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When an Email Scammer Poses as a Famous Photographer…


Forget Nigerian princes: email scammers are now pretending to be famous photographers looking for collaborators. Photographer Michael Glenn just received an email from someone claiming to be the well-known American photographer Jill Greenberg.

The fake Jill Greenberg curiously emailed Glenn (a photographer) asking if he would be interested in a modeling job.

Here’s the short back and forth between Glenn and the scammer (the original email had the simple subject line: “Modeling Job”):

The Scammer’s Original Email


I am Jill Greenberg (CEO) Jill Greenberg Photography® ,I went through your works and i am glad to inform you that we are interested in working with you. We are interested in both (Male and female) professionals for a sales commercial coming up in the fourth Quarter of year which includes a video advert and Co-operate Photo Shoot. Interested Models who will be available are required to mail back with a brief introduction and three recent works, be sure to Include your current location in other to be considered for immediate booking …..Feel free to mail back for additional information.??

Event Date 1 : Jan. 12th 2018 and Jan. 13th 2018
Event Date 2 : Jan. 19th 2018 and Jan. 20th 2018
Compensation : Paid

Warmest Regards,
Jill Greenberg (C.E.O )
Jill Greenberg Photography®
Director Santino

Michael Glenn’s Response

Send a description of the scope of work. I will return an estimate and I require a 50% deposit to book.

Thank you.

Michael Glenn

The Scammer’s Followup


Thanks for reaching out in regards to the upcoming shoot notice, it would be an honor to work with you.

About Jill Greenberg Photography
We are one of the leaders in professional photography, specializing in portraiture and commercial photography. We have built a distinguished reputation for providing quality service while producing a superior product with highly trained staff of professionals, we have both the knowledge and expertise to create and capture the perfect image of you. And here we are again, calling for an upcoming commercial to market collective fourth Quarter year sales catalog for , Bags, Shoes and Purses for our reputable Russian based client (ADIDAS) who believes in fashionable life style.


A Multi brand company, ADIDAS, and the ADIDAS Group embodies the concept of modern, upmarket shopping. A hot spot for worldwide design talents and a much-talked about shopping place, ADIDAS is the creation of Reebok and is in collaboration with other designers such as the Porsche Design ,Y-3 ,FIVE-TEN Unsurprisingly, ADIDAS stores stock the aforementioned brands and offer an enviable selection of such renowned designer sport wear and other apparels.
ADIDAS has also collaborated with established Russian brands Viva Vox, A La Russe, Walk of Shame and LUBLU Kira Plastinina, amongst others. and have decided to collaborate with Jill Greenberg Photography for their Commercial advert work nationwide. For more information, please visit http://www.adidas.com

The Commercial Photos
This project is aimed at featuring a large collection of designer Bags, shoes, apparel and accessories and other items from various designers and manufacturers, to be displayed in an online Media ad and Electronic billboards nationwide. Our obligation in respect to this project is to generate some marketable commercial advertisement to feature these items, where all models will pose with the various items and exhibit a commercial character to attract consumer’s attention. It’s very simple and works the same as any typical promotional or commercial advert shoot. The end product from the commercial shoot is an online Media ad, Electronic Billboards and Network Medias that would convince the public to make this collection a top choice among others.

* The event Date:
Event Date 1 : Jan. 12th 2018 and Jan. 13th 2018
Event Date 2 : Jan. 19th 2018 and Jan. 20th 2018
* Time : 10 A.M. – 3 P.M
* Nudity: No
* No level of experience is required. (Free Model Coach available upon request).

*Compensation : The Total money pay for the job is USD 8000 (Tax deductable) and you will get $500 as your advance/upfront booking fee and balance of USD 7,500 will be paid immediately after the completion of the commercial shoot and this $7500 also covers for the right of ADIDAS and Jill Greenberg to use all your Commercial videos/Commercial Shoots made for our own commercial interest for the period of 3 months. That means ADIDAS and Jill Greenberg are entitled to use the produced shoot for advert work for the period of 3 months only and this will be backed up by a contract. (Advance/Booking ($500) + Usage rights and Services ($7,500) = $8000

*Location/Venue of event: The shooting will hold at a rented studio in your location – (we shall arrange a suitable Studio and convey its detail to you unanimously.)

We’ll be responsible for your hair do, Make Up artist and transportation, except for your wardrobe/costume that will be shipped to you directly from a contracted fashion stylist in charge. Also, note that the payment for your wardrobe will be made available by us and your clothing measurements has to be forwarded to the fashion stylist, REASON being that, the payment for your wardrobe has to be made or billed to your Name/info as requested and acceptable business terms by the Fashion stylist, to ENSURE a tallied customization and label to be printed on your costumes. (Read this Paragraph again)

In addition, an advanced deposit/upfront pay of $500 shall be mailed to you to ensure your engagement on the upcoming cast with us in line with our business ethics. However, you will NOT only receive a paycheck of $500 but also an EXTRA amount that you will use to pay for your wardrobe/Costume bills which you will forward to the Fashion stylist in charge of your Wardrobe/Costume along with your measurements.

Actors/Models may attend the shoot with their choice of Friends/Parents/Manager/Spouse/Guardian (maximum of two) and should not arrive audition later than 9:30 a.m. to commence make-ups and attend a brief introductory class about the proposed project and shoot starts by 10:15 a.m. This shoot is going to be fun as different acting characters may be involved, which is the real sense of this project. Take the courage to participate in this paid and legitimate offer as we look forward to working with you.

Final Note : we recommend that you read the content above OVER AGAIN and do not hesitate to ask questions if any. Actors/Models are selected based on their willingness to participate and their agreement to the content of this Paid event and readiness to work hard with us. Below are the required Payment and Sign-up details you are to forward to us for filling and to mail you the aforementioned Paycheck for your Upfront and Wardrobe bills:

1. Your full name
2. Physical address (No P.O.box),
3. State & City
4. Zip code
5. Home contact (Home phone number and Cellphone number)
6. Your age
7. Previous working Experience,
8. 2 Picture photographs.
9. Reference
10. Other Websites where we can find your online profiles?
11. Bank Name.

Do not hesitate to ask any question if any concerning the detail above. I hope to read from you as soon as possible and we look forward to working with you on this project. Have a wonderful day!

Warmest Regards,
Jill Greenberg
C.E.O Jill Greenberg Photography®
Director Evan

Upon first glance, this may sound pretty great — a famous photographer is looking to work with you on a shoot for a famous brand.

Read a little further down into the email, and this is the line that should jump out at you:

“In addition, an advanced deposit/upfront pay of $500 shall be mailed to you to ensure your engagement on the upcoming cast with us in line with our business ethics,” the scammer writes. “However, you will NOT only receive a paycheck of $500 but also an EXTRA amount that you will use to pay for your wardrobe/Costume bills which you will forward to the Fashion stylist in charge of your Wardrobe/Costume along with your measurements [emphasis ours].”

Any arrangement in which you’re seemingly paid an extra amount beyond what you’re owed and then asked to forward that amount onto a third party is the classic hallmark of an advance-fee scam (of which the Nigerian Prince scam is one of the most famous examples).

This exact scam is being used these days to target people across the photo industry, from fashion and wedding photographers to photography assistants.

Be careful when discussing business over email. One of the red flags in this particular case is the email address used by the scammer, [email protected], which isn’t associated with Jill Greenberg‘s domain name. When you notice a non-official email address, one thing you can do is send an email directly to the photographer or studio through the official website to confirm that the email conversation you’re having is indeed legitimate.

Update: It appears that this particular email scam has gotten so widespread that Jill Greenberg is now warning about it on her website.

Image credits: Header illustration based on photo by BurnAway and licensed under CC BY 2.0