To fellow photogs, beware of a scam going around:
I received the following email from Shirley Alban (email@example.com) on September 13th. It looked fishy and I contacted HypeBeast directly who confirmed they do not solicit photography in this way and have never heard of Shirley.
The email reads:
“I saw your portfolio on Photoserve.com. I'm Shirley one of the North America Assistant editors mostly work with T.S. Fox, Jason Dike and Karl Smith. I would like to learn more about your services. we are looking for an experienced photographer to work with on an ongoing blogging and articles. we blog for various online platforms and would love to collaborate with photographers on genre such as beauty, vintage, fashion, lifestyle, and outdoor. I am compiling shots for hypebeast.com “fashion page” segment and the online fashion magazine is looking for professional and reliable photographers who want to create stunning images. hypebeast is particularly looking for outdoor and urban looks. If you’re interested in this project, it is important to understand a few details about the project. These are: • You will be required to work with 2 models. • There will be 3 outfits per model, 5 looks for each outfit, which totals 30 looks/images. • Outfits/Wardrobe will be supplied by us. • Location, date, and time will be fixed by you which should be convenient between both parties. • We want 30 professionally taken pictures in High Res Digital Copies. • Delivery date must be between 28th September and 5th October Latest. • Compensation: $2000 ($1000 upfront and $1000 final payment). • You will hold full image right (Licensor) As the photographer we want you to handle other aspect of the gig and dictate the creative direction. If you can handle this, please reply with your full name (Business name), phone number, and address (to be written on your contract and check ). So i can forward a contract to be signed by both parties if the description is satisfactory. Regards.”
What tipped me off that this was a scam?
There are tiny english errors, but more than that the specific description of what you will shoot, how much you will be paid, and that they are up fronting you $1k without ever having worked with you is a warning sign. There is more negotiation than this for any legitimate assignment.
Second would be they are paying you, but you get to keep full image rights.
Third is the quick turn-around.
They have never worked with me, but want to cut me a check? “Give us your full name, phone and address for the check”.
People in some of the Facebook groups that I posted this in have been asking what the scam is with this since Shirley is paying me.
The scams are all a bit different, but Im sure if I followed thru – they would send me a $10k check (or some other amount greater than the agreed upon amount) instead of the $1k deposit and then ask me to pay a ‘stylist’ or another photographer in another city with the excess. They hope that I’m stupid enough to pay out before their check clears (or in this case bounces) and my pay-out is actually going back to them thru a third party.
I used to play with people like this and have about a dozen fake checks and money orders from scammers. What I loved was when I refused to pay out before their check cleared and they would threaten to contact the police and played other heavy handed tactics the were just hollow threats.
The response from HypeBeast:
Hi James, We do not work with a person named 'Shirley Alban'. Any correspondence to you from our company should have an official email addresses ending in either @hypebeast.com or @101medialab.com. Any other emails you receive without these designations from persons claiming to be an employee, partner, or representative or partner of 101 Media Lab Limited and/or Hypebeast LTD. are fraudulent and very likely being used in furtherance of a potential scam to obtain your personal information, or even in some cases, your moneys. Irene Cheung