How to Spot Misleading Information About Voice-Overs On the Web

road-sign-464653_1920There’s a voice-over scam that’s been making its way around the voice-over world and we want everyone to be aware of it. In the email, a supposed producer is looking to hire a voice-over talent for a two day game show project. They ask for your bank information with your audition so that they can pay you once you are selected for the job.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent email:

“Let me just assure you that if we close the deal and they chose you to be their official VO (let me be completely honest with you) that’s the only time that we can send payment for your VO. If this is okay with you then I’d be so glad and look forward to be working with you. Can you also calibrate your rates for me… that means, if you will be chosen this wouldn’t be a one-time deal… it’s gonna be on a regular basis (So please do give me a special rate… lower than those one time deals that you have. So sorry for being so brutally frank, hehe). 

Again if this set-up is okay with you then hit the record button and give it a shot (sorry too for the rush but need this by Monday, meeting with the client is Wednesday).”

Unfortunately, scams like this are becoming more common in the voice-over market. The most popular scam follows the following formula:

How the voice-over scam works:

  • The contact finds you through an online talent search (through various talent banks) with an exciting new project. They ask you to send a price quote along with your demo read of the script.
  • A few days after you’ve responded, they let you know that you’ve won the job and they’d like to pay you with Western Union (or sometimes Cashier’s Check).
  • Here’s where they reel people in. Typically, you actually DO receive a check, and for quite a bit more than your quoted price – almost $1000 more sometimes. Exciting, right?!
  • Unfortunately, it really IS too good to be true. The contact apologizes and asks you to send back the overpaid amount via Western Union.
  • You take the check to the bank and deposit it, and send back the over-payment amount as requested.
  • Later on, the bank finds out the check is counterfeit, which means you not only DIDN’T get paid, but you’re also out the money that you sent back to the contact.

Sometimes however, the scam will not follow this exact formula. But even then, there are some similarities that you should be aware of.

Warning signs:

CASUAL, SEEMS KNOWLEDGEABLE:  The contact writes very conversationally and uses some VO terminology, but misspells quite a few words and doesn’t use perfect English.

FOREIGN LOCATION: The contact is usually from a foreign country, commonly Philippines or India, although other locations have been used.

WESTERN UNION: For whatever reason, Western Union seems to be the preferred format of payment.

How to protect yourself:

So how can you prevent yourself from falling victim to this scam? There are a few precautions you can take.

  1. Never provide anyone with your payment information like your bank account number, social security number, etc. Direct them to your payment service, if applicable (PayPal, Dwolla, etc), or ask for a check.
  2. Never wire funds via Western Union, Moneygram, or any other wire service.
  3. Always research the company before agreeing to a deal. Go to their website and confirm they are a legit company. Even try calling their contact number to ensure that the company is real and active.

As the voice-over market continues to grow, these scams will surely grow with them. So be careful and take precautions with every opportunity. It’ll save you a lot of headache and wasted time!



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