I know that if you're old enough to be reading a blog, you've probably long-ago been made aware of concepts like "not all is as it appears" and "not everyone is your friend", "wolf in sheep's clothing", "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is" and things along that line?
You get the idea. These little gems come down to us from generations of "live and learn". They warn us for a reason. The lesson is to beware of who you trust because not everyone is trustworthy. It's sad but true and an inescapable fact of life.
This also refers to business practices. The world of "professional photography" is not exempt from shysters. I, too, have fallen prey, in my past, to fly-by-night photography schemes. My oldest daughter, who just happens to be very tall, lean, and drop-dead gorgeous (I know, I may be biased, but it's what I believe) wanted to become a model. Me, being the mom I am, wanted to give my little girl what she wanted. I was a sheep with a "Come eat me" sign around my neck and fell for a few scheming "modeling agencies" who "just happened to be traveling through our remote area, looking for talent". So, for a "give me $750 and sign here for a photoshoot and some comp cards" day, I was out $750.
I guess, if current news buzz is to be believed (and I do believe it because I have also seen and heard way too many horror stories), the bad photographer who is untrained and has literally no concept of photography or even how to use their camera, dupes people into giving them money.
So, my advise to minimize this happening is to look for a current and up-to-date website. Any true photographic professional will have one. Look over their work. Does it look like something you would want hanging in your own living room? If not, or if they have no real website, I say RUN, don't just walk.
Here is a link that's now and quickly become famous. Don't let this happen to you! Click the following link to view possibly the worse "professional photoshoot" since the invention of the camera, courtesy of IMagery by Lesa Hall: http://mashable.com/2018/01/12/funny-photoshop-fail-family-photos/