With the efficiency and convenience of digital resources, there also comes the need to be vigilant when communicating with new individuals online. This is especially true regarding potential employment due to the exchange of personally identifiable information (PII) and potentially sensitive financial information that occurs during any legitimate hiring process. As someone seeking employment in production, it’s important to be aware of what’s common practice and what may be a warning sign of a potential scam.
The Texas Workforce Commission compiled a list of fraud warning signs that all jobseekers should familiarize themselves with. Some highlights from the list include:
- An offer of employment without an interview.
- The individual is charging a fee to purchase a sales kit, equipment, classes, or any type of license.
- The employer is requesting that you transfer funds or receive packages for reshipment as part of the interview or application process.
The Texas Attorney General’s office also has a list of common types of scams that bad actors use on unsuspecting jobseekers. During the hiring process, “Advance Fee Scams” and “Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks” are ones especially to be on the lookout for.
When speaking to someone new offering employment, be overly cautious about vague opportunities that offer rates that seem too good to be true. Scammers sometimes use legitimate (often overseas) companies as a front to gain your trust. Pay extra close attention to email addresses and phone numbers to ensure legitimacy, and always do research online to confirm the validity of the person(s) who reached out to you. If something seems troubling, it’s best to stop all communication with the individual.
If you're a crew member, don’t accept or use funds before you are officially hired on a project. Legitimate productions will never send you a check as an “advance” before setting up an interview and formally hiring you in-person. Also, productions will almost never ask you to pay for equipment from your own funds to be reimbursed later (especially without meeting you first).
If you’re an actor, never pay to audition for a role. A legitimate casting call will not require a fee to participate.
If you’re a property owner and someone comes to your residence or business interested in scouting it for a production, they will sometimes leave the Texas Film Commission’s contact information as a reference. Whether we are listed or not, we are always available to corroborate our working history with crew and companies to verify the production.
Report a Complaint
If you believe you have fallen victim to any sort of employment scam online, please file a report with the United States Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) by clicking here. This central hub is run by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and can use evidence provided to stop others from being scammed.
The Texas Film Commission is also here to help by verifying projects or crew members based on engagement we’ve had with them or offer general advice based on industry standards. If you still have questions or concerns about an opportunity, please contact us.