Scam Alert: Instagram users fall for phony offers from brands

Press release from BBB

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If you are active on Instagram, watch out for this newly popular con.  Phony companies are reaching out to users and offering them perks in exchange for posting product pictures. These “brand ambassadors” just end up losing money.

How the Scam Works:

A “company” contacts you through your social media account or blog. They want to know if you would be interested in becoming a “brand ambassador.” It sounds like a great gig. All you need to do is post photos of yourself using their product. In exchange, the company will give you a commission, send free products and provide exposure for your account.

You are eager to get started, but there’s a catch! According to BBB Scam Tracker, several victims reported first having to buy items, anything from sunglasses to jewelry to cosmetics. These cost $50 or more and arrived broken. Other times, the scammer charged victims upfront for a “background check.”  No matter how the scam works, the outcome was the same. Victims paid upfront, but the promise of commission or exposure never materialized

How to spot a job scam:

  • Be very cautious of any job that asks you to hand over money. Scammers will often use the guise of running a credit check, setting up direct deposit or paying for training.
  • If an offer looks suspicious, search for it in Google. If something is a scam, victims are likely to have posted about it online.
  •  Learn about job scams: This social media ambassador con uses many of the same techniques as a job scam. Read more about them at BBB.org/EmploymentScam.

For More Information:

A recent BBB investigation resulted in the arrest of a con artist, who had been scamming social media influencers. Read the full story on BBB.org.

If you’ve been the victim of a social media scam, help others avoid falling victim by reporting what happened on the BBB Scam Tracker.

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