in Style

It breaks our heart – recently family, friends and #AsoEbiBella have told us about being duped by FRAUDULENT Instagram shops. After they pay the seller blocks them and some change their names.

As we love all things African fashion and feature hundreds of small businesses every week, we don’t want these fake vendors creating a bad name for everyone and we hate for you to lose your hard-earned money. Please stay woke!

Here are some tips to tell if an Instagram shop is real. However, there are no fail-safe methods.

Not all these tips will 100% apply to all sellers, however, they give you an idea of how to tell if a page is real.

10 Ways to Tell if an Instagram Online Shop is Real

1 – The shop has a focus
Real Instagram shops (in fact, real retailers in general) usually focus on one or two items and do those very well. E.g. electronics, football jerseys, hair, fabrics, turbans, makeup, ready to wear clothes, designer brands etc. When a shop appears to sell anything and everything, it’s usually fake.

2 – The owner’s presence
The owner has posted photos of him/herself or family before or the owner is easily identifiable. We understand not all owners like to put themselves out there, however, the presence of family and friends in the photos and/or comments or as their first customers shows this seller is real and accountable.

3 – You can see real customers in/with their products
You can see, click on multiple names with open accounts of people who are wearing these clothes/shoes/wigs etc. and have tagged the shop you want to buy from as the seller.

4 – The owner posts testimonials with real tagged customers
Even if the shop’s customers don’t like to post themselves, they would definitely have sent messages to the shop. Many vendors repost these messages and tag the customers. Make sure these customers seem real – have posts, reasonable amounts of followers and would seem like customers of the shop.

5 – Videos posted by the owner
You should be able to see videos of the products (whether these are shoes, bags, clothes, hair) posted by the owner on the page or you should to be able to request for video proof.

6 – They have a physical store/presence
We understand new stores may not have physical stores, however this is an easy way to see if an online shop is real. If they have one, go check it out or ask a friend who lives nearby to do so. They may not have a store but if they are stocked somewhere, and this is a good sign.

7 – They have more followers than they are following or an outrageous number of followers that doesn’t match their number of likes and comments
FAKE IG stores like to follow as many people as possible in order to build a following. Some also buy followers to appear credible. Scroll through the followers to see if these people are real.

8 – You should be able to ask for payment on delivery
Not every seller will agree to this, especially in situations where they incur high costs to get the item to you. However, for certain big ticket items like phones, the seller should be flexible enough to allow you inspect the item and pay in their presence.

9 – Real interactions on their page
If a business page has no comments and no interactions with people who seem like real customers, it is probably fake.

10 – They have a business bank account or you can easily trace their name to their business
A lot of new businesses don’t have business accounts, however if they have one they went through a heavy documentation process to get it – (presenting CAC documents etc.) so this is a good sign they are credible. If they don’t, Google their name and see if you can trace them to the business.

Here are some other bonus ways –

– They have co-signs from credible IG pages and/or celebrities. E.g. a celeb has tagged them as the seller of the product the celeb is wearing or they have been used by a well-known makeup artist.

-They don’t have “stolen” pictures from other pages. Some upcoming vendors sometimes do this to show the same item in stock, however when a seller only posts original photos and videos, it’s a better sign they are credible.

We understand not all these tips will apply, however they will serve you well as a guide. Please also beware of so-called ushering companies, sugar daddy/sugar mummy “agencies” and any promise that seems too good to be true.

Do you have any other tips Bellas? Please share in the comments.

Stay cautious.




  1. Reply Soph Oct 23rd, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Be mindful of how desperate they are before you pay. I almost fell for a fake instagram shop once. I could tell they were fake from the way they kept texting me to find out when I’d make payment, they sent me photos of the package saying it was wrapped and ready for delivery (even though I had not paid). Everything else said above is very helpful in being able to tell a fake I.G shop.