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The problem of influencer marketing fraud – and how to combat it

by on November 27, 2019 in Latest News, Lead Article, News you can use, Nuggets

The problem of influencer marketing fraud – and how to combat it

The term ‘influencer’ is on the lips of many people in the marketing world at the moment.

An influencer is a person who is able to leverage their online presence to get their followers to perform specific actions, such as buying products or taking out services.

However, sometimes these influencers can become fraudulent – and what happens then? This article will explore the problem of influencer fraud, and will share some top tips on how people can avoid falling victim to such a scam.

What is an influencer?

 Before getting into the ins and outs of influencer fraud, it may first be necessary to define exactly what constitutes an influencer. A literal influencer is someone who has the capacity to affect the behaviour and attitudes of multiple other people, and in the technological sense, the term specifically refers to people who own social media pages that have large followings.

Influencers are common in all sorts of sectors. They can occur in sectors such as health and beauty, for example, while they are also popular in broader lifestyle fields, including the worlds of home cleaning, cooking and more.

They are also common in finance: cryptocurrencies, especially, often have a number of people advocating in their name.

How can influencers be fraudulent?

 

The underlying revenue model that has fuelled the influencer revolution is largely to blame. Influencers tend to make cash from partnerships, though these can take a number of forms.

Influencers might agree to post on behalf of a company or business, for example, in return for goods in kind or cash. Or influencers might put an affiliate link to an online store in their bio or other text space, and then share the revenue of any product purchased as a result of that link being clicked.

There’s nothing inherently fraudulent about doing this, and it’s important to note that not all influencers are scam artists – and many, in fact, do a good job of connecting interested customers to relevant services and products that they may not otherwise have come across.

However, the risk here is that the influencer gets approached by a fraudulent company and chooses to partner with them, either knowingly or unknowingly, in the rush to make cash from their account. From the perspective of the unsuspecting customer, the partnership might not even be noticed – but the consequences if the link is clicked and some sort of fraud is carried out can be problematic.

How can influencer fraud be avoided?

  The first key thing to do if you come across an offer from an influencer on the web is to treat it with a pinch of salt. If someone on social media or similar is offering a good deal on something, then it’s worth remembering that there is a possibility that they’re not telling the truth.

If you do want to follow up with an offer extended to you by an influencer, you’ll need to do some independent research to check that they are telling the truth. This could involve you Googling the terms of the offer, for example, and seeing if it is repeated anywhere else. If it’s not, then it may well be worth avoiding.

It’s also a good idea to get yourself an independent and unbiased information source so that you can be sure that you’re reducing the risk of coming into contact with a fraudulent influencer to as high a degree as possible.

There are different sources of unbiased information in every sector in which influencers can be found: for the finance industry, say, sites comparing forex brokers and highlighting scam ones are often chosen. By doing your research, you’ll be able to find the right website for you – and you’ll also be taking control of your decisions and information supply, rather than letting an influencer do it for you.

 No matter what sector an influencer is in, there is sadly an inherent risk that they could be fraudulent. It’s not the case every time, of course: many influencers are in fact good quality and not criminal, and can be trusted to provide decent links to products and services in fields as diverse as finance and beauty. However, it’s wise to always be on your guard.

By verifying any offer details with a third party and having independent information sources of your own, you can reduce the chances of being hit by an influencer fraud incident and ensure that you protect yourself and your cash.

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