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Modelling? Don't give up your day job

Modelling scams are out there, preying on innocent hopefuls and those seeking that extra bit of income. If you've ever been WFH and tempted by those ads on social media, read on...

Picture this: you’re working from home, and you take a break and browse social media. An ad for a modelling agency appears as you scroll. ‘All ages and sizes accepted, no experience necessary’, says the ad, and you’re intrigued right away. Your mind winds back to that time someone showered you with the compliment: “You could be a model”. And you begin to wonder - with the ad in front of you, and with a head full of dreams - if you could still do it, if you still have it.

And let’s face it, the extra money would be nice, and all you have to do is look pretty/handsome/cool/debonair/whatever. Easy money, right?

Well maybe, if the agency is reputable that is. Because if you do believe that you can supplement your wage by using your looks, your style or whatever unique characteristic you may possess, you first of all need to use your eyes and your head to work out if this agency or company is the real deal, or whether your dream of being the face of a campaign will be shattered by fraudsters.

This blog is not suggesting all modelling ads are fraudulent. What we’re trying to get across here is that modelling scams do exist, and there are a few things to look out for if you want to pursue a route into modelling, either as an aside from your existing job or as a new direction.

Is the agency or company reputable

Reputable agencies or companies are highly selective and work to a code of ethics. If you see an ad on social media that looks too good to be true, it’s likely that it is indeed too good to be true, and what they’re offering is either not legitimate or they’re not giving you the full story. A professional company will use methods such as contacting an agency or a portfolio-hosting website. A modelling agency will only work with trustworthy companies that they have formed a relationship with. Always verify the agency's credentials and reputation.

Research, research, research

Before you commit to anything, research the agency/company. Go on their official website and social media channels; read reviews and comments, and don’t be afraid to question their motives via their official communications channels. Make sure the agency possesses a true license by checking it with your local consumer protection agency.

Advance payments

If an agency/company is asking for a payment in advance, then that should be seen as a huge red flag. Many modelling scams ask for a substantial upfront payment and then do not deliver the work.

Most legitimate agencies make money as a commission for their model's work and they include charges only after their models get intimation for work. If any agency asks for advance payments, opt out.

Provocative imagery

If an ad is asking for models to pose in a provocative way and upload these photos via a portal on a website or social media platform, decline. Once they have your photo, who knows what their intention is?

They could alter the image and present you in a way which you may be extremely uncomfortable with or embarrassed about. These shots may then be added to online sources without your permission or even knowledge. Don’t allow your photos to end up in the wrong hands.

Earn big straight away!

Sounds great, but this is another line to lure people in, and is often completely false. Top models can earn top dollar, new models generally don’t, and it can take some time and effort before the cash begins to roll in.


Don’t trust hooks like: ‘work on shoots that suit your busy lifestyle’. Even if the agency/company is true to their word and have modelling jobs available, they are unlikely to be on your doorstep.

You may be forced to travel, which may mean disrupting your day job and forking out on costly train tickets, taxi fares or fuel. Is the money they’re offering good enough to cover these costs? Is your work going to suffer by chasing this dream around the country?

Models literally don't have the flexibility to choose their working time. Hours/shoots are unpredictable, and it is never an option. Watch out for agencies/companies that promise for time flexibility.


You may find yourself being told you look gorgeous and that your "beautiful personality matches your beautiful looks" yadda yadda yadda, it's all bluster. Then, you could be asked to pay an upfront fee right away, and even if you say 'lemme think about this' you will be told 'we can't hold this space for you, we need commitment, pay now'. It's the classic 'backed into a corner', 'we want your money now' scam. Most reputable agencies do not require you to make a payment in advance, and especially not whilst you're on the line to them.


Those are just some tips to be mindful of if you’re considering topping up your bank balance with a modelling side hustle.

Breaking into the modelling industry is a childhood dream of many, but these ads, with their ‘no experience necessary’ and apparent ‘we’ll take anyone’ promise, prey not just on aspiring models but those people wanting that extra income.

The imagery they use will be of “normal-looking” people, and this may also get you thinking ‘well if they can do it, so can I’. But be cautious: they use "normal-looking" people to make you believe you can do it.

It may be very tempting to ‘give it a go’, but take heed of this advice. Don’t fall for modelling scams. You’re beautiful, you’re handsome, you have cheekbones to die for darling! But that beautiful smile will be turned upside down if you’re not careful.



Report all Fraud and Cybercrime to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online. Forward suspicious emails to Report SMS scams by forwarding the original message to 7726 (spells SPAM on the keypad).



The contents of blog posts on this website are provided for general information only and are not intended to replace specific professional advice relevant to your situation. The intention of East Midlands Cyber Resilience Centre (EMCRC) is to encourage cyber resilience by raising issues and disseminating information on the experiences and initiatives of others. Articles on the website cannot by their nature be comprehensive and may not reflect most recent legislation, practice, or application to your circumstances. EMCRC provides affordable services and Trusted Partners if you need specific support. For specific questions please contact us by email.


EMCRC does not accept any responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on information or materials published on this blog. EMCRC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites that link to this site or which are linked from it.

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