A modelling agency has received more than 40 reports from girls as young as 14 that they have been contacted online by someone claiming to be a scout who is recruiting models.
Using fake Snapchat accounts in Base Models' name, somebody has been messaging UK girls telling them that they could earn anywhere between £500 and £50,000 by working for the company.
The model agency is keen to assert that it does not have a Snapchat account, and does not recruit models on the platofrm.
The company said it had been receiving reports since October about a Snapchat profile asking girls to send indecent images, and that anyone approached online by someone claiming to work for them should contact their office.
An account was removed after the agency complained, but a week later another account appeared and the issue continued.
A 19-year-old student from Manchester, Elle McCandles, was asked to send pictures of herself in her underwear but after feeling that something wasn’t right, declined and contacted the agency immediately.
Speaking to the BBC, a mother of a 14-year-old child model from Hunwick, Country Durham, said her daughter had also been targeted in a similar way. “They messaged her saying they worked for Base and wanted to hire her as a model, so she sent some headshots.”
Despite of telling the so-called scout that she was 14, she was still asked to send lingerie shots so proceeded to tell her mother who contacted Base Models.
Speaking on behalf of the agency, managing director Max Ridd blames the rise of celebrity culture for the fraudulent messages.
“Young people have always been seduced by the idea of fame and celebrity - but especially today with the Kardashian fame wave going on,” he said.
”Modelling is seen as a first step on the fame ladder - and I think that's one reason why we are being targeted.“
This isn’t the first time the company has come under attack though. Last month, Police in Scotland issued a warning after a girl was asked to expose herself on Skype by someone claiming to work for Base Models.
An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Every child has the right to be safe online and reports of children being contacted in this way are troubling.
”No legitimate company would ever ask a child to send indecent images of themselves, and anyone who receives such a request should report it immediately.
“Children should remember to think twice before sharing pictures of themselves, and if they are ever unsure they can call Childline on 0800 11 11.”Reuse content