Scam Websites

I pride myself on honest business so when scammers are taking advantage of customers, it gets my undivided attention.

Recently, I've received numerous reports about multiple websites that are selling Aquarius using our stock photos.  I've also received reports of Ads being run on Facebook and Instagram using my Kickstarter video completely unedited which shows myself in it too!  The ads look something like this (as of this writing):

 

 

While Shopify (the platform I use) has protection against various forms of fraud, it cannot protect against it 100%.  What this site is doing is called the "triangulation" scam.  The steps involved are the following:

  1. A customer sees an ad (like the above), gets persuaded by it and purchases off the ad website (at a price point that is usually significantly lower than normal and not possible).
  2. The owners of the scam website take the order, and then use a previously stolen credit card to make a purchase off the original website (ie. my own site here).
  3. I see the order, proceed to produce it and ship it out.
  4. At some point in time, the payment processing company (credit card/PayPal/Apply Pay/etc) realizes the purchase from my website was fraudulent because it was from a stolen credit card and issues me a chargeback.
  5. If I had already sent out my product, I would be at a loss at that point.

In the last week or 2 since that fraudulent Ad was created (Dec 28 2018), I've received an overwhelming number of orders.  I'm currently investigating each order to make sure they are legitimate, if not, I will be canceling them so that the scam site owners will be on the hook.

Orders placed since Dec 28 2018 may take a bit longer as I go through the verification process to protect myself, customers, and the integrity of the product/business.

I've already informed Facebook, Instagram, and Shopify to serve DMCA takedown notices for these websites and Ads.  A few have already been taken down but new ones are popping back up quite frequently.  It's also not just my product that is being used as part of the scam, the sites actually use various other products so I've reached out to those original creators too.  I won't list all the websites in question here as they are frequently being taken down and changing but a few are:

  • https://candyfuture.com/
  • https://allkks.com/products/lamp

If you have any questions about anything, please feel free to reach out to me on the contact page.  Best of all, stay vigilant when shopping online for anything and always perform your due diligence!

 

Stephen Co