A Note to Bloggers: Beware of Scammers

For me, blogging is just a hobby. I don’t get paid to do it. I do it on my own time, whenever I want. But for most of the people that I have come across, blogging is a job. It’s a full-time commitment that pays the bills and puts food on the table. Blogging can easily become a job through product review, advertising, and endorsements. This week, a “company” wanted to collaborate with me on I Sort of Beauty, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that it was a fake solicitor.

I’m naming the company because I would hope that this does not happen to anyone else. Two weeks ago, Tops Wedding reached out to me on email to ask me to collaborate with them. Here’s how it went:

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After I responded to “Seanna” to let her know I was interested and would be able to feature them on my blog, her response to me raised a big red flag.

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A quick search for “topswedding reviews” on Google linked me to a couple of bloggers who “reviewed” topswedding but never actually bought or received a dress from the “company.” Not only is that disingenuous to the readers, but the writers should have done their research before copying and pasting blurbs from the site onto their own. Furthermore, when I searched the site on ScamAdvisor, I found that it is fairly new, operating a little over a year from China. From ScamAdvisor:

Although being a new website, does not make it un-trustworthy, as with any new business you should be extra vigilant and do your own research before placing an order or making an investment. This site has a high risk country associated with it. This may be as you expect but care should be taken if purchasing an item from a site that you didn’t expect to be associated with the countries listed above. Certain countries are listed as being high risk because of the high percentage of online fraud or tendency to send fake/replica items.

Free email addresses have been used in the setup of this website. This is not necessarily worrying, depending on the site. For online shops, this can be a sign that the site has some risk

The website has been newly registered with a short life expectancy, which follows the pattern used by many fraudulent and fake selling websites. Please be vigilant and take extra care before providing any payment information.

Some of the bloggers who reviewed Tops Wedding, wrote that this site is “reputable” but how can something be reputable if it has only been operating for a year and with their hand dipping in “10-15 sites”?  After numerous searches, I came across a site called Top Wedding, a legit site with actual customer reviews, something that was difficult to find through a third party on Tops Wedding. And you can also see a staggering difference from the two sites on Scam Advisor:

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After quickly realizing that it’s a knock-off site, and  that I could be scammed if I shared any personal information, I cut off all contact with the “company.” Blogging is not just about putting “stuff” out there. As bloggers, people rely on us for information and trustworthy reviews. If we are just copying and pasting words that we think are harmless, it’s not doing anyone any good, and defeats the purpose of blogging! For bloggers who advertise for businesses on their site, please be cautious when dealing with sites that are not well-known and research, research, research!

Find out how long the site has been operating, what customers have said about them, and as much about their operation as you possibly can. When I tried to find Tops Wedding, on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, all of their social sites were taken down, yet the links to their social platforms appears on their site. Then, when I tried to connect with a customer service rep, no one was ever available. Bottom line, be careful!

Seriously, brides have enough to worry about planning their big wedding day, being scammed into buying a dress shouldn’t be one of them.

Bloggers, has this ever happened to you? How did you deal with it? Tell me in the comments section below!

20 thoughts on “A Note to Bloggers: Beware of Scammers

  1. Christen says:

    I think this is such a valuable lesson for bloggers to learn. I think a lot of people get in the business of blogging just to work with companies, rather than interacting with readers and sharing their expertise, that they jump at everything that comes their way. Glad you were alert and could recognize this was a scam. I’m afraid some others probably aren’t as astute about these things.

  2. Beauty Beyond The Scale says:

    I had a similar thing happen. I got an email from a discount perfume web site that wanted my info to send me some perfumes to review. The Scam Advisor web site showed the web site had been around leas than a year & was deemed not trustworthy. I ignored the email. Better safe than sorry. Good on you for doing your research & making a good choice.

  3. Caz says:

    I got a few of these emails recently. The first one offered me to check out their fashion website and I was allowed to pick items worth £40. I did and when I messaged back with my choices, the ‘community manager’ explained to me how she wants the collaboration to work.

    First, I (!) should spent £40 on the website and she would ‘refund’ me the money in voucher after I posted the post.

    Secondly, she wanted me to send regularly tweets until my post went live of different products from their website.

    I said that this is spamming which I don’t do and also I won’t spent my money on their website, which I have never heard of.

    I never esponded to any of their emails again and as soon as I get a ‘I’m a community manager blablabla’ the email goes straight in the bin. You can also recognise scam when the email is written in terrible/incorrect English and the sender is from China.

    Caz | Lunch Break Adventures

  4. Gabrielle says:

    This is a fantastic post, I receive so many propositions like these from ‘scam websites’ and a little research shows their true colours! I’m so amazed by how many bloggers are willing to be paid to write about companies they no nothing about.. anyway I’m so glad you’ve written this post, I hope it helps many future brides who may be searching for reviews on the website! 🙂

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice

    x

    • isortofbeauty says:

      Thanks so much! I am a bridesmaid and we have been looking for dresses. When I was approached by Tops Wedding, I was initially interested for that very reason… But after looking into the company, I couldn’t believe that they would be so bold as to have people advertise for them… The worst is that bloggers have !!!

  5. Leslie says:

    I could tell this was a scam from “I found your blog is very great and interesting…”. The phrasing is off and it looks like spam to me. My email filter wouldn’t have even let this through. Lol!

    This is a great post but I am curious. What about this company from the initial email made you interested in a collaboration? I would have loved for you to have included that because what hooked you, could hook others.

    Again, great job!

    • isortofbeauty says:

      Haha you must have a lot of experience! I really thought they were interested. I was initially interested because I’m a bridesmaid and we have been looking for dresses, so when they reached out I was pretty excited. Newb! I’m actually surprised that they have bloggers who have written about them! The things people do to make a quick buck amazes me.

  6. Albertine says:

    It’s quite worrying that some bloggers have been working with this ‘company’! Never let someone pay you to post a review about a website you’ve never used, it’s completely dishonest and outs your innocent readers at risk of being scammed!

  7. Asja says:

    This was a really great post. I blog just because I like to, it is a hobby and I am such a shopaholic I figured why not introduce someone else to my problem lol. This was helpful and something I will definitely refer to before posting anything or connecting with people to post things on my blog. I would like to keep this as a hobby not a job but I am not really interested and taking it there yet.

  8. Sami says:

    I completely agree with all the advice you have given. I was approached by a similar company/scam and went onto Scam Advisor to find out the exact same thing you did. It’s amazing how some people will just blindly follow the money and not give an honest review of something. Thank you for calling out the scammers of the blog world!

    xo
    Sami
    http://www.theclassicbrunette.blogspot.com

  9. Priyanka says:

    Love that you posted this, Tops Wedding sounds so familiar to me but I can’t figure out where I heard about them! I’ve also had similar emails sent to me, I’m crazy paranoid and check every company thoroughly before I agree to collab with them!

    I’m shocked that other bloggers didn’t do as much research but so glad you did the research!!

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