Scam Alert: Work From Home Production Runner

Sad to report there is ANOTHER scam going around, this time advertising a position described as a “work from home production runner” for a “short movie producer, director” who is “married with 3 kids”.

Here’s the email:

 

Production Runners are the foot soldiers of a film or television production team, performing small but important tasks in the office, around the set and on location. Their duties may involve anything from office administration to crowd control, and from public relations to cleaning up locations. Production Runners are usually employed on a freelance basis, are not very well paid, and their hours are long and irregular. However, the work is usually extremely varied and provides a good entry level role into the film industry.

I will like to thank you for your interest in the job offer.After reviewing your email, I am glad to inform you that I am impressed.

As my assistant, your activities amongst other things will include:
Creation and distribution of reports and schedules
Booking travel arrangements for shoots
Making copies of scripts and distributing them
Getting approval for the utilization of any clip or music that may be copyrighted
Check Processing
Buying equipment that would be needed for production.
good organizational skills Serious sense of
humor required and mandatory to work with me Ability to handle highly sensitive
and confidential information Perform duties with accuracy, quality, and
integrity You can only apply for this position if you own a personal computer.
Basic wage is $550 a weekly.
About me: I am married and have 3 kids. I have been short movie producer, director in many places in Europe and I want to shoot a short documentary, so right now getting the actors ready and the manager as well. .I travel a
lot,hence the reason why i need an assistant to handle affairs for me on the home front when i am away on business which is usually quite often. This position is home-based and flexible you can be in any location,working with me is basically about instructions and following them, because working from home now, you take care of things that need being taken care of till the venue is decided and the actors assembled and production starts.This is only an introductory e-mail, as time goes on we should be able to arrange a proper meeting to get things started officially. I do have a number of things you could help me with this week if you will be available for me. This can act as a stable foundation to our working relationship.
Note:This position is home base office work you can be in any location and work
with me from your home. Let me know your interest if you are ready to work with me from your home Mon-Fri @ 10am

First Name :- Middle Name :- Last Name :-
Street Address :- apartment number{if applicable},

City, State, Zip Code:- Sex :__________ Age :-

Nationality :- Cell Phone Number (___) :- Home Phone Number(___) :- Email::-

Current Job:-
Thanks for your time , hope to hear from you again. Fill the Application and
E-mail It back to get started Asap!!!
Regards

 

How to Tell This is a Scam

As with the previous industry scams, there is way too much over-explanation of everything here.

  • First of all, the whole point of a production runner is to GO ON RUNS. If you’re working from home, you’re not doing that.
  • The post contradicts itself. The first paragraph explains what a production runner does, the second half explains it’s a “work from home” assistant-type position.
  • No real, reputable film or production company will advertise “work from home” positions. When I was starting out as a production assistant, I always had somewhere to report to. Now, I often work from home for my job when I prep shoots, but it took me years to get to that point. Plus, I’ve known my employers for years.

I don’t want to get into more specifics because I don’t want to help them tweak their scam.

How to Avoid Being Scammed

Never give your bank account info to a new production company, or a company you found by answering a job listing on the internet. If you’re pursuing a job that seems legit and they ask for your bank account info immediately after hiring you, that is a HUGE red flag. Ask for an in-person meeting, or a phone call at least.

If they say it’s so you can “go on runs” and buy things for them, ask for a Visa debit card instead. Say you’ve been taken advantage of before by production companies.

Early in my career, I allowed a production company to direct deposit directly into my bank account for reimbursement. You know what happened? That money ended up being lumped into my pay on my 1099. I didn’t have any receipts because I turned them all in to the production.

While I wasn’t scammed, I had to file dispute paperwork with my accountant in order to avoid paying taxes on that reimbursement money. Now, I never let production companies direct deposit for expenses. Instead, I demand petty cash or a visa debit card.

I’ve given my bank account info for direct deposit on some shoots, but that’s only  after I’ve physically met with the producer, been to the production office several times, and know several people who have also worked with the production company.

Don’t Search Craigslist for Production Gigs. I highly advise avoiding Craigslist for production work at the moment; there’s just too many scams. Craigslist used to be a good place to find odd film jobs back in 2009 and 2010, but since then, it’s just gotten too weird and spammy. I haven’t heard of anyone actually using it to search for reputable crew in years.

These days, sites like StaffMeUp or Work in Entertainment are actively managed by people who actually work in the film industry.

What to Do if You’ve Been Scammed

Call your bank immediately and let them know. Freeze your account. You’ll need to open a new bank account in order to get a different bank account number, or else you’ll still be at risk. In theory, they could use your bank info to print fraudulent debit cards.

If you see similar scam postings on Craigslist, write a reply on Craigslist to warn others. Create your own job post, label it RE: *Whatever Scam Job Post is Called*, include part of the original post’s job description, and write THIS IS A SCAM! wherever you can.

Report it with the local police. You’ll need a police report to show your bank it’s fraudulent activity. If you’ve already been scammed and received a deposit in your account, try to ask your bank for information about the source of that money, and report that info to the police. Don’t do anything with the money — it’s likely fraudulent — and, of course, freeze your account.

Some banks reimburse for fraud. Know your rights on bank account fraud.

 

film industry scam alert

Author: Laryssa

Laryssa has spent 6+ years working on an assortment of film and television projects. She writes about her experiences to help (and amuse) others. If she's not working, she's either traveling, reading or writing about travel, or planning travel. Follow , Twitter, or Facebook.

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