12 min read
A brief introduction
Since the fall of 2018 scammers have been using material from our YouTube channel, websites and Instagram to give the impression that they sell Amok hammocks. The scams have been advertised massively on Facebook and Instagram.
Most often goods paid for are not delivered - one of the world’s oldest scams! They take your money and disappear. Still, some people have received a regular gathered-end hammock in poor quality. To our knowledge no Amok clones or knock-offs exist as of today.
We have contacted Facebook, Shopify and Paypal to make them stop the scams. To date we are mind blown by their lack of interest to tackle this problem properly.
We thank you all for your continued support by reporting the ads as scam, and keeping us up to date on new scams.
Please do not place orders on suspect sites. They know what they are doing, and have tailored the price and advertising to make you think: “Hell, it looks fishy, but it’s only 30 dollars… I’ll give it a try for the fun of it”. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking funds the scammers’ advertising budget on Facebook and Instagram. Basically most of your 30 dollars are reinvested in Facebook ads that reach thousands, and recruit new scam victims.
Itsokshopnew is one of several Facebook- and Instagram accounts that have been used to advertise the scams during August and Septemebr in the fall of 2020.
Continue reading to learn more about:
the scam details, and why the offers are too good to be true
what you can do to help us
how we deal with the situation
what Facebook, Shopify and Paypal do to prevent this (practically nothing)
We have reason to believe that it is several groups behind these scams.
There have been hundreds of Facebook pages advertising the scams, and they link to several web-shops, but one Paypal account (WANG KUNLUN) was associated with four out of the first six web-shops that we knew of. And the content that is stolen from our websites and social media accounts is re-used quite similarly across the various ads and web-shops.
Today there has been well over a hundred different Facebook- and Instagram accounts that have been used. Here you can see the six first pages that was used to propell the scam forward:
Tumble Cat @Tumblemeow
Our trademark and copyrighted material was earlier used as a cover picture on one of the Facebook accounts used to promote the scams. Facebook seem not to care.
As of 11.06.21 this is the list of the domains that have been used in the scam so far. However, new pages appear every day:
Shopify have helped us remove Amok product pages from the shops that are built on their platform. But as we have feared all along several of the new shops that have surfaced are built on other platforms, that are outside our reach.
... and why are the offers too good to be true?
The persons behind this create a false sense of urgency, and they know how eager people are to get a $199.95 - $ 219.95 hammock for $20-30. However, it is of course, too good to be true. No one we have been in contact with (and who report to us) have received any real goods after submitting their payments to the scammers. They simply take your money and disappear, or you receive a regular gathered-end hammock in poor quality (learn more from this hammock forum thread).
To our knowledge no counterfeit Amok products or knock-offs exists. It is easy to understand that many have been tempted by the seemingly good deals, but internally in the Amok we early on understood that all of these were simply scams.
After all, $30 does not even cover the material costs alone for the original Draumr hammock, and the final purchasing price from the factory we cooperate with is multiple times such numbers. Then add payment transaction fees, ad spend and shipping.
Only after those cost are covered will Amok (or a “legit” scam company with knock-off products) start to see an income to support employee salaries and regular operating expenses.
Sure, it would be possible to use lower quality materials and make a cheaper knock-off with less functionality and quality. If we look past the point that it would be illegal and not look like the Amok product you are shown, it would still be very hard to even reach a production price close to $30, which means they would still be losing money if they actually sent you a bad knock-off.
What you can do to help
We would like to say thank you for the tremendous support we have received from our fans, followers and everyone that’s has been reaching out from the outdoor community. We are warmed that so many of you send us encouragements, and spend time to update us along the way.
It truly helps if you downvote scam ads by reporting them as “it’s misleading or a scam” or “spam”. In the top right corner of all posts on Facebook and Instagram there are three dots. By clicking the dots a drop down menu opens where you can select report ad.
Illustration post from Facebook: Several brands experience similar scams.
It still takes time to shut this down. Given the amount of upvoting (likes, comments, shares) and traction these ads have been getting by unawares, it is an uphill battle until the platforms themselves take action. This is because the Facebook- and Instagram algorithms take each upvote as a confirmation that this is legit and something people would like to see more of. So even though it helps to report the scam ads, it might not feel that way immediately.
Please also keep sending us updates about new Facebook pages and web-shops that appear.
What are we doing about the situation?
We do of course feel sorry for those who have been scammed, but there is unfortunately nothing we can do first-hand to help you out.
If you placed an order using Paypal you can use their buyer protection. You can claim a chargeback via Shopify if you paid using one of the site’s standard payment method. If this does not work we suggest contacting your bank, some people have reported that they have more success getting their money back by contacting their bank directly.
The sooner you claim your money back for non-delivered items, the sooner the sites can be shut down, preventing further people from being scammed.
We work hard to stop the scams by filing official trademark and copyright infringement claims to Facebook, Shopify that is used to build the sites, and Paypal which is one of the payment methods used on five of the six currently known scam web-shops.
In the next section you can read more about their lack of willingness to solve this situation.
What do Facebook, Shopify and Paypal do?
Facebook and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook, Inc.) clearly have a scam and counterfeit ad problem, but they seem not to truly care.
It took Facebook 14 days to tell us that:
“The team can only disable pages where they are impersonating a company/brand's presence. This is not the case here”.
Basically what Facebook say is that they won’t close a Facebook page regardless of trademark infringement, copyright infringement, or advertising sites that scam people or sell counterfeit goods - as long as the Facebook page itself doesn’t impersonate a company or brand (meaning use of someone’s trademarks and copyrighted content as profile- and cover pictures, and publishing posts pretending to be the original brand).
Now we’re waiting (probably another 14 days or more) for their response on our trademark and copyright infringement claims for separate ads and posts published under the Facebook pages mentioned above.
We consider this to be bad business policy from Facebook, especially when considering how much they profit from the scam ads running on Facebook and Instagram.
In 2019 Facebook have removed some posts based on our trademark and copyright claims.
We must say that Shopify have been more helpful than Facebook and Paypal.
They have at least removed individual product pages based on our trademark- and copyright infringement claims, but it doesn’t free Shopify from criticism.
Yes, they do shut down individual product pages, but they do not shut down the actual sites running the scams. Removing individual product pages may help for half a day, but it doesn’t prevent the scam store owners from creating an exact copy of the site under the same domain. And people still get scammed from the same web-shops, just not by Amok products.
Paypal’s reply to our claims:
“I understand that you have concerns regarding a company that you feel has copied your products, and website.
We cannot contact the seller because of these claims. This is nothing against you, but we need valid proof to further investigate this. As soon as a seller gets a complaint of a purchase if that is for not being received, or the product not being as described, we will start our investigation to see why the seller can't satisfy the buyers”.
For more than one week we have received numerous messages from people who have been scammed, and have filed claims to PayPal’s Buyer Protection. And, yes, you’re right, the Paypal accounts are still live and making money on these scams.
To summarize: we’re not overly happy with how these large companies handle scams, and trademark- and copyright infringement.
And one more thing, to keep you from getting scammed in the future we suggest giving this a read: https://www.thesslstore.com/blog/5-ways-to-determine-if-a-website-is-fake-fraudulent-or-a-scam/
Stay tuned for updates. And please leave a comment if you have further information about the ongoing scams, we read them all!
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