CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Sylvia Oben is a reporter for Telemundo Charlotte, the Spanish-language sister station that works side-by-side with Channel 9.
She’s very active on social media and when she posted a picture of herself recently, a business called “Sincere Sally” messaged her.
“I received a comment on that picture saying, ‘Hey, you are gorgeous. We would like to work with you. Please send us a message,’” Oben told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke.
Then, within minutes, about five other stores posted messages.
They all wanted her to post photos of herself modeling their products -- be a brand ambassador. But, there was a catch. She had to buy their merchandise first.
“I need to spend money in order to become a brand ambassador? How that is supposed to work?” Oben said.
Plus, they tried to pressure her.
“After I say, ‘Oh, awesome I will buy it at night, once I get home,’ they told me, ‘Oh, if you buy it now, you will get a gift,’” Oben said. “They try really, really hard for me to buy something.”
It’s hard to tell if some of these businesses are legitimate.
Take Sincere Sally for example. It has a classy website, selling women’s clothes. It says it’s based in Australia. So, Stoogenke emailed and tried the live chat multiple times since Thanksgiving, asking for proof it’s legitimate. No one responded.
There's also always the chance it is a real business and that a scammer is using its name to con people.
"People younger than me, women, they are going to believe that, once they tell you you’re gorgeous, your pictures are awesome, you look like a model, they’re going to fall for it," Oben said.
Scott Cooper runs Evolution Talent Agency in NoDa. He’s one of the agents who represent supermodel, actress and Matthews-native Brooklyn Decker.
“Everybody wants to think, ‘Oh, they want me to be a model,’” Cooper told Stoogenke. “If somebody is just contacting you online, it’s usually because they either don’t want to pay you or they might not be a legitimate company.”
- If you work, you should get paid for it. It's that simple.
- People always joke about getting discovered. But, in reality, companies and talent agencies don’t typically surf social media, looking for people to model or star in movies, TV shows or commercials.
- If someone does contact you, that person may not even represent the company he or she claims to work for. He or she can be an imposter so make sure you check with the business directly.
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