Australian makeup artist Brooke Luke (pictured) said she was shocked after discovering a job opportunity she was offered via email was all part of an elaborate scam
A young makeup artist who was offered a ‘super desirable’ job by a bridal magazine via email has shared her horror after discovering the opportunity was actually sent by an assumed ‘sex trafficking ring’ in an elaborate scam.
Brooke Luke, from Sydney, said she was offered to work as a makeup artist for an upcoming photoshoot in Melbourne by New York publication Brides Magazine.
Sounding too good to be true, the 20-year-old said she responded to the email to express her interest but questioned the sender about the authenticity of the job opportunity.
Brooke was then told in a follow up email that the job was ‘legitimate’ and the magazine has ‘never been involved in anything illegitimate or fraudulent’.
She was promised a round trip from Sydney to Melbourne, with travel and accommodation expenses all paid for, as well as a $2,000 payment for her makeup services – and $200 per hour for overtime.
As her suspicions grew, Brooke told Daily Mail Australia she was shocked when she soon discovered the email was linked to a human trafficking scheme to dupe aspiring makeup artists out of thousands of dollars or potentially lure them to hotel rooms.
Brides Magazine has issued a statement saying they have no involvement with the scam – and they are taking every step to put an end to the counterfeit emails.
Brooke Luke, from Sydney, said she was offered to work as a makeup artist for an upcoming photoshoot in Melbourne by New York publication ‘Brides Magazine’ (Picture of the fake email)
The fake email shows Brooke being offered a round trip from Sydney to Melbourne, with travel and accommodation expenses all paid for, as well as a $2,000 payment for her makeup services – and $200 per hour for overtime
Brides Magazine’s official statement
While we love to engage with our audience and real-life brides, if and when Brides desires to use models, makeup artists, and other industry professionals, it is through agencies and all our email communications use @condenast.com in our email addresses. Brides also never posts modeling or makeup artist jobs to or uses websites to recruit industry professionals.
Unfortunately many brands (Brides included) have been misrepresented by such a scam as of late. We are doing our best to put an end to this, but in the meantime we want to keep our readers as informed as possible. Please stay aware of any such spam and if you do receive one of these counterfeit requests, please forward it to email@example.com.
On Sunday, Brooke – who runs her own makeup artistry business – said she received an email via a Gmail account from someone claiming to be ‘editorial assistant Rosemary Leger’.
‘Brides Magazine is currently looking out for markup artists for its September 2019 issue. Your contact was found via your social media page while looking out for talents that will suit the case,’ the email read.
‘Our senior editor was quite impressed with your portfolio and mandated me to get in touch with you so as to know if you would like to work with us on this shoot, do not hesitate to get back to me so that I may provide you with further information.’
Brooke said she was convinced the email was fake but was reassured by the sender she had ‘nothing to worry about’.
‘When I first received the email, I thought it was a little odd that they reached out to myself as I am not an editorial makeup artist, but I was still excited that a company from New York had reached out to me and I could possibly endeavour a new part of my career,’ she said.
‘I was suspicious about the email address, as it was under a gmail.com account, but the email ended in a confidentiality agreement so I thought maybe this could be real.
‘I decided to reply to the email saying: “Hi Rosemary, yes I would be interested but how do I know this is real?”. Her response made me believe it was real.’
Brooke was then briefed in a lengthy response about the requirements of the job, which included applying makeup to the models, do touch ups during the shoots and work in accordance with ‘Brides Magazine standards’.
‘You stand a chance of making a reasonable amount from this deal, and even a noticeable fame. I believe that it will be a positive experience for you especially if you are looking to expand your portfolio,’ the response said.
As her suspicions grew, Brooke (left) told Daily Mail Australia she was shocked when she discovered the email was linked to a human trafficking scheme to dupe aspiring makeup artists out of thousands of dollars or potentially lure them to hotel rooms
Brooke said she felt ‘violated’ after learning the emails were all part of an elaborate scam
Brooke told Daily Mail Australia: ‘The emails were very detailed in what the requirements of the job would be, what the payment would be and also explained that all expenses including travel and accommodation would be paid for.
‘The scammer also explained how the magazine has never been a part of any fraudulent or illegal situations, which I did think it was strange. They felt the need to reassure themselves as a company in that wording, but it did still made me believe the entire job offer was real.
‘I got pretty excited and I showed the emails to my partner and my family and they were also really excited for me and encouraged me to go ahead and do it.
‘I was still unsure as to why a big company would reach out to myself, I do not have a large following compared to other well-known makeup artists so I decided to think about it for the day before responding.
‘For someone with a smaller following, it sounded like a great opportunity to kick start or further our careers and get our names out to a larger audience.’
But the job opportunity came to a halt when she discovered she was not the only one targeted after she shared screenshots of the email exchange on Facebook.
The real Rosemary Leger responded to one woman confirming the emails were in fact a scam – and Brides Magazine is taking all steps to prevent the fraudulent scheme from continuing
Hundreds of women came forward claiming they have received the same email, with many saying they were told to hand over their passport, driver’s license, bank details or make a $1,000 payment upfront via Bitcoin to proceed with the job.
‘I decided to ask makeup groups on Facebook if these emails were real or fake. I got tonnes of comments saying it was fake, but one that stood out in particular told me to search ‘Brides Magazine Scam’ on YouTube as others are talking about it,’ she said.
‘I watched the videos that came up and was so shocked to see that this was linked to human trafficking. It actually made me very upset that I could have possibly fallen into this trap and who knows what could have happened to me.
‘I felt completely violated and actually pretty unsafe once I figured everything out.’
By sharing her story, Brooke said she wanted to warn young makeup artists about the emails to prevent them from falling victim to the elaborate scam.
‘I would hate for someone to fall into this trap and let this affect their life or their passion of makeup artistry. We should always feel safe no matter what job we are being offered or are working on,’ she said.
‘I would love to put awareness out there as it is such an easy thing to fall into especially for those who are just starting in the industry.
‘Please be careful… This job offer was super desirable so please do your research if you are ever contacted for a job offer with a company or production.’
Makeup artist named Rachel shared a similar email from someone claiming to be ‘Melissa Wilson’ – but when she contacted the magazine directly, she discovered there was no one working under that name
In October last year, makeup artist Rachel received a similar email from someone claiming to be ‘Melissa Wilson’ – but when she contacted the magazine directly, she discovered there was no one working under that name.
Editorial assistant Rosemary Leger responded to Rachel: ‘Hi Rachel, first off, I am SO sorry that you received this. Thank you for checking in, as it is fraudulent.
‘My name is Rose and I am the only Editorial Assistant on our staff of 15 people. Please don not respond! We are working with our security department to make sure this does not happen again. If you have any other friends in the beauty industry receiving these messages, please forward my way,’ Rose said in the email.
Brides Magazine editors issued an official statement on April 18, 2019 warning their readers about the fraudulent emails.
‘While we love to engage with our audience and real-life brides, if and when Brides desires to use models, makeup artists, and other industry professionals, it is through agencies and all our email communications use @condenast.com in our email addresses. Brides also never posts modelling or makeup artist jobs to or uses websites to recruit industry professionals,’ the statement read.
‘Unfortunately many brands (Brides included) have been misrepresented by such a scam as of late.
‘We are doing our best to put an end to this, but in the meantime we want to keep our readers as informed as possible. Please stay aware of any such spam.’