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 getting scammed?
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.
Quick disclaimer: This post will be direct and blunt. Feelings may be hurt.
Here are 7 things to keep in mind.
How many followers do you have?
If it’s 100, it’s a scam.
If it’s 500, it’s a scam.
If it’s 1000 it’s a scam.
Basically, if it’s anything under 3000, it’s probably a 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 anything 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?
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), you would obviously 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 their 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 actually 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 tagged. 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 and 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 got a response back, they got scammed. Also if they’re all posted on the same date or around the same time, they got scammed.
The same for the brand, check when they posted, if it’s the same week or so, and pretty recently, most likely a scam.
Something else that you can do is dm the people that 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?
This is could ending up being big red flag. Some of the comments I got were like
“dm us to collab”
“would love to collab, dm us @…”
and so on. Now here’s 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. 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 a blogger and a brand reaches out to you. Your fellow creators may have heard of them, and 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 research 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 back 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, blah. Here’s 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 $40 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. Meaning you’ll buy their low-quality product, 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 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 scamming 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 on 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 half way 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 ?
Good thing I manage to avoid one of these scams after it was too good to be true!
Glad to hear that!
Glad to hear that, I wouldn’t want anyone falling for these scams.
Thanks for sharing
thanks for reading Nyakio!
Thanks for sharing these tips! There’s too many sketchy people trying to take advantage of new bloggers and influencers.
Yesss, I don’t want anyone falling for these. Thanks for reading!
I’m so glad you posted this! The spam messages are easy to fall for, especially if you’re new to content creating! Thankyou for posting 🙂
Spam accounts are usually pretty easy to spot. Most of the time, the people contacting me can barely write in grammatically correct English. Also, their account names often attempt to look like the real thing, but you look close enough and there are letters missing and spaces added in.
Getting a comment to ‘dm us’ tells me all I need to know. Thanks for sharing this, though! The new hopefuls among us are more easily roped in, so this advice is much needed!
I get what you’re saying, actual brands will spend time into contacting you professionally. I never thought about that, thanks for the tip Jaya! Mhm, the ‘dm us’ is always so sketchy. And thanks for reading, I hope people will have things to look for after this!
Great post, and some very useful tips, especially for those new to blogging. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Raji! I hope it helped.
Ugh! I got sucked into one of these a few years ago. Now I am very careful and most of the time I decline. If it’s 100% free and aligns with my niche, then I will be more likely to work with them. I have gotten so many messages and most of them are scams. It’s so important for bloggers, especially new ones, to know these things.
Sorry about that, but at least now you’re more cautious. And same, if people out of my niche reach out to me, it’s usually a scam. Yess, I don’t want any bloggers falling for these. Blogging’s hard enough already haha.
Such a great post! I’m always hesitant to these collaboration inquiries – as they say, if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Thanks for sharing and making us all a little wiser.
Thanks! And yes, brands usually have something in it for them, so if it seems too good, it usually is. Thanks for reading, glad to help.
Really useful blog, I’m new to blogging and have been contacted loads of times. I did take one up on it where I’m meant to get 3 products at the cost of shipping and then a payment per photo when I wear them. I was concious this might have been a scam but I’m covered on my credit card for the postage so thought I’d see what happens. The products haven’t arrived yet but I have tracking info… Will see how it goes!
Thanks Kerry! Good thinking on covering your credit card, I know someone who got their money stolen through their gaming system. I hope your products aren’t a scam, let me know how it goes!
Well written post, Sejal! Unless the product is completely free and aligns with my brand, I say no. I see so many bloggers getting so much free stuff but in my opinion is not worth it. I like working with small businesses too! Thanks for sharing xx
Lynn | http://www.lynnmumbingmejia.com
Thanks, Lynn! And absolutely, if the product is completely out of my niche, it’s probably a scam. Mhm, I feel like you’re compromising your values to review something that you would usually not even look at. Working with small business are my favorite, because not only are you helping a fellow creator but their products are so amazing. Thanks for reading Lynn!