Froggie Shoes customers duped in fake online sale
Dozens of South Africans were swindled out of thousands of rands, after scammers cloned the website and Facebook pages of local shoe retailer Froggie Shoes over the weekend.
After advertising an “80% off sale” on the shoes, the scammers then intensified the advertising campaigns on the retailer’s Facebook page wall, directing shoppers to four spoofed websites impersonating Froggie Shoes.
The fraudulent websites are: www.frooline.shop, www.skeshoes.shop, www.goodfashion.top and pingbest.top.
Two of the websites have since been shut down and two are still live.
Customers who made payments via EFT were up in arms after finding out they had been duped and lashed out on the store’s Facebook page.
Froggie Shoes later released a statement on the page warning customers of the scam.
“Public service announcement: Froggie's website and social media page have been cloned. Please ensure you are only buying from our official site www.froggie.co.za. The sites are fake websites and are offering discounts of up to 80%. If you have ordered, please contact your bank urgently to reverse the payment,” said the statement.
Following the announcement, the scammers created new ads offering even lower discounts.
The fraudsters also blocked the legitimate Froggie Shoes social media pages from their fake pages and any complaint-related comments posted on the fake Facebook pages were disabled.
Despite Froggie Shoes posting warnings, shoppers continued to buy from the cloned sites the following day.
Some shoppers commentated on Facebook they had become aware only when they noticed unexpected details on their invoices. Most shoppers who realised they had been scammed said they had already spent between R500 and R1 500 each.
Said one shopper: “Name of company on my bank statement is Moyright Zhou.”
Another one commented: “I was also caught and I lost around R1 050, depending on the exchange rate. They confirmed on e-mail in ZAR, but the bank SMS alerted me it was 410.20 Chinese yuan. That's when I realised it was a scam.”
Froggie Shoes has brick-and-mortar stores in Durban and distributes its shoes to independent retailers in the rest of the country.
The scammers attempted to legitimise their fake campaign by using old photos of a Froggie warehouse (dated 2014) and claimed the special was being run out of a Durban address that was once a Froggie Shoes warehouse.
This incident comes after local consumers fell prey to a cloned site disguised as popular design brand Steve Madden. According to complaints posted via Twitter, the scammers advertised a sale of Steve Madden products at really low prices and many fell prey to it, losing thousands of rands.
ITWeb previously reported that more fly-by-night fraudsters are setting up online sites that advertise goods at ridiculously low prices, extract as much money as they can from customers and then vanish – only to appear under a new name elsewhere.
Online scams have become more frequent, and according to statistics from the South African Fraud Prevention Service, there was a 600% increase in fraud incidents reported by its members in 2022, when compared to 2018.