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BBB: Child talent search could be scam

October 10, 2010|by Channel 2 News staff

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Better Business Bureau is issuing a warning this weekend about a child talent search that could be a scam, after hundreds of parents took their children to the Dena’ina Center Saturday to audition.

Channel 2 received multiple complaints from some of those parents, who suggested that reporters investigate -- but the people behind the talent search were not too welcoming during a Sunday visit to the Dena’ina Center.

Reporter Christine Kim and photographer Jonathan Hartford visited the convention center to videotape the scene outside, but a man who claimed to be affiliated with the agency tried to prevent them from doing so -- even though they were on public property. He said Kim and Hartford were interfering with his clients, then called police to file a complaint.

Police said the man accused Channel 2 of blocking access into the center and of trying to talk to his clients, which its crew did not do. Kim and Hartford had to call security so they could continue to do their jobs.

The BBB says it has received inquiries about the talent agency. Local advertisements did not name the company, but did mention The Walt Disney Co. and several popular television shows -- but the BBB is urging caution for those who attended Saturday’s event, especially if they were presented with an opportunity that costs money.

“In these situations, it is so hard to break into the talent and modeling and acting industry,” said the BBB’s Tara Sims. “And so, if you were told that your child is going to be a star and were made big promises and said that they were going to make a lot of money, that can be a red flag because this is such a hard industry to break into -- that if you're getting big promises up front, definitely be wary.”

BBB officials say they tried to contact the agency but were not given any information, not even a name. The bureau says it’s heard that the agency might be called THE, making it difficult to conduct even a simple search on the Internet for more information.

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