ATLANTA (CBS46) -- The social media platform Instagram is now being used by scammers to prey on young adults, eager to become “influencers.”
“I'm not a huge prominent figure on Instagram, I'm just a regular person,” said Alexandria Kennedy, who said she was scammed.
Kennedy never thought she could become victim of an online crime.
“I got a comment, saying, would I like to be a brand ambassador for this business?” said Kennedy.
A company on Instagram promised Kennedy big discounts on clothing and in return, the Georgia State sophomore says they asked her to promote what she bought of social media as their “brand ambassador.” Kennedy thought it was a good deal, and bought items from the company.
“I never got a shipping confirmation or anything that solidified that my order went through or anything, but I know my card got charged,” said Kennedy.
Months later, she says the items never arrived. Kennedy told the company she would be reporting their fraudulence to the Better Business Bureau. But she says, they left the message read, and never responded.
The Better Business Bureau reports that a majority of scams with financial loss are now online purchase scams. And, one-fifth of those purchase scams come from social media that’s targeting adults between 18-54 years old.
“We just want to educate our young consumers because we're seeing that these scammers are targeting them,” said Simone Williams, spokesperson for Better Business Bureau serving metro Atlanta, Athens and Northeast Georgia.
The Better Business Bureau has a real-time scam tracker on its website, which allows you to search for scams in your neighborhood.
“So how do you spot the fake? You want to ask questions. Targets of "influencer" scams, tell BBB that when they ask for details, the scammers got really evasive, or stop responding, period,” said Williams.
To make sure you’re not blindsided, the Better Business Bureau says you should always get information in writing.
“Always ask for a contract. If these companies are not providing that information, that should be your first red flag. You should make sure you read all the fine print,” said Williams.