ATLANTA — Aspiring actresses and actors are being targeted by a fake producer who is using a real Atlanta company’s name, address and even website.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray learned the producer was offering a high-profile and high-paying job opportunity.
The pitch offered $5,000 for a six-hour shoot for a fashion brand.
Maxwell Bentley spends most of his day behind a camera or editing video.
But this week, he’s been spending a lot of time on the phone talking with aspiring actresses and actors calling about a job.
“I’ve probably been contacted over 100 times in the last several days,” Bentley said.
He’s being contacted by actors who think Bentley first reached out to them with an email looking for talent for a photoshoot for his company, Bentley Media.
Even though it links to his real website and uses his real business name, it’s an email he never sent.
“They’re using different email addresses that use part of my name in the email, then they use my real website and real name with a fake phone number,” Bentley said.
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Los Angeles-based model and actress Aleah Simone was cautious when she got the email but sent her resume along because it looked like a real proposal.
“He almost got me,” Simone told Gray. “He said, ‘We’d like to cast you for this photo shoot. It’s going to be a major photo shoot.’”
Simone said she later noticed the email didn’t match with the one on Maxwell’s website, and the pay for a few hours work seemed too good to be true.
“I try to be very cautious when it comes to the modeling industry because there are a lot of guys who try to get money or traffic models,” Simone said.
“This is where the scam happens. They say they’re going to send you $500, which is really a bad check,” Bentley said.
The fake Maxwell Bentley wanted the actors and models to deposit a $500 check, then send money to a vendor for wardrobe.
Their bad check ends with them taking your real cash.
Bentley has now placed a pop-up warning about the scam on his website to try to clear up any confusion.
“What I really don’t want for anybody is for an artist and their children to get stolen from by falling for something like this,” Bentley said.
Gray learned more than 100 people reached out to Bentley, checking to see if this is for real, but we don’t know yet how many people might have actually fallen for the scam.
We know the crooks likely wanted money, but we don’t know if it’s even more dangerous than that, because they were also asking for information like the model’s addresses.
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