackmailed for interacting with under-age girls online (usually not knowing they are underage at the time).
This October sexploitation case in Pennsylvania is what Michael Beckett called “revenge porn” in the comments. Relationships can end. Strangers are the worst people to share nude images with online. But people you know and trust can be dangerous in the future. Don’t give them porn to hurt you with.

About Linda Sherman

International, multicultural marketing pro, Linda brings a distinguished background of international subsidiary CEO/CMO to her Social Marketing expertise. These include CEO Club Med Japan, Barilla Japan and CMO Wal-Mart Japan. Linda Sherman has been featured and quoted in Forbes, The New York Times, Christian Monitor and other leading publications. She devised and implemented an innovative guerrilla-marketing plan for ZIMA in Japan that produced a lasting, profitable success. Linda has hands-on technical skills in building and search optimizing WordPress websites and an influential on-line presence. Linda teaches social marketing for business at the University of Hawaii. Her company, The Courage Group, provides websites, digital film, branding and social marketing strategy and training.

Connect with Linda Sherman on Google+

Comments

  1. This is similar to the more severe breach of trust involved in ‘revenge porn’ where someone you formally had a relationship with maliciously uses material from the relationship against you.

  2. You have a good point Mike. Strangers are more likely to be after financial reward but in either case it is a terrible invasion.

  3. This is very true. Many fake agencies now giving false promises to young aspiring models and sad to say but many young models fall for it. Also even those legitimate agencies abuse young models by asking them to pose nude even they know that it’s against their right they can’t do anything about it, if they decline them, it could also mean a career suicide.

  4. Very awesome page… thank you !!!!!!

  5. SarahLight Thank you Sarah

  6. BrunetteJJ says:

    I need help, someone tricked me into a Skype session and had me pose almost nude and in provacitive poses. And it happened 3 months ago, I’m only 16. I don’t know what to do and it’s eating me up from the inside. Please help me

  7. BrunetteJJ Thank you for sharing that. It helps others. 

    If the threat was to destroy your reputation, google your name and see if they have actually done anything.

    If they sent you any photos to show you that they have them, you can search for the photos to see if they are online using the steps I give here: http://boomertechtalk.com/attribution-for-photographs-and-images/

    If they got you through Facebook be sure to remove any friends that you don’t really know who they are.

    If you don’t find anything online, consider it a life lesson and please try to move on. 

    See if you can get to a psychological counselor for the stress you are going through. Your high school should be able to help you with that. Ask first but I believe whatever you tell them should be held in confidence. Your parents could help you get to a counselor but ….

    You may not want to tell your parents – it depends how they will handle it. You can be the judge of that.

  8. QuintonSmith says:

    This just happened to me last night I think I’m 23 and they said it was for lane bryant young and fun line up and even had me set up a Skype account but they did not show me there face they just typed everything help

Speak Your Mind

*