Scam Alert: Phishing Scheme Targets Freelance Photographers

Posted by on Thursday September 21, 2017 | Business

A person falsely identifying himself as a fashion blogger for High Snobiety, the style and culture website, has been soliciting freelance photographers to rip them off in an apparent check-cashing scam. Going by the name of Alan Hurt, the individual has emailed a number of photographers offering them assignments that pay $2,000, including a $500 advance.

Photographer Jesse Dittmar, for one, received the offer via email and notified High Snobiety. Editor Jeff Carvalho told Dittmar that Hurt does not work for High Snobiety, and that the solicitation Dittmar received “is some sort of scam.” Carvalho also told Dittmar that other photographers had inquired about the solicitation.

Dittmar explained via email, “it’s most likely a check-cashing scam, where presumedly Hurt would send us a bad check as an advance and then ask us to advance money to a (fake) modeling agency (or something similar).”

Hurt’s email to Dittmar indicated he’d found Dittmar’s work on PhotoServe. Last week, PhotoServe issued a warning about the scam to its members.

HypeBeast has also issued an alert about the same scam—or a similar  one, warning that someone has been soliciting photographers for HypeBeast fashion shoots under false pretenses. “”The scammers have been issuing very convincing fake checks. By the time they bounce, the photographer has already shelled out money, which they pay to a fake account operated by the scammers,” HypeBeast attorney Jaime Wolf told PDN.

PDN corresponded with Hurt via email to inquire about details, at first without specifying the inquiry was from a journalist for a story. Hurt indicated that photographers are expected to pay talent and stylist expenses to an agency selected for them, not talent agencies of the photographers’ choosing.

After PDN told Hurt the inquiry was for a PDN story, and that High Snobiety said he was engaging in a scam, Hurt offered no further response.

Dittmar said of the Hurt’s scam: “If it was done well with better proof reading, and a more convincing pitch, it could certainly fool someone…[W]e at least responded [to the solicitation in its current form] before getting the confirmation from the client that this was fake.”

High Snobiety declined PDN’s request for an interview, but issued a statement through a spokesperson calling the scheme “a phishing scam aimed at soliciting cash from randomly selected photographers.”

The statement continued: “Highsnobiety Inc and Titel Media GmbH take cyber-security, phishing and the protection of personal data very seriously, and we have alerted authorities of this issue. Our apologies to anyone that has been affected. All official electronic correspondence from Highsnobiety should end with @highsnobiety.com. Please contact info[at]highsnobiety[.]com with any questions or if you believe that you have been targeted.”


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