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BEWARE - London Fashion Models Scam Watch

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    I recently had a lucky escape with one of these 'portfolio scammers' and thought I should share my story to stop others from falling into the trap and going a step further i.e. shelling out hundreds/thousands.

    I submitted a photo on a topmodels.co.uk website and received a text from London Fashion Models saying I'd succeeded in the selection process and to call a number. I spoke with a guy called Tom who asked for a £50.00 deposit for a shoot scheduled for last month (£50.00 which I won't be getting back) although I was assured if I did not purchase any photos taken on the day I would receive a refund.

    On the day, I traveled to the 'studios' in Marylebone and arrived to not an office or a convincing studio space but what was essentially someone's refurbished flat, I immediately felt uncomfortable and like this wasn't legitimate. Models were told to sit in the living room, people were there with their families, the room was extremely cramped and dark with blasting music and a pair of women in the corner doing hair and makeup, there was nothing professional about the set up whatsoever. I was told to bring a number of outfits so I brought I suitcase which I had to dump in the hallway amongst other people's and then I grabbed my four different outfits I'd prepared for the four shoots I was expecting to do. Not one of the members of staff introduced themselves or told me the schedule of the day. Nothing was done thoroughly or professionally. The photographer told me what to do for each shoot, which was either indoors or outdoors and it was all very quick and unorganised.

    After my final shoot most of the other candidates had left and I was sat waiting in the living room. A young lady entered and asked me to follow her into the 'office'. The office was more like a hole in the wall with a couple of chairs and a desk, it was extremely cramped and dark with one light, you couldn't fit three people in there. We began to look through my photos and she couldn't give me enough compliments about how natural I was at modeling etc etc. She then asked me what I wanted to get out of this pursuit which I thought was odd, I was expecting her to tell me the procedure, whether they thought I had potential and on that basis offer me work.

    I said all of this to her (that I wanted to see where I could get to as a model) and asked how she thought I had performed. She then told me that I had an incredible amount of potential and that they wanted to have me on board and to start getting the work in for me. At this moment, the Company Director Matthew was suddenly in the doorway, he introduced himself and was very kind and charming. The woman at the desk continued, telling me I would need to set up an Efolio as a visual CV for clients to look at when searching for a model.

    There were three packages to choose from Gold, Diamond and Platinum and the difference between the three was the amount of photos and the ability to edit and modify those photos. The prices of these packages were, £2500.00, £4500.00 and £6000.00. I was told if I wanted to have any of the photos taken on the day and to start up an Efolio, I would have to choose one of these ridiculous options. This online portfolio would then get me work with top brands, according to them 'Dolce & Gabbana', 'ASOS'. Being excited by the opportunity and overwhelmed by all of the praise (strategic), I didn't realize I was being scammed initially and then I called my parents who immediately told me I was in a pressured selling situation and was being scammed MASSIVELY.

    My father being a business owner tested the Director, asking for a copy of the contract to look at and said only on that basis would any payment be made. Matthew apologized and said he couldn't provide a copy of the contract (because it's not legitimate) and then tried to convince him that pressured selling wasn't going on. My dad said to him if my daughter is that good and you want to employ her, you will let her bring the contract home for review and come back to you but Matthew would not budge. His excuse was having to delete the photos if no contract was signed on the day they were taken for privacy reasons (********).

    Once I realized what was going on I got out of there and avoided paying thousands of pounds for an online portfolio of photos. I was sent a Welcome pack, emails etc before my shoot to make it looks legitimate but extreme caution people, it's not.

    If an agency or modelling channel for agencies tells you that they need to shoot a 'portfolio' or suggests a 'free shoot' but with the addition of buying prints or images IT'S A SCAM. A models book should not cost hundreds/thousands of pounds and should not be shot by only one person or in one studio in a day.

    The TopModels website I submitted a photo on come up on every search of legitimate agencies on Google and use their names to seem reputable, do not get scammed!
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    Right now, I am feeling completely helpless, I just went there a mere 24 hours ago and was told the exact same thing, my mum, warned me but I kept saying that it was something that I wanted to do and needless to say I fell for it, I didn't go as far as paying for the online portfolios due to financial issues, however, the woman kept saying I should pay £2500 but she'd give me the platinum deal, therefore investing £3500 in me, but I persisted that I wasn't capable of paying that amount so I ended up paying for a basic portfolio which meant £500 and now looking back I realise how big of a mistake that was. Now, I am just wondering if there is any way possible to even attempt to get my money back since as I mentioned I am not completely financially stable and now I'm left with 110 photos and an agency pack, which are completely useless, I spoke to my friend and she mentioned that I should apply to agencies myself so that if I do get accepted into reputable agencies for instance Wilhelmina models I'd be guaranteed to get my money back some way or another but as for now I am frustrated beyond expression and hope that nobody else is dragged into this.
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    I was stupid enough to think that this was all real but I ended up paying £10,000 for all this rubbish and now they won't even answer their phones!!
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    I went here on Wednesday with my son, I can't believe how they can do this to people I ended up forking out £1500 they need to be stopped
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    (Original post by dominika.rosalia)
    Right now, I am feeling completely helpless, I just went there a mere 24 hours ago and was told the exact same thing, my mum, warned me but I kept saying that it was something that I wanted to do and needless to say I fell for it, I didn't go as far as paying for the online portfolios due to financial issues, however, the woman kept saying I should pay £2500 but she'd give me the platinum deal, therefore investing £3500 in me, but I persisted that I wasn't capable of paying that amount so I ended up paying for a basic portfolio which meant £500 and now looking back I realise how big of a mistake that was. Now, I am just wondering if there is any way possible to even attempt to get my money back since as I mentioned I am not completely financially stable and now I'm left with 110 photos and an agency pack, which are completely useless, I spoke to my friend and she mentioned that I should apply to agencies myself so that if I do get accepted into reputable agencies for instance Wilhelmina models I'd be guaranteed to get my money back some way or another but as for now I am frustrated beyond expression and hope that nobody else is dragged into this.

    Thanks for the responses everyone. Really sorry to hear about your experiences, especially since you gave money to these fraudsters. I actually took a photo of the 'contract' which I was expected to sign and noticed that the Registration Number for the business doesn't match their business - it's a number for Morgan Reach accountancy firm, so they're using another business to hide what they're doing. This could be used effectively to dob them in as they've not covered their tracks so they'd better watch out.

    As for the investment plan offered to one of you, the Director Matthew said the same thing to my dad saying he would invest £3000 in me if my dad could pay the remaining sum for the Platinum deal, it's such a scam.
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    Forgot to say before, if you have given your bank card details to them, either on the day or when you paid a deposit for the studio or whatever, cancel your card with your bank and get a new card, otherwise they could be sapping even more money off you!

    This company and what they are doing needs to be rolled out on a more public platform so people can find out before being sucked in, e.g. a Facebook page or something - so people know and it can be brought to the attention of the police.
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    (Original post by evgarner23)
    Thanks for the responses everyone. Really sorry to hear about your experiences, especially since you gave money to these fraudsters. I actually took a photo of the 'contract' which I was expected to sign and noticed that the Registration Number for the business doesn't match their business - it's a number for Morgan Reach accountancy firm, so they're using another business to hide what they're doing. This could be used effectively to dob them in as they've not covered their tracks so they'd better watch out.

    As for the investment plan offered to one of you, the Director Matthew said the same thing to my dad saying he would invest £3000 in me if my dad could pay the remaining sum for the Platinum deal, it's such a scam.
    Have you reported this to the police?
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    (Original post by TeachChemistry)
    Have you reported this to the police?
    I mean could you though, because generally on the website they state that they aren't an agency and personally, I do want to report it but I'm not quite sure how to bring it up. I have been considering it and if it led to suing, I really would. I cannot understand how these people live with themselves knowing what they do to young kids and adults, especially as some do express financial instability however they still push it and pressure you.
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    Wow. Companies have been doing this for decades, I didn't realise it was still a thing; I thought people were as clued up to it as Nigerian prince's offering you money! Sorry you got caught up by them.

    Actual modelling agencies will never charge you (up-front at least) for portfolios. Always google the company and do your own research to find out if they're legit. Look for the use of AMA (Association of Model Agents).
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    (Original post by dominika.rosalia)
    I mean could you though, because generally on the website they state that they aren't an agency and personally, I do want to report it but I'm not quite sure how to bring it up. I have been considering it and if it led to suing, I really would. I cannot understand how these people live with themselves knowing what they do to young kids and adults, especially as some do express financial instability however they still push it and pressure you.

    Well something is clearly not legitimate so it must be reported. Maybe go to citizens advice and ask them what to do first if you don't want to go to the police.
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    I still don't understand how anyone still falls for this sort of thing, kudos to the silver tongued devils who are able to convince people that the obvious scam is 100% genuine.
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    (Original post by TeachChemistry)
    Well something is clearly not legitimate so it must be reported. Maybe go to citizens advice and ask them what to do first if you don't want to go to the police.
    (Original post by dominika.rosalia)
    I mean could you though, because generally on the website they state that they aren't an agency and personally, I do want to report it but I'm not quite sure how to bring it up. I have been considering it and if it led to suing, I really would. I cannot understand how these people live with themselves knowing what they do to young kids and adults, especially as some do express financial instability however they still push it and pressure you.
    I don't think there has ever been a case against any of these guys. Certainly not in the last 20 years or so. They're not technically doing anything illegal. They're just selling you photos/headbooks at an inflated price
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    (Original post by evgarner23)
    I recently had a lucky escape with one of these 'portfolio scammers' and thought I should share my story to stop others from falling into the trap and going a step further i.e. shelling out hundreds/thousands.

    I submitted a photo on a topmodels.co.uk website and received a text from London Fashion Models saying I'd succeeded in the selection process and to call a number. I spoke with a guy called Tom who asked for a £50.00 deposit for a shoot scheduled for last month (£50.00 which I won't be getting back) although I was assured if I did not purchase any photos taken on the day I would receive a refund.

    On the day, I traveled to the 'studios' in Marylebone and arrived to not an office or a convincing studio space but what was essentially someone's refurbished flat, I immediately felt uncomfortable and like this wasn't legitimate. Models were told to sit in the living room, people were there with their families, the room was extremely cramped and dark with blasting music and a pair of women in the corner doing hair and makeup, there was nothing professional about the set up whatsoever. I was told to bring a number of outfits so I brought I suitcase which I had to dump in the hallway amongst other people's and then I grabbed my four different outfits I'd prepared for the four shoots I was expecting to do. Not one of the members of staff introduced themselves or told me the schedule of the day. Nothing was done thoroughly or professionally. The photographer told me what to do for each shoot, which was either indoors or outdoors and it was all very quick and unorganised.

    After my final shoot most of the other candidates had left and I was sat waiting in the living room. A young lady entered and asked me to follow her into the 'office'. The office was more like a hole in the wall with a couple of chairs and a desk, it was extremely cramped and dark with one light, you couldn't fit three people in there. We began to look through my photos and she couldn't give me enough compliments about how natural I was at modeling etc etc. She then asked me what I wanted to get out of this pursuit which I thought was odd, I was expecting her to tell me the procedure, whether they thought I had potential and on that basis offer me work.

    I said all of this to her (that I wanted to see where I could get to as a model) and asked how she thought I had performed. She then told me that I had an incredible amount of potential and that they wanted to have me on board and to start getting the work in for me. At this moment, the Company Director Matthew was suddenly in the doorway, he introduced himself and was very kind and charming. The woman at the desk continued, telling me I would need to set up an Efolio as a visual CV for clients to look at when searching for a model.

    There were three packages to choose from Gold, Diamond and Platinum and the difference between the three was the amount of photos and the ability to edit and modify those photos. The prices of these packages were, £2500.00, £4500.00 and £6000.00. I was told if I wanted to have any of the photos taken on the day and to start up an Efolio, I would have to choose one of these ridiculous options. This online portfolio would then get me work with top brands, according to them 'Dolce & Gabbana', 'ASOS'. Being excited by the opportunity and overwhelmed by all of the praise (strategic), I didn't realize I was being scammed initially and then I called my parents who immediately told me I was in a pressured selling situation and was being scammed MASSIVELY.

    My father being a business owner tested the Director, asking for a copy of the contract to look at and said only on that basis would any payment be made. Matthew apologized and said he couldn't provide a copy of the contract (because it's not legitimate) and then tried to convince him that pressured selling wasn't going on. My dad said to him if my daughter is that good and you want to employ her, you will let her bring the contract home for review and come back to you but Matthew would not budge. His excuse was having to delete the photos if no contract was signed on the day they were taken for privacy reasons (********).

    Once I realized what was going on I got out of there and avoided paying thousands of pounds for an online portfolio of photos. I was sent a Welcome pack, emails etc before my shoot to make it looks legitimate but extreme caution people, it's not.

    If an agency or modelling channel for agencies tells you that they need to shoot a 'portfolio' or suggests a 'free shoot' but with the addition of buying prints or images IT'S A SCAM. A models book should not cost hundreds/thousands of pounds and should not be shot by only one person or in one studio in a day.

    The TopModels website I submitted a photo on come up on every search of legitimate agencies on Google and use their names to seem reputable, do not get scammed!
    Guys.... NO REAL MODELLING AGENCY WILL EVER ASK YOU FOR MONEY.
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    (Original post by TeachChemistry)
    Well something is clearly not legitimate so it must be reported. Maybe go to citizens advice and ask them what to do first if you don't want to go to the police.
    The police will want something to stick to them and I can guarantee they are committing some type of fraud, especially in light of the Company Registration. They use images on their website etc. which they probably don't have copyright for and will be taking money in off victims and not paying tax. I'm going to investigate (I work for an anti-fraud data management company) and research options to take them down because there will be one and I have evidence.

    http://londonfashionmodel.blogspot.c...ing-q.html?m=1

    This is the ratbag behind the operation, he's even spoken about scamming to cover his back.
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    (Original post by AmeliaLost)
    I don't think there has ever been a case against any of these guys. Certainly not in the last 20 years or so. They're not technically doing anything illegal. They're just selling you photos/headbooks at an inflated price
    BBC Watchdog?
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    (Original post by TeachChemistry)
    BBC Watchdog?
    There's a precedent, not sure what it would achieve though.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/arti...G/kube-studios
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    (Original post by AmeliaLost)
    I don't think there has ever been a case against any of these guys. Certainly not in the last 20 years or so. They're not technically doing anything illegal. They're just selling you photos/headbooks at an inflated price
    My thoughts exactly. Nothing illegal about selling 110 photos for £500, it's just kind of silly. unless there's something I've missed?
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    Apart from using a fake business registration number, that's probably illegal somehow.
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    (Original post by Danuelle)
    I went here on Wednesday with my son, I can't believe how they can do this to people I ended up forking out £1500 they need to be stopped
    I was there on Wednesday too and I did feel quite uneasy, but there are so many reviews online which makes the situation even more confusing.
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    (Original post by evgarner23)
    The police will want something to stick to them and I can guarantee they are committing some type of fraud, especially in light of the Company Registration. They use images on their website etc. which they probably don't have copyright for and will be taking money in off victims and not paying tax. I'm going to investigate (I work for an anti-fraud data management company) and research options to take them down because there will be one and I have evidence.

    http://londonfashionmodel.blogspot.c...ing-q.html?m=1

    This is the ratbag behind the operation, he's even spoken about scamming to cover his back.
    Now I'm just wondering if I could somehow possibly use that against the company and be able to reclaim, not only my money back but others and shut down the whole company as it needs to be stopped as soon as possible.
 
 
 
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