I’m not sure what is the bigger problem, Facebook allowing fraudulent ads sending traffic to Shopify and other online stores allowing scammers to operate in the bright open, or Shopify, Stripe, and others processing the fraudulent payments?
On one hand, if Facebook policed advertisers better, there’s a really good chance that the other seemingly willing participants in the credit card dispute scam wouldn’t have a viable means to exploit people. For example, why is it that Google, a company that’s built on advertising for years before Facebook doesn’t seem to have the relative frequency of fraudulent ads that Facebook does. In fact, I can’t recall the last fraudulent Google ad, and yet, I see ad after ad on Facebook that’s clearly a scam.
I sent two tweets yesterday highlighting the problem. Within five minutes of moving through my Facebook feed, I ran into five or six scammers using seven or more ads on Facebook. Here are the two posts:
<5 Mins on $, Following scam sites wanting $ & CC info on $ Why is this allowed? ntfdvd.myshopify.com lanilbal.myshopify.com efgbfc.myshopify.com milkls.myshopify.com catiyeshop.com newskel.myshopify.com
& another ntfdvd.myshopify.com Makes one wonder what % of $ stores are fraudulent along with why so many scammers think the platform is the one to cheat people with
Now, a day later, I see another of the same ads. Why hasn’t this been removed from Facebook?
At the time of writing this article, the ad has been up for at least three days (because I have a comment warning others three days old), and the scammer is even interacting with people asking questions, trying to reassure potential victims that this is a legitimate ad by a real company, and the intent is to promote their products for 10 days. One could make an argument that Facebook isn’t responsible for one fraudulent ad remaining alive for a few hours, albeit when a ad remains up for days, I don’t believe Facebook has a leg to stand on that it’s doing all it can, or even doing anything close to reasonable in terms of policing its site.
And during the last three days, this ad is getting looked at apparently. Based on FB numbers, it has over 400 comments (no surprise there), 135 shares and I wish it stated how many views, albeit I think it’s safe to guess well over 1000 people have seen it.
Upon clicking on the link, which I tried a few days ago, it still goes to a Shopify website -> ntfdvd.myshopify.com//products/tractor-loader-backhoes?fbclid=IwAR2donBaP3UZPYvwqXiwHZdhUfKZPRBUX-vEWBZ5qfKa1hpBI_3viUQ6FWc
The scammers even use tracking to see what ad “works” I guess.
Payment methods listed include Visa, MC, American Express, and Apple Pay. Interestingly enough, I don’t see PayPal, which is the payment method some victims have told me they used in other Facebook ad scams.
And, according to the ad, you don’t even need to pay the high price of $350 for a $20,000+ item. If you order more than one, you get a discount. 2 gives you 10% off, while 3 gives you 15% off, and if you order 5 or more tractor loaders, you can get a full 35% off. That means you can get this tractor and loader for less than $230 each, and that includes shipping.
Status of sites in my tweet yesterday
lanilbal.myshopify.com – > shop is unavailable
efgbfc.myshopify.com -> shop is available, albeit I didn’t immediately see any items on it today that are clearly fraudulent. That said, in the about us page, the company is “milkywaysweet.live” which is different than the name “efgbfc.” & https://milkywaysweet.live/ is a shopify store that is unavailable. Maybe this is a seeder store, trying to appear legit, (although I did list it yesterday, so maybe the clearly fraud items have been removed for now???)
milkls.myshopify.com/ –> This shop is available and is selling electric bicycles for $79.95 on the home page…Along with electric cars for less than $100, and a modular shipping container home for only $157
catiyeshop.com – Still operating. This doesn’t appear to be a Shopify store. The about us gives it away that it’s about the same thing. It shows a company name of adeamore.store and the email is email@example.com
newskel.myshopify.com – > Still active today
psoyvj.myshopify.com – > Still active today
Keep in mind, all the stores above advertised on Facebook, that’s how I saw them.
As a Shopify investor, I would be worried about the liability because I think it’s just a matter of time and the class-action attorneys will have their sights squarely on Shopify, along with consumers shying away from ANY new store on the platform that doesn’t look “right.” I mean, why take a chance if you’re not sure and you’ve heard of others being scammed, and that by definition appears to place the online shopping vendor at a huge and material disadvantage.
That’s over five stores on Shopify in less than five minutes viewing Facebook. Something tells me there’s a good chance there’s a lot more ads on Facebook targeting different demographics and stores on Shopify to funnel the victims into.