Advertising Firm Scams: The road to stardom is often paved with lies, deception and numerous scams.

The internet is an open platform for various money making ventures - some are legit, others are questionable at best.  The internet is also a haven for identify theft, credit card fraud and many more scams.  One of the most popular schemes preys on the talents of those looking to make it big in Hollywood: the advertising firm scam. 

Beware of "too good to be true" services

One recent scam revolved around the Byron Sanders Advertising agency.  This is a company that promotes public relations, marketing and advertising services - while claiming to help aspiring stars acquire media exposure via the web, print advertisements and major TV networks. 

Doing a bit of research, we found that the company is actually listed as the Byron Sanders Marketing Media Management Agency on the Better Business Bureau website:  They are based in Dallas, TX and not listed as a BBB accredited business.  Searching deeper, we found that this company has a record of unsatisfactory service with the BBB because of a failure to respond to a consumer complaint.  In fact, two complaints were filed against the company, with one case being closed for unknown reasons. 

Look for red flags

While the information we pulled up doesn't necessarily constitute this company as a fraud, it did raise a few red flags and concerns. 

Here is the first one: considering the type of industry the company is involved in, it is very suspicious that they would have so little information about themselves on the web.  If a company advertises the ability to promote you and send your career soaring, that means they should be able to promote themselves as well.  Any company in the area of advertising, marketing or public relations should have documentation on the web to back up their claims.  For instance, Ken Sunshine is an agent who has worked to promote celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Timberlake.  By Googling his name, you will literally find thousands of results to verify his status in the industry - our search for the Byron Sanders Advertising Agency returned less than ten results, none of which made the company seem like a winner.  

Secondly, the Byron Sanders Advertising Agency claims to be "the greatest advertising agency in the world."  However, this company is not listed as a member of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, making their promotional claims even more questionable.

Maybe this company is running a scam - or perhaps their strategy is simply wrong about promoting their business.  The truth is that many scams that share similar qualities exist.  All aspiring models, actors, singer and dancers should know that there will come a time when the assistance of a public relations or marketing professional will be needed.  Though hungry for exposure, it is very important that you are aware of the vultures who are only looking to take your money and run.  Be sure to research any individual agent or firm before signing your name on that dotted line.  You should certainly look for one that has already established a great reputation and comes with a solid, documented track record.

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Identity theft comes in many forms.

A person\92s identity can be 'borrowed' for the purpose of creating fictional credit cards or a person\92s entire identity can be usurped to the point where they can have difficulty proving that they really are who they claim to be.

Up to 18% of identity theft victims take as long as four years to realize that their identity has been stolen.

There are many ways to protect your personal identity and many steps you can take to prevent your identity from being stolen:

*Never give out unnecessary personal information
*Never provide bank details or social security numbers over the Internet
*Always remain aware of who is standing behind you when you type in your personal credit codes at ATM machines and at supermarket checkout swipe machines.