5 Warning Signs That An Instagram Shop May Actually Be A SCAM

Since we live in Malaysia, we can’t have all the cult-favourite products that we desire shipped to us (please expand your shipping destinations, Glossier).

Enter these Instagram shops who seem to have the ways and means to connect shipping from the US (or other countries) to our very doorstep. Sounds good, right? But recently, some Instagram shops – *cough cough* FavcosmeticsKL – have been accused of scamming people for their hard-earned money. They’d reportedly just take the orders, and leave their customers waiting for their parcel for months. Some may have forgotten about it, but those who didn’t often get ignored by the Instagram account’s owner – until they threaten to lodge complaints and police reports.

Some of these Instagram shops may already have a website, influencer ambassadors, a huge following and a legit business number, so how can you tell if it’s a scam? Well, to begin with, you may want to look out for these warning signs.

1. The prices of imported goods are ridiculously marked up

Sure, you’d need to factor in shipping costs, currency exchange, and customs fee, but even so, it can’t be that expensive, right? If the prices of imported goods like ColourPop or The Ordinary seem too marked up to be true (do your calculations, babe!), then the Instagram shop could probably be a scam.

2. Look out for the comments on their page

If the commenters seem angry and demanding, you may have stumbled upon a scam Instagram shop. That’s not to say that they don’t deliver their products – just not to every customer. The ones who complain and make a big fuss would usually get a complete order while others have to wait. Plus, if the Instagram owner seems to be deleting comments, there’s probably something they don’t want their next victims to know.

3. Ask around if anyone you know has successfully bought from the shop

Some of these Instagram shops seem to have legit testimonials from seemingly regular people and endorsements from influencers. Before you begin to place an order, ask among your own circle of followers and friends if they have bought there before, and what was their experience like. Chances are, you’ll get your answers pretty quickly. “It took a month, but I got all my stuff,” sounds better than “I’ve been waiting for months and haven’t got a refund yet.”

4. They have certain “rules” when it comes to customers purchasing things

Every buyer understands that batches of pre-orders take time but if you need to make a minimum purchase when it comes to sales, for example, you may be speaking to a less-than-genuine Instagram shop. There is no such thing as a minimum purchase because they could be taking in more orders from other people. Personally, I just wait until my cart reaches the minimum amount for free international shipping but some stuff could be limited-edition and it’s not always viable.

5. Once they get caught, they start a new business, under a new name

Since their business license is legit, they might as well continue to do what they’re good at, right? That way, people will believe that the previous Instagram shop folded, and can’t identify that the new one might belong to the same owner.

Well, that’s about it for the signs that an Instagram shop may be a scam. It’s better to pay for international shipping and wait for your order instead of being scammed of your money, would you agree? Either way, we’d suggest making a purchase via established online shopping platforms because then, you’d be able to lodge and escalate any complaints if it’s necessary (and not get blocked).