Buyer Beware: Counterfeit Instagram Ads

Shoppers should be especially wary of social media ads this holiday season.

Instagram has become the latest social media platform compromised by ads for counterfeit goods.

A recent study found nearly 20 percent of Instagram posts with luxury fashion hashtags featured counterfeit items. Examples included Instagram sponsored ads that appear to be for genuine goods, but direct customers to websites selling counterfeits.

With more than 400 million users, Instagram’s ads were introduced to monetize the platform. Evidently, counterfeit sellers are among the 500,000+ advertisers currently using Instagram to grow their business.

It’s no wonder use social media platforms offer counterfeiters to sell their goods; counterfeit scams can reach more people than ever before. With over 2.2 billion active users – around 30% of the world’s population – social media has become the world’s biggest marketplace.

Consumers are increasingly advised to use caution when purchasing items via social media. Online shoppers should pay particular attention to social media flash sales for luxury items. Fraudsters play upon customer’s sense of urgency with ‘limited time’ flash sales and lure them to sites designed to look like genuine brands.

Don’t be duped this holiday season! A good rule of thumb is to limit purchases on social media to reputable retailers. And when in doubt, abide by the timeless rule – if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.