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How I Got Scammed By a Seller On Alibaba

Published 11/13/07 (Modified 3/8/11)
By MoneyBlueBook

I debated about whether I should share this story, but at the end I decided that my experience might help prevent someone from falling into the same scam as I did. At the time I was young, inexperienced and financially naive. Since then, I've learned and improved based on my past failures and eventually went on to run a small but profitable home business by making money online with ebay, at least for a modest period of time.

It All Started With Too Much Greed

Shortly after college I decided I wanted to start a part time side business selling merchandise on eBay. But first I needed to find a wholesale supplier. After some research I decided I wanted to focus on consumer electronics such as GPS navigation devices and Apple iPods, and concluded my best bet at finding a supplier would be through a free network site like Alibaba, that helps connect sellers with buyers of goods. Little did I know at the time, but sites like Alibaba are crawling with scammers and evil doers.

I ultimately decided to focus on selling Garmin and Tom Tom branded GPS units. After a few searches, I was amazed to find numerous sellers offering brand new Garmin GPS units for very little money. The Garmin GPS model I was interested in buying in bulk retailed for more than $1200 on eBay at the time. The sellers I found on Alibaba were offering each unit for only $700 each. The asking prices were exceedingly low, but sadly I was too overcome with dollar signs in my head to realize that the offers were likely too good to be true. I essentially had blinders on and was too busy calculating all the profit I was going to make by selling these units for such high markup. Eventually I narrowed down a potential seller.

Greed Prevented Me From Recognizing the Warning Flags

When you are overcome with greed, it is hard to think clearly, even when a clearly fraudulent transaction is staring at you in the face. I should have been more aware of all the telltale signs that the seller was likely a potential scammer and a fraud. First of all, the seller provided me contact information based in Indonesia, a country like Nigeria that is notorious for being a hotbed of scammer activity. He also provided very limited company background information that could be used to verify his personal or business identity, or determine his true geographical location. The phone number he provided me did indeed work, but I should have realized that nowadays with VOIP technology, phone number locations are very easily faked. It's easy to reside in one country and still obtain a temporary, disposable local phone number from another. Even paid identity authentication and verification services are subject to abuse and illegal manipulation as well. It's not all that difficult for online scammers on Alibaba or any other Internet exchange service to obtain a genuine TrustPass or Alibaba Gold Membership certification using falsified identification.

Another thing that should have raised red flags was the fact that the seller offered to pay for shipping, which is an extremely unusual practice for first time wholesale purchases, especially since international shipping can be quite expensive. The seller also insisted on rushing the sale, frequently threatening to end the lucrative deal if I continued to demand more verification information and not move forward with payment. But otherwise, the scammer was extremely convincing in the way he portrayed the deal as completely legitimate. Rather than thinking that the sale was a scam, I just thought I was getting an excellent deal.

Because I was so motivated by greedy emotions, I was more fearful of losing the lucrative buy than I was of being scammed. There were so many warning signs that I simply ignored, such as the seller refusing to accept Paypal or even credit card payment. Instead, he demanded payment through bank wire transfer. If I had conducted more due diligence, I would have known that unlike Paypal or credit card transactions where my money would have been protected, bank wire transactions are permanent and irreversible once properly executed.

I Fell For the Trap - Hook, Line, and Sinker

Ultimately I sent him over $2,025.00 through bank wire transfer for 3 sample Garmin GPS units. Once he had the money, he disappeared without a trace. I attempted to contact him through the phone number he provided me, but the line had been disconnected. He never responded back to my e-mails and I never received the merchandise. My money was gone and I never recovered it.

Afterwards, I felt very stupid and ashamed, but I learned many valuable lessons as a result. I'm glad I experienced this hard knock life lesson earlier in my life when the potential stakes were lower. I thought something like this could never possibly happen to me, but it did, and I allowed my greedy emotions to get in the way of rational caution. You and I, we may think we're very smart and that we're so clever, but we are only human, and still susceptible to basic human emotional irrationality. It's difficult to control emotions like greed, fear, and pride. So my friends, it's important to always stay vigilant - scammers are everywhere and one day you might be in their cross hairs too.

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296 Responses to “How I Got Scammed By a Seller On Alibaba” 

  1. Raymond says:

    Oleg,

    Apologies to everyone who lives in South East Asia, but I don't trust anyone who is located in Indonesia in terms of conducting online business transactions. It's not a racism matter, but a self protectionist dose of financial common sense.

    Extreme caution must be exercised when doing online business with anyone from that region of the world. Unfortunately such countries have very lax criminal fraud enforcement and weak consumer protection laws that make it all too easy to get swindled by someone from a place like Indonesia. Perhaps one day the situation will improve, but until then, for your own sake, I'd advise you to stay clear.

    Remember, everyone, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

  2. Oleg says:

    Thanks for advice Raymond.

    I would like to order iphones 3g and smth from little list below:
    Nvidia gtx260
    Nvidia gtx280
    Nvidia gtx295
    Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 2.83GHz 1333MHz 12MB CPU
    Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 3.0GHz 12MB L2 Cache

    could someone or you Raymond recommend me a trusted seller with reasonable prices?

    regards,
    Oleg

  3. Sharon says:

    I think White is offended by my comment above. White, why would you purchase 5 Blackberry 7750's from me when you can get them for so much cheaper? I have not sold even one because I don't have enough profit to list it for less. If you purchased from me, you would have paid either by Paypal, money order, or check. If you did not receive your order, paypal would have put a dispute on it and you would have received the money back unless I could prove you received it. If you would have paid via check or money order, you could procecute me for mail fraud and government fraud. I don't mess around with that. Here in the US, they will come after you for commiting fraudulant transactions. I have never scammed anyone at www.guccishop.net. I only accept secure transactions.

  4. Lily says:

    http://www.guccishop.net. BEWARE IT'S CHEATED WEBSITE !! HE TOOK MY $1.900 WITHOUT SHIPPING ANY GOODS. he was refused when i would like to use paypal. he's asking wire transfer.

    DON'T BUY ANYTHING FROM http://www.guccishop.net. HIS NAME IS MARCO !!!! SOMETIMES HE'S USING NAME AS SHARON, SHIRLEY OR DANIEL. HIS EMAIL ADDRESS allbrandsforless@hotmail.com (FREE HOTMAIL ACCOUNT).

    MARCO, are you trying to defend your self????? SENT MY MONEY BACK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Sharon says:

    If anyone does a search on my company name they will only find links where I have searched for genuine legitimate items. If I took that much time searching for items, why would I scam people. I try and help others from being scammed and by doing so, my company name is brought down. I have a company email address at sthompson@guccishop.net. I use allbrandsforless@hotmail.com when searching for items for my website. My name is Sharon, I am the owner of this company and Marco is my significant other. I don't know who Shirley and Daniel are. I offer credit card payments, paypal, google, check or money order. My company is registered in the US and I have a tax id number. Please email me with any questions at either email address. Thank you for your time.

  6. Raymond says:

    Sharon,

    I'm not familiar with the specifics of your case and the scam allegations being levied against your site by disgruntled customers...but your website looks VERY suspicious based on my own personal "scam detector".

    If you are running a legitimate company, why not offer a more substantial contact information listing beyond a few sentences on the site? Your site offers no real way for people to contact you in the way of phone numbers and mailing address. Why not be more transparent and avoid the suspicions of impropriety created by not offering more identity verification?

  7. Sharon says:

    Raymond, your advice was noted and corrected. Please review and give me any additional advice you can offer to help me achieve a better image. The discruntled person is not a customer but simply the company I ticked off earlier in this post. I guess it is pay back for listing there information.

  8. Raymond says:

    Sharon,

    I am actually quite impressed. I did not expect you to respond so quickly with updated, apparently proper contact details. Frankly you do fit the stereotypical mold of a scammer, at least on certain aspects. I know it perhaps is a bit too general to base suspicions on mere assumptions, but your proper English lended to your credibility. While it's a broad generalization, many foreign scammers from places like Nigeria and Indonesia have terrible, almost comically bad English grammar. Oftentimes as soon as they start writing, their lack of proper English communication skills is a big tip off to a possible scam in the works.

    Those who are running legitimate websites should not be afraid of divulging the appropriate business identification details. Only scam artists hide in the dark and are afraid of the light.

  9. Jarad says:

    A new forum is now available - AlibabaScam.com - and it's for everyone to post their experiences, tell people about fraudulent sellers, fake gold sellers, and raise awareness about Alibaba Scams. Please check it out, post your story, and let's raise awareness so others don't fall into the same Alibaba traps of alleged 'gold' sellers.

  10. Jacks says:

    I've been scammed through Alibaba, but not in the same way. This guy turned out to be a con man from Washington DC. Tikiri Mayu Bogollagama had a company called Ceylon Hotel Development Group and claimed that he sold high-end hotel furniture for the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons, etc. I wanted to serve a furniture reseller to high end resorts in the Caribbean. In all, lost thousands of dollars to this con artist. He had me wiring money to accounts in Sri Lanka (where the manufacturing plant and main office was, he claimed). I never received anything. I have been calling him, 2.0.2.2.5.5.8.5.6.4 and still nothing after 4 months. He always sounded so friendly, almost effeminate. I thought I could trust him, but turns out that he's a master Ponzi Schemer. Go figure. Alibaba sucks.

  11. Raymond says:

    If you want to start a pool and round up funds to hire an assassin to hunt this Deviansyah K. Manoch down and put him out of his misery, I'm all for it. Maybe I should start a "kill Deviansyah" Paypal fund on this blog or put out a bounty for his head.

    I'm only half kidding....

  12. O'neill says:

    Wow.... someone killing somebody here.... Is that bad Raymond? How much can you afford to pay for bounty hunter? I am all for it.

  13. O'neill says:

    And it seems Raymond started to gathering funds.... Do you Raymond? I think all of us should give Raymond an applause. He finally got many participants on this blog, and many sympathy for his stupid blog. Once again, congrats to Raymond. you should starting to make your own blog.... Happy blogging... let me know if you needs extra funds for your foundation....I'm in...

  14. Raymond says:

    Chill out O'neill....if that is your real name...

    Obviously I was just saying it in jest to vent my frustration at this Deviansyah loser, who has somehow remained ever elusive and able to continuously perpetuate his fraudulent crimes against countless victims. But if he were to somehow say...mysteriously get run over by a truck...or get hunted down by one of his vigilante victims....I wouldn't get too terribly upset.

  15. O'neill says:

    LOL... Raymond my man... You're pretty slick.. aren't you? You have a great ideas on how to gathered sympathy and emphasized so called "countless victims"... and recently you had an intention to gathering "countless victims" fund to get rid off this person deviansyah. Hmmm....is it true? How does the thing works?? I mean after you got the "countless victims" money.

    I Fell For the Trap - Hook, Line, and Sinker is that what you said???? Hmmm.... it's all because of your greed. And not using your common sense at all.

    Well Raymond my man, keep going to get sympathy. Perhaps someday you got your own rewards. LOL... if you can get any of course... Ta..ta.. CIAO my man...

  16. O'neill says:

    To All greedy people. Open your eyes and using your common sense. THERE ARE NO CHEAP, ORIGINAL And BIG DISCOUNT ITEMS!! THERE ARE NO ITEMS SELLING MORE CHEAPER THAN THE MARKET PRICE.

    TO YOU RAYMOND, I think you're dumb and more than just a greed. And now you gathering sympathy from other people. Don't you have something to do?? Such as J.O.B?? How old are you Raymond??

    TO SCAMMER TERMINATOR: Could you tell me how to terminate scams? Are you having somekind of agency?? I am willing to joining into one of your activities and see if your agency as good your name.

  17. Raymond says:

    O'Neill, or Deviansyah as you probably are.. (you certainly like to use different online personas)

    I'm sorry...your identity is pretty easy to sniff out based on your rather unique style of English. I still have old email exchanges between you and I archived in my email account back when you successfully scammed me.

    Yes you are correct, I was greedy back then and wanted something for nothing. And yes, perhaps it was my fault for falling for a scam at too-good-to-be-true prices. But that is why I am determined to expose your fraudulent activities and hinder your own criminal activities for the future. Hopefully this post will keep a running tally of all your fictitious names and scam websites so that anyone who Googles those names will stumble onto this site and be forewarned.

  18. O'neill says:

    LOL... you are quite naif and i could see that you're a young person trying to get an attention. Do you realized how easy to changed identity, names, email address or even bank account?? Well, but i appreciate with your efforts to help many people here. But one thing for sure, do not mislead them with your own predictions. You have to be precise with all information you might have about these guy.

    Once again, this is just a blog. Nothing more than that. Enjoy it, as much as i enjoyed read the whole things.

  19. this_is_too_funny says:

    Lol. Nice work Raymond. I was about to make a purchase from alibaba but now I will think again. Thank god you didn't decide to not write this up... you have save countless people.

    I find it hysterical that this guy keeps posting under different names with the same perceived writing styles. He should probably pay someone else to write for him with the money he stole from people. Funniest part was when he said he was from Dublin with that writing style... HILARIOUS!

    I noticed a trend here. All the sites he is starting are .350 sites. The company that owns www.350.com is ZyNet Ltd. They are located out of the UK. We should get a warrant in England to get this guys registration info from ZyNet Ltd.

    Oh and Sharon seemed legit BTW. She was actually going at it with "whites" who was just another alias for this scammer guy. He tracked down her site and started flaming her. "Whites" is the probable scammer not sharon. Or at least it seems that way :D

  20. Sharon says:

    Hi, I have not posted in a while. I am working on a wholesale website that includes me and a team of honest wholesalers who will screen all companies wanting to list items. I want one place that buyers don't have to worry about being scammed. It is going to take time, but I am determined. There are a lot of good companies in all countries, but these scammers are making it hard for us to trust anyone. If anyone, wants to help me with this website, please contact me. As O'neill said above, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is at least when it comes to branded merchandise. I have been sellling Apple Iphones, Blackberries and Nokias and make approx. $5/phone.

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