Phishing in the production industry—scams & fake job offers
There has been a recent increase in phishing scams targeting production professionals. Several members flagged suspicious job offers that requested their personal bank information and/or photo ID. Messages have come as both emails and text messages. Use the tips below to protect yourself and your information.
How to Spot Phishing & Job Scams
Most freelancers and small businesses don't have the advantage of an IT department on standby. Not to worry! There are many ways to recognize production job scams—from common signs of phishing, to specific industry-related claims.
Common signs of phishing attempts include:
- Excessive typos.
- Poor grammar: Does it look like someone dropped your name into a Mad Libs?
- Link shorteners or masking: This is used to keep you from knowing the real destination of a URL. (Don't be afraid of every bit.ly link—just ones from unknown senders.)
- Email address that doesn’t match the company URL.
- Asking for a check or other personal bank information.
- Asking for a copy of your photo ID from the start.
Production-Specific Signs of a Scam
- Unbelievably big names on a project. (We once saw one signed as "Winona Ryder, Marketing Director.")
- Unrealistic pay for your role (way too high).
- Asking you to purchase supplies for the production and be reimbursed later. They may even send a check—which will inevitably bounce!
How to Report Spam, Scams, & Phishing
Do not reply to phishing attempts—report them to the FTC using one of these methods:
- Forward emails to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Forward text messages to 7726.
- File a report online at ftc.gov/complaint
Who are these scammers?
Note that many of these scams are using real production company and employee names—they are victims too. Please be mindful when sharing this information.
We came across this helpful scam alert posted by industry freelancer in 2019. It includes an extensive list of reported names and companies—which people are still adding to in the comments section. There is also much more detail into how these scams are intended to work.