Some residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are concerned over the rise in use of Instagram, a social media platform, to defraud unsuspecting users.
According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria, the platform, which is popularly used to connect friends and family by sharing personal photos and videos on the internet, has gradually become a hob for business activities.
Large-scale businesses have used the site to showcase goods and services available for sale inspiring start-up entrepreneurs to follow suit with an online market that does not require an official website or established shop.
However, the business concept has been observed to have been soiled by individuals that create fake business accounts to acquire money from users fraudulently.
Some of the residents claimed they had been victims to some of the fake business accounts available on the social media website.
Miss Hope Idemudia, a Nigerian youth service corps member serving in Abuja, said that she had lost a lot of money to the owner of a fake business account on Instagram.
“Instagram is known to be a market place, where people market themselves and their products so it’s not just for making friends and sharing pictures with social circles.
“There are a number of accounts I have successfully purchased goods from and I got the orders in perfect condition.
“However, the last order I placed was highly unsuccessful, causing me a loss of N24,000 and I was very bitter about it.
“I came across an Instagram account known as @Empire_ladies_store which like other accounts looked very legitimate and I decided to order for clothes and shoes.
“I paid the money as requested and I still haven’t received my goods up til this very moment.’’
The account owner, she complained, stopped picking his phone calls and not responding to messages after the transaction was entered.
Miss Tosin Oloruntoba, an entrepreneur said she had come across a number of fake business accounts that she almost fell victim to.
“The Instagram business pages have become very popular and it seems to be odd if you’re a business owner and you don’t have a business page on Instagram.
“Many of these sellers prove their legitimacy by posting pictures of feedback from customers they have deals with in the past and having people review their goods.
“I require the same for my business pages and I came across a business page called @dressupclothier which had thousands of posts and followers so I believed the page was legitimate.’’
She explained that she placed an order for shoes for her daughter but was not delivered.
“I knew I was scammed when the owner refused to answer my calls, but always read my messages on Whatsapp without replying.
“I am just saddened by the fact that these scam artists will destroy the reputation of other businesses that are actually legitimate.”
George Ogba, an accountant, said “it is sad that these people are committing such crimes and there really isn’t anyway to directly block their accounts from the public as the account has to be reported to Instagram first.”
“As much as we try to trust our fellow Nigerians, there are bad people who are making that impossible by committing these grivious crimes so we have to stop acting naïve.
“There is no reason why you should make payments for a commodity you have not seen or received, although it has worked with many other legitimate accounts.
“If you want to purchase something online, ensure you are protecting yourself by having a middle man of some sort or ensure you pay for the commodity on delivery,” he said.