Approached in Target or at a kiosk in the mall?
Gary Spatz Scam Alert!
There is no such job description as a "talent scout" of any kind in Hollywood. Rather these are front men and mostly women of acting school scams and rip-offs.
The first rule of thumb is to understand that in this industry is that more expensive doesn't equate to better. If someone could 'buy' success everyone would be a star. Sometimes the most expensive services actually provide the least benefit.
These scams committed against children and their families are very common as they prey on our love and pride for our children. That is one consistent across all scams - they all say everything a parent would ever want to hear about how great, talented, beautiful, "star in the making" their child is. That is closely followed by playing on the guilt for a parent who might not be "allowing their child to follow their dreams".
So how does a parent spot a scam?
LISTEN. One step is to really listen to your instincts. What seems too good to be true usually is.
RESEARCH. Researching every company you are going to work with is of paramount importance. Use Google and check the names of the businesses as well as the names of the people you meet. Ask other parents. Look for common red flags. Some red flags of a scam or rip-off include:
Being approached in a mall, family store or other public place
Name dropping such from shows LIKE The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Hannah Montana or the use of Disney and Nickelodeon logos (call the studio and let them know your experience with the scam school and how much they charge)
Promising work or access to talent agents through "show cases" or "agent auditions"
Using several different names for their business on the internet to confuse people and load up the search engines so all the bad reviews won't show up first. (luckily it can't be done)
Putting pressure or time limits on the offer such as "we only bring back 10-20% of the kids we see, not everyone makes it", "we can only hold the spot for 3 days", etc. You can cancel if you don't like it.
Long term contracts that must be paid for in advance. Legitimate acting classes are offered for 6 weeks or less at a time, with professional level group acting classes costing around $45 per class. Anything longer, or costing more is a red flag.
Exceedingly nice sales people.Predators have to be nice. If they weren't, they wouldn't get their prey.
Google Gary Spatz and put the word "scam" after his name and see what he is hidding. You will be shocked!
Dept. of consumer affairs.