8+ Common Instacart Scams and How to Avoid Them

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instacart scams

Instacart is a popular grocery delivery service that operates in over 3,000 cities across the United States and Canada. The service partners with local grocery stores, pharmacies, and even stores like Aldi, Safeway and membership stores like Costco to bring convenience to its users. However, with popularity comes the risk of scams. Although Instacart scams are not statistically significant, it's not uncommon to encounter unpleasant situations. Therefore, it's crucial to learn about the common scams and know how to protect yourself. In this article, we'll walk you through the most common Instacart scams and provide tips on how to avoid them.

Instacart Shopper Scams

Find below a complete list of Instacart Shoppers scams every shopper should know:

1. Instacart Code Scam

The latest Instacart scam involves scammers pretending to be customers and requesting that the shopper calls them outside of the Shopper app after accepting a batch. Once the shopper calls the scammer, they will be sent a "verification code" and instructed to read it off to the scammer. If the shopper provides this code, the scammers can gain access to their account and change everything, preventing the shopper from accessing it.

It's essential to remember to only communicate with customers through the Instacart app and avoid providing any personal information to outside parties to protect yourself from this scam. If you think you may have fallen victim to this scam, be sure to contact Instacart customer service immediately to report the issue and protect your account.

2. Instacart Scam Calls

Another Instacart scam involves scammers posing as customers and requesting shoppers to call them outside of the app after accepting a batch. Once the shopper calls the scammer, they will be sent a "verification code" and instructed to read it off to the scammer. If the shopper provides this code, the scammers can gain access to their account, lock them out, and change all their login information, including banking information. Here's how the scam works:

  • After accepting the batch, the scammer, posing as the customer, texts the shopper, requesting them to call them outside of the app.
  • The shopper calls the scammer, but there is no answer, so they continue with the shopping and send two texts notifying the customer that they tried calling and that they are finished.
  • The shopper then receives a text from the supposed customer claiming that they never ordered the items and that they have contacted customer service for a refund.
  • The shopper then gets a phone call from a number they don't recognize, which is the scammer, posing as an Instacart representative calling regarding the suspected fraud on the order.
  • The scammer requests the shopper to confirm a verification code that they are sent via text. Once the shopper provides the code, the scammer can access their account, lock them out, change their login information and banking information.

It's crucial to remember that Instacart and other legitimate companies will never ask for verification codes, and it's essential to communicate only through the app for safety purposes. If you encounter any suspicious activity, report the incident to Instacart customer service immediately. Be vigilant and protect yourself from this and other scams.

3. Instacart Reactivation Hackers

The Instacart reactivation hacker scam occurs when scam artists promise to reactivate your deactivated account in exchange for a fee. These scammers impersonate Instacart support and target people whose accounts have been deactivated. They will message or call you and offer to reactivate your account for a fee.

It's important to note that these scammers have nothing to do with Instacart, and giving them your personal information and money will only lead to more trouble. If your account has been deactivated, you should contact Instacart support directly through the app or website and follow the official deactivation reactivation protocols. Always be wary of anyone who asks for money, and report any suspicious activity immediately.

4. Instacart Scam Forum

While many online forums and groups provide a valuable space for information sharing and discussion, some are created specifically for scamming purposes. The Instacart scam forum is a space where scammers share their methods and strategies for defrauding Instacart shoppers and customers.

These forums often mimic official Instacart groups or forums and attract unsuspecting users who seek the support and guidance of fellow Instacart users. However, in reality, these scammers aim to collect personal information and scam users out of money.

It's essential to be cautious of any online forum or group that asks for personal information that might seem suspicious or attempts to collect payment for services that should be free. It's best to use only official Instacart forums and seek support from the company's customer service channels if you experience any problems.

5. Instacart Tip Scam

The Instacart tip scam involves customers deceiving shoppers into believing they have received a large tip, then retracting it after the purchase. In reality, the shoppers never receive the tip, and this scam aims to deplete their earnings.

Here's how the Instacart tip scam works:

  • A customer places an order and tips the shopper an amount that seems generous.
  • The shopper fulfills the order and completes the purchase using their Instacart payment card.
  • After the delivery is complete, the customer reduces the tip or removes it altogether, leaving the shopper without the promised earnings.

Although the Instacart tip scam is not common, it's crucial to be aware of the scheme and to understand how tips work on the platform. It's worth noting that Instacart guarantees shoppers the majority of the customer's tip, and any changes made to the tip should alert the shopper immediately. In cases where a tip reduction occurs, shoppers may contact Instacart support and report the incident to recover their earnings.

instacart customer fake compaints scam

6. Instacart Customers Fake Complaints

The Instacart Customers fake complaints scam involves customers filing false complaints against shoppers and delivery drivers to cheat the system and obtain refunds without any legitimate reasons. Customers can report a bad experience with a delivery to the Instacart Care team, but an increasing number of customers are looking for ways to cheat Instacart and other shopping apps. The most common complaints the customer service team receives are wrong or missed items, damaged items, poor replacements, and overcharging.

While it's hard to pick up the wrong item and deliver items that are not part of the order to a customer, it still happens to some drivers. If such a mistake occurs, it is advised to accept the incident and contact Instacart support immediately. To avoid customer complaints of damaged items, drivers must pack the items securely to prevent damages and refer to the courier gears guide for instructions.

Replacement items can also be a point of dispute, as not all customers provide replacement instructions. To avoid any complaints, it is advised to text the customer when an item is unavailable and ask for suggestions or items to replace the missing one. Customers can accept or reject the suggested replacements through the app.

Customers are also making false complaints about missing items, especially since the introduction of Instacart's "Leave at My Door Delivery" to maintain safe distance during the pandemic. To avoid such false complaints, drivers are advised to take a picture of the delivery order dropped off and keep the receipt as proof.

Finally, some customers may complain about overcharging, which can occur when the order's total exceeds the pre-authorized amount, or in cases where local taxes and service fees may apply. It's crucial to keep all the receipts and orders up to date to avoid such complaints.

Instacart is taking steps to address these fraudulent customer complaints and protect its shoppers. However, drivers must take precautions to ensure high-quality service and be vigilant for such fraudulent complaints to avoid any penalties or inconvenience.

👀 Related Article: How to Delete Instacart Account

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Instacart Customer Scams

7. Instacart Phishing Scam

One common type of Instacart customer scam involves phishing. In these scams, criminals send out emails or texts that appear to be from Instacart, requesting that customers verify their accounts or update their payment information. When customers click on the links provided in these messages, they are taken to fake websites that look like Instacart's login page, where they are prompted to enter their login and payment details. Once customers provide this information, the scammers are then able to use it to make fraudulent purchases using the customer's account.

8. Instacart Shoppers Stealing from the Order

The Instacart Shopper stealing food scam is a fraudulent scheme where shoppers steal packages or food items during the delivery process. This fraud has been reported on social media and internet forums by customers who had packages or food items stolen by an Instacart shopper.

According to a Reddit user, they caught an Instacart delivery girl stealing a mail package from their porch. The user called Instacart and the police, and caught the shopper on their Ring camera returning to steal a few more packages. The user took a picture of her in her car, along with her Instacart information. Despite reporting to Instacart and the police, nothing was done initially to address the issue.

However, the user reported the employee to social media, putting her on blast, and she eventually returned the packages. It's worth noting that this was a rare outcome, and the best way to address this issue is to report such incidents to Instacart and the police, and to take preventive measures such as bringing in packages immediately after delivery.

All shoppers are equipped with GPS-enabled smartphones, so Instacart and customers can track their locations during deliveries. Instacart has policies in place to ensure customers' safety and protect their goods. Customers need to report incidents of theft immediately, including providing information such as the shopper's name, vehicle information, pictures, and any evidence like footage or eyewitnesses.

💡 PRO TIP: If you paid for an item but you never received it, you are entitled to contact Instacart to ask them for a refund.

The Federal Trade Commission offers protections and procedures so you don’t have to pay for merchandise you ordered but never got. But first… you should always contact Instacart.

instacart data breach

What If It's Not a Scam?

Instacart is a secure platform that uses advanced encryption and secure payment processors like PayPal. While credit card fraud remains a concern for online shoppers, Instacart has dedicated teams carrying out routine audits and investigations to ensure the platform's integrity. Unfortunately, a data breach was discovered in August 2020, but Instacart has since introduced new measures like two-factor authentication to better protect the platform. Overall, customers, grocery shops, and delivery workers can feel safe and secure while using Instacart.

Instacart Scams: How They Work and How to Protect Your Account

What are common Instacart scams and how do I spot them? Beware #instacartScams #instacartBots

Additional Scam: Instacart New Device Sign In, Password Change, App Upgrade

Scammers target the driver’s pay. First of all, you should know that Instacart will never call you to verify some information.

With a scam, very similar to Apple ID scams, victims receive fake emails. The message looks like it was coming from the real Instacart admin, notifying users of some sort of unusual activity on their accounts.

Be skeptical about any kind of links and attachments, especially if you’re not sure about the source, don’t use the link or open the attachment.

The only way that one may steal a driver’s earnings is by having access to their account. It is a part of your job to protect yourself from hackers.

When signing up for Instacart, you have to agree to their terms of services where it is explicitly written that you are responsible for all activities performed using the Shopper App whether the access is authorized by you or not.

Recently, some Shoppers had to deal with a support scam. They received a call from someone pretending to be from Instacart support who wanted to verify their account activities. If someone has access to your account, they can also have access to your earnings. Indeed, the purpose of this scam is to change your direct deposit information.

No one from the Instacart support is ever going to randomly call you and ask for this information.

Finally, make sure your passwords are at least eight characters long, with a mix of upper and lower case, numbers or other characters, and never use the auto-complete feature for passwords. You can use the storage encryption feature on your phone to protect your private data, and set your screen to timeout after five minutes or less.

Related Article: When Does Instacart Pay

Protect Yourself

Whether you are a user or shopper, here are some tips to protect yourself and avoid scams:

  • Be alert to the fact that scams exist. Whether it's over the phone, by mail or email, always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam.
  • Do not open links sent to you in emails from unknown sources, you risk being directed to scam sites.
  • Don't share your Instacart Shopper login or respond to phone calls asking for remote access to your Instacart account – hang up – even if they mention the company. Scammers will often ask you to install a free upgrade, which is actually a virus that will give them your passwords and personal details.
  • Your smartphone contains significant amounts of personal data. Securing access to your mobile helps prevent someone from digging into your content, as well as remote hacking.
  • Updates to your phone's operating system and apps are essential to correcting security vulnerabilities. Thus, you are cutting the grass under the feet of the pirates and spies who would like to exploit them to penetrate your sacred digital privacy.
  • Choose your passwords carefully. Choose passwords that would be difficult for others to guess and update them regularly. A strong password should include a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Don’t use the same password for every account/profile, and don’t share your passwords with anyone.
  • If you recognize suspicious behavior, clicked on spam or have been scammed, take steps to secure your account and be sure to report it.
  • Be wary of unusual payment requests. Scammers will often ask you to use an unusual payment method, such as preloaded debit cards, gift cards, iTunes cards, etc.
  • Get Scam Alert. Stay alerted about the most recent scams including Social Security Scams, IRS Scams and other Phishing Scams.

Whom to Contact If You Think You Got Scammed on Instacart?

Whether you are having problems or you think you are being scammed, the only thing to do is to report the problem. So, how do you report a problem with Instacart? The easy way to contact Instacart and report a problem is via their customer service phone number: 1 (888) 246-7822

Beware! Keep Yourself Safe

A fundamental premise is to be alert and protect yourself from scams by following our tips. Warn your family and friends about all these Instacart scams by sharing this article using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to Instacart by contacting the Care support.

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