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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. Momiji says:

    Hi Deviansyah,

    Actually, 10,000 euros is worth about $15,000. So this is more than what you supposedly make in a month. Also, where is "here", where you are from, exactly?

  2. Joel says:

    omg, I knew that the seller i was talking to on ebay had a very good deal on Apple Ipod touchs... It was either the ipods were not genuine, or the seller was fraud. =/

    & Googling the name "karen stalker" from Cleveland, OH, led me to this page, & Thanks Everyone for the warning... Currently this scammer is operating under the username "dennyroyaltechnology" always sending messages from his/her Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

    Yes, Indeed very smooth communication, likeable and friendly, persuading to buy more... and insisted that their paypal account was hacked into and it cannot be used, so a bank wire transfer payment site such as western union must be used, and this is not eligible for Ebay or Paypal's buyer protection. =(

    I will know better now,& Thanks for the warning, Guys!

  3. elmjay says:

    Could someone please tell me if its okay to purchase bath & body products from China because I almost did but after reading your comments I am on hold for now.

    elmjay

  4. Bogdan says:

    Look at this guys.

    I wanted to buy some Iphones from a Chinese company(my bad) and I event wanted to send the money but I searched the net and found this great blog and after dat had a instant message conversation on Alibaba...take a look at the result,the company name is:Hefei Xinlongyu Trade Co., Ltd and the SCAMERS Bank data is:

    his is our payment:
    telegraphic transfer:
    Beneficiary institution: bank of china
    Swift code: bkchcnbj780
    Beneficiary Name: dajun zhang
    beneficiary's account: 495480020015351
    address: hefei city , anhui province, china
    -----------------------------------------------------

    Caradaica Nicolae: Hello (2009-10-25 13:26:03)

    Caradaica Nicolae: What is your price for Iphone 3g 8Gb (2009-10-25 13:26:16)

    weiwei herm: 240$ (2009-10-25 13:26:50)
    Caradaica Nicolae: Please tell me what are your bussines hours (2009-10-25 13:27:53)

    weiwei herm: 24hours (2009-10-25 13:28:02)
    Caradaica Nicolae: I will send a friend to you to pick up the phone (2009-10-25 13:28:08)

    weiwei herm: no (2009-10-25 13:28:28)

    weiwei herm: our iphone is in usa (2009-10-25 13:28:33)

    Caradaica Nicolae: so you send it form the USA (2009-10-25 13:28:53)

    Caradaica Nicolae: ? (2009-10-25 13:29:09)

    weiwei herm: yes (2009-10-25 13:29:07)

    Caradaica Nicolae: what city (2009-10-25 13:29:14)

    Caradaica Nicolae: I have many bussines partners in the USA
    also (2009-10-25 13:29:23)

    weiwei herm: ny (2009-10-25 13:29:28)

    Caradaica Nicolae: do you have an address (2009-10-25 13:29:39)

    weiwei herm: yes (2009-10-25 13:29:45)

    Caradaica Nicolae: please give it to me and I will find somebody to pick up the phone (2009-10-25 13:30:04)

    weiwei herm: ok,fuck u (2009-10-25 13:30:10)

    Caradaica Nicolae: SCAMER (2009-10-25 13:30:19)

    weiwei herm: fuck u (2009-10-25 13:30:24)

    weiwei herm: shit (2009-10-25 13:30:26)

    Caradaica Nicolae: :) (2009-10-25 13:30:29)

    Caradaica Nicolae: why are you Scamming people (2009-10-25 13:30:42)

    Caradaica Nicolae: are you not afraid that God will punish you (2009-10-25 13:30:54)

    Caradaica Nicolae: it's just not good Karma (2009-10-25 13:31:03)

    Caradaica Nicolae: ok I whish for you to live in interesting times (2009-10-25 13:31:17)

    Caradaica Nicolae: bye (2009-10-25 13:31:19)

  5. Bogdan says:

    Before this they offered my IPHONE 3GS 32GB for 270USD

  6. Mr. 200 says:

    I'm impressed by you being able to write about it like this. Usually people feel too ashamed to even think about it.

  7. Anyellow says:

    I am quite impressed with all these terrible story above, and I really want to thank Raymond to do this job, I am a Chinese and I have a question? Chinese People always work over time for the overseas country like USA, EUROPEAN COUNTRIES etc. When you people buy the textile products and the other labor integration products , do you guys ever have conscience for our human rights or our living standard? China Domestic Manufacture are desperate to Alibaba, things like that are not a real revolution but a cheating. As you can see, real supplier don't get customer easy, and fake scamer can even rip the real customer off. What an great easiest way to do business!

  8. Raymond says:

    Anyellow,

    Yeah... Internet scammers are everywhere and usually if some deal sounds too good to be true, it almost always is.

    In response to your other question about whether Americans have a conscience about human rights issues and poor working conditions in other countries that manufacture the products we use. Well we most certainly do. Our federal government does try to exert a democratic influence on third world and second world nations to improve standards but we can only do so much. At some point, you will yourselves will need to rise up against the Communist Chinese dictators in a violent or perhaps peaceful revolution and overthrow them. Same goes for any third world country where its citizens demand better worker's rights.

    But in terms of staging a boycott of such products, unfortunately, we Americans are addicted to cheap Chinese products and will probably continue to use them gladly for the foreseeable future. That's the truth and reality.

  9. Ahmed says:

    Hi there .. I'm really thank you for your experience , it is very helpful ..

    I'm starting my small business in PS3 games only and I was looking for supplier, I thought that Alibaba is good .. but

    Now I'll not gona use it or think about it any more !!

    but the Question is where we can find a dealer or a supplier for our small business !! it's a big problem ...

    any recommendation ?

    and thanks for your shearing

  10. Safa says:

    Hello Raymond and All,

    Thank you so much Raymond for your Article , I was and still planning to start my small business but now I do not know how to find a supplier for my stuff ?
    I 'm planning to sell simple stuff that are cheap not like PS3 or GPS ... etc
    my stuff are accessories , mirrors but in special designs ...
    Can anybody help me please , should I use Alibaba or not ?
    I have contact people from China ,but we did not reach the money issues yet . I just sent them pictures of my desgins . I need answer please I do not have any job and I want to strat my business for LIVING basically and hope that God is going to help me to support my family ...
    I think I got emotional because I had big dreams on Alibaba thing :(

    Thanks a lot

  11. Safa says:

    Why nobody replied to my post !!!

  12. John says:

    I think there is nothing wrong about writing your online experience with other. If only 1person complained about Alibaba site then we can be suspicious about his writing, but if you google and you find millions list of problem/scammers on Alibaba I think we can agree the problem is exist on this site. I was going to purchase somthing from Alibaba but I cancel that order after reading warning articles from many websites. The other reason of course because the seller refused to accept other form of payment even via AliPay (similar to Paypal). The price is good but if you are a buyer yes you need to be smart.
    About Mr. Manoch? I used to live in Indonesia and my wife is Indonesian. What he did is very bad. Whatever words you use my friend you are a thief. You scam people and what you did make me a best candidate to hell. If you are fraud by any Indonesian with bank account? Yes you can report this to Indonesian Police. They have the cyber crime unit to handle people like Devian.
    I would like to say something to Devian in Indonesia Language:
    "Loe bikin malu orang Indonesia saja Dev!! Tukang tepu loe. Brenti kenapa? Apapun alasan loe yang jelas loe sdh menipu banyak orang. Mudah2an loe ketangkep Dan masuk penjara!!"
    Well Raymond: if you need help I can assist you further. I have a friend in Indonesia Police. I can direct you to the right channel. For others? Please do no purchase anything over the Internet or wire any money to anyone in Indonesia. If you have friend or relative? You can use them as your broker. Most of Legit companies in Indonesia accept credit cards and Cash.
    For Forum moderator: If you see poster ips from 114.*, 125.*, 116.*, 117.*, 222.*, 61.94.*, 110,* and many more! and they post any comment supporting devian? I can guarranty you they are another scam artist.
    I hope this info helpful.

  13. John says:

    Safa my friend: it's better if you wire your money to charity than wire your money to China. Nothing against Chinese ppl but why would you wire your money to someone you never done any business before? Even for a sample my friend? It's better if you just do it locally. Raymond is correct! Greed makes you dumb! Think smart! I bought wholesale from Ebay and paid with Paypal to Hongkong seller and I received my purchase on time. Why this seller can have account on Paypal and others can't??? It just doesn't make sense. You are a buyer. You set your term. It's your money and don't let anyone control your decision to purchase anything. If they don't wanna accept Paypal or credit card? Let them rotten with their unsold goods!!
    Buy local/within states. Check on google/BBB. Do your homework. Go to godaddy.com and Whois the domain. Call the number. Verify. If the accept Paypal? Call Paypal and verify. Don't buy anything from any website. Ask other trusted sellers/friends. Use your instinct! If the price is too good? It's scam. Never wire money!!! Don't give out your c/c to anyone!! Never give out you. Chkg account no to any sales rep over the phone. I have been on the Internet since 1995. I heard thousand stories about ppl get scam. If you see an online store and do not find any phone number or address? Just a contact form? It's a scam!! If you see a phone? Call that number random during office hours! If no one puck up your call? It's a scam!! Check the address and go to google map. If it's office building? Check mgt office and call them! If the site accepts only western union and no Paypal or Authorize.net? It's a scam!!!
    If you click on 1 site and you are being directed on different site? It's a scam!!! Never complete credit card on seller website. If you are being directed to Paypal? You must make sure to always check the address before entering your Paypal user I'd and password!! Paypal address is https://www.Paypal.com!! Not https://www.Payspall.com or https://www.paypalls.com.

    Check and always check before making any purchase!!

  14. John says:

    When you visit Indonesia Police Website?
    1. You can email them? info@polri.go.id
    2. Klik on "Forum pengaduan" and fill out the form

    I hope this info is useful.

  15. DEVIANSYAH says:

    WOW!!! I am very admired with John's explanation and the way he thought about this whole things. Quite amazing John. But so sorry to say, that just like any previous comments on this blog, cannot be proof by real evidenced or solid data. Does anyone here got the REAL PROOF that I did scam?? The answer is NO!! No solid data, no authentic proof, and no nothing. From Head to toe, it's all only comments, comments, and comments to pushing me down along the way.

    Thanks for all your efforts John. You need to learn a lots of things before you could blaming someone without hard evidenced. When you talking about LAW, there should be somekind of HARD Evidence. NOT just a negative comments like on this blogs.

    But that's okay. I get used to it with all comments here. I am too tired to keep this SILLY GAMES going on. LET PEOPLE TALKS !!! WHATEVER THEY WANNA TALK ABOUT!!!

  16. DEVIANSYAH says:

    For Forum moderator: If you see poster ips from 114.*, 125.*, 116.*, 117.*, 222.*, 61.94.*, 110,* and many more! and they post any comment supporting devian? I can guarranty you they are another scam artist.
    I hope this info helpful.

    WOW AGAIN!!! Don't you know that we cannot using any IP's ???? our IP's is a static IP, cannot be changed into other IP's address. IF there is some comments supporting me, it came from someone who really support me.

    I KNOW I DID A MISTAKE with RAYMOND BEFORE. BUT ONLY WITH RAYMOND!!! I HAD REFUND HIS MONEY ALREADY!! BUT THIS BLOGS STILL HERE UNTIL TODAY. AND many many people putting comments and pretending as IF they also got problems from me. THIS IS NOT FAIR AT ALL!!! Other comments just giving comments AFTER THEY READ RAYMOND'S BLOGS!!!

    CAN YOU SEE THE DIFFERENT???? OR you too blind to see the real facts!! SOME PEOPLE STILL DOING BUSINESS WITH ME!! SOME PEOPLE NOT TO REALLY CARE ABOUT THIS BLOG!!! BUT SOME OTHER DO SHIT THINGS WITH THIS BLOGS!!!

  17. Brent says:

    Do not ever do business with Deviansyah K. Manoch!!! He is a low life and a scammer!

    I recently did a business transaction with him after reading this blog and speaking with him for a few days. He gave me a sob story about how he did a bad thing with Raymond back a few years ago but tried to make it right and Raymond is just now out for vengeance!

    So I agreed to give him a chance and decided to buy some iphones from him. Well needless to say him stole my money. And on top of that he threatened me by putting my money or my head. He wanted me to come on here and comment on how our transaction went very smoothly and he is a good guy. Well obviously that is not happening and he still has my money. Do not ever do business with this low life thief.

    If you would like to waste your time and money I can give you some really good charities to send your money to. Do not send it to this low life. I have all of this documented in emails that were exchanged back and forth between me and him. Also I have the western union transfers to prove all of this. This scammer needs to be stopped and I will help Raymond to do it. I am a legitimate business man and I will do everything in my power to make sure Devian does not do this to anyone again. If you have had a similiar experience be sure to blog on this site and also go to rip off report dot com and submit a report to them also. Make sure to file a police report with the local Indonesian authorities and if you are in the USA call western union and report the fraud and they will put together a file that when you contact the FBI fraud division you can give them the file number and they can go after him.

    Once again DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH DEVIANSYAH K. MANOCH!!!!!

  18. Raymond says:

    Once again people, if you insist on falling for the online scams of Deviansyah K. Manoch...there's not much I can do. I can warn you all I want about the emotional dangers of greed and describe to you all of his little tricks to sucker in victims.... But if you insist on going through with his proposals and falling for his bait because you sympathize with him...then good luck.

    All that you guys out there are doing is making this scammer a very rich man and losing your own money in the process. Deviansyah is a scammer. There is no negotiating with him. He has no sad sob story to share. He is a scammer. There is no exception and you won't somehow be that one in a million lucky one. He will say whatever it takes to get your money. How many times must I repeat that before everyone will listen to my warnings? It's like watching fellow friends jump over a cliff one by one despite my warnings that they will die or get injured if they do so.

  19. John says:

    Deviansyah..

    People judge you not by what you do now but by what you have done. What you did is just like what other scammers do in Alibaba, Craigslist, Fake online store and a lot others. It is very typical. Once you cheat, lie, steal? They think you cannot be trusted. It is your life judgment. You think you are above the law and you are the smartest one on the Internet. You can crook this people with your scam. You need to know one thing. You live in Indonesia. You don't live over there in Nigeria where you can do anything you want and no one would bother to do anything against the Fraud/Wire Money/Counterfeiting money order and etc. People like you can be stopped.

    I bet you work in the cyber cafe. You look to a way to fraud people in your day life. You only make $25.00 to $150/month and the only way to make more money is by fraud people. You set up a phony website. You set up a phony address. You took the pictures from goggle. You cant carding people credit card anymore because some of the website require you to verify by phone. So? The only thing you can do?, You fraud people by selling phony stuff online.

    Why don't you stop Devian? And about the ips? Of course I know all the ips from Indonesia. Regardless to your argument I think you are just another low crook who make the world think all Indonesian is scammer. Did you read it? I have been on the net from 1995. I used to live in Indonesia. What you do is very very low. Why don't you stop scamming people money? Do something better than stealing people money? You can go to Dubai and find a job over there. You can get a job in cruise lines and be a cook or a chef. You can go to Canada and find a better life over there. Life is about the choice.

    For anyone who need assistance or are fraud by this Devian Monach? Send me your PO, Wire transfer proof (in pdf) and I am very willing to forward this to Indonesian Police or Bank Officer. So next time if he opens the bank account his name will be flagged. Please do not wire money/transfer money or initiate communication with him. Anything he says will cost your money. Do not transfer/wire any money to people that you never done any business before. Compare the price! If the price is too low or it is below average, It is a SCAM! Use broker like paypal or alipay to assist you with the payment. If they refuse? Hell with them. Like I said before. Lets their goods rotten. Don't even transfer/wire the money for a sample! A sample will cost you $250/iPhone from Devian website. It is like 3 months salary of Devian over there in Indonesia. If you wire him that amount. He can take 3 months off with your sample money. DO NOT TRANSFER/INITIATE TRADE WITH DEVIAN MANOCH. He is a scumbag. Don't trust to what he said. He is a liar. Don't do business with him. You will never receive your purchase. Buy wholesale from within the state/province/country. If you wire the money and you don't receive your purchase? You can file a complaint to the BBB or Police. Deal locally.

    (To Devian in Indonesia: "Loe mau ngomong apa aja bro? kalo loe sudah penipu? yah seluruh orang akan mikir kalao loe adalah penipu. Apapun yang loe bilang bro tidak akan bisa merubah pikiran orang. Brenti nepu kenapa bro?)

  20. mysteria says:

    i TOO JUST LOST 2500 USD, FOR BUDGET MOBILE LTD, I WAS SELLING ON EBAY AND SEARCHED CHEAP PRICES AND SENT MY MONEY IN JUST TO BE TOLD A 444 VAT IN UK WAS NEED, TODAY I GOT A EMAIL SAYING 600 MORE TO RELEASE GOODS, IS THERE A WAY TO GET THE MONEY BACK

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