Shopify Scams: How They Work
Shopify is a great platform that has created many successful entrepreneurs, but the Internet is also full of Shopify scams. We asked a series of experts to share their insights on deceptive practices that some people do when using the platform, so we have some great material to share with you below. Here are three Shopify scams to be aware of.
1. Triangulation Scam
The triangulation scam represents a nightmare for anyone selling products because it leaves victims without both product and any compensation.
Here is how a triangulation scheme works, according to Ian Kelly from NuLeaf Naturals:
“A scammer with stolen credit cards opens a shop that sells your products or similar items. When a customer purchases something through the scammer’s Shopify store, the scammer uses stolen credit cards to purchase the item from you. Then he ships it to the customer. Because the credit card is stolen, there are chargebacks, leaving you without product and money. The scammer now has the money for the product that their customer paid them.”
A way to look for this is to check shipping and billing. “If the shipping and billing addresses are wildly different, it may be worth flagging as it could be a scammer charging the product to a stolen card and sending the product to their customer.”, says Kelly.
2. “Direct To Client” MyShopify Scam
A trick that is perpetrating a lot lately is the “direct to client” MyShopify scam. It has been happening ever since e-commerce began. Essentially, it occurs when a vendor wants to do the transaction outside of Shopify (where web stores have an .myshopify.com extension). The buyers, meaning the scammers, claim they are being charged high fees or say they want to help you get a discount.
“It seems obvious when laid out that simply, but in reality, these scammers play a longer game. They are doing legitimate transactions with you for a long time and then trying to move them outside of the platform. That’s where you are not protected against fraudulent purchases and can’t get your money back or report bad sellers”, explains Alex Azouri from Home Grounds.
“By building a relationship of trust, scammers convince you to make a purchase via PayPal or e-transfer, and either the money is gone in that transaction, or they send a fake Paypal invoice that will then phish your information.”
Azouri advises never to do transactions outside of Shopify or other platforms that have safeguards in place to protect customers and vendors alike.
“Often, because the buyer has no reason to doubt, they accept the request. Unfortunately, it is the loophole the seller needs to extract money from the buyer without delivering the product.”, says Reuben Yonatan, Founder of GetVoIP.
When else do you know how to detect Shopify scams?
3. All-In-One Red Flags of a Shopify Scam
If the Shopify website uses insistent persuasion and shady sales-boosting techniques (also known as dark patterns), it is more likely a scam. Let’s go into detail on what these patterns usually are. Here is a perfect explanation from Akram Tariq Khan, co-founder of YourLibaas:
- Shopify scams leverage the “fear of missing out” psychology of customers. A variety of maneuvers and dark patterns leverage this tendency. Social proof pop-ups display notifications of customers close to your location, which recently bought the product. You would see a flashing text message that says “x number of people are currently looking at this product,” which encourages one to buy on the premise that the stocks wouldn’t last long enough. These techniques push the customer to make an impulsive purchase.
- Most of the products have only positive reviews with text similar to one another. All of them are simply 5 stars and endlessly praise the product. It’s typical not only for Shopify scams but also for eBay scams.
- The aspect ratio of the product image seems off. This could be an attempt to crop off the watermarked image. Another red flag could be a specific portion of the image is blurry, or the brand has placed its watermark at an unusual place. Again, an attempt to get rid of a watermark.
- The grammar used within the product description is incorrect.
Shopify Scams: How To Report
Let your friends know about these Shopify scams by sharing the article here, on social media. You can also officially report crooks and any other suspicious activities to both Shopify admin and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) using the link below:
How To Protect Yourself More
If you want to be the first to receive the most prevalent scams every week, subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter. You’ll receive periodic messages and emails – not spam.
On a different note, educate yourself with some other e-Commerce fraud-related articles below, so that you know how to stay safe online. Also, feel free to use the Comments section below to expose other scammers.
Verify a website below
Are you just about to make a purchase online? See if the website is legit with our validator: