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How To Spot Fake Sellers on Instagram and Avoid Being Scammed : Confessions of a Victim

Before I share with you my friend's horrible 'fake IG seller' experience, let me just say that I hate online scammers as much as I hate drug-lords and other hardened criminals.

For me, they are true scums of society who prey on honest people who are kind and trusting enough to support e-sellers without first having to see and touch the items that they are purchasing.

I think it's treachery in its purest form.

Fake Instagram Seller

Yesterday, one of my closest friends told me that she recently fell victim to one of these online criminals. Here's her story:

"A couple of weeks back, I came across this Instagram account purportedly selling imported baby clothes. So I checked the account and I saw that it has almost 3,000 followers. One follower was another account that I also follow. So I thought it looked legit. They even had this 'Don't buy if in doubt! 100% Legit!' statement in the description. So I direct messaged them, and inquired about the brands and the prices. They promptly answered my questions so I said, "Ok. I'll get the pieces. How do I pay?" They said that their mode of payment is only through this pawnshop-slash-money-transfer-business as that establishment issues receipts. I trusted them and I sent my payment. Now, a week after, there was no delivery. I DMed them again and they said, "We'll send it tomorrow, ma'am." And then the next day, I saw that they have already deleted their Instagram account including all of our messages."

I managed to contain my anger after hearing her story and I calmly asked her, "Looking back, what were the telltale signs that you're talking to a fake IG seller that you missed seeing?"

She said, "I should have known that they weren't legit when:

1.) They said that their only mode of payment is via this pawnshop. They didn't have any bank or PayPal account.
2.) Although the account had lots of followers, there were almost no likes, comments, or inquiries in the posts. I later learned that one can easily buy thousands of fake social media followers.
3.) Legit sellers usually post messages from their satisfied clients - like screen-grabs proving that they've received the products, that the items look great, or thanking them for the easy transaction, etc etc. This seller never posted such screen-captures of messages.
4.) Finally, their prices were - frankly - too low considering the brands that they were selling. But I guess I gave them the benefit of the doubt since those brands often hold sales and sometimes they'd go for as much as 70% off abroad."

What happened to my friend is really unfortunate -- but I know for a fact they are also many legit, honest, and trust-worthy sellers on Instagram. In fact, I have several friends who have managed to build a fortune just from selling gadgets and Pinoy delicacies through that social networking app. And they all tell me that they were able to do it by protecting the trust of their clientele.

Now, for those who are thinking about purchasing items via IG, here are my additional tips to avoid being scammed:

1. Ask for recommendations from friends or acquaintances.
2. Check reviews online about transactions with the IG seller or the quality of the products being offered.
3. Read social media posts about the IG seller. Also, trusted Instagram sellers usually have Facebook accounts that you can add and message.

Do you have more tips and suggestions? Want to share your Instagram Store Purchase Stories? We want to hear them. Feel free to write down your thoughts on our comments section below.

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