How the scam works:
How would you like to be an “expert” on television, appearing on Tyra Banks, Rachael Ray, Oprah Network, “Today”, CNN, etc? Well, according to some online 'firms', all it takes to do so is paying a fee a they take care of the rest. “Leave it in the hands of qualified people – We'll get you there!”
Unfortunately, after forking over thousands of dollars and never making an appearance, consumers from all over the country are filing complaints against companies such as Champion Media, a Loves Park, Illinois based PR firm. These complaints stem from a voice mail and email campaign the firm launched.
The message states that the aforementioned shows and networks are looking for marriage and relationship experts and that the firm routinely vets candidates for them. While they do state that they do not work directly for any one of these networks, they do imply that they regularly provide “experts” for these programs, and that – for a fee – you could be one too.
However, no one who pays for the opportunity has ever gotten an appearance on any of the shows mentioned. In fact, in interviews with executives from these programs and networks, all state that they do not work with Champion Media and have their own methodology for finding experts to appear.
How to avoid:
Indeed, there are legitimare companies that do PR for such shows and work directly with the producers. However, scammers claim to do the same thing. Research the name of the company and if you can – talk to one of the 'experts' that actually went on the show thanks to these firms. Ask for proof that they were on air. If you receive a solicitation such as this, be aware that if you are being asked to pay a fee to appear on a program, it is not really a guaranteed offer. Typically, the network or program itself will contact you to ask you to appear, and they will often pay you a small fee for your appearance, not vice versa. Also, be sure to check the company out with the Better Business Bureau and other consumer watchdog groups. Often you will find numerous complaints against them for not providing the services they claim. Finally, be aware of the old tenet “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
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