Fake Instagram Boutiques are making millions of dollars off of Brand Ambassador scams. There are key factors to look out for, so you won’t be the next victim.
The Brand Will Post a Comment Under Your Pic
You take a cute pic and post it on Instagram for everyone to see. You write the hashtags in your caption and within a day, you are flooded with numerous Instagram brand comments. The comments are always about how they love your style and that you should DM them if you want to be either a brand ambassador or do some type of collaboration.
Perhaps you fall for it because you have never heard of a brand ambassador scam. Unfortunately, you have just become their next victim.
The comments always look similar to this and they almost always ask YOU to reach out to them for more information. A brand that wants to work with you will not ask you to reach out to them. They will reach out to you and most of the time it’s by email, but never by comments.
Now, if you look at the profile that posted the comment, they are always different accounts. If a brand wants to work with you, they will personally reach out to you, but it will never be through a second account.
The Brand offers EMPTY Perks
You DM the brand and they tell you about all the “lovely” perks you will receive as a brand ambassador. The catch is, you have to pay a small handling fee to receive your free products or use a discount code and pay the rest.
The brand usually drowns this out by listing ALL the perks you will receive. You get so distracted by the perks, that the shipping costs don’t even seem like an issue anymore.
Now most of the time the merchandise is listed at such a high price, on their website, so you think the merchandise is high end or expensive, but it’s not. All of the perks listed, the merchandise prices, and the shipping cost are all THE SCAM. You are actually paying more for shipping than the actual value of the product.
An IN DEPTH example of a couple SCAMS
Crescent Treasures is an online boutique that “appears” to be high end. It has a very clean looking website and the product pictures look professionally done.
The jewelry is incredibly pricey and any person who is not familiar with these scams would easily fall for a scam like this. They look like a legit company.
They have this beautiful bracelet listed on their site for $70.31 USD which is crazy expensive for a bracelet. Unfortunately, this bracelet is not even worth half this price.
What is Ali Express
Ali Express is an online retailer where you can find various merchandise for a very cheap price. A lot of companies order from Ali Express in bulk and then apply their logo to the products. This “Anita” Bracelet is on Ali Express for $1-$7 dollars depending on the type of design you want.
Crescent Treasures is literally marking their jewelry for a way higher price than the bracelet is actually worth. You can literally find the same jewelry on Ali Express. When you receive a package from Crescent Treasures, the package says made in China. Coincidently, this is where the majority of the vendors and factories are located where these products are made. A huge red flag is if the products take almost a month to get to you or you don’t even receive it. They don’t even send a tracking number.
Chic NYC Runway
Chic NYC Runway is another brand who is a little more advanced in their scamming. This brand reaches out with lengthy emails that look very professional and legit.
Now, this scam is trickier because the emails look so professional and they even add names of top designers to make it seem like they are a big deal. This scam uses FOMO (fear of missing out) as their scamming tactic to make you think that you would be missing out on a “BIG” opportunity.
Fortunately, this is an easy scam to spot because the perks look very similar to the previous one.
They even go as far as sending you a follow-up email if they don’t get a response. A lot of people have been scammed by this company and if you look on Google, you will find numerous videos about this brand.
This is another website that looks pretty clean and professional, but their basic tees are incredibly over-priced. You can literally go on Ali Express and buy this same shirt or similar ones for $1-$3 dollars and slap a logo on it. This is such an obvious scam.
This is an example of a basic tee that someone put a basic logo on.
What to expect from an actual brand deal
An actual brand will not ask you to pay any money to advertise their products. They either give you free products or pay you money through a brand deal. It will also be easy to find information about the company and the founder. There will also be a lot of reviews or testimonials on the products.
These fraudulent brands are scamming small influencers and Instagram users out of millions of dollars and every single person who they give a shoutout to on their pages have been scammed. Unfortunately, some don’t even know that they were scammed.
Today, the world is full of online scams, but they are pretty easy to spot once you know what you are looking for. Keep these tips in mind when dealing with brands.