Avoiding Scams: The Basics

This video and article are intended to inform you of the very basics of how to avoid scams.

Model Mayhem Employees, Moderators and Gatekeepers

Model Mayhem is owned by MH Sub I, LLC dba Model Mayhem, Inc.

Model Mayhem employees will only contact you using an email address or from our validated social media accounts on FacebookInstagramVIP Instagram, or . Do not respond to people or emails claiming to be from Model Mayhem that use any other email address, for example Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail, or any social media accounts that are not our verified, legitimate accounts. Known Model Mayhem email addresses include: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected][email protected]

We will never contact you to offer you a job and we will never request your MM password.

Moderators will only contact you via Mod Messages on Model Mayhem. Please flag any other messages claiming to be from Model Mayhem staff or Mods.

Gatekeepers only have the ability to approve profiles on Model Mayhem.

A Video about Scams!

Avoiding Scams: The basics
from Model Mayhem on Vimeo.

Model Mayhem will never send you an email asking for your login information. If you receive an email that seems to be from Model Mayhem asking you to click a link and enter your password information, do NOT click the link and mark the message as SPAM.

Phishing: First Step to Scams

Scammers get into Model Mayhem accounts by stealing your login information. This is commonly referred to as phishing or hacking.
How does phishing work?

  1. You may get an email that seems to be from Model Mayhem. The email may state that it is from Model Mayhem, including the Model Mayhem branding, but when you check the actual email address is NOT from*
  2. You may also get a PM from another member who has already been phished.
  3. The email or PM asks you to send back your login information or click a link that seems to go to Model Mayhem, where you need to login to continue.
  4. The website looks exactly like Model Mayhem.
  5. You send your password back in an email OR you click the link and enter your login information on a site that looks like Model Mayhem.
  6. The next thing you know, your profile has been taken over by someone else!

* Note: Some official emails from Model Mayhem may come from an email that is @ibemail or something similar. This is because Model Mayhem is owned by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. If you have any questions about the email just log-in and ask a moderator! Also, some companies are Certified Partners of Model Mayhem. As such, they are authorized to ask for Model Mayhem login information in order to provide services for members. It is safe to supply Model Mayhem login information to these Certified Partners. Here is the complete list of Certified Partners.

How do you avoid getting phished?

  1. Never, ever, ever share your password with anyone. Ever! No one but YOU needs it.
  2. Don’t use the same password on your Model Mayhem account as you do on other accounts.
  3. Change your password at least every two months.
  4. Don’t click any unfamiliar links in any email, including links appearing to be to Model Mayhem.
  5. Don’t download any files from an unknown sender.
  6. Only log in to Model Mayhem from – and nowhere else!

This message asks you to click a link and login to MM, but notice that the link DOES NOT go to MM. DO NOT click the link and DO NOT enter your login info. Clicking the link and entering your information is how your Model Mayhem account will be hijacked!

This is what you would see if you do click on the link. This is a “spoof” of MM – it looks just like MM to trick you into logging in. LOOK at the address in the address bar, it is clearly NOT

If you get a message on MM like this one, please find the “flag message” link under the message and right above the “send reply” box.

How do I know I’ve personally been phished?

  1. You may receive PMs with replies from other members you never messaged.
  2. Your outbox will have messages you never sent in it.

Help! I’ve been phished! What do I do?

  1. Don’t panic! The mods are here to help kick the scammer out of your profile and get you back in.
  2. If the mods haven’t sent you a message already, click the Help button at the top of the site and click Contact a Moderator.
  3. Let the mods know that you think your account has been compromised, and then follow their instructions carefully.

If you follow the tips here, your account information should be safe and you shouldn’t get phished or hacked again.

Scams: The Reason for Phishing

Once someone takes control over someone’s account, the scammer gets to work right away. They start sending out a flood of messages intended to essentially lie, cheat, and steal. This behavior has been around for a long time – almost since the invention of the internet!

The best weapon against these scams is knowledge. Knowing what a scam might look like or ask for helps you spot a scam and protect yourself, your account, and your wallet!

Common Scams and How They Work

Pre-Payment “Nigerian” scams

A wealthy Nigerian prince is offering to send you a check to deposit in your bank account if you’d only send him a small amount back! Or, as more commonly reported for targets in the modeling industry, a recruiter or agent from Cosmo/Revlon/Monster/Allure/HelloMag contacts you and they have a job just for you. The catch with both of these scams is that you just need to forward your banking or mailing information so you can receive a check!

These scams are all the same… except the offer is typically from a trusted person or business (so you can trust them) that wants to pre-pay to work with you. You may also get an unsolicited email about this work, or someone may PM you and ask you to email someone and then they provide the details over email. Learn to spot these red flags!

Here’s how to spot a Nigerian Check Scam:

  1. The scammer will ask you to generally always want to send you a check – before meeting you or even signing a contract!
  2. You are informed that you get to keep a large portion of the check. Payday!!!
  3. However, you are also told that once you cash the check you have to send someone else (a makeup artist, a hair stylist, a wardrobe stylist, a studio) a “small portion” as their fee.
  4. You may also be asked to send a portion of the check back because of an overpayment or some other reason.

Red Flags:

  • The scammer claims to be a trusted person or is working for a big brand, even though their email does not appear to be from that person or brand.
  • The scammer wants to pay you in advance for work you haven’t even done yet. Nice, right?
  • All you have to do is give them your mailing information so they can send you a check.
  • You may also be asked for your banking info so they can send you a direct deposit.
  • You will likely be asked to send a portion of the check back.

Understand it:

  • That check is fake!
  • Your bank will bounce the fake check and you will be liable for the money.
  • Giving out your banking information can result in money being stolen directly from your account!

Bottom line:

No legitimate industry professional is going to hire someone unknown to them, sight unseen, and pay them in advance for a modeling/photography/makeup job. If you follow through with this scam, you will send the scammer YOUR real money and will have to pay back whatever they stole.

What to do:

If you’ve realized the scam before you’ve sent any information, you’re in the clear. If you sent them your mailing information, or have already received a check, take anything you get to your local police station and file a report. You can also contact Model Mayhem and report the account that sent you the message that initiated the scam.

Social Media “Nude Selfies” Scams

A photographer, agent, or manager just found you on Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat, and they want to shoot you! But first, can you just send over a few nude selfies of yourself via Whatsapp, or cell?

You may also get an unsolicited email with this scam, or someone may PM you here on Model Mayhem with the same request. Learn to spot these red flags!

Here’s how to spot a Social Media Scam:

  1. The scammer will cold contact you via your social media profiles – Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. They may ask you for your cell phone or Whatsapp number.
  2. They really, really want to set up a shoot with you! It’ll have a big payday, awesome!
  3. However, before they shoot they just need you to send over your current look. Could you send over a few nude selfies for them?
  4. Once you send over the selfies, you may start getting harassing messages from the scammer, or from other people.

Red Flags:

  • The scammer contacts you out of the blue via social media and claims to be interested in working with you.
  • They will probably send you the credentials of a real person to give them legitimacy, probably a public Model Mayhem profile or other legitimate agent or manager.
  • The scammers will likely give you a phone number or email address, one that is not associated with the person they stole the identity of.
  • You will most likely be asked to send nude images of yourself – probably selfies.

Understand it:

  • The nude images you send them will either be sold without your permission, or be used for blackmail against you.
  • The real people involved have no idea their name is being used by the scammers!

Bottom line:

No legitimate industry professional is going to contact you via social media and immediately ask you for nude images. If you follow through with this scam, you will send the scammer nude images that you cannot unsend, and they will have those images forever to either sell or possibly blackmail you with.

What to do:

Be vigilant! Always check references BEFORE you send anyone any images. If someone on social media claims to be somebody, check out that person online and call, email, and thoroughly check before you continue talking with the person who contacted you. Remember, YOU are ultimately responsible for what you send to other people, so YOU are in control over whether you become a victim or not.

Up-Front Fee “Mystery Shopper” scams

This is a typical scam that might be tricky to spot, as not every situation that meets these criteria is a scam.

Here’s how to spot a Mystery Shopper scam:

  1. The scammer wants to recruit you (for an agency, for a huge photo shoot or seminar, etc.) for a job.
  2. You will probably be asked to send money before signing a contract for administrative or seminar fees, or for transportation costs.
  3. You may actually meet someone and then be asked to pay in order to start working.

Red Flags:

  • Professionals do not generally make you pay them before you work together.
  • You are not asked to sign a contract or otherwise finalize what you are paying for before you send money.

Understand it:

  • The scammer is counting on your desperation to do anything to get work.
  • By sending money before you have a contract, you do not have any way to prove what you’re paying for.

Bottom line:

Being asked to pay someone before you work with them is always suspicious, and you should always ask for a contract before handing over ANY money.

What to do:

If you’ve realized the scam before you’ve paid any money, then simply decline and move on. If you’ve already sent money or paid the person, you may have to take legal action, assuming the information you were provided is true.

Spyware “Virus” scams

While you may be more likely to see this scam on Facebook or over Twitter, it may happen on Model Mayhem.

Here’s how to spot a Virus scam:

  1. Someone sends you a link to click via PM or email, or you see the link posted in the forums.
  2. Once you click the link, you may be asked to download a file to view a portfolio or roll of images too big to put on Model Mayhem.

Red Flags:

  • Someone you don’t know is asking you to click a link

Understand it:

  • These links can download very harmful viruses and spyware to your computer.
  • This in turn may disrupt the functionality of your computer.
  • You may get phished!

Bottom line:

Always, always be careful about clicking links online, and never download anything from someone without talking to them about it first. If you’re not sure, just don’t click or download!

What to do:

If you do click a link, and think you may have a virus, or actually get a virus or get phished, don’t panic! First, try these free, safe programs, which might help you find the virus on your computer:

Spybot Search and Destroy

If you think you might have been phished, change your password right away and contact the mods.

But is this REALLY a scam?

If you think you might be getting scammed – you probably are! It is always better to be safe than sorry.

You can also use our Forum Search tool and find examples of scams posted by members who have received scam messages.

  1. Open search
  2. Search for the terms “Is this a scam?”
  3. You should find hundreds of threads on the subject.
  4. Read through some of these threads to get a good idea what scams look like.

OK – How do I report a phishing or scam message?

This is the easy part!

  1. If you were sent a PM on Model Mayhem, Flag the PM.
  2. If you were sent an email with a suspicious link asking you to login to Model Mayhem, forward it to [email protected].
  3. Click on the Help! link at the top of the page and click Contact a Moderator.
  4. Send a report to the mods letting them know which profile sent you the scam message and that you reported it.

The mods will take care of the rest. If you have actually been phished by a scammer, we will help you get back into your account.

Other Safety Tips

Don’t publicly use your email address

Do not include your email address on any public section of your profile, or in tags or comments you post. Including your email in a publically accessible place increases the risk of your profile getting hacked into and is also how scammers send you those phishing emails to begin with! People on Model Mayhem can always PM you for your email address.

Did we mention never ever telling anyone your password EVER?

Now enjoy the Mayhem!

Now that you’ve armed with some basic knowledge, you can go about your networking business without worrying about getting ripped off. And if every member of this community understood just these basic things, the scammers would be forced to move on to greener pastures!

Other Resources

In order to better arm yourself against them we recommend that you click these links for further information. It’s not just for models.

NEW MODELS; Learn about scams
What do scams look like?

The New Model’s Guide to the Industry and Scams

Learn more about general scams:

MM Edu

MM Edu brings you tips, advice, and knowledge in modeling, photography, post-production, style/makeup, and Using MM. The expertise comes from our beautiful and brilliant members!

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