Here’s a personal story showing that even street photographers are targets for scammers.
An exciting proposition…
I was contacted on Instagram by a musician. He wanted me to take some shots specifically for an album’s cover. A photo licensing deal for an album. How exciting!
I love music and I love the cover arts I see on my CDs. Having one of my photographs on an album’s cover would be like a dream! Plus it could be an opportunity to get a bit of exposure.
The first red flag
Checked the account and I thought it was legit with all the likes he was getting.
I didn’t understand what kind of photographs he needed, so I asked him to send me the brief he was talking about. The first red flag I didn’t notice: he wasn’t clear, and it was hard to understand what he really wanted.
But that was just a scam!
I received the email, second red flag: he sent the brief via WeTransfer (a file transfer service). I still downloaded it by curiosity. Third red flag, the zip file needs a password (he sent it to me via Instagram). I uncompress it, takes a while, and bam! Avast blocks it as malware.
Probably one of these viruses that encrypt your hard disk. And then you need to pay a big sum to get your files (and photographs) back. Hopefully, my computer has not been infected.
A few advice to avoid these scams:
- Don’t be nice, be suspicious of any commercial proposition sent via social networks
- Commercial propositions on social networks are often scams, ignore them
- Beware of password protected zip files
- For legit propositions, have a proper license purchase process (via a shop section on the website for example)
- Don’t be desperate to have your photographs used by others
- Backup regularly all your important files on multiple external hard disks