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Alert as fake model agent asks girls for bikini photos

A young Dublin girl was approached by a "fake" model agent who asked her to send him photos of her in a bikini.

A warning has been issued from legitimate modelling companies who said "dodgy" photographers were preying on young girls.

In one case, a 13-year-old girl received a chat message from a man on the internet claiming to be a freelance photographer from an unnamed company.

Christina Serpaud (13) said the man sent her a message telling her that she was pretty.

He then asked her if she would be interested in submitting photographs of herself that would feature in his portfolio.



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However, the man, who identified himself as Paul, said the pictures must be of girls wearing a bikini. He said the images would feature in a portfolio and that a lot of young girls had already submitted photographs of themselves.

He explained that it would be possible for him to meet girls to take pictures. However, he did not require parental consent.

Christina's mother Gillian has since changed the passwords on the computer so she can monitor her daughter's online accounts.

"It struck me as very strange. Christina could have met up with this man without my knowledge, and it worries me what could have happened then. There are a lot of strange people on those sites and who knows what could have happened," Gillian said.

She added that her daughter's date of birth and the fact that she was only in secondary school were clearly visible on the profile page.

Derek Daniel, owner of model agency Assets, said fraudulent companies posed a threat to young girls because their profiles were easily accessible.

"Most little girls dream of becoming models but under no circumstances should girls be asked to submit photographs of them in a bikini. For all they know, a paedophile could be requesting pictures of them and who knows where the images will end up.

"Girls, even those aged 20 and over, are asked to sign papers before we even consider them posing in a bikini, and we wouldn't deal with teenagers unless they had a guardian present at all times. This approach doesn't appear reputable at all and why any person would want to do this is beyond me."

He explained that girls as young as 13 were too young for modelling.



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"The bottom line is that this approach is seriously inappropriate. No young girl should ever be approached like this because the internet can be dangerous and nobody actually knows what the intentions of these people are," he said.

A spokesperson for a modelling agency in Britain that provides job opportunities for Irish girls said scam agencies were leaving a "bad taste" in the mouths of aspiring models.

"The modelling industry has taken a beaten from these fraudsters. Unfortunately this practice seems to be fairly common.

"We certainly wouldn't encourage teenagers to turn up in a bikini," the spokesperson said.

hnews@herald.ie


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