Dozens of fake stores are using the Shopify platform and the Shoptimized Theme to trick innocent bargain hunters out of their money.
Shopify has made the barrier to entry for hopeful store owners lower than ever before but an unwanted side-effect is that it also makes it easier for fraudsters to open pop-up scam stores.
Many of these pop-up stores have been using the Shoptimized logo for their would-be brand and it’s caused a lot of headaches for the victims of the Shoptimized scam and for Shoptimized themselves.
If you’re not familiar with the Shoptimized Theme, it’s been around since 2015 and quickly took the lead as the #1 unofficial Shopify theme because of its built-in suite of conversion boosting tools.
Shoptimized is used by more than 20,000 Shopify stores so it’s no surprise that these scam-artists chose it as their theme of choice for their pop-up stores.
The popularity of the theme makes it an obvious choice for the scam artists to piggyback on the brand’s trust. And although they’re no Microsoft, it’s similar exploitation to the fake tech support calls from “Microsoft” that thousands have fallen victim to.
But in this case, the China-based scammers run Facebook ads offering high-ticket items at ridiculously cheap prices. And for the unwitting victims when they arrive at the store, it all looks legit.
But unless you dig a little deeper and see that the domain name has nothing to do with Shoptimized, you would never know that it wasn’t the real deal.
The domains the scammers use are just a random combination of letters which indicates the speed at which they are launching these pop-up scam stores. You can see an example below:
But be honest with yourself, when was the last time you scrutinized the web address of any website you’re on?
So it’s no surprise that thousands of hard-working people from the USA and Europe have handed over their money and then been left waiting in the vain hope that their order will eventually arrive.
But the reality is, it never does arrive.
But getting in touch with the store you bought from is next to impossible. At best you’ll get an automated reply telling you to wait a little longer.
And if you try to go back to visit the store again, it’s vanished into thin air.
Unsurprisingly, the fraud victims want answers and a quick search on Google brings them to the real Shoptimized site. But even though it clearly offers e-commerce software and not cabinets, workbenches, electric cars or garden furniture, the victims still don’t twig what’s happened.
If you’re unlucky enough to have been a victim, Shoptimized politely explain what’s happened and that there’s nothing they can do since the scammers aren’t genuine users of their software. They have no idea who they are either.
Why the scammers chose Shoptimized
It might be that they chose the Shoptimized theme at random but in all likelihood when they were devizing their evil plan, they knew that the stores would need to be put up quickly and easily and need to rake in as much cash in the shortest period possible.
This makes Shoptimized the obvious choice because as they claim,’It converts like no other’. This means that it’s conversion-boosting features help stores turn more of their visitors into buyers.
Sadly for Shoptimized, the ‘success’ of the fake stores and scam complaints have spread like wildfire. There are dozens of posts and blogs out there about the Shoptimized scam that complain about never receiving goods but now you get the full picture.
Is anybody doing anything to put a stop to the Shoptimized scam stores?
The pop-up stores are on Shopify’s radar but with hundreds of new stores being launched every day, checking each one doesn’t happen. As soon as they are alerted to one they shut it down.
But the scam-artists are prepared for this so they have a cloned version ready-to-go in minutes. This makes it tough keeping up with them. Plus the fact that they are in China and using spoof emails to create their stores and PayPal accounts makes it extremely difficult to combat.
What can I do if they’ve taken my money?
As much as you’d probably like to corner these thieves and give them what they deserve, the only thing you can do is to get in touch with your credit or debit card provider and submit a chargeback. Or if you paid using PayPal, then use their buyer dispute channel.
You’ll have to chalk it up as one of life’s little lessons and move on because as Nelson Mandela said, “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
Stumbled upon this article looking for real Shoptimized Reviews from other Shopify store owners?
Now that you no longer have to worry about whether the Shoptimized Theme is legit or not, you can find Shoptimized reviews from other store owners by clicking the link.