The Instagram scams haven’t stopped. In fact, it seems like there are more now than ever before.
What was once a simple, fun photo sharing app has turned into:
- A messenger app
- A video platform
- An online marketplace
With every Instagram update, comes more people looking to scam and take advantage of users.
About a year ago, I made a video called Common Instagram Scams, that went over some of the scams that I was seeing on the platform in an effort to help educate people on some of the less obvious scams happening on Instagram.
Since I made that video, Instagram has changed A LOT and so have the scams, so I thought it was time to make an update and go over some of the new scams I’m seeing on the platform.
Selling Fake Products
I have been seeing a lot of fake products on Instagram lately and I think it’s due to the new marketplace tab that they have on Instagram. Now, I know a lot of people don’t like this new marketplace tab, but I actually think it’s great for makers and small business owners because it gives them another opportunity to make money. Those people aren’t the problem.
It’s the accounts that are selling counterfeit products that you need to watch out for. I see counterfeit designer bags, shoes, and clothing all the time on Instagram. Some scammers will even go as far as creating an entire fake account dedicated to one brand in an effort to scam people.
If you are using Instagram to shop, be careful. Legitimate bigger brands are almost always verified, so look for that blue check mark. And remember, if the price or deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. That Louis Vuitton bag being sold for $100 is definitely fake.
There are some very suspicious donation scams on Instagram. This one makes me sick. These scammers are using tragedies to gain popularity and trick good people into thinking they are helping with a cause.
The way it works is that scammers make fake Instagram accounts claiming to be a charity or organization. They’ll post a bunch of pictures and buy followers and likes to make themselves look legitimate. In their bio, they’ll have a link to a fundraiser page where you can donate to their cause.
These types of accounts pop up shortly after any type of tragedy or disaster happens because they know people are upset and want to do what they can to try and help out.
There are legitimate organizations and charities that use Instagram to help fundraise. If you are looking to donate, do your research. The legitimate organizations generally will have verified accounts. You can also use sites like guide star or charity navigator to do more research. It’s really sad that we have to do this, but unfortunately, a lot of bad people exist.
Multi Level Marketing. Ughhh, this one really grinds my gears.
How many times have you received a DM saying something along the lines of:
“I want to let you know about this awesome business opportunity.”
“I’m looking for 5 product testers”
“I’m looking for motivated women to join my team to make thousands of dollars a month.”
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, a multi level marketing company is a system for selling products through a network of distributors. The idea is that you join at the bottom, then work your way up the pyramid, recruiting team members underneath you. The higher up the pyramid, the more money you make because you get a cut from the people you recruited.
AKA a pyramid scheme.
MLMs are alive and well. In fact, I think there are more now than ever before. And these companies encourage people involved to use Instagram and other social media channels to try and recruit new members. And unfortunately, a lot of people are falling for this because I see it all the time.
But here’s the truth. No matter what they try to tell you, an MLM:
- Is not a real business. Yeah, I said it. These people are not business owners. And you won’t be a business owner if you join their team. You don’t own anything except a bunch of inventory that you were forced to buy and probably won’t be able to sell.
- You’re not going to make any money. In fact, 99% of people involved in MLMs say they lose money. Some, quite a bit.
A great podcast that takes a deep dive into the MLM world is season one of The Dream, so if you want to learn more about how scammy these companies are, give that a listen.
Social media can be a great way to connect, but like everything, it’s important to be smart about how you’re using it. Those are 3 new scams that I, unfortunately, see a lot of people falling for on Instagram. Be smart about who you interact with online and always do your research before making any purchases.