If you have a high school or college student, you may want to talk to them about being on the lookout for scammers who target youth with false promises of becoming influencer.
It’s easy to fall into this trap because if money is tight, the offer of becoming an influencer or “brand ambassador” may seem tempting. College student Caleb Crater says he has received many pitches from companies and is always surprised at how legitimate they are.
“I was good at track in high school,” he said. “So companies will contact me and try to get me to promote them on social media.”
Fellow student Eli Cobb was also skeptical of the marketers’ offers.
“I remember there were bots on my Instagram account,” she said, “they said they wanted me to pose for a mural and things like that.”
And what college student doesn’t have an Instagram, TikTok, or other social media account? That’s why The Better Business Bureau is issuing a warning Now, students are back on campus and looking to spend some extra cash.
warning signs of scam
Josh Planos of the BBB says that becoming an influencer or brand ambassador seems like a great, easy job.
“Typically, we see someone receive an unsolicited message from someone who is purporting to represent a brand or organization,” he said.
But they say you’ll know it’s a scam if you’re asked to pay money or buy a product up front.
“That’s when you need to turn around and walk away,” he said, “and completely remove yourself from that situation because it’s not real.”
Victims have told BBB that they were asked to purchase sunglasses or makeup items, but if the items arrived at all, they arrived broken. In other cases, a scammer charged victims a fee for a background check.
Planos says be wary of any job that asks you to hand over money and be wary of companies you’ve never heard of before
“Find out what that brand stands for, if it’s genuine or if it looks like it was created overnight. You’ll want to know all this information before entering into any type of arrangement,” he says.
Crater says it may be hard to resist a pitch if you’re looking for “likes” and subscribers.
“Everyone’s trying to be famous,” he said.