A group of con artists fraudulently claiming to represent Penthouse and other adult publications has been preying on women in at least four states, including Florida, California, New York and Arizona.
A woman is approached, usually by phone, by someone claiming to represent, or have access to, Penthouse or another publication. The person may claim to be a photographer or an agent, or a model who wants to recommend a photographer or agent. Significant money is promised.
The victim is then asked to come to Southern California, or sometimes New York, and rent a hotel room. It may be promised that they will be reimbursed for the room and other travel expenses.
A deceptive shoot or test shoot takes place at the hotel room, which turns out to involve sex with the photographer. Payment is promised via direct deposit. The con artist departs, and payment never arrives.
The scam preys on women who are interested in getting into the adult industry, often dancers, models, or other types of sex workers. Cases have been reported in at least four states.
The Free Speech Coalition is working with Penthouse and the Wayne Foundation, a nonprofit counter-trafficking organization. We encourage anyone who has been approached or has any knowledge of this scam, to report the incidents to local law enforcement. While law enforcement has failed to respond adequately to existing incidents, which may include criminal offenses of fraud, sexual assault and human trafficking, we are working to raise the profile of this situation locally and nationally.
If you are concerned about approaching law enforcement, the Free Speech Coalition can work with you and connect you with resources to make sure the incident is reported.