Not all influencers are genuine. Some just try to take undue advantage of their followers by asking money in return for their services but they eventually get caught in their own lies. 

1. In 2018 Brittany Dawn Davis, a fitness influencer faced major backlash from her followers for scamming them into paying her $300 for personalised diet plans, exercise programs and online coaching sessions. 

She also promised them e-books but, they apparently got nothing at all. Some also complained that the diet plans she sent to her followers weren’t personalised. When a man confronted her for stealing money from her followers she finally owned up to her mistake and made an apology video on YouTube. Allegedly, she still hasn’t issued full refunds even after being called out by her followers. 

2. In 2018 Aggie Lal, a travel influencer faced massive backlash after she charged her followers nearly $500 to give them a crash course on how to grow their Instagram account but, they sadly didn’t get what they expected. 

Her followers didn’t quite get what they paid for. After receiving payments, she allegedly disappeared citing health issues and Wi-Fi problems. Others also claimed that half of her lessons involved having participants try to sell and promote her own products and the course itself. Her story went viral and she was left with no choice but to issue refunds. 

3. In 2019, Caroline Calloway, an influencer was called out by her followers for mishandling a national “creativity workshop” tour for which she allegedly charged hundreds of dollars. 

After tickets were sold many locations were allegedly cancelled and those who did attend the event felt like they didn’t get what they were promised and what they paid for. Caroline eventually revived the workshops and promoted them as “The Scam” where people could “drink oat milk” and “discuss self-love.” In fact, her BFF Natalie Beach published an article on Caroline and their friendship on The Cut. 

4. In 2019, Yovana Mendoza, an influencer promoted a ‘raw vegan’ lifestyle to her followers and she also offered a detox program for $99 but it turns out she herself wasn’t sticking to it. 

In fact, the ‘raw vegan’ diet that she was promoting and swearing by damaged her own health. The cat was out of the bag when she was caught eating fish on a video posted by another vlogger. Her fans were outraged and felt cheated upon. She later issued an apology video and explained that she started incorporating meat and eggs into her diet after her doctors told her to do so. 

5. In 2015, Belle Gibson, a so-called wellness influencer allegedly lied about her cancer diagnosis to promote a holistic diet app that she had launched. 

She claimed that the holistic diet she was on helped her during her battle with cancer. She also released a cookbook based on the app and promised her followers that proceeds would be going to various charities. But in March 2015, reports surfaced that the $300,000 Gibson has solicited for charity hadn’t been donated anywhere. She was questioned by her fans and after facing huge backlash she came out clean and admitted that she never had any type of cancer. In 2017, a federal court ordered Gibson to pay a $410,000 fine for the false charity claims which she apparently failed to fulfill.

6. In July 2020, Santoshi Shetty, a fashion influencer faced backlash from her followers for offering mental therapy sessions for a nominal fee on social media amid the pandemic. 

She had announced the Flying Cheese initiative on Instagram and offered to be a good listener to those who are unhappy by charging them ₹1500. She was criticised for her actions as she had no degree in psychology or mental health therapy.  

7. In February 2020, Kayla Massa scammed her followers out of 1.5 million by offering them money-making deals that she promised were totally legit. 

Massa promoted her scheme on Instagram by sharing photos of stacks of money, screenshots of her bank balances and money orders. She would tell them they could earn up to $5,000 by letting her friend use their bank account for an “unspecified, but short, period of time.” She would then ask her victims to send their emptied-out bank card and their PIN number, which she later used to deposit large amounts of stolen money. Eventually, she and her friends who were involved in this scam were arrested by the police.

8. Ritik Pratap Singh, an influencer promised oxygen cylinders to the families of his followers and took money from them in advance but, he never kept his promise. 

He allegedly also lied about being the president of a youth organisation associated with the BJP. He apparently cheated people of over ₹7 lakhs. He was eventually apprehended by the police for lying to people and taking money from them. 

When will they learn?