We're Scamming, We're Scamming, I hope you like scamming too !

Recently there has been a lot of discussion in the SL model group about The Vangee Agency, in particular the CEO, Gia Pudles. People are beginning to smell a rat about the legitimacy of this particular organisation. Individuals are parting company with thousands of lindens, not to see a return or to be contacted again. I have spoken to various people, including designers inworld and individuals would rather remain nameless due to unconclusive evidence etc but I thought I would share my Miss Marple findings. Vangee Model Agency, the agency that has 7 members, whose base is at Vice City University, though it is evident from recent trips there that no runway or training school exists.

So I dug deeper and approached Gia. It struck me as odd that considering she is a CEO of a modelling training academy, there is no photograph, nothing in her profile and no mention of the agency in her picks or classified, but more importantly, this woman had no evident modelling experience. As my conversation developed with her, I told her I wanted to be a supermodel ( like I did ) but hey I needed to get her on side. I was offered a supermodel training course for 4000L and promised jobs in magazines and runway where I would potentially earn 5000L for photoshoots. She stressed that she worked with very well known designers, all of which I have approached and funnily enough all deny even knowing her or the agency. She was very pushy throughout the conversation, not once wanting to meet with me or show me the school, but generally avoided any kind of face to face meet whatsoever. Her vocabulary disturbed me with the overuse of ' you ready to join', 'you ready to join now classes are filling up fast'. I asked her if she could recommend someone I could speak to who has been in one of her classes to ensure I was getting value for money. Funnily enough, after asking this question 'Second Life: User not online - message will be stored and delivered later' Ive not heard from her since. The converation was a lengthy one and left with no doubt in my mind that this was not a genuine agency.

So to all you hopeful models out there, make sure you do your research before embarking on a venture with an unknown training academy. In my opinion, we wont see the last of Gia. I assume she will reappear in a couple of months in the model groups posing as another. So to conclude some tips for all you lovely ladies and gents before relingquishing any of your hard earned lindens:-
* Meet with the person face to face
* Research the agency
* Visit the agency, runway, location
* Ask for references or advocates
* IM in the group model pools to ask for recommendations


Kasen Kazan said...

Very Good article!To many scammers in SL. This one gives fashion schools such as Le Belle Facon a bad name!

Chalice Carling said...

Wonderful article Jula. I'm so pleased you brought this to light. You have potentially saved a lot of ppl a lot of heartache. As you know, I worked for one of these scammer without knowing until things didn't add up. It was only in retrospect that I could see what was happening with any clarity. Yay Jula...u rock hun. Warning to everyone: ask models who have been working a bit in SL before you go handing over money to a scammer.

Jula Carnell said...

Thank you everyone for your support on this. I know controversial but I wanted to blog about this.

You are right Kasen there are a lot of genuine agencies out there, Diversity, Le Belle, Avenue, Instyle, Moda etc etc, the list goes on, but always check first x

Vixie Rayna said...

ooh i think you just earned your detective badge miss carnell!! excellent reporting m'lady!
it makes me sad to see models being taken advantage of just when they want to learn. remember that meeting face to face, seeing the business office, and speaking with other "models" are all good steps but also trust your intuition. and if things don't add up, dig a little deeper.
i myself was duped, in fact i lost around 2000 linden. that total could have been much worse, because i was refunded 5000 linden and the owner did provide studio shots/ housing/ image consulting. so do speak up! if you haven't received services as promised ask for your money back. there are lots of gia's out there and the scam might not be so obvious at first.
the thing that bugs me the most is that we don't talk about this in the modeling world. well, not in public. so, kudos carnell for shedding some light.

Laura18 Streeter said...

These kinds of events shed a bad reputation even to those of us who try to do things the hard way.
I run an agency and a model academy and I do my best to make sure everyone gets whate they come for, but scams like these make a lot of places shut down prematurely
Laura18 Streeter
Look Elite Models

Pumpkin Saenz said...

Awesome, Jula. There are too many people out there who are coming up with new ways to con people out of their money. I'm glad you went with your instincts and dug deeper into this obvious scammer to warn others, particularly naive would-be models who could easily be swayed by someone who claims to have experience, contacts and is promising jobs.

Kudos to you, pretty lady!

DesPlaines said...

Interesting reading. I ahve people IM me allthe time complaining of getting ripped by this one, who they paid upfront, or that one who talks and talks and talks, and they practice practice practice but no sponsors and no shows ever happen. Sad............very sad