Fake Modeling Agencies Troll Facebook For Minors

U.K. police have warned parents about fake modeling agencies soliciting underwear photos from minors on Facebook.

U.K. police have warned parents about fake modeling agencies soliciting underwear photos from minors on Facebook.

The most recent incarnation went by the name Pat Keeling Modeling Agency in Leicestershire, where predecessors have also been based, according to the U.K. Press Association. Apparently the allegedly fake company has a website and has had profiles on Facebook but currently doesn’t maintain a page there, instead using the site to contact children under 18. It looks like the pedophile(s) running this scam not only remains at large, but might assume a new alias and fake company.

Detective Sergeant Ed Jones, from Leicestershire Constabulary’s pedophile and online investigation team, told the U.K. Press Association:

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 U.K. 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 is now available as an app on Facebook or contact police.

The U.K.’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center has a page on Facebook that shrewdly warns young people to set their profile’s visibility to private. I think the organization ought to include a warning against responding to messages from strangers, especially ones touting things that seem to good to be true.

Facebook spokespeople gave that advice to the U.K. Press Association when confirming that the social network is working with the police in Leicestershire:

Just as you should check if someone ‘scouting’ you in a shopping centre really is a legitimate model agent you should also use the same caution on Facebook. We encourage people using Facebook to think carefully before they add a new friend and check that the person is who they claim to be and not to add or accept friend requests from people they don’t know. It’s against Facebook’s rules to use a fake name or operate under a false identity. We provide our users with the tools to report anyone they think is doing this via report links on every page of our site and we strongly recommend their use.

What other advice would you give to minors who use the social social network?