"If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is" says the manta of the fact-checking industry.
In December 2018, a number of social media users came across a post promising a chance at an ambassadorship with the popular brand Lululemon. The posting, which was shared by Instagram accounts such as @lulurecruitment.co (which has no affiliation with the real Lululemon) explained that anyone with 150 followers had a chance of obtaining free clothes and gift for simply sharing this advertisement with their friends on social media:
This is not a genuine offer from Lululemon, and the accounts sharing this message are not affiliated with the brand.
Lululemon's social media team has responded to a few queries about the scam with messages similar to the following:
FB User: Is this legit? I am assuming no
Lululemon: Hi Michelle, You've got it—our accounts are verified with the blue check mark, and our ambassadors are chosen individually by our stores rather than via our social channels. This account has been flagged to our brand protection team. Let me know if you have more questions!
The non-existent ambassadorship was only offered to users with a minimum of 150 followers, which is a relatively low bar for any sort of social media position, especially for a well-known national brand such as Lululemon. This scam also required potential "ambassadors" to follow the fake Lululemon account and then share its post with their friends. This allowed the scammers to build a following and ensured that their dishonest message would be spread to a greater number of social media users.
This Lululemon scam followed a strategy similar to other "like farming" social media schemes. Such fraudsters offer something of value (in this case an ambassadorship) in exchange for social media engagement, which allows them to quickly build a following and then provides them the opportunity to sell the account to a third party.
One way to avoid this type of scam is to double-check to make sure that a company-affiliated post actually originated with the brand's official social media accounts:
— Jason Davis (@Jasonnn93) December 13, 2018
Social media users should also keep old adages such as "nothing in life is free" when they peruse the internet.