Modeling Scam Alert Update: They're Getting Smarter" to get caught up on what this latest update is all about.)
For the past two months I've been playing along with a modeling scam that has been a bit more "sophisticated" (I'm using that word VERY loosely) compared to the modeling scams I've come across in the past.
I realized that since these scammers are getting a bit smarter, it was even more important that I string them along to see what their operation was all about and hopefully get them shut down.
After a lot of back and forth emails and a supposed "Model Release Form," claiming they'll be hiring me for a photoshoot for a well known designer, a money order containing my "upfront/advanced payment" for my services arrived in the mail. I have no banking experience but I could tell right away that the money order from Citibank was a fake--heck, even a monkey could tell!
Not only did the money order itself look anything but official, the amount was wrong. According to the email the scammer sent, I was supposed to be paid $2,000 and the money order was in the amount of $4,000.
I'll say this again, my dear readers: NO LEGIT CLIENT IN THE MODELING INDUSTRY WOULD EVER SEND THIS AMOUNT OF MONEY UPFRONT TO ANY MODEL THEY HAVEN'T EVEN MET BEFORE!!! (Sorry for the yelling...I couldn't help myself.)
The first thing I did was go to the nearest Citibank in my area and asked to speak with the manager. I showed her the money order and the brief letter from the scammer that come with it. I also filled her in on the scam and how it operates. After speaking with her other supervisors, I was told they would be submitting the fake money order and letter to their investigations department so that an official inquiry could be made.
They thanked me profusely for reporting it and for being smart enough to not actually try and cash the money order. We sat around and laughed at the money order itself for a few minutes because of how ridiculous it was that anyone would think the piece of paper they sent me could be passed off as authentic.
The scammers have been emailing and calling me to find out whether or not I got the money because--and I quote: "We want to make sure the funds got to you safely and aren't in the wrong hands." Can you believe that garbage? These people have no conscience! I ignored the emails and sent them to voicemail. I thought about telling them that the money order was certified as being fake by the bank but I decided against it.
Now that an investigation is underway, the last thing I want to do is scare them off and make it more difficult for the authorities to locate these creeps. They've since stopped contacting me for now...I hope that they're under the impression that I'm no longer interested and will leave me alone and resume their operations using the same names and contact info so that the authorities will be able to track them down.
So I did my part and I hope the end results are that these guys get shut down and get the proper punishment they deserve. It may be a long shot but one can hope.
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