January 1, 2021

5 Scams Targeting Influencers Right Now

Influencer marketing has exploded, which is a good thing if you are trying to break into the industry as an influencer. Unfortunately, this also makes you a target for shady companies that try to steal your personal information and your money. Protect yourself by knowing about the latest scams targeting YOU!  

1. The “Purchase our product for a deep discount, post on social, and then we’ll pay you back” Scam

These companies contact you through social media and ask if you want to collaborate. They give you a big discount to purchase their product, and all you have to do is post about it on social or give them a review. Sometimes, they offer to give you a refund of the product. Watch out, this is just glorified marketing! You might not get reimbursed for purchasing the product, and when you try to contact them, you may be ghosted. You should not have to purchase anything to be an influencer. These companies are simply taking advantage of your desire to get into the influencer business and luring you into purchasing their products.  

2. The “You’ve won an award for being an Influencer” Scam   

If you receive a DM with the news that you’ve won an award for being an Influencer, you’ll eventually have a processing fee to pay. You may even receive an invitation to travel to an event to accept your award, pre-paid of course. This scam preys on people’s vanity because, as one would expect, winning an award can be flattering for anyone. If you have legitimately won an award, the sponsoring company will pay all of your expenses to travel to receive the award. Run away as fast as you can from this scam!

3. The “Only pay for shipping” Scam  

Kelsey in California got a message from a company on Instagram to be their Brand Ambassador. She was told to choose 3 items and only pay for shipping. Then, she would have to send them a photo with the items once she received them so they could use it on their social media. Be wary of this kind of scam. The merch you receive from these companies are sometimes such poor quality that paying “only for shipping” is overpaying. You may even pay for shipping and never receive your products. This is yet another way for a disreputable company to sell their merch to unsuspecting people. Don’t fall for it!  

4. The “We’ll send you defective merchandise for free in return for a post” Scam  

If a company is willing to give you a defective product on purpose in exchange for a post, don’t trust it. It would be nearly impossible to give positive feedback about a product if it’s not in the best-quality. Plus, you may receive the product, but who wants to keep defective merchandise? A legitimate company will only want reviewers to have the very best they have to offer so that their reviews are favorable.  

5. The “We want to negotiate a contract offer for a glamorous photo shoot with you” Scam  

These companies will flatter you with a big money offer for a professional photo shoot. They typically offer to pay for your flight and hotel, offer you a food allowance and more at a glamorous location. They’ll attach a realistic contract and rider for “your review.” However, you’ll first need to go online and purchase a full line of cosmetics, clothing, or whatever is needed for the shoot. You’ll get a discount code, of course, as well as instructions on photos you’ll need to take when the product arrives in order to be considered for the campaign. Needless to say, you’ll never hear from them again after they receive your money.  

So how do you avoid scams when they are always evolving? First, try Googling the company name. If there is no reputable website, news, reviews, or a physical address, they may be a scam. You can also try sending a DM or an email to the contact name. If it isn’t a legit contact, you won’t be able to connect. Most importantly, trust your gut. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is!  And remember, you should have to buy or pay anything to be an influencer. You’ve already done the hard work you are getting paid for creating an enthusiastic audience that truly values your opinion and engages with you. Reputable companies know and honor this, and are willing to honestly pay you for your services.  

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