11, June 2021
Instagram – a hub for fake profiles selling fake products
Instagram stories - a great opportunity for for e-commerce and fake profiles
In the wake of digitalization, you need to embrace new ways of working to securely protect your brand from fake profiles selling fake products. Not least if you sell products in digital marketplaces and social media like Instagram. Sales of counterfeit products with fake profiles have expanded far beyond the touristy street markets abroad – now anyone can find a wide array of illegal copies online in a flash.
With the introduction of clickable Instagram Story links and the Facebooks Shop tab, companies have the opportunity to display and sell items through social media. For example, on Instagram Stories visitors are able to tap on a link and immediately get redirected to an e-commerce website.
Linking e-commerce and social media in this way creates new opportunities to successfully market brands, but it also opens up an increased risk of product piracy.
Already in the first year of Instagram Stories,
over 400 million people used the feature every day.
Fake profiles on Instagram are a hotbed for knockoff products
In early 2019, a study found that counterfeit accounts cumulatively added more than 65 million posts to Instagram, consisting of marketing for pirated products, and their activity averaged about 1.6 million Instagram Stories a month. In total, sales of counterfeit products amount to more than $ 30 billion each year, which means an equal amount in lost sales for the affected companies. However, brand damages are difficult to estimate accurately.
These new sales platforms provide huge opportunities for new types of trademark infringement, which in turn places high demands on trademark owners to properly monitor how their trademark is used online, and by whom it is seen. Not knowing how your brand is communicated in social media increases the risk of fake profiles on Instagram selling counterfeit or pirated goods with your trademark on it – potentially damaging your brand, without you knowing about it.
Many fraudsters create profiles with names similar to high-profile company accounts. The purpose is to attract customers who are looking for trusted brands and direct them to a mirrored website where they are tricked into buying pirated products or do not receive any products at all. As customers are unaware that they are buying from a fake company account, the legitimate company's reputation risks being damaged.
Other fraudsters use competitions on social networking platforms for their scams. They contact contestants and use the promise of a prize to get personal information, which can have devastating consequences for the person being targeted, but also for the company organizing the competition, whose reputation and brand may suffer great damage.
How to prevent the problems
The risks are extensive, but you can make a big difference in counteracting these types of scams, especially if you run an e-commerce business. Always urge your followers to make sure that the account name is spelled correctly and that the blue checkmark appears next to the account name, verifying its authenticity.
In addition to issuing warnings to be vigilant, it is important that you ensure that no one misrepresents your brand through fraudulent advertising. By monitoring your social media accounts, you stay one step ahead and make it difficult for fraudsters to exploit your brand and damage its reputation.
By employing a complete solution for management and active social media monitoring, you can much more easily combine legal, technical, and digital tools to effectively counteract and act on infringement. That way, you secure both your business and your brand's reputation.
Don’t hesitate to contact us today. We can help you make the right choices regarding brand monitoring and protection, and we always tailor the solution to your needs.