Shopify platform plays host to tens of thousands of scammers

(Image credit: Shopify)

New research has discovered that the Shopify ecommerce platform is being used by thousands of scammers. FakeSpot, an authentication service that scours online retail outlets for fake goods and phony reviews, found that as many as 21% of Shopify sites posed some sort of risk to consumers.

Shopify has been one of the major beneficiaries of the coronavirus pandemic, with many individuals choosing to carry out shopping online. The platform’s gross merchandise volume has increased by 119% to $30 billion over the second quarter of the year and it has been a godsend for retailers looking to replace lost in-person sales.

However, it is clear that scammers have also been making use of the Shopify platform. After analyzing more than 120,000 Shopify sites, FakeSpot found that more than a fifth posed a consumer risk, with some providing counterfeit goods and others simply acting as fronts to harvest customer data, with no intention of fulfilling their transactions.

Conning the consumer

Shopify has responded to the FakeSpot research by arguing that the vast majority of its more than one million merchants provide customers with a safe, reliable, and genuine service. However, the platform has acted quickly to suspend two sites, including one that was selling counterfeit luxury goods.

Unlike Amazon, Shopify is decentralized, offering retailers the option of creating their own website with a number of templates, discount cards, inventory management features, and payment options at their disposal. However, the nature of the platform also makes it difficult for customers to see if other consumers are happy with the service on offer – something that is easily discerned from the Amazon review system.

It should be remembered, however, that these are relatively early days for Shopify. The ecommerce platform may have been launched in 2006 but has only recently achieved rapid growth. It should be given time to weed out the bad actors among the huge number of recently added merchants.

Via The Financial Times

Barclay Ballard

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with ITProPortal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.