A few minutes ago I received an email that contained some big red flags and alerted me of a dangerous situation that all photographers and models should be aware is happening. Recently here on Fstoppers we reported on models that went missing after accepting jobs on these modeling sites. Well now I have discovered that someone is actually representing themselves as me on one of these sites and trying to setup various shoots with models. Below is what they are doing. Please share this article so we can help spread the word about this extremely dangerous situation.
It all started when I received the following email from a model who I have never met. She had received an inquiry from her listing on the site ModelLocate.com. The inquiry had asked if she was interested in a paid fashion shoot and if so to reach out to an email for more info.
"I got a message from a third party saying that you wanted to do a shoot with me and to email you at the "trevordayley26" email address for details. I did email this address and got the response email below. I was suspicious, as I always check things like this out, because the "Trevor Dayley" that responded did not fit the type of work you do. This is when I chose to contact you by your professional email address and let you know what was going on...this guy is posing as you to meet young women. This is a bit scary... "
When I read this my mouth about dropped. I was extremely concerned for models that might be thinking they are talking with me to schedule a shoot when in fact it is someone else posing as me. I had the model send me over the email they received so I could look into the situation further. You can see the full email below. But in short here is a summary of what has happened.
1. Someone has opened an email with my name followed by a number and is using that to register on these modeling sites to lure models into photo shoots posing to be me.
2. They are offering the models payment via certified check which of course stinks of a scam already. It is a popular scam to send these checks which are in fact fake. Sometimes they will even send the amount over promised with instructions to deposit the check and pull out the extra (overpaid) amount to pay someone else on the shoot or return the money. Then a few weeks later your bank discovers the check was a fake and the entire amount is withdrawn from your account leaving you losing the money you pulled think was overpayment.
3. The person is offering to pick up the models at their home address and requesting that information from them. This is of course is very dangerous for many reasons.
As a photographer I have had some great success meeting and shooting with some wonderfully talented models on some sites such as ModelMayhem.com. In fact there are a lot of these sites out there with the purpose of connecting photographers and models together for shoots. Currently because I am gearing up for wedding season I don't have any collaboration shoots on any sites. But if you use these sites here are some extremely important tips to keep in mind.
1. Always confirm you know just exactly who you are working with. If you have never met the person don't trust the picture or about me paragraphs on the profiles. Fortunately the model that reached out to me looked me up on Google and contacted me there through my site. Search Google, search Facebook, do your due diligence to make sure the person you are working with is in fact the person that is communicating with you. Send them an email through their website and Facebook page just to confirm as well.
2. Meet somewhere public and have with you an escort or two. Don't allow the photographer to know your home address or pick you up from there.
3. Don't be drawn into the trap of the promise of fame and money from the shoot. Most of these shoots are trade shoots and done entirely for fun or to practice technique. As photographers if we have a shoot for a magazine, we typically are not looking on these sites for models to fit the bill. There is usually modeling agencies that are used to fill those roles.
4. Listen to your intuition. If something doesn't sound right or seem correct. Then back out.
Most important, be smart about it and stay safe. As photographers we need to also help spread the word about this dangerous deception that is happening. After hearing about this I posted on my Facebook page warning people if they thought they had a shoot with me that it was in fact a fraud. Within 10 minutes of posting it there another model contacted me saying they received the same email from the person trying to lure these models.
Spread the word to other photographers and models and let them know that we all need to be vigilant of what is happening. Apparently from the two models that contacted me this person is trying to set up shoots on March 15th. I can't even imagine if I had not heard anything and suddenly on March 16th I have authorities knocking on my door to question me about a missing girl report. So my goal is to get the word out as much as possible. Warn those who might be communicating with this fraud and let authorities know as well. I have also reached out to the modeling site ModelLocate.com and gave them all the information I know of so they can hopefully put an end to the person's account there. But again this person could easily just take the name of someone else and do it all over again. Stay safe friends and let everyone know what is happening so we can be aware.
Here is the email that was sent to the models. As you can see not only did they use my name but also my location and some personal information to try and deceive the models.
"Thank you for your email. My name is Trevor Dayley; a freelance photographer, graphic and advertisement personnel from Phoenix, Arizona. And, I will be handling this upcoming glamor style/beauty products shoot AD notice you replied. I have worked with various agents, companies and managers across U.S and abroad and most recently with the British crew on the Olympic 2012 London opening and closing ceremony. Also a just completed shoot for ”People magazine" cover collections for the yuletide season, it was a huge success. And next on our schedule is the glamor style/Beauty products shoot AD you applied for. We are looking forward to producing a magazine cover and its necessary photographic edition to portray the true picture of a new Beauty Magazine for the new year beauty products; first of its kind, informative, factual and ethical on the cutting edge. All Photo shoot will be used on a glamor beauty product magazine on the watch to display the best beauty product that are in vogue and recommended for the New Year period through April 2013 by various beauty product manufacturers and makeup specialist. Hence, you are to portray a photographic character to display these beauty products on several photo shoot session for the commercial credibility of these product.
DATE/SHOOTING DURATION & LOCATION. *Date: Fri. 15th March 2013 at exactly 10:00am running through 5:00pm. (Sat. 16th March 2013 is considerable if only Friday is not convenient for you).
*Location/Venue: The project manager will book a studio at a suitable location for you where the shoot will take place and i will email you with details of the studio before the date. Arrangement will be made to pick you up at your house so transportation will not be necessary for you and your escort if you are willing to come with one as you may wish.
COMPENSATION; all selected model are entitled to our standard shoot rate as slated and endorsed for this shoot i.e. $125 per hour, a total duration of 7 hours. Be informed that an advanced deposit sum of $350.00 would be issued to you via a certified/valid Check as designed by our policy to Pre-endorse and engaged all hired models against the shoot. Hereafter, your balance would be paid to you at the completion of the shoot.
WARDROBE & PAYMENT SESSION; *** Please be informed that all makeup items would be provided to you at the shooting location,except for your attire (wardrobe), which will be sent to you from our fashion section. You are to send your measurement statistics to us so we can pass all request for your wardrobe to a glamor fashion store for your attires to ensure everything is ready prior to the date of shoot. Please be informed that you re not responsible to pay for your wardrobe. The funds will be mailed to you in one payment alongside with that of your advance payment and instruction on how to send the payment to the glamor fashion store will be provided to you soon as your wardrobe is ready.
Kindly fill the "Sign up" below if available.
* Full Name:
* Residence address: (Not Po. Box)
* City/state/zip code:
* Direct Mobile phone number:
* Direct home phone number:
* Daily access email address:
A model release form will be provided to you at the studio which will have to be filled and signed before shooting commences. We look forward to working with you soon. Please be prompt at checking and responding to your email, for we neither welcome nor appreciates late response. Look forward to your email with signup details as outlined above.
Freelance & Project Manager,
Phoenix, AZ. USA
Wow, crazy! Thanks for posting this article!
Some model have contact me they have seen guy have my photos on there facebook pages! ^^
Thats crazy, luckily it sounds as though you may have hopefully caught it before anything serious happened.. lets hope!!
Make sure to keep all proof of these spoof e-mails in case something does happen to a model and they go to Police telling them it was a Trevor Dayley they were speaking to!
OMG I'm just blown away by how messed up this is...Trevor, thanks very much for such a thorough post about the situation and for getting the word out there. This is really a terrible development for everybody in photography.
I don't want to derail the topic of the thread, but honestly believe that photographers and models should only work together through reputable brick-n-mortar agencies. I know that a lot of people don't want to hear that, but unfortunately I can't think of any other way to deal with sorting out real photographers (and models for that matter) from fakes on the internet.
Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?
Horrible. I was thinking about the other recent article about missing models the other day. I'm guessing as pro photographers with expensive equipment you could also be the one targeted. Crazy world we live in.
This is completely f*cking crazy. Thanks for the heads up Trevor. This person needs to get put on blast, and tracked down ASAP.
You can so tell that this is fake just due to the improper use of the English language.
You and the model should send ALL the info you have to the police!!! People luring victims in these methods obviously have something in mind, maybe even something beyond theft or creepyness but maybe something much worse like rape or murder. Just saying, maybe it's worth notifying the police, you never know who's behind stuff like this.
Hi BDWT, yeah the police have been contacted and it has been referred over to the FBI.
They're grabbing all the info and a signature to use for more identity theft I'm guessing. So bad.
What a creep, has this been reported to the police?
Yeah it was reported to the police and escalated up to the FBI.
As a lawyer (I'm also a part time photographer), I've seen these scams directed towards attorneys as well. This is what happens: an email arrives from someone claiming to have a large breach of contract action for the attorney to handle and asks the lawyer how much is his fee retainer. A fake certified check is then sent to the attorney and deposited in the client trust account. The scammer then says there's some sort of emergency and needs the money back (or part of it) in hopes the attorney will cut a check and send it to the scammer. The scammer then cashes the check leaving the attorney to deal with a bounced check (it's fake after all) and the State Bar. I know there's not a lot of love out there for attorneys but I just wanted to pass this along to let people know these scammers are hitting all types of professionals.
Very similar to what I received sometime ago from someone, but in my case it was for a job as a photographer. When I tried to get more detailed information, they guy never gave any details and never agreed on meeting personally. See attached image.
You should have kept it low and baited this guy with a picture of a super-hot girl and had the cops waiting for him when he would show up. Chances are good now you're never going to get this guy.
I agree with BDWT, you really ought to get the police involved. Someone could get really hurt and this whole thing could get really ugly really fast.
Hi Joseph, yeah the police and the FBI have been both been notified.
As part of your due diligence, you could probably find your fake profiles on modelmayhem et al and alert them to this if you haven't done this already. I'm sorry this happened to you, Trevor.
Hi Jason, I have done some searching and have notified the companies where problems have been found. I have yet to hear back from them. But it has been reported as well to authorities.
But since it is a kind of identity theft and people might get hurt by these scamers (e.g. models kidnapped or something like this), then I think getting the police involved is mandatory, not at all optional.
They should pretend they're a model and catch him (them) red handed.
For some reason, it reminded me of the psycho stalker from One Tree Hill. Thanks for spreading the word.
Don't panic. It is typical "African scam". There are many versions but typically they just collect IDs and sell it as a batch to "hackers" in eastern Europe and Russia. And they live in Africa ;) I got in touch with one when I was selling lens on craigslist.
For models: just use common sense. This industry isn't nice, never was and probably won't be. Photographer doesn't advertise himself to the model. He makes casting calls via agencies.
It sucks they are using real names...
This is very scary, thanks for the share. I also feel like this could be both ways. That's why I either ask my model/client to meet me at a place we both know, or to have them bring someone. (That way, they feel safer, aren't as bored, and I can pay attention to my equipment without being scared of being mugged)
I remember once almost the same situation happened with me, one time I used to offer photography lessons, somebody contacted me and asked to teach his son, but he would come with the nanny. They offered me a pretty good pile of cash plus I had to give some to their nanny (she had to come with son). I almost agreed when I got almost the same e-mail from the different person with a slightly different situation. So guys watch out!
Thanks for sharing, hope you were able to stop this guy from continuing to use your identity. Do you mind if I share this on my blog?
For sure Elsa. You are welcome to share it.
Call your local FBI branch and clue them in...
May need to contact the FBI on this matter.