Online shoppers need to be wary of fraudulent store pages operating on Shopify that advertise non-existent goods and falsely promise to donate proceeds to bushfire relief charities and animal rescue groups.
Non-delivery & false pledges
WAScamNet launched an investigation into three web-stores on the ecommerce site after native animal rescue group WIRES reported the stores were pledging donations despite having no affiliation with the charity and had failed to pass on any money.
Consumers were ordering items such as T-shirts featuring koalas, but have not received them. On closer inspection, it appears the images have been stolen from Ali Express, a legitimate service.
The three sites consumers should avoid are:
The Gypside page uses logos of organisations and charities it claims to have dealings with, but they have been found to be fake.
Likewise, the Ariatina page contains photos from a legitimate pet rescue agency that confirmed it has never granted permission for the use of its images and is in no way affiliated with the bogus site.
Negative reviews on both sites’ Facebook page all outlined the same issue – that items had been paid-for but never received.
The Koaluv website which outlined that the company was sending a percentage to WIRES and another charity/foundation, Taronga Conservation Society Australia. WIRES confirmed that they had no dealings with the Instagram page, website and Facebook page for the company. They had not been contacted by the company and had no agreement set up to receive funds. Taronga Conservation Society Australia confirmed no dealings with the company as well.
Meanwhile, two other pages on Shopify advertising footwear are also under investigation for taking money and not delivering goods.
WAScamNet started investigating after a consumer complained they had not received a pair of shoes that had been ordered and paid for. During the investigation, the team found another similar page using the same images, that were found to be stolen from legitimate websites.
The ‘seller’ ceases communication once payment is made and the pages also contain fake testimonials and limited contact information.
The sites’ Facebook and Instagram pages have been reported and taken down, but the websites currently remain active:
Anyone who has made payment to either of these sites should contact PayPal and their credit card providers about retrieving the funds.
WA ScamNet advises online shoppers to:
- only purchase from well-established reputable online retailers;
- be wary of online retailers who accept bank transfers as their only method of payment;
- use secure online payment systems. Look for a padlock and https:/ in the web address when entering financial information to make sure your details are secure;
- be wary of websites selling goods well below market prices; and
- do an internet search of the website and business to get comments and reviews from other consumers who have used the same site.