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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. cyber crime div says:

    jangan berlagak lebih galak bos ama korban korban lo....kedok lo dah banyak yg tau.......tinggal A1 aja tuh.........
    dari pada lo karang cerita....tipu org lo enak jadi penulis skenario film aja...halal bung......kkwkwkwkwkwk........jgn bangga dgn kelakuan lo.......jangan kira ibadah yg lo buat bisa menambah bahkan nyelamatin lo dari api neraka bung...Allah kagak bisa disuap dengan kepura puraan lo.....Allah eneg ..mual liat lo...kwkwkwkwkwkwkhati hati bos dgn tingkah laku lo..................dah makanan gw ringkus org macam lo..........

  2. cyber crime div says:

    Dev....u bilang identitas u jelas.......LOL tai tuh
    mana

  3. cyber crime div says:

    semua alamt lo dah gw cek.....ga ada satupun yg bener...........sampe kantor lo juga mana...yg di bekasipun palsu............
    dah lah........kalo tipu ya tetap penipu.......
    coba kalo u bener coba alamat lo kantor lo dmana?..................

  4. cyber crime div says:

    untuk dev..ntar lo akan tau sendiri siapa gw...................

  5. Deviansyah says:

    katanya lo udah cek satu satu alamat gue???? Kok masih tanya??? Lo goblok atau tolol??? Gue tunggu lo boss.... lo kasih bukti omongan besar lo itu..... cuap cuap doang lo...

    Jangan sok ancam ancam gue dech... mau muntah gue lihat gaya lo...

  6. cyber crime div says:

    muntah aja .... sapa yg doyan huaaaaaaa hahahahahahahah
    udah penipu ga mau ngaku coy.......

  7. Shanti says:

    peler?....apaan sih itu kwkwkwkwkwk
    peler sampe di bawa bawa ni..............
    Dev......mas Dev...........emangnya punya peler?...kayaknya ga tuh......gw tau........boro boro peler......anunya aja kalo tegang segede kelingking......

  8. Deviansyah says:

    I AM USING MY OWN NAME WHEN BLOGGING HERE...(I don't using A.K.A, etc)
    I AM NOT HIDING MY IP ADDRESS WHEN BLOGGING HERE...(even i could hiding it)
    I AM NOT HIDING MY PERSONAL IDENTITY HERE...
    I AM USING MY OWN EMAIL ADDRESS WHEN BLOGGING HERE...(Raymond could see it)

    CONCLUSIONS: I don't have anything to hide from all of you here... I am here because i need to defending my self from people that never knows me before or even never deal with me on any business before.

    To you Raymond, you may written about anything here. You're right, i had problems with you before. BUT THE REST OF THE BLOGGERS??? Did you ever dealing with me before??

    Victor, did you lost your money because of me? the answer is NO !!
    Buffort T. Pusser, did you lost your money because of me? the answer is NO !!
    Zotyak, did you lost your money because of me? the answer is NO !!
    Stan, did you lost your money because of me? the answer is NO !!
    Valdazzar, did you lost your money because of me? the answer is NO !!
    Gregory, did you lost your money because of me? the answer is NO !!
    Sam, did you lost your money because of me? the answer is NO !!
    Paul, did you lost your money because of me? the answer is NO !!
    Sharon, did you lost your money because of me? the answer is NO !!
    this_is_too_funny, did you lost your money because of me? the answer is NO !!
    scammer_terminator, did you lost your money because of me? the answer is NO !!
    Melissa, did you lost your money because of me? the answer is NO
    Ferdy, did you lost your money because of me? the answer is NO!!
    Senchi, did you lost your money because of me? the answer is NO!!
    FERDY, did you lost your money because of me? the answer is NO!!
    Cyber Crime Div, did you lost your money because of me? the answer is NO!!
    Shanti, did you lost your money because of me? the answer is NO!!
    John, did you lost your money because of me? the answer is NO!!
    Knight, did you lost your money because of me? the answer is NO!!
    Natalie, did you lost your money because of me? the answer is NO!!

  9. tayyab says:

    can i use alipay for make me secure
    2nd its secure i think when i will get my device then i will relese amount

  10. gildas says:

    hahahahahahahaha
    sorry for what happen to you

  11. Ferdy says:

    @Paul

    My experience say that never ever deal with merchants who only accepts Western Union as their method of trading (at least when you trade first time with them). How do you even know the first name he gave you is not his REAL name?? It might be his real name but he said that it's not his real name to lure you into buying from him. Do careful research and if possible, pay using paypal or credit card which is safer than western union. Ask him for more proof if you're still in doubt. Check his company's address to see if that address is legit and call him if you must. Well, this is just my opinion but the decision is all up to you.
    Cheers..

  12. Richard says:

    @ Paul.

    If you have read my previous message you would know that this is either a fraud or fake iphone. Check with apple to see if they are a registered apple retailer.. DONT' BUY from this guy. IF YOU DO, YOU WILL BE SORRY LATER!!!

  13. Andrea says:

    I lost $450 for 10 pairs Vibram shoes , don't buy from Guizhou zhongming trading company limited in China , too bad I didn't read this forum before , I'm single mother with 2 school kids. I'm counting every cent & I can't believe what I did. I'm so happy I live in USA and I will never over buy anything from China cockroaches ! But what comes around goes around .

  14. Khosla says:

    Hi,

    Its terrible to see the amount of money people have lost due to this guy Manoch. It is true that Alibaba.com has many scammers operating on it and also the trust pass service can very well be manipulated. It is also the responsibility of Alibaba to ensure the true credibility of suppliers listed on it, and not ask suppliers to pay extra for this verification cost.

    All i'm saying is this is a serious flaw with the business model of Alibaba and any change from there side is unlikely.

    The best way to go ahead and trade is to get in touch with the local chambers of commerce of the region and state your requirements. They will help you.

    Be careful and Trade Safe.

    Best

  15. LC says:

    I am sorry to hear about your experience. For all readers- Alibaba is only a platform between the buyers and the suppliers. Even with A&V check, it doesn't weed out scammers 100%.

    I strongly suggest buyers do some thorough research before dealing with online supplier, just as you would with real life business partners. Use escrow as a form of payment instead of Western Union is the easiest way to protect yourself. Invest wisely.

  16. douglas moore says:

    Alibaba stole $2234.00 from ME!! also I have tried to find out alibaba office and building. Their support team has refused to send it to me and I have asked numerous people.

    I need Jack MA addresses, alibaba.com address and company address posted here can someone help. I have a warrant for his arrest.

  17. Reilie Rather says:

    *Everytime alibaba is mentioned in the press/news ensure your voice is mentioned three thousands two hundred and eighty times. Google provides a very fast news search. http://www.google.com/alerts for the "search terms" area enter 'alibaba' and then enter your email address. This will send you alerts about anything relating to alibaba. If a news publications is posted, majority of the top news networks allow COMMENTING. In the news article about alibaba, type your experience about alibaba into the comment form. News networks are what bring a story to light and they would love to break a story like this. We just need a momentum or viral activity. Lets say (AUGUST 1-3, 2010) we contact all news networks together. It woill take thousands of people at the same time to make it go viral /i/

    Add you information here and ADD to your social networks and friends. This is important as you are only targeting your own people, meaning our voice is only being heard by those already inflected by the alibaba fraud. We need to voice ourselves in networks that do not know about this "International Criminal Network called alibaba.com". ((Voice your experience in alibaba news postings)) TOGETHER

  18. jamie sutton says:

    hi im about to do a deal with a company called rosstar development, i saw in a thread on a different blog that someone had ordered samples that came through and looked ok but never placed a bigger order so i was a little worried that maybe he was waiting for the bigger sale. i was put through to company from alibaba but company does have a sight. please could anyone offer me there opinion of site as id be grateful.
    jay

  19. MERZA says:

    take the damnable ali baba sites from the internet and throw them in the junk. I would never go through anything from ailbaba.They are a scam

  20. Arielle West says:

    I almost bought an iMac 27in model off of there until the exact same pattern you (person who wrote this blog) described. Payment method, pressure into buying, seller's reassurance. This saved me from a $500 mistake!

    If you need to reply, my email is listed for you.

    Arielle

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