Eye on Scams: Aspiring social media influencers falling for phony sponsorships


LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Here’s a scam warning for aspiring social media influencers who are falling for phony sponsorships. 

Changes to the NCAA athletes now allow college athletes to make money off sponsorships, possibly opening the door for them to become social media influencers. These aspiring influencers need to watch out for phony companies that promise bogus perks. 

Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said, “We know NCAA athletes are now eligible to receive advertising funds just like professional athletes are and that’s opened some of them up to some vulnerability as social media influencers. We know that has grown over years past with influencers being paid to sell and promote products on social media and we’ve run into some reports lately that some people are being scammed out of money.”

These aspiring social media influencers are then scammed out of money and the ability to promote products using their influence. 

“A company contacts you says that ‘we would love for you to promote our product, we’re going to pay you commissions for every time that you advertise our product. All we need from you is potentially some type of fee upfront for a background check.’ Sometimes they require that you purchase the product initially,” explained Babin.

It sounds like a great gig and an easy way to receive a favorite product at a discount or even for free. You just have to post photos of yourself using the product. Then, the company will give you a commission. In the end, that never happens.

“We’ve had reports that they’re purchasing products that aren’t actually showing up or showing up unusable and, in the end, people are being conned into these situations and not actually being paid to be influencers,” added Babin. “They’re just being scammed out of money.”

Here are some tips from the Better Business Bureau on how to spot an influencer scam:

  • Ask questions. Targets of influencer cons say when they ask for details, the scammer stops responding.
  • Be cautious of any job that asks for money. Scammers will often use the guise of running a credit check or paying for training.
  • Do a search. If something is a scam, victims are likely to have posted about it online.
  • Know the signs of fake social media accounts. Make sure the business or charity contacting you is real.

If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at smasters@klfy.com.



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