Warning: Online Teen Model Scam
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A top Twin Cities modeling agency is warning parents about a stranger on Facebook. The agency’s owner says a man posed as a representative of her business to attract girls online.
Susan Wehmann has owned a model agency in Minneapolis for more than 25 years.
“I have never scouted in Nebraska,” said Wehmann.
Wehmann became very concerned when she heard from two parents in Nebraska. They told her a guy claiming to be the co-owner of her agency was “friending” teenage girls on Facebook under the name “Sean Williams.”
“He has absolutely no connection with the Wehmann agency,” said Wehmann.
And in online chats, he talked about recruiting the girls as models after meeting them at a mall.
“He said, ‘You look really good in your pictures.’ And I said, ‘You are like, 40.’ And he said, ‘I’m 34 and I work for the Wehmann Modeling Agency in Minneapolis.’ And I said, ‘Oh really’ and I was like, all excited,” said a Nebraska teenager.
By phone, WCCO-TV interviewed one girl who is 14 years old.
“He said if I modeled like, swimsuits and bras, every time I modeled then I’d get $4,000 and I if I modeled regular clothes I would get $2,000 every time,” she said.
“That’s just so scary that someone is going to meet you in a mall and you’ve never met him before and you’ve now met him on Facebook,” said Wehmann.
Wehmann doesn’t know if “Sean Williams” is really his name or if his profile photo is a fake.
“My first concern was, ‘OK, these young women out there and have no idea that he’s not legitimate,'” said Wehmann.
She reported his page to Facebook and to the CyberTipline at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Investigators in Nebraska say they have no evidence so far any crime was committed. But they say the case is an important reminder to check out the background of anyone who asks for photos or personal information online.
“Not talk to strangers,” advised the teenager interviewed by phone.
Wehmann commends the parents who took the time to check out the man and says she never uses Facebook to find models.
“They come into my office. They have photographs, they have resumes, sometimes of theater that they have done or other jobs that they have done and I have never met anyone in a mall,” said Wehmann.
Procedures for applying to be represented by the Wehmann Modeling Agency are on the agency’s website.
The “Sean Williams'” Facebook page has been taken down.
A Facebook spokesperson told WCCO-TV reporter Caroline Lowe, “We cannot discuss actions taken on specific user’s account.” Facebook also said users “should be careful to only accept requests from people that they know.”