Here are some signs you might be dealing with a scam:
1. You have to use a specific photographer.
To break into the business, you need professional photos. But you should be able to choose your own photographer. An agency that requires you to use their photographers likely is a scam.
2. You have to pay a fee to them to serve as your agent before they'll do any work on your behalf.
Modeling and talent agencies get work for experienced models and actors. Some agents require that you sign up exclusively with them, while others allow you to also register with other agencies in town. Either way, legitimate agencies don’t charge you an up-front fee to serve as your agent. They get paid when you get paid.
Modeling agencies aren’t the same as modeling and acting schools. These schools claim to provide instruction — for a fee — in poise, posture, diction, skin care, make-up application, the proper walk, and more. But after you take their classes, you may be on your own, despite their promises that attending modeling school will ensure you make it as a model.
3. You’re told the opportunity could disappear if you don’t act now.
You need time to check out a company before you give them any money or personal information. If an offer is good today, it should be good tomorrow.
4. They guarantee a refund.
They may say your deposit is totally refundable. It's more likely that your deposit would be refundable only if you meet very strict refund conditions. Or, you might be told that talent experts will evaluate your chances at success in the field, accept only a few people into the program, and give refunds to anyone not selected. What they don't tell you is that the program takes virtually everyone.
5. They only accept payment in cash or by money order.
It's a sure sign that they're more interested in your money than your career.
They talk about big salaries.
Even for successful models, work can be irregular.
6. They guarantee you’ll get work.
No modeling or acting job is ever guaranteed. And depending on where you live, the market for those types of jobs may be very small.
SModels wants you to be educated and smart about modeling. We will never ask you for money and you're alway free to use your own photographer.