Brandy, 29 was approached by a man who said he was a talent agent. He offered to shoot her portfolio himself for no cost and get her into acting and modeling interviews. His photos were amateurish shots of her, partially clothed and the interviews he got her were open casting calls he found in the tradepapers. Brandy's father decided to check out her agent, he called the authorities and found out the man was licensed to be an agent and that he had a police record. The police were brought in and the agent was arrested in connection with a pornography ring.
Talent agents have one purpose, they get you jobs. They are regulated by a state agency, the Department of Industrial Relations, and cannot charge you any advance fees for their services, nor are they allowed to deal in photography. Their income is derived solely from the commission they take from your pay as an actor. Many agents are franchised with the SAG who will provide a list of such agents to you at no charge.