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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. Buffort T. Pusser says:

    Please be smart !!! Are you really trying to give me advice on being smart when you yourself need to follow your own advice. Aren't you the one who used the same e-mail address while posting on THIS forum under 2 different names saying that you had a successful transaction with Devain. Besides in some fun deviant way i think it might be funny to have him read my comments here that I've been making a fool out of him for weeks now. The other funny thing is that not long after you started defending him he finally stopped e-mailing me so i guess Devain, i mean Hammilton, i mean Allan or Sybil or whatever your name will be next week finally got the hint.

  2. Hammilton says:

    You really dumb as your name Buffort. But go on, keep trying to make your self even more dumb. I don't need to discuss further more for narrow and short minded like you. As i said to you, be smart.

  3. Stan says:

    Buffort, Ignore the thief. Let it say whatever it wants to say. I noticed that Ray (the blog owner) has been ignoring it for a while, too.

    His / her name is a Pakistani name by the way. A Pakistani who lives in Indonesia and because it is a poor country and hard to get a job there, some people over there are thinking how to get monet fast. By Scamming of course. Stealing innocent's people money.

    Clearly the so called Hamilton is Deviansyah or whatever the shitty name is spelt given his writing style and very poor English (just like his writing style and English sent to me on email).

    Karma will not go away. For every action, there is always reaction. It's been scamming, stealing people's money and lying for years and it will get its punishments by nature.

    Things like it should die because the world is a much better place without it.

  4. Hammilton says:

    People will knowing when you sent him a fake email or fake inquiry. I think he is smart enough, stop response your email. You looks really dumb if you think he will eat your bates. You're off the hook Buffort or whatever your name is.

    now everybody knows, that everyone could wrote any mislead information here. As our friend Buffort did. Hellooooo....once again this is a free blog right?.... anyone could read and write just about everything without verifications. Well done. Keep on going.

    1st Amendment which provides freedom of speech. Just as Raymond says. I'm out of here. CIAO...Asta La Vista.

  5. Buffort T. Pusser says:

    Hammilton,

    You seem to know so much about a guy you simply purchased a few video game items from. Please let us all know how you determined how smart Devain was from his broken English e-mails. I'm also sure that you know that he was still trying to make a deal with me until about a week ago and as you can see from my original post that was AFTER i made the post. He fell for my bait hook line and sinker and i enjoyed reeling him in for weeks. In fact here is an e-mail from the scammer one week from today still asking for the PS3 business.

    XXXXXX

    Once again, i give you the Stock pictures of PS3 60GB, with your name on the picture. I really hope this will be enough as proof, that i have the stocks on hands.

    For PS3 price:

    60GB = US$ 287,00 per unit
    80GB = US$ 311.00 per unit
    80GB Metal Gear Solid = US$ 311.00
    All available in NTSC. Original, brand new, sealed on original box.

    For the other products (Wii, FIT, Mario kart, wheel), please discuss with me for the price. I could follow as long as the price is reasonable. I could compete with the other suppliers.

    Thanks. I will waiting for your reply.

    Regards,
    Devian

    Why don't you tell them about the stock pictures of the Wii fit you sent me as proof that you had those in hand. If you're going to scam someone at least get a picture of the right vesion they are asking for.

    As far as my name being stupid on here, well feel free to tell everyone what my real name and e-mail i used when talking to you. Besides i thought the name was funny considering what i was doing to you and if you want some info go to this website and read up on the historic sheriff that was fighting crime and cracking heads.

    http://www.sheriffbufordpusser.com/

  6. Hammilton says:

    Hello Sheriff,
    To be honest, i don't see any connections between what i wrote and what you said. From the beginning, i just shared my story, and these bunch of people including you, started to cornering me. I am Hammilton, lived in Dublin.

    Once again i said to you, if you or any other member here had a bad experienced with that man, i don't think it's my problem and i don't think i should care about that. What i had, is different experienced. And there's nothing wrong with that.

    I just disagreed if this free blog been used for mislead information without any legit evidenced or verified proof. It's a long walk to jump into conclusion. And for you sheriff, you may keep what you doing there. None of your foundation or activities are my concerned.

  7. Raymond says:

    Hammilton, Deviansyah, or whatever your real name is:

    Why don't you please just come clean and explain what is it that drives you to pursue scams as a way of making money? Does it ever bother you that you are hurting other people with your activities? Do you get some type of emotional rush out of it or is it purely business for you - a lucrative way of making supposedly easy money?

    I ask, because while I want vengeance from my past experience as a person who was scammed, my intellectual side simply is curious about the mind of the scammer.

  8. Gregory says:

    I came across this completely at random, but became very interested as I read. I can't say that I've ever had any of the experiences mentioned in this blog... but thank you very much for giving the information. I'll certainly be more cautious with online purchases for having read this.
    And about "Hammilton"... why would someone NOT directly affiliated with the said scam become so involved with a blog warning against it? If his/her noticeable lack of proficiency in writing the English language doesn't set off a few warning bells, then the eventual fallback on infantile insults ("You really dumb as your name Buffort" made me laugh out loud) should. I find it interesting also that he/she claims all of you are lying when you talk about your experiences with Deviansyah, as your experiences cannot be verified, yet holds his/her own (undoubtedly fictional) purchase as proof that Deviansyah can be trusted.
    Hammilton, Deviansyah, Allan, or whatever name you feel like going by... I think that "perhaps all different names comes from your self. You just created different story and a different names." Also, if "In some country, blogging is under strictly supervision. So anyone cannot put any mislead information or comments," then you are obviousely not in one of those countries. And it is clear that when you said "None of your foundation or activities are my concerned," you were blatantly lying. You must feel very uncomfortable, having information on what you really are available to so many potential victims...

  9. Hammilton says:

    I think i should give Gregory an applause. For his talents in examined people. Good Job Greg. But as you said, all of the information here cannot be verified in any ways. So...Keep blogging... All of us could using different names, different email, and different articles...but perhaps came from the same person. Just like you Greg.

  10. Sam says:

    Ok, here we go. I stumbled on this page while doing a search for the Famed Mr. Manoch that you are all blogging about. As of today though, the current website for Deviansyah K. Manoch: www.bayubuana.350.com no longer exists. I was taken by this man for $1325 for PS3 units that I never received. He still has the same email addresses as posted in an earlier blog but after complaining to www.350.com I noticed today that this site has disappeared. I have email after email from him and a Miranti saying that they would ship these to me through EMS and then after numerous complaints from me stating I had not received my product Devian himself said that EMS still had my order waiting at their warehouse and that after he returned from being out of town for over a week, spending my money no doubt, that he himself would take this shipment to DHL and ship it to me. AFter I threatened to notify the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta Indonesia in regards to him committing fraud he sent me a big sob story email stating that he was for real and that I would have my product by today. I then sent him another email stating that I would report him to the FBI Internet Complaint Center and after that he disappeared. Has not answered any of my emails nor did I receive any product from this man. I also copied and pasted the information found here and sent that to him in an email also, not including any of the names of the people who posted it of course, and he again sent me an email begging for my patience and understanding and that he would ship this himself. Anyway, today the website disappeared, he is not returning emails and has once again fallen off the face of the earth until he can come up with another scam.

  11. Sam says:

    Well, well, well. Guess what. I just for giggles clicked on the website again and low and behold it is back up and running. Whatever you do, do NOT deal with this man!! He will take your money and run the other way and you will never see your order.

  12. BOGUS says:

    Dear PPl, yes you may read all this, I too have been scammed $2600 in the past on a site called diy trade, from a foreign sounding fella based in UK, Who knows if he was in UK but that is where i sent the money too....... After that, 4 years have past now and ive continued to make a living from buying from wholesalers and manufactures. If every on listened to these stories and got put off then what do yous stand to loose, Trust me its quite possibly more then your $2000, After been hurt once, ive learnt a valuable lesson, keep an eye out for the bastards, Ask yourself this would you send your money to a company that

    doesnt have an independent website, seperate from the trade platform
    no landlines, just mobiles,
    sends you id, straight away
    threatens to withdraw from the so called lucrative deal if you dont hurry and send $$$
    is selling the latest craze, for a 10th of the real price you have seen it for
    Ask for western union payment

    If so then you are going to get robbed, i sure as hell wouldnt now, but in the past yeah i was all for it, and nieve me got burnt and it hurt, also one thing ive noticed these scammers seem to target people buying electronics, maybe change your angle and buy crafts from the little old lady in down town shenzen

  13. BOGUS says:

    P>S, scammers use fedex to send there victim an email, which looks like the tracking number is ok and on the way, Check closer as its probably not

  14. joe blo says:

    WARNING!!!!....ALL SCAMMERS HAVE BAD ENGLISH WHEN THEY ARE BLOGGING!

  15. Paul says:

    I am sorry to read from you all that you have been scammed by this Mr. Deviansyah K. Manoch, but thank you all for the replies on this forum.

    I also had the intentions buying 5 Apple Iphones 3G 16Gb from this guy. He could even show me serial numbers of the Iphones which could be checked over the Apple website. During e-mail conversations everything was possible and I could ring him everytime I wanted. On my question if the products are 100% original Apple he convinced me that all iphones are authentic and original Apple. He didn't have any intention to cheat or give false numbers. Furthermore, he provides the stock pictures which took about a week ago, to indicates that he do have the stocks on hands. By doing these 2 methods, he could convinced his clients from around the world.

    So I asked him to send me the proforma invoice. There was his name on and so I found him on this forum.

    On my e-mail telling him that I would only do business with him on the payment condition "after receipt of the goods" I have never had any respons.

    So Mr. Deviansyah K. Manoch is still in business trying to scam more people. People be aware for this guy.
    His internet address is now www.toko.350.com
    TOKO
    Jalan Sultan Hassanudin No. 45A
    Tanggerang - Jakarta
    Tel: +62857 81759918
    www.toko.350.com

    Bank details:
    Bank Name PANIN BANK
    Account Number 083 - 2 - 006077
    Account Holder Deviansyah K. Manoch
    Swift Code PINBIDJA
    Bank Address Cilandak KKO

    Good luck to everybody.

  16. whites says:

    COMMENT No. 1:
    he could even show me serial numbers of the Iphones which could be checked over the Apple website. During e-mail conversations everything was possible and I could ring him everytime I wanted. On my question if the products are 100% original Apple he convinced me that all iphones are authentic and original Apple. He didn't have any intention to cheat or give false numbers. Furthermore, he provides the stock pictures which took about a week ago, to indicates that he do have the stocks on hands.

    It's quite funny, if he's doing scam, then how does he provides all of the information and proof?

    COMMENT No. 2
    ALL SCAMMERS HAVE BAD ENGLISH WHEN THEY ARE BLOGGING!

    Does your statement includes to people from France, Germany, Holland, China, or any other parts of the world when they cannot speak English properly??? Hmm.. you must be from country called USA. I am not surprising then.... so HAPPY BLOGGING... WITH AMERICAN WAY....

  17. whites says:

    I think people here are too many talking about BS... where none of your stories are legal... it's all based on opinions and can't be trust for validation... So guys, HAPPY BLOGGING... That's blogging it's all about... when we could say about anything and about anyone...

  18. Sharon says:

    I am so glad to have found this blog. I was deciding to do business with an individual and alway to all kinds of searching to make sure that they have not scammed others. I did a google search on the company name I was given and nothing come up. Then I did a search on the email and I found this website. Thank you. He found me on Ecplaza. I also try and warn as many people as I can to check on the company and person prior to doing business. I always search for there website, email, business name, etc and put scam behind it. The information he used in his email to me is as follows:

    From: cowecare@hotmail.com
    To: allbrandsforless@hotmail.com
    Subject: Apple 3G ECPLAZA
    Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2009 07:34:48 +0000

    Good Afternoon,
    Here is our offer for Apple iPhone 3G:

    Price for Apple iPhone 3G
    8gb = US$350
    16gb = US$450
    Firmware 2.0
    Minimum order = 5 pcs

    Ordering more than 5 pcs, i could give you 40% discount

    Minimum order = 5 pcs
    Delivery = by UPS or FEDEX
    Leads time = 2 - 3 business days

    Price including with shipping, custom duty and taxes. Attached below is the stock pictures with my MSN ID and few serial number, where you could checking the authenticity.

    You may checking our website also at www.sentra.350.com

    Thanks for your attention. Looking forward hearing from you soon.

    Regards,
    Devian

  19. whites says:

    I got cheated $799.95 by www.guccishop.net

    I was paid to them for 5 pcs blackberry 7750 for USD159.99 but they never shipping my order.

    BE AWARE www.guccishop.net PURE SCAMS... GOOD WEBSITE, BUT PURE SCAMS

  20. Oleg says:

    Hello.
    Guys did you made a deal with Ali Abdul from Indonesia. He sells iphones and modern computer components like gtx280, his web-sait: asahiglobal.e-basic.net.
    Accept only wire transfer:

    Account Name : Ali Abdullah
    Account Number : 115 00 0513691 8
    Bank Name : Mandiri Bank
    Bank Swift Code : BEIIIDJA
    Bank Country : Indonesia
    cell phone: +622291109134
    Streer address: Tarum Barat 34 Karawang Barat, Banten, Jakarta, Indonesia

    what do you think can I trust him?

    Thank you.
    Regards,
    Oleg

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