Baton Rouge company wrongly accused of human trafficking in social media hoax

Baton Rouge company wrongly accused of human trafficking in social media hoax
Published: May. 19, 2016 at 10:10 PM CDT
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(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A national company with offices in Baton Rouge has been falsely tied to human trafficking, according to the Better Business Bureau of Central California.

Vector Marketing hires high school and college students to promote and sell Cutco Cutlery, a popular kitchen knife. But social media posts falsely stated that students who came to interviews would be drugged and kidnapped. A year later, the company is still trying to save its reputation.

Baton Rouge District Manager CJ Marshall recruits, interviews, and screens potential sales representatives.

"We want to take young people and turn them into professionals. That happened for me and I appreciate that I get to do it for others now," Marshall said.

However, that opportunity was recently tainted by a so-called vicious rumor that went viral online.

"I immediately reached out to my corporate supervisor and sent a screen shot and said hey before I say anything or do anything, what do I do," Marshall said.

Jim Stalls, president of the local BBB, which was not part of the investigation, said something like that could ruin a business.

"That's huge. That is huge, and unfortunately when they post something like that against the company, it takes dollars and time for a company to clear that up," Stalls said.

Stall said the local BBB has started verifying all of its reviews and contacting local businesses before allowing complaints to go live online. He said it can be tedious, but it is one way a company can address any concerns.

"They need, on a regular basis, check all social media to see if anything is being posted on their business," Stalls said.

The bogus posts about Vector were taken down, but after one of them had been shared on Instagram more than 52,000, Marshall said the damage was done.

"There are certain offices in certain areas of the country including our own that are getting hit very hard by this," Marshall said.

In an attempt to set the record straight, Vector has also taken to the Internet to share testimonials from young adults who have found success with the company. Marshall said everyone can learn something from this.

"It just goes to show you, you can't believe everything you read on social media," Marshall said.

If you get a letter in the mail from Vector and want to verify that it is legitimate, you can do so by visiting their website.

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