Instagram has become one of the top three social networking websites in the world just behind Facebook and Twitter since its acquisition by Facebook Inc. in 2012. Millions of people visit Instagram daily to upload and view photos and short videos from people they follow or randomly suggested photos and videos chosen by the app.
The popularity of Instagram has given rise to e-commerce stores on the platform as a lot of people have realized that they can turn followers into buyers of their goods. There are some trustworthy sellers on the platform but some few bad Nigerians and other country nationals have turned the platform to a form of swindling unsuspecting buyers out of their hard earned cash.
These unscrupulous elements do this by creating an Instagram e-commerce page where they upload pictures and videos of products and services which they claim to sell and tell interested buyers to chat them up through the Instagram direct message feature or through their Whatsapp numbers.
After indicating interest in purchasing the scammers product, unsuspecting buyers are told the price of the product which usually seems cheaper than the average market price so they feel they are getting a good deal not knowing they are about to be swindled, the scammer then tells them to pay the money into his/her bank accounts and once the buyer pays and calls the scammer to confirm, the scammer stops picking the buyer’s call and stops replying their messages. Furthermore if the buyer begins to pester the scammer, he or she is then blocked from accessing the scammers Instagram and Whatsapp accounts by the scammer.
Personally I know two people who got scammed buying stuff on Instagram, the first bought a bag, paid about 35,000 Naira for it only to have her calls dropped and her number blocked on Whatsapp after paying.
The second bought a sneakers shoe for 8,000 Naira and also got the same treatment as the first and both of them haven’t gotten their money back to this day and I am very sure thousands of other people are also been scammed daily probably in other countries as well.
Recommendations to Instagram stop the menace of scammers on Instagram
These scammers flourish mainly because of the ability of an Instagram account owner to delete comments made by other people on his/her pages, therefore whenever a scammed person writes a negative comment, the comment us deleted immediately by the scammer and hence other people won’t see it and the scam continues unchecked. The scammer can also block an individual he/she has scammed easily,
Instagram has a report feature but it does not have an option to report scammers, I believe this should be incorporated to the report feature to stop people from been exploited.
Tips to Avoid Been Scammed on Instagram
I don’t advice buying goods at all from persons or businesses without reputation online but if you must, here are some tips to help you.
- When you see a product that you like on Instagram and you want to buy it, do not pay any money to anybody before you see and have the product physically in your hands.
- Ask the seller to provide you with his/her shop address or if they don’t have a shop, then you can schedule a meeting with them in a very public place to view the product before buying, please do not meet anybody you don’t know very well in a private place, it is very DANGEROUS!!!
- If the seller is in a location far away from you, you can send someone you know close to that location to view the product before you buy it.
Apart from Instagram, these tips also apply to anything you are buying online from unknown sources – people or companies, make sure you do the deal physically or send someone to help you do it to avoid getting scammed because there are so many scammers out there, Good luck!