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Influencers Watch Out for Brand Impersonators

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Social media influencers should be aware of current scams involving employment impersonators. These scammers are impersonating well-known companies with fake offers to be brand ambassadors. Their true intention is to rob your money and steal your personal information to commit fraud.

The scam typically works like this:  Content creators receive post comments, emails or direct messages from a supposed “brand ambassador manager", offering to send free products for a collaboration with the brand. They offer to pay influencers to promote the retailer’s products. The recruiter/manager often praises the influencers content and social media presence. They oftentimes name drop the names of top executives with the company to convince the influencer that the offer is legitimate. They even set up websites to direct their victims to that appear to be the real brand or ad agency of the well-known company. Then the schemers ask for personal or banking information to set up payments. Sadly, it is all a sham.

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Influencers, if you are approached by someone making similar offers, proceed with caution. Never give out your personal or financial information to anyone you have not checked out thoroughly. If you’re interested in the offer, start conducting your own research by reaching out to the brand retailer directly using a contact you know is genuine. Don’t use the email or phone number provided by the so-called “manager”.  Visit the retailer’s website for their contact information, or look at the product itself to find their real phone number. If the offer is real, they will put you in contact with the right department.

Here are some tips if you are seeking to collaborate with a brand:

  • Don’t respond to comments asking you to DM for a collaboration offer.
  • Watch for contacts that are not from the brand's main account or emails sent from free accounts (Gmail, yahoo mail, outlook, etc.).
  • Avoid recruiters that want you to purchase the product upfront using their discount code; or recruiters that offer comped items that require you to pay for shipping.
  • Be wary of correspondence that contains obvious grammatical errors.
  • Look up the contact information for the brand by searching for their LinkedIn profile.
  • Verify whether the brand buys engagements.
  • Check that their social media page is legit and verified. And pay attention to their followers and with whom they have collaborated.
  • Ask other influencers if they have worked with the brand.
  • Make sure to get a contract or written agreement guaranteeing the terms of your collaboration in writing.

These tips can help you avoid influencer scams. If you suspect a scam or have fallen victim to a scammer, report them. Start by reporting the profile or account to the platform from where they reached out to you. Next, if you have provided your banking or personal information, contact the bank to initiate a fraud alert. Also, contact one of the credit reporting bureaus:  EquifaxExperian, or Transunion for assistance. File a complaint with Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) so we can alert others of the scam. You can also file a fraud report with the Federal Trade Commission.

Don’t forget to share this article with others and follow BCA on Facebook to stay updated on scam alerts, consumer tips, and trending industry topics.

About Business Consumer Alliance Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) is a non-profit company that started in 1928. The broad purpose of BCA is to promote business self-regulation. BCA's mission is achieved by assisting consumers in resolving complaints with businesses and using that complaint information, along with other relevant information such as customer reviews, to forecast business reliability. With community support, BCA can identify trustworthy and ethical businesses and warn the public to avoid unscrupulous businesses whose purpose is to defraud the marketplace. BCA also helps businesses promote themselves by providing services and tools to protect their business and reach out to their customers. BCA obtains its funding from member businesses who support the mission and purpose of the organization and who agree to abide by high standards of ethical business practices.