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Florida Modeling Scams

NOTE 12/06/16/0543 - Please note that, as of December 6, 2016, that this scam section of this classic legacy Florida Models web site is being heavily edited.
We will be removing content and editing other content. We will also be removing links in preparation to archive this section, because we will no longer be updating this section and cannot maintain the integrity of the reference links.
Although we are not responsible for what was published on this web site before we took it over on September 27, 2012, we are also not comfortable with anyone being named on here, especially when the links supporting the information are no longer working. As a result, we are going to be removing content. That said, again, we assume no liability, as we did not write or publish this content.
This modeling scam section is so outdated that it is no longer useful, in our opinion.
This is in preparation for the launch of the new Florida Models web site, which will be built over this legacy web site. The new Florida Model web site will launch with a state of the art modeling scam analysis database and countermeasure system which is brand new for 2017, and it is a result of 10 years of development and testing. It is, literally, four generations ahead and 20 years more advanced than what is on here now, as well as over 100 times more effective. - 12/06/16/0543

At the time of this writing, it is December 7, 2016, just over 15 years since the Independent Modeling program was launched on September 4, 2001.
The more things change, the more that they stay the same.
Sure, what people have been conditioned to think has changed, and technology is now here to make it easier to give everyone a voice, whether they have earned the right to have a voice or not, but the old computer axiom “garbage in, garbage out” is especially true, as social media has become technologically enabled mass ignorance, and has given rise, and enabled, a faux modeling industry, as well as a faux photography industry, both counterfeit industries which exist outside of the real industries, and don’t work nearly as well as the real deal, if at all.
In 2007, work on our next-generation talent resource web site began. In 2008, the economy crashed, and most people panicked and stopped spending money on anything that they did not see as a necessity. Social media, which was never a new idea, was already well underway, especially with sites like Myspace, but an environment was forming in 2008 which caused an environment to emerge which undermined professional standards.
Facebook was easier to use than Myspace and it became more popular. Apple launched a touch screen based, slate-form cell phone, the iPhone, and other phone manufacturers copied what they did, leading to the rise of a smart phone revolution where they got the phones to be more like portable computers and data processing devices than phones (and they tried to shoehorn video games onto those devices, too, which did not work that well because smart phones were never optimized for gaming, the limiting factor being the touch screen standard for “controls”, but this is a modeling resource site, and not a gaming site. Go to Frontier Pop for that). Also, a lot of people found themselves to be unemployed, and wanted to start a business in an field that they thought would be easy, which turned out to be photography, as digital cameras became a standard on smart phones, stand-alone digital cameras became inexpensive, and digital SLR’s became less expensive, fully phasing out film cameras. As a result, everyone began to think that they were a photographer, naming their (usually unlicensed) business after themselves, and the saturation of digital cameras led to the rise of the mind set where every attractive person thought that they were a model.
With no limits on photography, social media easier to use than making a web site, smart phones enabling online access to social media 24/7, perceived popularity with social media creating peer credibility, and an economy where everything was treated as discounted and disposable, and no one wanted to pay for anything, it was a perfect storm which led to fake industries and markets. Professional standards went out the window, and the ignorant masses took over.
Or, so they thought.
Eventually, the social media environment, where no one really knew that they were doing because they did not bother to learn about anything and they did what everyone else did, became saturated and noisy.
Traditional photography, professional modeling, and web sites became more important than ever, because most people did not go that route, and all of the chaos from the amateurs gave new credibility to the real professionals.
Other things happened, too. Around 2007, with the economy tanking, some people began starting event and fashion businesses where pretension and exploiting others became the standard. They started producing fashion shows in markets that did not have a fashion scene to support it, using the guise of doing it for charity as a reason for models to be exploited as free labor while the organizers made money off of their backs. Worse, still, these types of “businesses” fed into modeling job scams, as photo mill modeling scams began marketing modeling jobs at fashion shows as a way to bait models in so that they could sell them classes and services.
Speaking of jobs, around 2008, when the economy tanked, people were losing their jobs and jobs were hard to find. Modeling jobs even became scarce, and the phones quit ringing at many talent agencies, leading those agencies to make money in way that were prohibited by state law, such as selling models modeling portfolios or referring them to “preferred” photographers, photographers whom split fees with the agencies, which was also against the law.
Of course, perceptions about jobs and how to get jobs worked in the agency’s favor in the long run, as the economy improved. With people desperate to get work, any work, they started turning to things such as temp agencies and talent agencies to get their next quick gig. This served to give talent agencies more credibility, and prolonged their life in the industry.
Then we have the amateurs getting into things for the wrong reasons. People started using social media to network with like-minded people, and insecurity and ego drove them to start exploiting each other, passing off exploitation as “art”. Some of this “art” destroyed the marketability of many models, and left them unable to compete with real models who did not make their mistakes. Perverts and degenerates flocked to photography, too, and they hurt models as they convinced them to take their clothes off.
Of course, the perverts and degenerates calling themselves photographers and models are going to find out the hard way that their work will define and hang them, and that they won’t be able to compete with the real professionals (in this business, you have to think with the right head). What concerns us, however, are the aspiring models who end their careers before they have a chance to begin because of working with these con artists.
As the perfect storm gelled and solidified, an ecosystem of amateurs misrepresenting themselves as professionals began to form, where no one really made any money but everyone pretended to be successful.
Modeling scams became a monster, fueled and enabled by social media and by millions of ignorant fools.
We are sorry, however. We will not accept or tolerate this garbage in our market, and in our industry.
Enough of that intro, however, as we have a feeling that everyone knows what the score is.
The thing is, that, although some things have changed, that modeling scams themselves haven’t changed all that much over the years. It’s just a lot more of the same.
Fortunately, scam-fighting tools and tactics have improved dramatically, as we never stopped studying what was going on and never stopped developing and testing new tools and tactics.
You won’t find any next-generation talent resource site scam-fighting tools and tactics on this page, being on the emulated legacy Florida Models site, but you will find some current information which will be useful (the next-generation tools will be on the new Florida Models site, which you will be able to access from here once the site is up in 2017).
Yesterday, we stripped the named scam content from the scam section

If you know of a modeling scam that Florida Models should know about, contact us.

Please note: only accredited sources will be posted.
The information posted below is not verified by Florida Models. Florida Models is not responsible for what other people feel, think or say. The scam information is provided to you as links to other web resources. We have nothing to do with what other organizations publish. Whenever possible, you should check with the source linked below to verify the accuracy of any complaints.

Tampa Bay Modeling Modeling Scam Definition Database
Contains model scam activity patterns, scam countermeasures, and scam fighting tactics for the professional model.

Florida Talent Agency Laws | Help for Scam Victims


If You've Got The Look, Look Out! Avoiding Modeling Scams Facts for consumers from the Federal Trade Commission: If you've think you've been scammed by a bogus model or talent scout, contact your local consumer protection agency, state Attorney General, or Better Business Bureau. They're in your local directory assistance.

In Florida: The Division of Regulation is responsible for enforcement of professions and related businesses licensed by DBPR under the Division of Professions to ensure that the laws, rules and standards set by the legislature are followed. To file a complaint (against a talent agency) visit MyFloridaLicense.com

Select from the list of the scams in the contents box below to view details (Taken offline on 12/06/16).

Florida Modeling Scams


Department of Business and Professional Regulation
  • Unlicensed Search FL
    Select the county (such as Dade) and Office of Talent Agencies (next to Board) to search that area for individuals and companies operating without a talent license.
  • Licensed Search FL
    Select Search by License Type. In License Category select Talent Agents, License Type select Talent Agency, then select only the county for a list of licensed talent agencies in that area.
  • File a Complaint
    Select Talent Agents, and follow the instructions to fill out, print and mail the complaint and supporting documentation.

  • Florida Laws and Info:
    If you take the time to learn the laws, you'll be better equipped to avoid potential scams. The state licensing board has specific laws governing the conduct of talent agencies. Commercial agencies that are SAG-franchised also have rules they must follow, or be in violation of the Screen Actor's Guild code of conduct. Of course, there are always photographers, managers and other unscrupulous people that exist in the world, and on the Net. Although model searches and modeling/charm schools can be helpful, depending on one's circumstances, they are not necessary to enter the modeling profession. Fashion modeling agencies usually like to see a couple snapshots of potential models - it is never a requirement to have professional pictures or a portfolio. Commercial modeling agencies like to see comp cards, but also do not require a portfolio. If you are unsure what an agency would like to see for consideration, you can phone them and ask. Although usually quite busy, they are used to answering questions from those looking to get into the modeling industry, and are often very helpful. Please remember: an agent takes a percentage (usually 10-20%) off of work they book for you. You do not pay them to find you work. If an agency tells you that you need to pay a "registration fee," that is illegal in FL. They also cannot require you to subscribe to, purchase, or attend any publication, postcard service, advertisement, resume service, photography service, school, acting school, workshop, acting workshop, or buy video or audio tapes. That is also illegal in the state of Florida. If you run across someone who does this, please report them. There are enough scams already in existence. Check in with the Florida State Statutes, Ch 468, part VII (on sister site Tampa Bay Modeling)

    FYI: Each talent agency must maintain a permanent office and must maintain regular operating hours at that office. If they don't, they are in violation of Florida law. Please use a licensed talent/model agency.
    Florida Talent Agency Statute Information (on sister site Tampa Bay Modeling)
    468.412 Talent agency regulations.
    468.406 Fees to be charged by talent agencies; rates; display
    468.410 Prohibition against registration fees; referral.
    468.407 License; content; posting.
    468.408 Bond required.
    468.415 Sexual misconduct in the operation of a talent agency.
    468.411 Labor disputes; statements required.

    If you have had a problem, or want to check up on an agency, the FTC has a helpful article:  If You've Got "The Look"...Look Out! Avoiding Modeling Scams.

    You can also phone the FL state licensing board, or check out the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation website. All that information is publicly available online, or by dialing information. It's a good way to check that someone is indeed licensed, possibly find out something about them, or be able to report them if they are operating without a license. You can use the DBPR database to search licensed Florida talent agents (TA) Online License Search. Of course, don't forget the Better Business Bureau, they are online too at www.bbb.org.
    We hope you never run into a modeling scam, but if you do, please report it! It helps make the world a safer place for everyone else.

    Back to top

    Have you experienced a scam?

    Here is some information you might find helpful if you have been the victim of a scam. Of course, you can report anyone who has broken the law to your local law enforcement agency. Talent agencies that break the law can be reported to the state licensing bureau.

    If You've Got "The Look" . . . Look Out! Avoiding Modeling Scams
    The FTC published a helpful article, which also tells you where you can turn for help if you've been scammed.

    BBB Advises Caution When Dealing With Talent/Modeling Agencies
    The Better Business Bureau has an article as well, and can also be used to report a business.

    The Department of Business and Professional Regulation Florida
    Department of Business & Professional Regulation
    Bureau of Investigative & Consumer Services
    Office of Consumer Complaints
    1940 Monroe St.
    Tallahassee, FL 32399-0782
    Find DBPR emails for each county in FL, Division of Professions, Talent Agencies. If you are going to email them to check on a license, use the Online License Search link above instead. If you have a complaint, you must provide specific information about what laws were violated, including facts, dates, etc. You should also consult an attorney and your local law enforcement agency if you feel the law has been broken.

    DBPR Online You can do an online search for a talent agency's license here.

    DBPR's online complaint form If you know of a licensed (or unlicensed) talent agency operating illegally in Florida, use this form to report them to the state. You must have specific information, dates, times, examples of violations, and witness information can also be provided.

    Fight Fraud in Florida
    Use the complaint form that goes to the Department of Business & Professional Regulation. The department investigates complaints against its licensees and, if necessary, brings administrative cases against them. If you have a complaint against a licensed talent agency, you could use their online complaint form. However, you must provide specific information, facts, dates, etc. that clearly shows how the agency violated the law.

    Economic Crimes Division, Office of Attorney General
    110 Southeast 6th St., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301
    Phone: 954-712-4600 FAX: 954-712-4658
    For reporting civil, not criminal matters. The Attorney General's Office investigates and litigates civil cases involving certain Florida Statutes, including civil theft, misleading advertising, and deceptive trade practices.

    Miami/Dade Small Claims Court
    Documents and information/guidelines for those needing to resolve civil disputes with monetary damages less that $5000. Helpful if someone owes you money, and will not pay you or has your property and will not return it, and you have been unable to resolve the situation any other way. Similar listings for other counties in FL.

    The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service
    The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service provides referrals to attorneys who will conduct an initial one-half hour office consultation for no more than $25.

    Most areas in Florida also have legal aid and public defender offices which provide legal help without cost, or at a nominal fee to persons who cannot afford to pay a lawyer. Every citizen in Florida has the right to be represented by an attorney in a civil lawsuit. Civil lawsuits are cases other than those in which a citizen is charged with criminal activity by the state or local government. If you have a civil legal problem, but cannot afford to hire a private attorney to represent you, you may be able to obtain an attorney through your local Legal Aid or Legal Services organization, which provides free legal services to those in need. Legal Aid agencies available to you will be listed in the yellow pages of your phone book under "Attorney--Legal Services" or in the white pages under "Legal Services and/or Legal Aid." If you cannot find your local agency in this manner, then you should call either the local bar association in the area in which you live (for instance, Seminole County Bar Association) or The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service in Tallahassee and ask for the number of the Legal Aid office closest to you. The Florida Bar toll free number is 1-800-342-8011. Remember, most lawsuits or legal problems with which you may be involved have time limits, after the expiration of which your rights may be lost. You should act quickly. Therefore, contact your local Legal Aid office should you need assistance.

    If you have had a problem, or experienced a scam, you need to do something about it. When you do not report something, the person or company who victimized you, is allowed to move on and scam the next person. If someone has broken the law, or done something you feel is not right, report them to the appropriate places listed above. Those resources are there to help you, and all the other people unscrupulous persons/companies may hurt in a similar manner. If you are a photographer or business being accused of something, listen and try to work the problem out. There have also been reports of photographers being scammed by models, demanding free reshoots and the like. We must all take responsibility for our actions, and our reactions. If you cannot work out a situation, please report it in an appropriate way, to someone who can help you get the issued resolved.

    Here is another great suggestion from one of our website users:
    In Tampa Bay, WFTS Channel 28 has an investigative team and they are looking for things to investigate. They have a website WFTS.com If EVERYONE would write to them and request an investigation of these scams, ESPECIALLY WHEN THE ADS ARE RUNNING ON TV perhaps we can keep the new aspiring actor/model from getting involved and losing their faith in our industry. Call and write any TV or Radio station running the ads and tell them what happened in their personal experience. I get phone calls all the time, from parents who went that route and are crying about all the $ invested with no results, and heartbroken kids. It breaks my heart as well. I also get calls from parents who have told their child "no," after turning down the scam, and the child is so angry at the parent for "ruining their life." Well, I try to encourage them to look for good reputable (acting) schools, consider their options and the cost, etc. But you can't stop people from hurting themselves. Anyway, my point is, if we can keep the TV and Radio stations from accepting this advertising, perhaps these people will stop coming to Florida to steal our money and hurt our kids.
    Corinne Broskette, Director
    Venue Actors Studio
    St Petersburg

    Modeling/Talent Scams

    All information naming parties has been removed, per the order of Florida Models Editor C. A. Passinault, on December 6, 2016. This is in no way a result of any action being taken against us by any party, any threat against us, or as a result of anything else, and this is, in no way, any admission of wrongdoing or assumption of potential liability. The reason for removing this information is that most of it is outdated, that it names parties, that the reference links backing up the information are unreliable, as many of the links no longer work, and that this scam section is so outdated that it is pretty much useless.

    The new Florida Models web site will have something much better, and we will link to it when it is up.

    If you have questions or problems concerning any of the information posted on the websites listed above, please contact them directly, or your local authorities.

    09/27/12 - 09/28/12 - 10/27/12 - 12/06/16/0559 - 12/07/16/0534


    If you have questions or problems concerning the Florida Models website, please notify the webmaster.
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    Original Florida Models modeling resource web site founded by Kitania Kavey and Ken Horkavey in 1996, making it one of the first modeling resource sites in the world for independent models. On September 27, 2012, Florida Models became an Independent Modeling site, and is directly affiliated with Tampa Bay Modeling, Independent Modeling, Advanced Model,and all of the Passinault.Com companies, which includes Aurora PhotoArts, all of which operate out of the Tampa Bay area, but offer services throughout Florida. This is a free modeling resource site, and you are not obligated to buy any services or products advertised on this site to use it. As of September 27, 2012, the site editor and webmaster of Florida Models and sister site Florida Actors is C. A. Passinault. The current owners are not responsible for the content published by the original owners. This web site is based out of, and published in, the Tampa Bay area of Florida, which is ground-zero of the next modeling industry.




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