Instagram business profiles have made the platforms a marketplace on its own. every other week there is a new tale of an Instagram business scamming customers.
Instagram is a good place for small businesses and at that, over time, users have seen many successful Instagram businesses. This still does not remove the scammers from the platform, therefore, this is how to spot them.
No Exchange, No Refund.
If you are a Nigerian trying to purchase products from an Instagram business, you should be very familiar with this caption. It is boldly written in their bios with the ‘X’ emoji.
It can be annoying because as a vendor, you owe it to your customers to deliver exactly what you advertised on your page. In a situation where the customer got what they ordered and does not like it, the rule of no exchange or refund can be exercised because a lot of customers tend to misbehave.
Though many Instagram business profiles have this phrase in their bios and are still legit, the scammers have it too. once you see “no exchange, no refund”, kindly stay alert for the next red flag.
They are manipulative.
Scammers are very manipulative. It is how they catch their prey. They tell you everything you want to hear, show you all you need to see and make you think about what they want you to think.
A scammer can go as far as telling you to can pay half before delivery and the other half when you get your order.
When you express doubt and point out red flags, they can manipulate you into thinking you are trying to accuse them of something and you are wrong. In your apologetic state, you begin apologising and like that, you fall for their gimmicks.
Their product posts are all borrowed.
Many Instagram businesses do not have original pictures. Especially when it comes to clothing items and makeup, most of it is borrowed. However, a lot of business also post pictures of their customers wearing these products, a scammer would steal such a picture to promote their business.
You cannot say how many original pictures is enough, but an account that has little or no original pictures is a big scam. The most successful hair vendors on Instagram are known for their pictures, from the background to the little details in the product shoot, a customer or follower can spot their product from a mile away.
A scammer can’t do this. If they are asked to take a live photograph with the product in hand and proof of their business, they chicken away and stop responding. Sometimes, they try to be smart and send a picture of the product in just a hand.
Large following with little or no engagement.
The era of buying followers on social media may have been exposed but the scammers do it shamelessly. A scammer would have a thousand plus followers with little or no engagement. Gathering 20 likes and a comment is a struggle for those accounts because all their followers are bought.
If you observe, during Instagram purges, these accounts lose a lot of followers. Back then, these scammers were not smart, scammers would buy 10,000 to 40,000 followers and have a little over 10 likes. They never knew that everyone else would catch on. Dear scammers, stop, organic is the way.
They recycle customer reviews.
Scammers recycle customer reviews. Reviews are a way of proving the value of your products and that you are legit. Scammers recycle these reviews because these reviews are probably from their friends and family.
They have no customers hence, they have no new reviews to post on their page. Therefore, they sensor parts of the review chat and recycle the same reviews until they don’t anymore.
Nobody can really attest to their services.
When a supposed Instagram business grows it should be because more people are beginning to patronise them. When a business seems to have a large following and a lot of products to offer, however, nobody can attest to their services.
When you have no testimonial to trust, there is no confidence in initiating a transaction with that business account. When nobody can say “yes, I have purchased from this business”, run dear, run.
They are quick to send you reviews when in doubt.
In Nigeria, when dealing with an online business, it is natural to be wary of fraud. Hence, interacting with an Instagram business makes it easier to ask key questions to build that trust.
Whenever you question a scammer in their bid to emotionally manipulate you into believing them, they bombard your chat with the same reviews they have been recycling and can also manufacture reviews to make you believe them. What is more telling about it is that you never ask them for the reviews.
The moment you ask, “how am I sure?”, they send all their reviews with a cheeky message asking you to believe what you want, further stating that they are a legit business with customers. Watch out, one of them might just jump out of character.
Payment before delivery.
A scammer will always insist on payment before delivery. It is a standard practice in the online business, but any business can offer the payment upon delivery option will not be subjected to a series of questions because the customer would see the product before paying.
In that case, the issue is neither the Instagram vendor nor the customer, the problem may be the courier, in this country, they can just like to run away.
A legit business will let you know its payment before delivery, if you express distaste in that, they let you be. A scammer will do anything to convince you to pay before delivery.
An indefinite hiatus is ended with a change of business.
Most scammers never last long. They are usually caught and even when they aren’t they don’t wait to be caught, they change the game.
When a scammer is caught, the victim often raises an alarm and gets the account reported. In this time, if the account is not taken down, the vendor goes ghost for as long as possible.
This is their indefinite hiatus. When the business resumes operations, it is not uncommon to see that the nature of the business has done a full 360.
A premium hair dealer would come back as a clothing retailer or phone merchant, so as to not be recognised, but trust the Nigerian eye.
The prices are too good to be true.
This particular red flag is common with hair dealers. The prices of products are usually too good to be true.
Virgin hair that should cost at least 40,000 naira would be advertised at 15,000 and Nigerians love discounts, it is called ‘awoof’.
They fall into the trap. Such scammers are not too greedy, they’d rather source small amounts from numerous people than large sums from one or two victims.