“A couple of days ago, one of my players told me that he was approached by someone who said he was an agent and showed some photos of himself. That’s not you, those are photos of my agent, my player said,” Buanec told FIFPRO.
The Frenchman has an office in Lille and has been representing players in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and many other countries for more than ten years. His agency (Agence 442) is officially registered with the French Football Federation (FFF).
“I had players calling me: I have sent the money to your account. Can you tell me when my trial at Tottenham Hotspur will take place?” Players like these have been scammed by fake agents pretending to be Buanec. Once the payment has been made, the fake agent disappears and the player starts calling Buanec, because they think that he arranged their trial or contract.
“Between 20 or 30 players have called me for things like these,” said Buanec. He contacted the police, but they have not stopped the scammers yet. “For the police these are small crimes. As the amounts are not that high, they don’t really want to work on this.”
Fake agents also post photos of Buanec on their social media accounts or websites so that they appear to be real people working with real football players. For example, a fake agent calling himself Pascal Carbon uses Buanec’s pictures.
“I have contacted platforms such as Twitter and Instagram and explained to them that somebody is using my photos and my name to scam people, but they don’t help. The platforms say that these fake agents are not violating the rules of the platform.”
“I can do nothing about it.”
Buanec is sharing his experiences with FIFPRO to make players aware of how fake agents operate. He also shares some advice on how to act when contacted by someone calling himself an agent.
“If an agent contacts you, then try to meet him in person or organise a video call with him. Then you can see if this agent really is the person in the photos,” Buanec said.
“When you sign a contract with the agent, then he works for you. You don’t have to pay him. Only after you have signed a contract with the club, the agent will be paid.”
“If you go on a trial, you should receive an official invitation letter from the club. This should come directly from the club’s email account and not from an agent.”
“Try to arrange a video call with the agent and the club to check if the trial is for real.”
“A club will never ask you to pay for a trial.”
“If you go on a trial, most clubs pay all expenses for travel and accommodation, but some smaller clubs could ask you to pay for these costs in advance. They will refund the money once you’ve passed the trial. Never pay an agent for travel or accommodation. Arrange and pay for the travel or accommodation yourself.”
Throughout the years, Buanec has noticed that his name or photos have been falsely used by the following accounts:
|Manager de football||https://www.facebook.com/agentjoueurfootball|
Buanec: “I have absolutely nothing to do with these accounts! Be very careful when they contact you. Do not do any business with them!”
These are the real social media accounts of Thomas Buanec: