A warning to all Voiceover Artists!
Arm yourself against the Game Show Voiceover Scam
The Game Show Voiceover Scam is so well known that receiving the email is considered a rite of passage among wisened voiceover artists these days, although I must admit somehow, I have managed to never receive the regularly circulated trap containing a promise of work. I see much celebration and joking when people in the know receive this email. Like they’ve finally levelled up in the industry. It’s become a bit of an in-joke. But it’s no joke to the people that fall prey to it.
If you belong to any voiceover groups on Facebook, a quick search on the phrase Game Show Voiceover Scam will uncover plenty of past discussions and allow you to familiarise yourself with the scam’s many iterations. You’ll probably even come across some unfortunate instances where people were successfully stung.
The scam has been around for eons and has morphed over time. There are several versions of it doing the rounds – but at the core they are all the same. Not only do the scammers target people directly with email, but they also set their traps on sites like Upwork, Fiverr, and online casting sites. They have even started to send text messages.
They are getting smarter and putting in more effort to try to appear legitimate. They might customise their attempt and mention a voice talent that their potential victim knows, saying this person recommended them. (They only need to look at someone’s social media connections and the activity on some of their recent posts to get names that would work.) They might even pose as a studio or production company that actually exists.
New voice talents enter the market every day, so the industry is constantly furnished with a fresh supply of potential unsuspecting scam victims. It’s up to anyone who knows about this scam to continue to spread the word to help keep others safe.
How to spot a voiceover scam
Here’s how it goes, more or less:
The original version of the scam involved “hiring” talent to record at “a local studio”, the location of which would be disclosed “closer to the date of the recording”. The talent would be sent a cheque to cover both the talent’s fee as well as the fee for the hire of the studio. Or the talent would be told they were “accidentally overpaid” and then asked to either “repay” the overpayment back to the scammer, or forward on the balance of the overpaid amount to the “producer” or “studio manager” etc.
Surprise, surprise – the cheque ends up bouncing, but by the time it does, the talent has already paid the other party.
Of course, with the rise of the home studio, the con-artists behind the Game Show Voiceover Scam have had to make some changes. So, when a remote voice talent is targeted, there will be a need to “purchase specific pieces of equipment” in order to complete the recording, and so a cheque is sent in order to facilitate that purchase, but the overpayment part of the scam remains the same.
Now here in Australia, cheques are on the endangered species list. But if you’ve ever tried to sell an item on Facebook Marketplace, you might be aware of some other pretty simple tricks that these kinds of scumbags use to fleece people of their money. Have a quick google of the ‘Facebook PayID scam”. It’s the same overpayment/reimbursement scheme, and the perfect solution to a scammer’s problem when trying to rip off an unsuspecting Aussie who might immediately be suss the moment a cheque payment is suggested.
It’s astounding how long this scam has been running. Plenty of people have already written articles or made YouTube videos about it. But people still fall victim to it because they haven’t come across any of these warnings.
And that is why Voiceover artists can never have enough discussion around this. It can never be ‘overshared’. There can never be too many articles or videos about it.
We don’t know what we don’t know.
And if we do know, then we shouldn’t assume that everyone else does too.
If you found this article insightful, please share the link with people it might help. x