We receive hundreds of messages and emails every day asking us whether certain Instagram sellers or websites are selling authentic designer goods. Unfortunately we don’t have the time to investigate each of these cases individually but, in order to help you, listed below are key factors you should consider before purchasing from any source that you aren’t familiar with.
“If it looks too good to be true, it probably is”. As cliché as it sounds, nine times out of ten the saying holds true. If the website or Instagram account is offering designer goods for sale at ridiculous prices then be cautious.
What is a ridiculous price you might ask? There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to that question since product prices and their respective discount rates vary. This basically means you will have to exercise your own judgement.
Try not to be swayed by ‘unbelievable prices’ e.g. If a new Louis Vuitton backpack with a retail price of £1200 is being advertised online for £700, alarm bells should be ringing immediately.
2. Payment Methods
PayPal goods & services is one of the safest online payment methods available. If a seller offers this method it is a great sign because Paypal offers ‘buyer protection’ which will cover you should any authenticity issues arise.
If you do not know or trust a seller, you should avoid bank transfers, western union payments and any other direct cash payment methods. These methods are commonly offered by scammers because once the payment is completed, you will not be able to get your money back.
Does the seller have any feedback? Is the feedback real and are the reviews good? Does the seller have a strong online presence? If the answer to these questions is “yes”, it is very unlikely that you will run into problems with your order.
4. Pictures (Instagram)
When you browse the profiles of legitimate sellers on Instagram, you will notice that the feeds have an element of consistency i.e. similar photo styles, backgrounds and image quality. This usually happens because legitimate sellers take pictures of their stock themselves. A high level of consistency provides reassurance that the seller physically has the items being advertised.
Be wary of accounts that have no feed consistency because this may mean that the photos are being copied from other sellers’ accounts. It would also be wise to do a bit of research about the product you are looking to buy. This will increase the likelihood of you being able to spot scammers who advertise counterfeit designer goods as authentic.
Sometimes sellers will include business cards or tagged watermarks in a photo which is also a good sign, as long as they match the account name. Having said that, more and more Instagram scammers are stealing photos and using photoshop to edit the original watermarks & business cards. Pay close attention to photos and avoid purchasing if you notice that something doesn’t look right.
5. Public or Private Account?
The target for an Instagram seller who is selling designer clothes is to make as many sales as possible right? If that is the case, there is no real reason why the account should be private since the privacy setting limits a seller’s reach.
Historically, we’ve discovered that the majority of Instagrammers selling ‘luxury branded’ clothing under private accounts either sell fakes or scam buyers outright. Whilst a small number of authentic sellers have legitimate reasons for operating privately, if you encounter a private selling account, it would still be wise to exercise caution.