Fraud in the News

Influencer marketing fraud, tax-credit fraud, restaurateur defrauds

What you see might not be what you get

If you spend any significant amount of time on social media, you’ve noticed the rise of “influencer marketing” — endorsements from people and organizations who supposedly possess expert levels of knowledge and/or social influence in their fields. (See What is an Influencer? Influencer Marketing Hub, Feb. 1.)

Sarah Osei of Highsnobiety, a German streetwear blog and media brand and production agency, cites a new study on the phenomenon conducted by the cybersecurity company Cheq and the University of Baltimore. Influencer fraud — in which influencers pay for fake followers or engagements — is costing advertisers more than a billion dollars a year, according to the study, originally reported by The Business of Fashion. The survey found that 25% of the followers of some 10,000 influencers are fake. Another survey of 800 brands and marketing agencies, conducted for the same study, found that two-thirds had worked with influencers with fake followers.

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