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How to Spot an Influencer SCAM Company – 9 Red Flags

how to spot Influencer Scams

Have you ever gotten a comment from a brand asking you to DM them to collaborate, be a brand ambassador, or influencer? Odds are, you’re about to get scammed.

Whenever there is great opportunity, there is also going to be those who take advantage of people who are seeking these great opportunities.

I have a full list of scam companies that we are aware of HERE. However, here are some red flags to keep in mind:

RED FLAG #1: If they leave a comment on your picture that tells YOU to dm THEM.

Influencer Scams Screenshot Example
Notice how they ask YOU to dm THEM

Legitimate companies that want to work with you will almost always email you. Sometimes they will DM you, especially if you don’t have your email on your profile (if you don’t, you need to add it! Either add it as a button or into your bio). In both examples, they reach out to you, and they do not ask you to reach out to them.

I have yet to see a brand that is legitimate reach out to an influencer only in a comment and ask them to DM them.

The reason these brands reach out via comment is because they are using bots, and they are just bulk messaging tons of people to see who will fall for it. And unfortunately, a good amount do.

RED FLAG #2: If their comment isn’t from the brands page

Influencer Scams Screenshot Example
Notice how they are commenting from a different account than the businesses account.

Often times they have to make a bunch of fake accounts to use, because the accounts get shut down often. Therefore they don’t ever use the “real brands” account, because they wouldn’t want to get that account shut down.

Use your judgement. For example, sometimes an agent or agency will reach out to you on behalf of a brand. But even so, they will do so professionally and not by a comment.

RED FLAG #3: If you have to buy the product upfront.

Influencer Marketing Scams

Look there is no reason that you should have to pay for a product if a brand is truly reaching out to work with you.

Sure, there are plenty of affiliate programs where the affiliate can buy the product to demo and make commissions off of the sales and I am ALL about those. But those are all by choice and legit companies do not go around Instagram Spamming people to come be an “ambassador”.

Again remember, the brand reach out to you! If they truly looked at your profile and found value in you “collabing” then they would be offering you payment or at the VERY least free product.

RED FLAG #4: If thier bio says “DM to collab”

DM to collab Scams

If they are heavily promoting that they are looking for brand ambassadors and not promoting being a company to REAL CUSTOMERS, then you can instantly see where their revenue comes from.

Their primary focus will always point out their motives. And in this case, it is to get “ambassadors” to buy their products. Not customers.

Other ways they say it include:

  • Become a Brand Ambassador
  • Join our Team
  • DM to be an influencer
  • Influencers wanted

RED FLAG #5: If it’s an Ad

Ambassador Program Scams Screenshot Example

Again, if a brand is spending their money to run an add for their ambassador or influencer program, that is because they are making a lot of money from doing so.

This isn’t always the case, but if they are running ads for this it is most likely a scam, especially if this isn’t the only red flag.

Legitimate brands generally don’t look for influencers in such a broad way. They spend their time searching for the right influencers to reach out to specifically in a professional way.

RED FLAG #6: If the brands image quality is very poor.

Influencer Program Scams
Also, check out their numbers. 88.5k followers, but only 16 likes?!?!

Generally speaking if a brand has poor images on their own profiles and website, they are not very legitimate. Odds are they are probably drop shipping cheap products from China and this is something that you do not want to be involved in.

First of all, your going to be buy a “discounted” product that is coming straight from China that will be worth pennies to the dollar. Second of all, you won’t want to promote that product to your followers so you wont ever make a dime. Third, if you did promote this product and someone ended up spending their hard earned money on it, they are going to be pretty pissed at you and could end up dragging you online.

RED FLAG #7: If the shipping time is over 2 weeks.

Ambassador Program Scams Screenshot Example
5-6 weeks!!! That is INSANE. People these days don’t have patience for much over 7 days. Very clearly drop shipping from China the cheapest way possible. This is the fine print too, so most people will find out after they have ordered.

This is another red flag that the company is drop shipping from China. Hints why it takes so long to get to you.

RED FLAG #8: If You’ve never heard of the brand

First of all you should never agree to work with a company you have never heard of. At the very least you should accept a free product to test before you decide to work with them.

However, most legitimate companies are ones that you have probably at least heard of before.

This isn’t the biggest red flag, but it is something to think about when considering if a company is legit or not.

RED FLAG #9: If they only sell “Ambassador” Kits

I found this in my research and it boggles my mind!! As you see in the video, the only items listed in their shop are ambassador kits. So, what do the ambassadors sell to their audience? Ambassador kits?

This has major MLM vibes, and is a total scam!

So, now what?

I know that when you’re first starting out you so badly want to collaborate with brands. Which is why these scams work. But there are SO MANY better options to start with.

  1. You could consider affiliate programs and start earning commissions now on products you already use and have.
  2. You could start reaching out to brands to do free trades.
  3. You should start reaching out to brands for paid collaborations.
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