I was contacted by a model in shock, who had joined a modelling site, I have not been able to clarify which one. A Michael Smith contacted her back and talked her into believing he was genuine and would visit her home town shortly, but a contract was going to be hers. As a sure sign of intent he was going to send her a cheque for £1000. The models intuition was that it was too good to be true, but she contacted Michael Smith by e mail again and she was convinced he was genuine. The cheque arrived, she went with her young son to bank it, was detained in the bank until the police arrived, and was taken to the police station, questioned and put in a cell for 5 hours. She has been charged with fraud. She was naive in being taken in, but that is no defence in the eyes of the police.
I have tried to contact her back a few times to enquire how she is but with no success. She started out as a lap dancer, but found the hours too much latterly hence the change to modelling.
Perhaps a section warning models and photographers of the scams and pitfalls out there on your site would be useful. MM has an useful new section. Perhaps you could do better.
A few years back Purestorm used to have the best Scums & Warnings section on the web but unfortunately as crooks and shysters know just how to exploit UK libel laws for their protection it was first watered down and then removed completely. On a major British non-modelling / non-photography website which I have been an administrator on since about 2000 we had a similar Scums & Rogue Traders section but that had to go five or six years ago after the website was threatened with closure by the crooks.
The thing I cannot understand is why schools and colleges don't educate young web users how to spot these scums, which are mostly just variations of either the Nigerian 419 or the Hyper Global Lottery Scum, as once the basic premise has been explained it doesn't take much common sense to work out that they are a con. The 419 has been around at least since I started a degree course back in '98, so anyone who has passed through the education system over the last twelve years should really have been made aware of it by those introducing them to the web in the classroom.
It doesn't take much intelligence to work out that if something looks like a fish, smell like a fish and swims like a fish it is almost certainly fishy.
I can only assume the cheque was stolen, - in those circumstances a person presenting it would find themselves under suspicion of theft, - arresting and questioning such a person would be usual and appropriate, - charging the suspect would follow only where there was sufficient evidence to substantiate such a charge. What's been told is clearly only half the story.
These 419 commercial cheques are invariably forged or stolen and when presented by someone who has not received them in return for invoiced work both the banks and the police treat it as a fraudulent presentation, which is a criminal offence.