Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Scam Directed At HOLA Members

[HOLA has recently uncovered a scam directed at our members. Read below to find out what happened and how you can avoid a situation like this in the future.]

So, you get a text alerting you of an audition. Weird, but not so out of the ordinary. The text message asks you for your name and to e-mail for more information. A red flag comes up. Why did this casting director ask for my name when he/she contacted me? The situation is still somewhat odd, but you figure nothing can be lost by asking for some more information.

You then receive this information via e-mail.

Thanks for your interest, Here is the details about the audition, we are searching to invite limited male and female Talents for a paid audition, we have just few vacancies available right now for the audition. So we urge you to get back to us as soon as possible.
       We are looking for male and female Talents for Movies, Modeling, TV/Video, Events/Promo, Theater,Music, Dance, Voice-Over, Glamor, Movie etc. The following models that were contacted will travel down to Charlotte, TN on 1st till 4th April 2013 for the 4 days audition. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.
       The benefits attached to it are listed below.
$100 per hour(5hours Per Day) and will hold for 4 days.
($2000) in total
Free accommodation.
Free Costumes.
Access to Gym and Swimming pool
Extra Fee for Over time.
Free In and Out flight.
Contract with one of the World famous Company,(Oil and Gas, Telecommunication Company, Airlines ETC depending on your choice)Meet talented models from different part of the world. ETC for Promo and adverts.
You have nothing to loose and a whole lot to gain. We selected just few people which you were among them. Kindly get back to me with the following details.


Cell Phone Number

I will await your swift response. Once your application is received, you will receive an email with text message on your cell phone.

(SMS alone Due to high rate of calls we received daily)

More red flags have gone up. What is with all the spelling errors? What is the nature of this project? Where is Charlotte, Tennessee? Why can I not call this person (I can only send a text message)? And who has ever gotten paid to audition?

Ignoring those warning signs, you proceed further and send them your information.

You then get this e-mail.

                    The check for the initial payment(Allowance) will be mailed to you within 2 to 5 working days and we will supply you with the shipment details (Tracking number) for the shipment. One more thing concerning the booking of your flight, Hotel, Car,Feeding etc.
              We have our own booking agent to book everything for you from here. A check of $3500 will be issued out to you, which you are to deduct an initial deposit of $500 and  you are to send the remaining funds out of the check to the flight and hotel booking agent that was arranged to take care of flight and hotel and other planning for you and on your arrival the full payment will be paid.
                   I will send you the details for the booking agent as well and all other details you may need to get the funds to him.  I take this
process to make sure that there is no mistake on the booking.Please Confirm the name and the address

Fill it below

Name and address here.
(SMS alone Due to high rate of calls we received daily)
Now you are filled with many more questions. Who gets paid in advance for an audition for a job (that also happens to be out of town)? Who asks you to take more than your salary and give it back to them?

It sounds too good to be true.

That's because it is.

It is a scam.

With the help of HOLA's legal counsel, we uncovered the rest of the plot.

A person receives a check with the amount. He/she deposits it. From that money he/she will get the remaining funds to this "casting director" (most likely by wiring it to him/her). The problem arises when the check turns out to be counterfeit. The money you wired is real money that the "casting director" now owns. You would be charged for the missing money (and possibly charged with a crime for passing a counterfeit check) and the "casting director" is nowhere to be found, the recipient of free (albeit illegally gained) money.

The above is, unfortunately, a true story. HOLA sent this person a cease and desist correspondence and contacted the local district attorney's office. (HOLA never recommended any of its members to this audition; had we seen it first we would have investigated it and not passed it on to our members.)

The show business industry is filled with many people with dreams of stardom. Unfortunately, it is also a ripe environment for scammers who take advantage of a person's desire to "be famous" and "make it big."

What can you do? Ask questions and trust your gut. If it doesn't seem legitimate, it probably isn't. However, you can always rely on HOLA to investigate on behalf of its members.

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