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Are you tired of wondering if they’re genuine?
Are you tired of the spam comments and messages?
Are you tired of being scared that you’re falling for a brand scam?
I know I am.
I’m beyond tired, I’m done.
I’ve almost fallen for these, and thank god I did my research. Scams are horrible, but unfortunately, they’re common nowadays. Especially brand scams, on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, etc. To live and thrive in this era of the internet, you’re going to have to know how to spot brand scams.
Which is exactly what this post is about. You’re one read closer to not worrying about these brands again.
Here are 7 things to keep in mind.
How many followers do you have?
If it’s 100, it’s a brand scam.
If it’s 500, it’s a scam.
If it’s 1000 it’s a scam.
If it’s anything under 3000, it’s probably a brand scam.
Here’s why; let’s say you’re in charge of finding ambassadors for your brand. And you’re bringing in pretty good sales, but you want more outreach. So you look at model hashtags or blogger ones. You search for fashion bloggers, or whatever your brand’s niche is. By now, you’ve gained an idea of who your ambassador(s) will be.
Okay, now back to you. If your niche isn’t similar to what they’re pitching, it’s likely a scam. People who sell sunglasses won’t pitch to a book blogger unless you blog about reading in the sun.
Now, let’s go back to our scenario. If you want someone to promote your brand, you’re going to look for someone who has the experience and has a pretty big following. They should also be open to this and will probably have something saying that in their bios.
So next time someone reaches out to you saying they want to collaborate, think about this. Is your following large enough that an actual brand would like to collaborate with you?
And be honest, would brands look at your profile and reach out to work with you? Being honest to these questions will help you spot brand scams.
What’s the “brands” engagement rate like?
And by engagement rate, I mean their ratios of likes and comments compared to their following. I know a lot of people(me included) that would first check if the brand’s following is good, to see if they’re legit. If the brand’s following is low, like around 500, they may just be a small business trying to find ambassadors. However, the majority of the followers of a fake brand are bots. You can buy thousands of them online.
This is why, a way to tell if it’s a brand scam or not, is to look at their engagement rate. If their post gets 400 likes and 20-30 comments, but they have 40,000 followers that’s how you know they’re fake. Imagine you had a bunch of followers, 40,000 or so(maybe you already do), and you would have more than 1% of your followers liking your posts.
10% or more of their followers liking their posts, is a good way to judge if they are bots or not. So if they have 40k followers, they should have around 4,000 likes.
Same with comments, the comment amount will be lower than your likes, but it shouldn’t be less than 1%. Especially if their posts showcase models, those models should have their own following added on top of the brands. This is a great way to see if they’re fake and just bought a ton of bots as followers.
Plus, another way to see if they’re scammers is to look at their comments. You’re probably not the first person they contacted, and people who’ve been scammed are angry. They’ll go to the comments and say something about it. Granted, the brand doesn’t delete them beforehand. But it’s always worth checking, just in case.
How many people are tagging them?
When I was researching common techniques that scammers use, they said to look at the tag. Usually, when a brand contacts you, they want you to tag them or something similar when you post. And here’s the thing if they were looking for ambassadors they wouldn’t contact hundreds of people. Real brands do their research find actual models/bloggers, and pick a select few.
If you find yourself through a bunch of people tagging them wearing their products and never get a response back, they fall for the brand scam. Also if they’re all posted on the same date or around the same time, they got scammed.
Something else that you can do is DM the people who tagged the brand and ask about their experience. Contact a few people that tagged them a few weeks back, this way they’ve probably realized if it’s a brand scam or not.
How did they contact you (crucial to figuring out if it’s a brand scam)?
This could end up being a big red flag. Some of the comments I got were like
“DM us to collab”
“Would love to collaborate, DM us @…”
and so on. Now here are a few things to watch out for:
- BIGGEST RED FLAG: if they say contact us on a different account. Here’s why; their first account would get reported for making so many spam comments, and using bots. This is why they created a second account, so if they do get reported or banned, they don’t exactly lose anything. Why else would a brand use a separate account?
- Another thing is if they tell you to DM them. That’s how you know it’s 90% a bot that’s a front for the brand scam. They paid for these bots to mass-comment them. If they were actual brands then they would DM you privately, or contact you if you provided any contact information on your profile.
- Like I said before most brands won’t comment on your post, but instead DM you privately or email you through your contact info.
Usually, if you’re a model, own a business, or are a blogger and a brand reaches out to you, your fellow creators may have heard of them. If the brand’s a fake then they should’ve mass contacted a bunch of creators.
I also said that you should contact people who’ve tagged them and hear their experiences. It’s a great way to first-hand know if it’s a brand scam or not.
Are you getting a bunch of these comments/DMs?
The first time I got a comment I was pretty excited, it was from Ernest Matheo, and to a naive, before researching me, they looked pretty real. But after I started getting more comments from brands about collaborating, I got pretty suspicious. So, I started researching and usually, if a brand is real and established, they have a big internet footprint. Ernest Matheo didn’t.
There were a few YouTube videos on their brand scam and a Reddit thread. That’s when I realized, I could’ve gotten scammed.
So I made my account private, deleted their comments, removed them as followers, and replied to Ernest Matheo who I initially told I would think about it. I said, “I wasn’t interested, thanks for the offer”.
Once you interact with one bot, all the other ones come along.
Okay, let’s say you did interact with this ‘brand’. They’ll probably be like discount, free, affiliate, blah. Here are a few scenarios that may apply to you:
- We’ll give you 30% of your product if you promote us. This will end up in you thinking $20-30 off is a good deal and paying $10 for shipping. You’ll probably get a bad product and waste $10-20 on it.
- We’ll give you a discount, and every time someone purchases our products through your link, we’ll give you 5% of it. This means you’ll buy their low-quality product, and promote them for free, and every time someone purchases through that link they’ll be getting that profit. Usually, after you buy their product, they’ll stop contacting you.
- The product is completely FREE. Just promote them. Seem like a good deal? It isn’t. The shipping cost will probably be $30 because they’ll say it’s expensive and customs, and all that. You think you’re getting a free premium product, but in reality, they send you a cheap product, get a free promotion, and your $30. Plus, this is assuming they even send you a product in the first place.
Side note: People may not tell anyone that they got scammed, because they feel embarrassed/ashamed they fell for it. This results in the brand scams continuing and affecting more people. So if you have any doubts, reach out to people privately. This way, they’re more likely to tell you the truth. And if you did get scammed, it’s alright. It sadly isn’t that uncommon, hopefully, now you have more information so you don’t make that mistake again.
You know what they say.
So, share this with your friends/family, this way no one falls for pesky brand scams.
Well, that’s it. Those are 7 ways you can easily spot those brand scams. I hope these were helpful, I know they would help me spot a few fakes.
Not a lot going on, other than I’m obsessed with Slumber Party by Ashnikko, and the singer ILIC. Listen to her on Spotify, here.
I’m almost 300 followers on Twitter, and I love my little community so far.
I bought The Girl and The Goddess by Nikita Gill(who I absolutely love), and I’m halfway through. I’m planning on finishing that and the 3rd book of ACOTAR this weekend.
What are you reading at the moment? Let me know! And if you have any other tips on spotting brand scams, I’m sure everyone (including me) would love to hear them.
Tell me in the comments!
Till next time, take care!