Warning after fake model agency scam on Facebook targets children

Latest NewsOriginally published 24th January 2011. Contributed by Mich Bingham

Police are alerting parents and children to a scam that appears to be circulating on Facebook surrounding fake modelling agencies.

Officers are issuing a warning to prevent anyone potentially falling victim to this scam which involves a number of social network sites posing as genuine modelling agencies and inciting children to pose in their underwear.

It appears a number of false Facebook profiles have been set up posing as modelling agencies; the profiles even use an agency logo to try to appear genuine. They then contact children through their email accounts asking them if they are interested in modelling. Follows is a series of emails which ends with the child being pressured into sending photographs of themselves in their underwear.

Police have received reports from concerned parents and these are currently under investigation. The modelling agencies appear to be Leicester based and the most recent agency used is the Pat Keeling Modelling Agency. Police are working with Facebook for this particular site to be removed but new sites may continue to be set up.

Pat Keeling Modelling Agency does not have a Facebook site and have pointed this out on their own genuine website.

Pat Keeling said:

“We would never approach people we do not know, people approach us. We do not use social networking sites to contact people. If someone is interested in modelling then they should visit a reputable modelling agency and have a face to face chat.”

Detective Sergeant Ed Jones, the Paedophile and Online Investigation team, said:

“Do not be fooled by these emails, a reputable modelling agency would never approach you in this way. Do not post pictures online of yourself posing in your underwear and if you are under 18 these photographs may be indecent under UK Law. You have no control when posting photos on the internet where they may end up and they could appear on the internet forever.

“If you do find yourself in a situation of this nature online you can use the CEOP Report Abuse Button which in now available as an app on Facebook or contact police. The website www.thinkuknow.co.uk also has more information and advice for anyone concerned by these sites.”

Anyone who has information is asked to contact police on Leicester (0116) 222 2222 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is free* and anonymously on 0800 555 111.

* Some mobile phone providers may charge for this call.

Associated links

» Leicestershire Constabulary

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