Is it safe to shop on Instagram?

Scrolling through Instagram you’re bound to see adverts for all sorts of goods and services designed to entice you into making a purchase. Nonetheless, as with almost all digital platforms, scammers also use Instagram to trick people into giving away their card details or providing you with sub par items. This blog is designed to help you spot signs the website is legitimate so you can make an informed choice about whether or not you splurge next time something catches your eye.

Look for any Red Flags on their profile

If you see an advert for something you like the look of on Instagram, the first thing to do to make sure the product and seller are legitimate is to check out their Instagram profile. How the profile is presented can give you some clues as to whether it’s a good idea to buy from the site. How many pictures do they have for example? How many followers? Does their bio have a store location? Are they verified? Just by looking at these few features you should be able to get a clearer idea of how happy you are likely to be with any purchases you make.

It is also a good idea to read the comments under their photos. If other users are complaining of long delivery times or other unexpected issues with their items, you would be better off avoiding the site. On the other hand, a verified site (with the blue tick next to their profile name) with plenty of followers and good communication with its customers is very likely to be legitimate.

Check if the website is secure

If you are happy that the profile looks legitimate, the next thing you can do to make sure your purchase goes smoothly is to make sure any link you click on takes you to a secure website, meaning if you put your credit card details in the online portal, they are encrypted and stored to a high standard of security. Luckily, it is really easy to see if a website is secure. All you have to check is if the website has a padlock next to its name. In your browser, this can be seen in the website bar, as shown here:

On your mobile, or on other tablet devices, you’ll see the padlock underneath the title of the webpage instead. With the padlock present, you can feel more comfortable knowing that the website has put measures in place to look after your financial and personal details. Without seeing this sign, it is not recommended to proceed with the transaction.

If you’re still not sure about the authenticity of the profile, Google has developed a quick tool to check if a website is unsafe. You can visit the following link and enter the website you’re visiting to see if there are any issues with it:

https://www.google.com/transparencyreport/safebrowsing/diagnostic/

A quick search of the company name on Google to ask if the website is real will often also help you decide, or if you want, you can get in touch with the company via their Instagram profile ‘contact’ section to ask them questions about their business.

While the presence of these points will not guarantee a website is safe, when combined together, you are much more likely to be dealing with a legitimate company.

Have you made any purchases from Instagram? What was your experience? Leave a comment in the section below. And, If you have any questions or other technology queries, please tweet us at @techtroublesho1.

Did you like this post? If so, why not also read: Is it safe to buy goods on Facebook Marketplace?

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