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We’ve warned professionals about online job scams involving phony “recruiters” who falsely claim to represent big-name businesses. Employment impersonators are still at it, but this time they’re approaching people with bogus offers to be “brand ambassadors” for well-known consumer products companies. The only “brand” these fraudsters represent is their own sleazy financial interest. But by the time they’ve stolen personal information or money from unsuspecting prospective influencers and sullied the reputation of the company whose name they have misappropriated, they’ve disappeared. If you’ve spotted this kind of scam – even if you didn’t lose any money – the FTC wants to hear about your experience.

It often starts with a message out of the blue from a “brand ambassador manager” offering to send consumers free swag and pay them for promoting a well-known company’s products online. The pitches tend to be flattering with a lot of talk about the person’s impressive social media presence or personal style. Sometimes the supposed manager will “casually” drop the names of the company’s marketing people or top corporate executives to add an in-the-know tone to the conversation. Others may send URLs of websites that look to be affiliated with the brand or its ad agency. All of those factors may make the gig sound legit – but it’s not.

The tell-tale sign is when they ask for personal or bank account information so they can supposedly start making payments. That’s when the B.S. Detector should go off at 100 decibels.

What should a person do if they’re approached like this? First, don’t give out any personal information – financial or otherwise. Second, if you’re unsure whether an offer is on the up-and-up, contact the major retailer directly using a phone number you know is genuine and not one the “manager” provided. If it’s a real offer, the company will put you in touch with the right person. Otherwise, run in the other direction and have nothing to do with the fraudster who made the initial contact.

If you spot a scam like this or if your company’s name is being misused by a scammer, report it to the FTC.
 

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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