Spotting a Scam: The Bill Beckman Casting Agency

Some of you may remember that back in January there was a weird buzz based around a suspicious casting call put out by “Bill Beckman Casting” that The Amazing Spider-man 3 was going into production. Now, we all know that’s patently false now, but even then most of us figured out it wasn’t legitimate.

As other people had pointed it out, we mentioned that the casting call was likely a scam. Life moved on, and we thought that it was the end of the story.

That was until we got an email from the “Bill Beckman Casting Agency.”

At 5:21 AM on February 21st, the following email found its way into the Nerd & Tie mailbox:

To: tips@nerdandtie.com
From: bacasting1@gmail.com
Subject: re: CEASE AND DESIST Preliminary notice
Date: 2/21/15, 5:21 AM

Hello,

Please remove the following page within 24 hours: http://www.nerdandtie.com/2015/01/07/amazing-spider-man-3-is-not-in-production-reported-casting-call-a-scam/

It contains false and defamatory statements about Beckman Casting that constitute interference with business relations under California and New Yorklaw. If you have counsel, please have your counsel contact us.
Please note, if this page is not removed, the next contact will be from our attorney, Jacklyn Kim, CA Bar #: 250841

We hope that we can resolve this issue amicable without involving attorneys. This casting call was posted and then retracted by a client.

Thanks,


Andrew Manning
Casting
Bill Beckman Casting
http://www.bacasting.com

Over 25 years in the business casting for projects with
ABC, NBC, CBS, Warner Bros, Dimension Films

As the email was not specific as to why I should take down the page, I can only assume that it’s because I use the words “Bill Beckman Casting Agency” and “scam” in the same sentence. Now, you’ll have to forgive me, but this is far from the first Cease and Desist I’ve stumbled across is my life. I’m far from easily intimidated by legally worded language, so my first response was amusement. Beside the fact that New York and California state law don’t really apply to a website run out of Indiana, my calling their site a likely scam was based off of third party sources — most of whom still seem to be saying the same thing.

But what the hell, let’s actually take a look at the Bill Beckman Casting Agency and why it’s probably a scam.

Photo Feb 23, 1 23 54 PM

The first thing you’ll notice when you go to BACasting.com (a strange URL for the Bill Beckman Casting Agency) besides the title and menu, are a set of three images followed by a graphic of “clients” the Agency has supposedly worked for.

Here’s the thing: All of these images are stolen.

The image on the left? That’s from a 2010 fashion shoot with Oana Timerman. Timerman was with an agency at the time (though not Beckman Casting), but currently is not represented by anyone. Also, she’s in Romania, not New York, California, or anywhere else Bill Beckman Casting claims to operate.

The second image is from Express’s September 2011 campaign and features Garett Neff. Garrett Neff, like , is verifiably not represented by the Bill Beckman Casting Agency.

The third image is from a 2010 Dolce & Gabbana campaign, but I didn’t bother researching the model. Because it’s still a stolen, uncredited image, and it’s not like a third verification would make a difference at this point.

Finally, the image of channels at the bottom? Directly ripped from a Mediacom Cable webpage. I mean, I’m not saying people should work harder when they’re stealing stuff, but they could have at least tried to hide it.

So a lot looks suspicious right on the surface, it’s impossible to deny. But a crappy homepage isn’t necessarily proof it’s a scam. I mean, it’s a red flag for sure, but as a former professional web developer, I’ve worked with clients that tried to insist on using images they don’t have the rights to. While I never used them (nor did the company I used to work for), that doesn’t mean some unscrupulous designer wouldn’t.

But again, big red flag.

Then I started to look into the history of “Bill Beckman Casting.” According to their site, the Bill Beckman Casting Agency has been in business for over 27 years. They specifically claim “We are based in NYC and have satellite offices in LA, NYC, Miami and Chicago” and list their address as “Bill Beckman Casting, 15 Little West 12th Street, NYC 10014.”

Now I went to New York’s business entity search and California’s as well, and was not able to find any record of a business entity operating under the name Bill Beckman Casting (or as listed on the terms of service “Beckman Casting Limited”). I searched for every variation I could think of, but I’m completely certain that the Bill Beckman Casting Agency is not a legally registered company doing business in either state.

That address? It’s a real building, but that whole space is currently leased to Palantir. Now, Palantir is a fairly well known security technology firm with contracts with the US Military, CIA, FBI and NSA. If you show up there looking for an audition you’ll find yourself escorted out pretty quickly.

And maybe arrested.

If you literally need me to keep going, it’s interesting to note then that their website has only existed since September of 2014. In fact, prior to September of 2014 there is no evidence that Bill Beckman Casting ever existed. Any testimonials out there? They date back to Fall of 2014. Their Facebook page? Only goes back to September 2014.

I cannot reiterate how flimsy a construct this whole thing is.

And all of this, all of this? The lies, stolen images, and fake stories? This is not the reason I implied they were likely a scam in the first place. The reason? They’re charging to let you audition.

If you remember, this all started with a casting notice. Since it’s been pulled down, here’s the Archive.org copy of it. But if you go through any casting notice on the site and apply? Well, then you’re given this page.

Photo Feb 18, 7 32 16 AM

To apply for anything on the Bill Beckman Casting Agency site, you have to pay $25. And it doesn’t appear to be a one time fee – there are complaints on the Bill Beckman Casting Agency Facebook page about not being able to cancel recurring charges from the site.

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 2.59.11 PM

What does SAG have to say about all of this? Why they proclaim this exact behavior unethical. According to SAG’s website:

One company recently solicited headshots from actors in Atlanta and Minneapolis – the pitch was that they were going to cast in both cities for a Hollywood film. For a $25 fee, actors were given an appointment date and time to try out for the movie. Problem was that the Atlanta auditions were canceled and the Minneapolis auditions turned out to be a total sham. Those who went not only did not get seen for a part, but they lost $25. Again, some of these are in fact legitimate auditions for films, but it is always a good idea to contact your local SAG office to find out.

That same page also has the following salient advice: “Don’t Pay Casting Agencies.”

We can also talk about how they’ve had listings for films that haven’t been greenlit by the studios yet. Y’know, Like “The Amazing Spider-man 3” or Independence Day 2:

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 3.04.48 PM

For the record, Independence Day 2 has since been greenlit — but that wasn’t until a month after this posting. And the film doesn’t even have a script yet, let alone is it at the stage of casting background performers.

That is why I said the Bill Beckman Casting Agency was likely a scam. I had no idea the rest of this even existed until after they contacted us directly.

In a possibly related epilogue, digging through Bill Beckman Casting Agency material led me to “EIPA” or the “Entertainment Industry Professionals Association” with the website EIPAUS.org. As far as I can tell, it claims to be a professional organization for entertainers, but like BACasting.com has only been around since this last fall (November in EIPA’s case), their address is a disguised PO BOX, and they appear to exist just to take money from the naive.

I’m not saying they’re directly connected to BACasting.com, but… c’mon.

Trae Dorn

Trae Dorn has been staffing conventions for over twenty years, and is a co-founder of Wisconsin’s longest running Anime convention No Brand Con. Trae also wrote and drew the now completed webcomic UnCONventional, and produces the podcasts BS-Free Witchcraft, On This Day With Trae, Stormwood & Associates, and The Nerd & Tie Podcast. This leads many to ask when the hell they have time to actually do anything anymore. Trae says they have the time because they “do it all quite poorly.”

11 thoughts on “Spotting a Scam: The Bill Beckman Casting Agency

  • February 24, 2015 at 12:39 am
    Permalink

    Hi ya’ll. I used to work for the audition department for Actors Equity- you’re right, this has all the hallmarks of a scam. Also, I have never heard of EIPA in my life. The professional organizations you need to know about for actors are SAG-AFTRA, AEA, and AGMA. I would be suspicious of all others- especially when they are listing vague qualifications for membership on their website and ask you to email them for details.

    Reply
    • February 24, 2015 at 1:18 am
      Permalink

      Oh, yeah – there was never any doubt in my mind that EIPA was a total scam site. The only question is if it’s the same person, or a different scam artist they’re coordinating with.

      Honestly, these guys were super easy to figure out. I wouldn’t have even bothered if the guy hadn’t sassed me in an email – Nerd & Tie is a nerd news and convention blog after all.

      Reply
  • March 13, 2015 at 12:24 pm
    Permalink

    They are claiming to be casting for a print campaign for Target, then they request that you register for the EIPA, which requires you to pay $35, that was a red flag for me, having been for so many years in the industry. So decided to google it and here it is! Thank you! Someone needs to stop these people! They are commuting fraud using companies and channels name and credit card fraud too charging for something that’s non existent!

    Reply
  • March 15, 2015 at 12:41 am
    Permalink

    Both BAcasting and EIPA are part of the same scam. I notified the FBI’s Internet fraud division. They said they traced the individuals by using the credit card server the scammers operated.
    Hopefully we’ll be reading about arrests soon.

    Reply
  • March 17, 2015 at 11:26 pm
    Permalink

    BAcasting = EIPA

    Posted on Craigslist 3/10/15 I saw the post on 3/12/15

    http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/tfr/4926273602.html

    Models – print catalog – TARGET (Los Angeles)

    compensation: Compensation: $6,000+ for 3-5 day shoot, travel/lodging provided to Minneapolis

    Ages: 18-55, male and female
    Fresh Faces welcome, NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE NECESSARY

    Please include name, email, phone and a clear recent photo

    Compensation: $6,000+ for 3-5 day shoot, travel/lodging provided to Minneapolis
    •Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
    •do NOT contact us with unsolicited services or offers

    post id: 4926273602
    posted: 2 days ago
    updated: 2 days ago

    reply by email: castingla02@gmail.com

    ————————————————————————————-

    response to my submission –

    Re:Models – print catalog – TARGET (Los Angeles)
    People

    From castingla02@gmail.com
    Today at 5:18 PM
    To me

    Thanks for contacting us regarding our casting call for Print Models. Based on your submission, I would like you to be considered for this campaign.
    This is a Union project under EIPA (www.eipaus.org), please register with them using the following link:

    http://www.eipaus.org/registration?ref_id=30399

    Please email me back with your EIPA Membership ID once you complete EIPA’s registration process. We look forward to working with you!

    Thanks,

    Andrew Manning
    Casting
    Bill Beckman Casting
    http://www.bacasting.com

    Over 25 years in the business casting for projects with
    ABC, NBC, CBS, Warner Bros, Dimension Films

    I don’t have much time right now, but if someone sent a mass email to all of the companies he said he’s worked with/for, a good number of them may sue him into oblivion!

    Reply
  • March 17, 2015 at 11:29 pm
    Permalink

    BTW, Thanks for the heads – up Trae!

    Reply
  • May 12, 2015 at 11:21 pm
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    @Delman Casting & @Bill Beckman Casting and @EPIA are all scams, as well as the trest of his profiles on Facebook- all originated by the same guy @Serge Bronstein. All reported to the FBI and other LEA’s- all down to the point of having his home address and taking screen shots of all the web site scams he operates out of his home. Typical Hollywood tactics taking advantage of the naive. Sad. His NDAs? a work of fiction as well, since, he’ll never show his face in court again.

    Reply
  • November 28, 2015 at 10:37 pm
    Permalink

    “William Beck Model Management”, “EPIA” and “Bill Beckman Modeling Management are all a giant scam operation. I also Google all three so-called companies just to confirm that each company is a legit in operation. I was not able to find any contact information, street address and/or any other source to show that each company are in operation. Do not release any personal information and credit card information to this scam operation. I provided photos of my conversation with someone by the name of “Alex” and also other images that I received from this William Beck Model Management.

    In one of those photos I provided, it shows me requesting a so-called, “Alex” to submit the phone number of the William Beck Model Management offices in my our email conversation, just to confirm he is affiliated with the agency and his/her identity. Alex was not able to provide contact information of any of their offices. I tried using Google to find a phone number of the company and was not successful. Again, please do not release your information or credit card information to this operation. Please review the images I submitted to get a better and understanding.

    And by the way, you are required to pay a $35 payment to cast for whatever Casting they have available. This is a scam to steal your money. Once again, do not release your credit card information to this operation.

    Reply
  • November 29, 2015 at 11:50 pm
    Permalink

    “William Beck Model Management”, “EIPA” DS Legal” and “Bill Beck Modeling Management are all a giant scam operation to steal money from innocent individuals. Via email, I was contacted by a so-called individual by the name of “Alex”, who claims to be a casting/scout for William Beck Model Management (which is a fake job title and company).

    Alex goes on and tells me if I am interested in a “Target Print Catalog Project” (which does not exist). I replied back saying, yes to the project. Then he/she emails me two different links:

    http://www.bacasting.com/forms/contractD2 http://eipaus.org/registration/?project_id=238938

    The first link is to fill out a Non-exclusive Project Representation Agreement form for the William Beck Model Management (which is a fake). And the second link is where things got a little strange for me. The second link, I was where I was to release my social security number and also pay a $35 fee (with my credit card information) to some type of Union project that provides insurance to its members. So, Alex wants me to release my credit card information and social security number to some unknown Union/website? I don’t think so. That didnt sound right to me.

    So, I began my investigation of the “William Beck Model Management”, “EIPA”, “DS Legal” and “Bill Beck Management” company on Google just to confirm that each company are in operationin the United States. And of course, I was not able to find any contact information (phone numbers), street address and/or any other source to show that each company were in operation in the United States. I also tried calling the William Beck Model Management is to confirm that this Alex person is really a casting/scout director of the model agency. And I was not able to do that either because the agency doesn’t exist.

    l replied back to Ale, via email, asking if he/she could give me a call because I had some questions. Alex, refuse the phone call and said it is against their company policy, until both forms have been completely signed off and the $35 fee was paid for my membership with the EIPA. Alex then goes on and sends my contact information to his so called attorney office (DS Legal). Out of nowhere, I receive an email from Alex’s attorney (Sam Delman) is threatening me to a lawsuit regarding this comment that you are reading right now. Around 9pm eastern time, this attorney (Sam Delman) is threatening me to a lawsuit for releasing false information regarding each company and the comments needs to be deleted immediately or they will proceed with lawsuit.This is their way of using scare tactic. But it didn’t work. In fact, it failed miserably along with William Beck Model Management.

    Whoever is reading this comment. Please do not release any personal information and credit card information to this scam operation. It’s all a fake. Also, I posted some images of my conversation with “Alex” and other images. I hope this comment helps you make a good decision by not releasing your personal information to these deceitful people or person(s). Good luck to you and stay safe out there.

    Reply

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