I recently received an invitation from @officialherteam about being a brand ambassador. They said they loved my account. At first, I thought, wow! I don’t even have that many followers and I’m already receiving an invitation from a company?! But then, I noticed the profile that was used to message me had zero post, zero followers and zero following. My enthusiasm subsided but I decided to give it a shot, just out of curiosity.
So, I checked their Instagram account. It’s a start-up company based in the US. They sell mostly t-shirts with empowering words printed on them. It looked legit even though the message that I got was shady. I thought, it’s probably just a marketing strategy to get more sales or traffic. Even though, it doesn’t look ethical, I still think of the many strategies that people use these days to get customers to notice them. So, maybe this one’s okay, I said to myself. But of course, I was fooling myself. I knew that was a lie. Something was not right.
Now, I may seem naïve but I don’t trust easily. I am very cautious when it comes to my personal information or when money is involved. I decided to send them a message thinking that somebody might be using their account to scam me. I told them to warn their followers. I also mentioned that maybe it’s just their way of getting more traffic to their page or website and that it was deceiving.
Sophia, the person who responded to my message simply ignored what I said and thanked me for reaching out. She asked if I already heard about their company. I said, no. She said she started the business last year. Their mission “is to spread empowerment to fellow women through their brand.” It looked like a great brand. I liked it. I’m all for women empowerment. I would love to support this kind of brand. Their Instagram account also has more than 400K followers, by the way.
Sophia told me that they’re looking for strong ladies to collaborate with and asked me to check their website and let her know what my favorite piece was. I pretended to check and said everything looked great. She was quite pleased and said that she’d want to collaborate with me as their ambassador.
I thought maybe when she saw my profile, she also checked my website and knew that I was a freelancer. I told her my services include SEO, Social Media Management, Customer Service and Administrative Support. I mentioned my rate and told her that I was great at customer service. I was still hopeful at that moment and thought, why not?
She then proceeded to give me a 30% discount code that I could share with family, friends and followers. Haha! Even though I took a chance, I knew it! She wanted me to purchase their products. Even with a discount I was still on the losing end because I had to spend money and provide free advertisement. I can buy those t-shirts nearby for very low prices. I can even have them designed and printed myself. Why would I buy from a company based abroad when I can buy similar products locally?
I didn’t check their website but instead looked for reviews and learned that Brand Ambassador Scams do exist. Of course, they do! The same account has reached out to a lot of other people about being a brand ambassador but ended up being blocked or receiving no response after placing their order and not receiving the items.
They will persuade you to buy their products with a discount and you will never receive the items or you will receive poor quality ones. I checked their Instagram account again but it looks like they’ve blocked me and at times it says user not found or page does not exist.
Always do your research before engaging. Never provide personal or bank account information without knowing for sure if the company is real. You may want to check if they are registered with the business bureau or Department of Trade and Industry. Thanks for reading!