How to Handle If an Agency or Scout Asks for Nude Photos

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The modeling industry is a dynamic, exciting, and thriving business, and it is filled with hard-working models, scouts, agents, and photographers. Unfortunately, as in any business, there are some cases of people posing as industry professionals when they are not in order to take advantage of the reputation ethical professionals have built for themselves.

Modeling Safety - How to Protect Yourself From Online Predators

These fraudsters count on the good reputation and trust that legitimate agencies and scouts have built within the industry and use it to prey on unsuspecting aspiring models by posing as employees or scouts of reputable companies when they are not.

If you are in the process of finding a modeling agency to represent you, or you have been contacted by someone who says they are a model scout, but they need you to email them nude shots before you get signed, you probably have a lot of questions: “Is this a real scout? Is this a standard request from a model scout? Is it safe to send nude pictures online?” The answer to all three of these questions is a resounding, “NO!” 

When you receive a message like that, you likely already realize it is a red flag, and it is best to follow your gut in this situation. Luckily, there are ethical and legitimate model scouting companies that operate entirely professionally and will not ask for or require nude photos in order for you to become a model. Here’s what to do if someone claiming to be a model scout or part of an agency asks you for nude photos, and why your reaction is so important.

Do Your Research

By now you know if you are contacted by someone who claims to work for a modeling agency or is a model scout AND they ask you to send them nude photos, you should NOT oblige.

Agents and scouts NEVER need these types of photos in order to scout you. Some scouts will ask for full-body photos of you in a swimsuit, and this is normal, BUT, you should still ALWAYS look into whoever is asking you to send photos before you do. 

Before you reply to anyone who has contacted you claiming to be an agent or scout ALWAYS do plenty of research about who they are.

If you are a minor (under 18 years of age), never send ANY photos or make decisions about your modeling career without permission from a parent or guardian. Often, young people are groomed online by predators who may ask for simple photos, and then slowly over the next few weeks or months, after they've got your trust, will ask for nude photos.  

Why It’s Important

Your online and personal safety, for models or anyone else, must always be protected since the internet can be used for sinister things if users aren’t careful. 

Even though there are millions of readily available naked images for these people to find on the internet, they get a thrill from targeting innocent people and getting photos from them. Some people will use these photos for their personal use, and others will go as far as to sell them to other websites. They may also try to meet you in person after they have gained your trust, which can easily turn into a potentially deadly situation.  

Take Action

If you do fall victim to one of these scams, don’t blame yourself: These people are very skilled in manipulating aspiring models and have practiced for a long time. Instead, focus on what you can to stop your photos from being spread, as well as on preventing it from happening to other people.

Of course, it is always better to be proactive rather than reactive, and this certainly applies to your quest to be a model.

Contact your local police department. Many police departments now have online or cybercrime units. It is very likely that you are not the only person the predator has been contacting, therefore any information you can provide to the police, however insignificant, may help them apprehend a very dangerous person. Be sure to save any emails, texts or messages that you received as they can often be traced back to the person sending them. 

Warn other models. If you post something online that warns other models of potential predators, it might come up in someone else's search and save them the trauma of falling for the same plot. You know better than to send nude photos online to someone claiming to be a model scout, but others may not.

Contact the agencies or companies the predator has claimed to work with or scout for. Legitimate modeling agencies and scouting companies take their reputation and your safety very seriously. Once notified that there is a problem they can post a warning on their company websites to protect models who visit their sites.  

If you find that your photos have been posted online without your permission you can often get them removed by filing a complaint with the website's hosting company. To find the name of the website's hosting company you can do a simple WHOIS search of the site's domain name. The WHOIS search will provide the name of the hosting company as well as the name of the website owner.  Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will have links on their sites with information on how you can file a complaint. 

Contact a lawyer. If you find that your photos were not only posted online without your permission but were also used for commercial purposes, it is advisable to contact a lawyer with experience in fraud or copyright infringement cases.