Dreaming of a chance to make it big as an actor, singer or model? Be very careful when responding to casting calls. Scammers are using phony audition notices to fool aspiring performers into paying to try out for parts that don’t exist.
How the Scam Works:
You see a Facebook page or stumble on to a website promoting an upcoming casting call. The show’s producers are looking for contestants/actors for a brand new TV show. You think this is your big chance!
You email your photos and resume to the email address on the website. The “producer” responds right away. He/she invites you to complete an online application and/or attend an audition… for a fee.
Here’s the catch. The show may not exist and your audition tapes will go nowhere. At best, you are out a small amount of cash. At worst, you gave personal information to scammer, who can use that to open bank accounts and credit cards in your name.
Some producers may have stars in their own eyes, but no contract or money to actually put a show on the air or on the big screen. Others may be out-and-out scam artists. There are many variations: they frequently pose as reality shows, but they also use game shows, scripted shows and movies. Sometimes they claim to be launching a brand new show and are looking for an initial cast. Other times, scammers offer fake auditions for existing shows or movies. They charge a premium, but the directors will never see your audition.
Scammers also frequently use legitimate sources to shore up their scam. They find details online about a show to make their casting calls sound real. Sometimes, they just steal old casting notices and edit the dates.
How to Spot a Scam:
Keep an eye out for the following warning signs. Some quick research will help you figure out a real opportunity from a scam.
- The business/manager asks for money: As the spokesperson for NBC put it: ”Red flag, guys. It’s not a real casting call. We’re paid to find you!” Also, don’t trust a “manager” who charges you an upfront fee. They should only be paid commission based on a percentage of the work they book you.
- Don’t trust a casting call’s claims that it is associated with a network or trusted organization: It’s easy for a scammer to assert they are affiliated with a network, production company or even BBB. Be sure to check BBB.org to see if the business really has the rating/accreditation they claim.
- Check out the production company’s website and staff: Brand new shows might not have a website yet, but be sure to visit the production company’s website to see if the show is mentioned. Also, do a search for the producers to make sure they are experienced professionals.
- Search for the name of the casting website: If it’s a scam, chances are there’s a warning about it online. Do a quick search and read comments from other aspiring actors.
For More Information
To find out more about scams, check out BBB Scam Stopper.