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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. harry says:


    I have been scammed 1800usd. My advice is do not use alibaba at all. I think the whole website is made of scammers. I got scammed using the following link

  2. Richard says:

    It's quite confusing me to see those all stories. But one thing I know, we are too greedy sometimes. We thought we could get so called "Special price" while the original price could be seen anywhere in our country. But why do we interested buying things over someone else from the another part of the world? Don't you get it guys? THE BEST BUYING IS BUYING FROM YOUR OWN COUNTRY !! Other then looking for suppliers, sellers, or whatever they are.

  3. Richard says:

    How can some suppliers selling some items more more cheaper then original distributors? Is it make sense if laptops selling more cheaper in other country, rather then we buy from our own country? Why don't we buy it from original store on our country? It's more easy, cash payment, and get the stuff right away from the cashier. So why do we still looking items from another country???

  4. Richard says:

    One thing i would like to asking, What is the validity of the whole words here? How could i know if the person written those article really got scam? Or perhaps it's just they're trying to cornering somebody else?

    You know, internet are using for free and people could saying a lots of things in internet. How to prevent from fake information? Somebody else please answer this questions. Who's going to responsible for all of the article written on the internet?

  5. Raymond says:


    I actually find it sort of funny your suggestion that I am somehow trying to "corner" someone with my "fake information". All I am trying to accomplish here is warn others of what had personally happened to me in the past by one unscrupulous online scammer from Alibaba.com

    No one has to listen or heed my warnings or advice, but I'm trying to do a public service warning in case the same scam attempt ever happens again to anyone else in the future. By all accounts reflected in the comments, it appears others have fell for this particular scammer's tricks and skills of persuasion as well.

    I'm hoping that those who search in Google or Yahoo for the names: Deviansyah Kurniawan Manoch or Deviansyah K. Manoch will find their way here so that they can be forewarned.

    You are correct that there are plenty of fake information sources and misleading articles online - but that's why it's important to use your own judgment as well.

  6. Victor says:

    I could publish here my e-mail "conversation" with so-called
    Deviansyah Kurniawan Manoch. There are many signs and signals that this is scam in every document that he sent.

  7. Raymond says:


    Feel free to post your e-mail conversations with this particular scammer - perhaps the most relevant segments at least. He's a pretty convincing guy I'll give that to him. Of course, I was blinded by greed at the time.

  8. Vinnie says:

    Recently it's not only African country which we should aware. I've got scammed also by French guy, called Cyril. I pay the deposit money, but he never sending my order. Anyone could help me? He's living in French

  9. Raymond says:


    I highly doubt that the individual you spoke to was from France. Most established European countries and the United States have little tolerance for scam activity and would crack down. I'm 99.99% positive your scammer is probably from Eastern Europe (Romania, Ukraine), Africa (English speaking countries like Nigeria), or South East Asia (Indonesia).

    Unfortunately, there is little that you can do if the scammer is actually from one of those countries. I've heard of people visiting those countries to confront the scammer - not a good idea though. Oftentimes the experience can prove dangerous or fatal.

  10. Richard says:

    As far as i know, there are few or even many articles about deviansyah on the GOOGLE search. These are for example:


    do you think you got scammed by photographer Raymond??? Exactly !! There are few names or even hundreds of deviansyah on the GOOGLE search. Which one is the right one?? each information should be responsible. otherwise others will be a victim of wrong information. Internet could using for free. But since its Free must be responsible also

  11. Raymond says:


    My experience occurred a few years ago, but at the time I did manage to speak to him over the phone and threaten police action and criminal prosecution (empty threats obviously). I recall his voice clearly and couldn't figure out what type of accent he had. He definitely was not American...the accent was just foreign...Indian almost. I remember him trying to avoid the conversation saying that he needed to travel to Singapore or something weird like that.

    Yes I've Googled his name many times and have tried to figure out his identity but I can't say for sure that one of those links is definitely him. I highly doubt he would be so dumb as to post photos and use his real name though.

    Scammers...live and learn I suppose.

  12. Vinnie says:

    Does this address looks like Eastern Europe (Romania, Ukraine), Africa (English speaking countries like Nigeria), or South East Asia (Indonesia) ??

    77 RUE DU SERGENT BLANDAN. 54000 - Nancy - France

    Also i could publish the transferred receipt here. Where the destination into one of the bank in France.

    I think scammer is around the world now. Perhaps on your country too.

  13. Raymond says:

    I've noticed that scammers tend to use actual but random European addresses - frequently they are addresses to actual post offices or hotels.

    I've sent a few letters to listed addresses before but the letters always bounced back to me due to failure of delivery receipt.

    I don't know about everyone else, but I personally refuse to do business with anyone who is not from the United States anymore. American laws do a substantially better job of protecting consumers from scams and illegal online activities.

    French and English addresses are frequently used by scammers for some unexplained reason.

  14. chris says:

    Sorry to hear about your experience. I stumbled on your site as I was doing by due diligence about purchasing a product through a wholesaler I found on Alibaba. After reading your article as well as other discouraging posting from other people who have been scammed by sellers on Alibaba, I've decided not to use this wholesaler. Thanks for your post.

  15. John says:

    I am sorry to hear about your story. I have had a similar experience that I am going through right now with a guy from iOffer.com. You should do like I did and write a review about them warning other people so they don't get scammed. I write my reviews on Review Page (link) and View Points (link).

    Best of luck in the future!

  16. Knight says:

    Thanks for the sharing your valuable experience with us, cos recently I just sign up the free account with Alibaba, which I was quite skeptical in the buying and selling business transaction. I will definitely be more extra cautious in the tell-tale signs. Would you still encourage people to do business using Alibaba.com service in future based on your experience?

  17. Raymond says:


    Yes, I think there are legitimate wholesale companies and suppliers on Alibaba, but like with all formerly good things, evil do-ers like the scammers and spammers out there have made it hard to separate the good from the bad.

    You can still find honest companies on Alibaba, but you'll need to thoroughly do you detective homework. Remember, legitimate companies will rarely try to force you into immediate action. Honest companies understand the inherent fraud risks of conducting business online and will usually be very willing to provide substantial verification information of their authenticity. To avoid an Alibaba scam, you'll need to make sure you thoroughly vet the company. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is...

  18. Knight says:


    I got your points & will remember it dearly =) I guess a lot of people out there are either not educated enough or simply blind by greediness. I hope that anyone before plunging into a online transaction is to learn through other people's lesson & tips, so as to learn to be wiser and not fallen under a victim of its own.

    All the best in your business!

  19. Charles says:

    I fell into tha same trap loosing more than $2200.00 by bank wire transfer to a company called Xiyang trading.
    Alibaba still allows them to scam any who are folish enough to deal with this company and there are many companys on Alibaba doing the same thing.
    I can only hope that one day we might be included in a class action law suit against ALIBABA.


  20. Allan says:

    Wow...a lots of people got scammed here. How does it happened? I mean, all of this victim telling loosing $100, $1000, $2000, etc etc. Who's gonna verified you in this forums? Ok, perhaps i will say I loose $10.000 also. Who's gonna verified my report here? This is BS and wasting time. Created a blog and telling about loosing money.

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