What is Instagram, you ask? It is the most popular social networking service where people can upload mainly photos and videos. But it has lately been modified and become a way for people to run their businesses. I, for one, have had an experience with a scammer on Instagram.
At its most basic, Instagram is a social networking app that allows its users to share pictures and videos with their friends. The company was founded by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, both Stanford University graduates, in 2010 and now has around 200 million users. Facebook, the social networking giant, acquired the company in 2012. While its basic premise is sharing pictures, the site’s popularity comes from its picture-editing functionality.
Is it Safe to Shop on Instagram?
In her July article on privacy, Ashley Ferraro mentions how Instagram has remarkably evolved from a photo-sharing social networking app to a full-fledged e-commerce platform. A decade after its 2010 inception, Instagram introduced Shopswhen the global e-commerce market was at an all-time high due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With this introduction, the “Shop” tab appeared in the bottom right-hand corner of the app. This social and economic climate drove brands to foresee the value of operating an official Instagram storefront.
She then adds that consumers turned to online shopping more than ever before, creating the perfect storm for Instagram, underpinned by parent company Meta, to skyrocket as a leader in e-commerce and social networking. All of this buzz poses the question: is it safe to shop on Instagram?
Protections Offered - Safety on Instagram:
Security Checkup: Instagram’s Security Checkup feature can be accessed via your “Security” settings. This page acts as a hub for reviewing all protections you have set up for your account, including 2FA.
Login activity: Access to your login activity is visible on the “Security” page. This page will show you where any devices logged into your account are located. If you recognize any unauthorized logins, you can expire them from this page.
Apps and websites: The “Security” page includes a tab for all apps and websites you have ever authorized to access your Instagram account. This page makes it easy to manage, track, or remove any applications you have connected.
Sensitive content controls: This feature can be accessed through the “Account” page within your settings. It allows you to select how much “sensitive content” you would like to be exposed to while browsing the platform.
Checkout Security: The “Orders and payments” page allows you to toggle on the requirement for either a PIN or Face ID to confirm payments.
How does Instagram scamming work?
An Instagram scam is a type of online scam that specifically targets Instagram users. Scammers send direct messages or leave comments on Instagram feeds to lure victims into turning over valuable information or money. Instagram scams might even try to trick victims into downloading or spreading malware. The most common Instagram scams are similar to other internet scams. Well-known examples include romance scams, phishing attempts, Bitcoin scams, and giveaway scams. Scammers have become increasingly creative in using classic scamming techniques in new ways — especially via popular social media sites.
Some scammers have exploited the influx of branded accounts by impersonating them. Fake brand accounts often tout exclusive sales for a limited time or offer high-end products for low prices. But what’s on sale is actually counterfeit — or maybe what you ordered never arrives, but you have already given your payment card information online.
How to spot a scammer on Instagram:
While some scammers have found clever ways to disguise themselves, there are still telltale signs you can look for when deciding whether someone is scamming you on Instagram.
Scammers on Instagram usually do these things:
-Ask for money or information -Send messages with suspicious links.
-Have an unverified account they claim is affiliated with Instagram or a large organization.
-Follow many accounts but have few followers themselves -Have little engagement from followers.
-Lie about their location.
-Claim you have won a prize.
-Have profiles consisting of stock photos or photos stolen from other accounts.
-Make simple grammar or language errors.
-Try to convince you to move the conversation off Instagram.
How do you deal with scammers on Instagram?
By using a variety of strategies, fraudsters leverage the interactive power of Instagram to rip people off in several clever ways. They steal not just money but account access, too.
1. Make your account private:
Your Instagram is set to “public” by default, allowing anyone to see your posts. To protect your privacy, set your account status to “private.” Then, only followers you approve can see your posts, make comments, find your posts via search, and send you direct messages.
Here’s how to make your Instagram account private:
1. Open the Instagram app.
2. Go to your homepage.
3. Tap on the hamburger menu (the three horizontal lines) in the upper right corner.
4. Choose Settings > Privacy.
5. Toggle Private Account to ON.
If you have caught a scammer on Instagram, immediately report and block them. If you want your money back, you can complain to www. cgso.org.co.za. This website is designed to ensure customers are always happy, as most boutiques and Shopping centers emphasize. You could complain about goods and services that have not satisfied you or have robbed you of your money’s worth.
Afika Jadezweni mentioned in her June article that it is also understandable how easily keen shoppers may fall into the traps of dubious fashion entrepreneurs, especially when the usual retail outlets are failing to deliver. Whoops! I almost forgot that some of the IG boutiques also do not deliver... ever. Or sometimes, they are just selling fake merchandise. Either way, exercising discernment is always necessary.
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