So far, we have started out listing a few individual websites where our readers have complained that they tried to purchase THC or CBD vape cartridges, or other cannabis products, and got ripped off. Then we checked these out and found some more. But lately we’re seeing these sites snowball to the point that consumer advocates like ourselves are popping up just to track the scam sites.
There turns out to be an entire subculture of shipping scams in general popping up now. This might be related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as more people decline the in-store experience to ship goods online where possible.
Our investigation so far:
- Those were the initial two we fielded complaints on
- Then we found a few more, some imitating real cartridge brands
- After that, readers reported dozens more
By this time, we’re starting to say that you should assume *any* online shipping website offering THC-containing cannabis products for sale is a scam. Note two exceptions to this rule:
- Local licensed delivery services – They use their own personal courier to deliver product. No state borders are being crossed here. They are not shipping through USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc. This is “weed delivery” on the same local level as pizza delivery.
- Non-THC cannabis products – Industrial hemp and CBD products are fine to ship, provided they fall under things like the 2018 Farm Bill.
The Scam Directory has a great resource on these
The Scam Directory is a consumer advocate website which has a very thorough list of scam websites claiming to ship recreational drugs. Nearly all of them are listing THC cannabis products.
The listings go on for 39 pages as of this writing! By our count, there’s some 780 websites listed there which advertise popular THC vape cart brands, charge you money through a channel that’s difficult to get a refund, and fake the shipping steps to lead you along for awhile.
From here on out, we’ll recommend readers report all vape cart shipping scam websites to that resource. It makes sense to keep it all in one place.
The Scam Directory lists other website scams as well
To reiterate: There are people who think you can just go to a website and buy money online. Without anybody getting arrested in the transaction. Just try reconstructing the thought process that leads to that conclusion.
Delivery Scams has a resource about fake shipping websites
Most users who have been scammed by a drug shipping website scam report that they thought the transaction was legit for a while because they got a separate link to a website that appeared to be tracking the shipping on the alleged package. Well, Delivery Scams shows how this is done.
These websites make up a fake courier tracking number and have a little script running so it shows progress through “steps” over time, just to stall you while the financial transaction is completed. Delivery Scams also lists many more online scam sites in diverse industries. The scammer sites are out to get you no matter what you’re trying to do.
So that’s another website to note, and by all means report any online delivery scams you encounter there as well.
Case study: Moonrocks and Runtz 420 Shop
We bump into this website frequently when we’re researching the vape cartridge black market. The site claims to supply many brands we’ve covered in the past, including Muha Meds, Rove Carts, Runtz, and Jungle Boys.
Moonrocksandruntz420shop.com is listed at the Scam Directory. The process they list here sounds exactly like the same story so many readers have told us about drug delivery scam sites:
- The appears just like any eCommerce online retailer
- They collect money over a channel such as Bitcoin or Venmo which is hard to recoup
- They send you a bogus shipping tracking number on a fake shipping website
- They string you along with messages and excuses, sometimes trying to get more money out of you with stories about unexpected difficulties
We notice that this “Moonrocks and Runtz 420 shop” spams Reddit a lot. He stands out when you search for cartain niche brands like “Litxtracts”:
When you go to MoonrocksUSA’s account, that’s literally all it does is spam Reddit with cartridge brand names:
Note carefully – so far we’re talking about “Moonrocks and Runtz 420 shop.” There are also more domains listed in the Scam Directory when you search for “Moonrocks”: Moonrockscannabis, Moonrocksweeds, and Westsidemoonrocks. In addition, we also found “Moonrocks and Runtz 420,” without the “shop” part:
Not only is this an imitation of the other site, but it uses the same age-verification popup and has nearly the same inventory, right down to the Litxtracts.
Same owner, different sites? Scammers copying other scammers? Coincidence as a side effect of all the people trying to buy weed extracts and concentrates online? We know folks are desperate out there. Despite all of our preaching about fakes, shams, scams, and black market, we get dozens of comments a week asking us if we know anywhere legit to buy THC concentrate cartridges online from an illegal state.
NO! The answer is no no no, and the answer will continue to be no no no at least until the federal government of the USA drops the cannabis prohibition. It doesn’t matter if all 50 states legalize weed, as long as the federal government continues to prohibit it, it cannot be shipped, because shipping businesses are governed by federal policy.