Hollywood Fraud Alert
WestBow Press has become aware of widespread misrepresentations and scams frequently targeting self-published authors in which bad actors are providing incorrect and misleading information and/or impersonating people in the entertainment industry often using real names, trademarks and logos to appear legitimate.
Some of the more common misrepresentations’ include:
- Saying your book has been flagged by a Hollywood Producer or Company and there is a production budget is set for your book to become a movie. That is a lie. Production budgets are never set that early in the process.
- Saying they will represent your book to Hollywood companies and send emails to production companies or put your book in a database. This is simply not how the entertainment industry works. The first call anyone will make to an author if they are legitimate is to ask if the rights are available.
- Asking you to pay them to represent you to Hollywood. That is also not how it works. If a legitimate company is interested in developing your book for the screen, they will want to option the book and if they do, they will likely pay you a modest sum for that right.
- Telling you they can get you a movie deal but you will have to republish your book or re-edit your book. No legitimate company who has interest would ever ask you to do that.
Some of the more common fraudulent schemes include:
- Using the name of an actual person in the entertainment industry or logos from a legitimate company. People who have a significant roles in Hollywood would never reach out. They would have an assistant do it. So if you see the name of a person who you can Google or logos or company names you recognize, it is most likely a scammer and what they are doing is illegal
Tips to Avoid Scammers:
- If you receive an email like this, treat it with extreme caution. Rather than responding to the email or engaging through information provided in the email, research the company or individual independently on a website called IMDB which is like the LinkedIn for the entertainment industry. There you will find what the company has done and what roles the person has person has had. Scammers will have done nothing in the industry.
- Reputable companies generally will not communicate with potential clients through:
- Social Media.
- Personal email addresses. Pay close attention to domain names and to emails from addresses with common providers, such as Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail.
- Unsolicited phone calls
- DO NOT provide payment information or bank information to any person or entity whose identity you have not verified.
- If you are unsure of the identity of the sender of a communication, DO NOT click on any links in the email.