Category: ecommerce

Clickbank Spam

For much of this year, there have been huge numbers of spam emails relating to a Flight Simulator game and to Wood Working plans.

These message seem crazy as they are so frequent and sent to the same people and surely if someone wants to buy a Flight Simulator package they will have done so and why would anyone in their right mind buy thousands of wood working plans, supposedly to start a instant carpentry business.

But these two products are very very popular on Clickbank.

Clickbank is a marketplace for people selling products online (mostly digital products) and people wanting to make money by helping to sell those products as affiliates of the seller. These people earn commission for each product sold.

Typically an affiliate will use a website (their own or other people’s) and send out emails to attract people to a website that sells the product (sometimes  called a sales landing page).

This marketplace works well for a lot of people but sometimes very high commission is offered on stupid products and the world fills up with spam.

e.g. Ted’s Wood Working Product offers 75% commission to affiliates getting people to visit Teds sales page and buy the product.

The original sales pitch is for thousands of wood working plans for $69 but then there’s an upsell and more sells and the average purchaser ends up paying over $125 in total.

Ted’s Wood working claims to be number one 1 in Clickbank’s home and garden category for 5 years running, so people flock to try to sell the stuff and the world is full of stupid emails claiming you can make huge money making wooden objects within days of reading the plans.

e.g. 2. Virtual Pilot 3D Flight Simulator offers 70% commission on sales and claims sellers make an average of $88 per sale including upsells and more sells.  They claim to convert page views to sales at the rate of 8% so eight in every hundred people visiting the sales page go on to buy the product.

Again, people flock to sell this product and the world is full of stupid emails claiming this software can make you a real pilot or is good as actually visiting the places depicted etc. Idiots use any line to try to get people to the sales page.

Oh to rid the world of spam!

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Shopify Scams

Shopify is an online service that enables people to create online shops and conduct ecommerce. It is one of the biggest on the Internet with more than 1 million stores in 175 countries.

These stores are generally very safe to purchase from, but there are scammers targeting this market and the most common scams are:

Scammer Drop Shipping (a.k.a The Triangulation Scam)

The scammers create a Shopify store, apparently selling real products. However, if you place an order they then buy the actual items from a genuine Shopify store using stolen credit cards and the items are shipped to you.

This way the customers get the products and will keep buying. However, the genuine Shopify stores that supply the goods get nothing but trouble when the credit card payments are reversed.  They lose on the product and the payment.

Duplicate Shopify Stores

Scammers find recently created Shopify Stores that appear to sell new products and are successful and they create one with a similar domain name, claiming to sell the same original product. They copy the images and descriptions etc. The scammers either sell cheap copies of the real products or just take the money and disappear.

Fake Payments

A customer makes a purchase on a Shopify store and requests an invoice from PayPal (i.e. outside of Shopify). They claim to be unable to complete the payment because of technical problems on the Shopify store.

The seller sends them a PayPal invoice and receives a notification from PayPal that payment has completed. However the notification is fake – payment has not been made. The seller ships the goods then finds out there was no payment.

Fake Returns

The scammer buys a product from a genuine store then buys a counterfeit or poor quality copy from an illegal seller. She then returns the fake goods to the genuine store using the genuine purchase documents, claiming the quality is not as advertised and demands a refund.

The scammer then has the genuine product and her money back and can repeat the process.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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Common Amazon Seller Scams

Across the world many millions of people use Amazon every day – it is safe and a business phenomenon.

But, there are always scammers trying to get in on the act and although Amazon go to great lengths to keep scams off their site, some get through and you need to stay vigilant and be aware of how these scams operate.

#1: Phishing Scams

Phishing is where a scammer sends fake messages, pretending to be from Amazon and tries to get your personal details. In this case they target businesses, assuming they are likely to be Amazon as sellers and try to get control of your account.

The messages contain links that appear to be valid but are to a fake web site that pretends to be Amazon and will ask for your account details and credit card information.

Amazon has introduced two-step verification code to circumvent the increase of phishing scams and it is wise to protect yourself by enabling two-step verification.

#2: Fake Reviews

There are various ways that fake reviews can benefit criminals but in this case fake reviews can be used to damage a competitor. This can destroy a seller’s reputation and is illegal.

#3: The Inventory Tie Up Scam

A criminal can tie up your stock by placing a very large order, sitting on the goods then returning them at the last minute.

This costs you money and potentially lost sales to other customers.

#4: Replace and Refund Scam

Returns and refunds are an inevitable part of any business. Amazon is very much on the side of the customer so will issue refunds without the need for goods to be returned for examination.

#5: Failed Delivery Scam

A buyer purchases your product and then says that the item never arrived. He claims for a refund while sometimes they have actually received the product.

#6: Listing Copy Infringement Scam

Some sellers have found that Amazon has changed their listing. This can happen where criminals organise to make complaints and claim that a listing is inaccurate. Sorting out these kinds of problems will take time and lose you business.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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The Wish.com Marketplace

Wish.com is an online marketplace, well-known for offering unusual, quirky items such as Presidential toilet paper, fake teeth, 12 foot long pool floats etc.

It is very successful and claims to be one of the world’s fastest-growing marketplace apps operating across the world.

As with other marketplaces, it doesn’t make any products, but connects sellers and buyers and takes a percentage on the sales (around 15%).

People sell all sorts of items, from jewellery to shoes, fancy dress to baby nappies to smartphones, and much more.

All marketplaces try to regulate the items sold but it’s difficult for them to keep up, so you may find some counterfeit products, fake items and items that claim to have been reduced by large amounts but when you check elsewhere the exaggerations show up.

Do check around on other sites before buying anything significant.

The prices are generally very low on wish.com but many people find that even with such low prices, the products when they arrive turn out to be not worth the cost.

As with many companies that operate on very tight margins, their customer service is rated as very poor. You can only contact them via a chat app.

On Trustpilot, wish,com is rated as 3.7 out of 5 and on sitejabber as only 2.39 out of 5.

Trustpilot currently has more than a hundred thousand reviews of wish.com and a quarter are very bad.

People complain that orders are full of mistakes and cannot be rectified as Wish.com tell them to accept the order then return them, but that leads to endless attempts to get a refund and many are refused without good reason. Often wish.com tell people to try to get a replacement product or refund from the product supplier despite the customer’s contract being with wish.com

Perhaps you can find the bargain you want on wish.com and will be happy with the product, but for many it’s a disappointing and frustrating process that costs too much.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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How to Pay Online Safely

There are many ways to pay online, depending on which payment providers each retailer chooses to allow.

You can pay by credit or debit card and that has the benefit of a bank to complain to if you are ripped off by a retailer. However, there is also the risk of the retailer having access to your card details and the risk of a data breach at the retailer.

If you choose a service such as PayPal instead then only they have access to your card details and any retailer you buy from using PayPal will not see the details.

1. PayPal

You register with PayPal and connect your card or bank details then use PayPal for online payments. When you make a Purchase with Paypal the service takes the money from your card or bank account.

It is a good idea to use 2 factor authentication with services such as Paypal so that any scammer would need more than a login and password to gain access to your account.

2. Alternatives to Paypal

There are many online payment services similar to PayPal and many are cheaper to use than PayPal.

  • This is Business News Daily’s choice for the best online credit card processor for online businesses. Stripe is one of the most popular PayPal alternatives, particularly for online businesses. The service is easy to integrate into business systems and to customize using their simple API.
  • This started as mobile point-of-sale transactions, but can be used for online payments via invoice or website.
  • This for service-based businesses with a high volume of international transactions. It is known as a cheap way to send money internationally.

3. Prepaid Payment Cards

If an online shop only takes credit or debit cards and you don’t want to use those cards, then a prepaid card can solve that problem. You can buy a prepaid card from a reputable supplier and use that instead.

These cards hide your identity as they are more like cash.

4. Amazon Pay

Amazon Pay is a service that lets you use the payment methods already associated with your Amazon account to make payments for goods or services on third-party websites. This reduces 3rd party costs.

5. Amazon Cash

Amazon cash is similar to the Paypal cash option and you can buy the cash card and use it just like cash on Amazon.

6. Mobile Phone Payment

Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay are all highly secure and available on your smart phone. Whichever you choose has to be linked to your bank account or card then can be used for pay for a wide variety of goods and services online.

You can also use mobile payments when you’re shopping in-person. Just select the payment method on your device and scan it with the card reader instead of swiping a physical card or using cash. When done properly, there’s no need to touch anything besides your phone, making it a safer way to pay during a pandemic.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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