Many people are being scammed by ads on social media platforms like Instagram. Some products never arrive; others turn out to be different than what was advertised. Almost all the ads in question come from companies you've never heard of before, promoting deep discounts. It can be hard to differentiate between small businesses trying to attract new customers and scammers trying to turn a quick buck.
Here are some tips from Instagram on what to do before and after encountering suspicious ad activity:
Before: We offer additional information about all advertisers with an Instagram account so that people can make an informed decision about how to engage with them. To learn more about an account, go to their profile, tap the ... menu and then select "About This Account." There, you can see the date the account joined Instagram, the country where the account is located, accounts with shared followers, and username changes. Within "About this Account," you can also see all ads that the business is currently running.
Before, during or after: People can always report an account, an ad, or a post that they feel is misleading. To report an ad, click the "..." on the top right of the ad and click Report Ad. Follow the on-screen instructions and select "It's a scam or it's misleading."
After: We recently launched an in-app survey that asks people to tell us about their purchase experience. This information allows us to learn directly from our community about the quality of purchase experiences an advertiser offers. Advertisers with negative feedback will receive a warning that their Instagram experience may be impacted unless they improve their customers' satisfaction.
You can always go back and visit your own ad interactions, including all ads you have clicked on in Stories and Feed, from the past 90 days within your Settings.
In a statement to CBS News, Instagram says, "Maintaining a positive experience for people on Instagram is our top priority. Counterfeit goods and fraudulent activity hurt our entire community and have no place on Instagram. We have various systems in place that help us catch and remove suspicious activity before it gets to consumers – it is an ongoing effort that we're committed to continuously improving over time. We've also built new features that give people the power to manage their experience with ads on Instagram and take action when they see something suspicious."