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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. DEVIANSYAH K. MANOCH says:

    I had read over and over and over again to any comments above. But can't find any other person besides Raymond who got cheated by me. As i admit, it was a mistake for what happen with Raymond. But since then, i have never do anything wrong. For what i see above, it's only Raymond had a problem with me before.

    Come on please see from black and white side. What's true is true, and what's wrong is wrong. I am not asking any sympathy here, but i just need to clear other people's mind. And not all people against me, some people also agreed with my opinion. I won't leave my real identity here, posting my comments, if i still the same person as 5 years ago.

    For the next 5 to 10 years or 25 years from now on, these articles will always be here. But are they still valid? Not sure about that.

  2. DEVIANSYAH K. MANOCH says:

    are we still punishing person who did something wrong few years ago? are we still punishing person who killed JFK few years ago??? still punishing until today?? And other people leave comment as if they got killed too?? Come on.. this is insane... all people got freaks after they read this articles. and punishing me together along with Raymond.

    That's okay for me. Since i found this blog, i will keep updating to anyone comments. So other people could decided who's wrong and who's not. So keep blogging, i will follow you guys.

  3. Robert Luo says:

    I was asking to written this statement by devian. As i told to you guys above, i don't meet any problems with devian at all. as i bought $2000 Blackberry spare parts few weeks ago. i really don't know what happen here, but all i wanna say, i am willing to do business with devian for next order.

  4. Robert Luo says:

    what's true is true, and what's wrong is wrong...you know what i mean? all judgment back to all of you guys... but at least we're not screw the meaning of truth...

    Raymond, how old are you dude? don't you have something to do other then blogging?

  5. O'neill says:

    wow.. this silly blog still hot... Hey dude, what's up? 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? I thought you've got better ideas when blogging here, but now i see you have your own agenda... did you?

    To all followers here, think with what you said on this blog. you could blown away someone's life. for what i see here, this guy deviansyah quite honest and now he even wrote his comments... good job deviansyah!!! keep fight to those freaks here...freaks always freaks...

  6. O'neill says:

    this is all about our little friend Raymond have his own agenda on how to gathered sympathy and emphasized people for his silly $2.000 lost...lets give him an applause.. this blog should have some king of narrator, so they could filtering on every comments posted here...or perhaps it's raymond its self is the narrator...as some of the posted comments here are missing... including my comments few months ago...

  7. Raymond says:

    Okay.... Deviansyah...you're getting a bit too desperate here. Please stop as it's merely making yourself seem a bit pathetic. I highly recommend that you stop resorting to your silly games. As the head webmaster of this blog, I have access to all of the comment IP addresses that are submitted. Here is what I have interestingly discovered:

    According to the system, the following comment user names ("Robert Luo" and "O'Neill") are all originating from the same IP address "114.120.165.182" - thus it's quite clear they are comments placed by the exact same person posing as different individuals.

    The "Deviansyah" username originates from a different IP, but comes from a geographical location that's quite close in proximity to the IP number mentioned above. My guess is that it's just you accessing your various fake email accounts from different places, like your home + work computer stations.

    You are a sad, sad little man. A hell bound criminal.

  8. Nitin says:

    Raymond thanks again for setting this up and alerting others of potential scams. Its pretty evident that the same individual is posting with different user IDs.

    Everyone should be aware of this and cautioned that purchasing products online should only be done using a credit card. Never purchase cheap items with money gram / western union, etc. Also any non Ebay transactions done via paypal are NOT covered. Over all if the price is just too good to be true then it is probably a scam.

  9. DEVIANSYAH K. MANOCH says:

    My game? Isn't it you making your own games?? I don't see any connection between me and other people...just like the other member here, perhaps comes from the same IP address, why don't you check. It's too damn easy for me to hide my IP Raymond.. If I want it..

  10. Bel says:

    I just got scammed by alibaba yesterday. I feel very angry now. I ordered a set of Nokia N96 from one so-called handphone company in China. After i made the payment through Western Union to them, they said they will deliver the product within 7 days. After 7 days, you know what, im shock!!! they sent me fake handphone!!!!!!damn it!! i try to contact them, but cant get through the line. Alibaba should take a serious action against all these scammer. My hard earn money just gone like that, a fake toy handphone cost me USD250!!!!!! shame on me!! becareful!!

  11. Garen says:

    I am sorry that you had to go through this. I was ripped off by an Alibaba.com member too. My story is found here:

    http://www.report-online-scams.com/sz-xinglong.html

    I wouldn't beat yourself up about it, TONS of people have been ripped off by "gold pass trust members." It is really not your fault that you got ripped off. You figured they would really send the GPS's but they didn't. If anyone is to blame it is Alibaba because they simply do not do anything about scams. They might take their site down, but they can always sign up for a new one. You might find this article interesting on how Alibaba doesn't take any responsibility:

    http://report-online-scams.com/blog/?p=118

  12. Anin says:

    Raymond, if I have the power, I'd really love to help you undo the grievance caused by this Indonesian man.

    I'm Indonesian too, a patriotic one. All the more reason to feel deeply hurt when fellow countrymen do rotten deeds and tarnish the reputation of this little country I love.
    I used to have the pride to say, "we are slaving and begging, but not stealing".

    I really wish I can help you more…

  13. DEVIANSYAH says:

    feel deeply hurt when fellow countrymen do rotten deeds and tarnish the reputation of this little country I love..."we are slaving and begging, but not stealing"...sounds patriotic to me...

    Raymond, it looks like you've got a "HERO" here.. Bravo my friend...

  14. Rob says:

    Greetings Raymond,

    I was searching for Alibaba related material and came across this blog. I recently began assisting someone I am close to with selling products through Alibaba.This is not the exclusive method of course, but one of several marketing venues in an effort to increase sales. To say that 90% or 95% of sellers on Alibaba are dishonest may not be accurate as you have no significant proof other than anecdotal evidence. That being said, I have no proof that 90-95% are honest either. Perhaps it will be somewhere in the middle, perhaps not. Similar to Ebay scams, I don't think the public will ever be made aware of the extent of fraud on Alibaba or related sites. Such is the sad state of humanity I suppose. I was not entirely thrilled to see the products being offered on Alibaba, as my first impression was one of street side vendors hawking the latest imitation electronics. Luckily, it is near impossible to "imitate" our products but I would still rather see the effort geared towards something more professional and not be painted with the same brush.

    I would note you are running Google Ads.I would also note the top ad entry is for Alibaba.com along with some questionable other entries. While you have little control over this it seems a bit ironic. I am not making judgement on your troubles, merely pointing out that everyone seems to be out for a dollar, from the small man, the scam artist and the mega corporations.

    I do applaud you for the courage to stick with your opinions. I would do the same and I would expect that if a customer felt they were taken advantage of by representatives of the company I deal with, particularly if they purchased through me, they would have every right to voice their complaints. Waiting years to rectify a dishonest situation is unforgiveable (and it doesn't appear as if any attempt was made to do so by the seller anyway). Openly admitting that you knowingly took advantage of innocent buyers is even worse.

    Cheers,

  15. TONI says:

    DEV YOU ARE A JOKE MY FRIEND, GOD WILL PUNISH YOU FOR YOUR CRIMES.

    YES YOU HAVE SO CALLED 'FANS', YOURSELF,

    o'niell, Robert Luo , lily, whites, Hammilton , allan - Think you are clever, but your so stupid....your English is terrible.

    Raymond, this is amazing Ive beeb reading this for about and hour, Dev you are pathetic, I can understand if a reputable business suffered at the hands of a made up blog. You a scammer, trying to defend yourself, give up and start an honest business.

  16. TONI says:

    Dev if you are truly an honest business man, please meet me in the the UK, I have a mobile phone business. I will purchase in excess of 50 items off you. We can arrange to meet in a busy city centre where nothing will happen. Once I am satisfied with the products, I WILL 100% HELP YOU CLEAR YOUR NAME! There is a lot of money in it for you Dev, so I ask you again, are you willing to travel with in excess of ����10,000 worth or products?

  17. Matthew says:

    My bank recommended that I disable international funds transfers to improve security. I work only with int'l suppliers that offer PayPal as a payment option. It's a bit more expensive, but the security makes it totally worthwhile.

  18. TONI says:

    I googled his name and found this.. if this helps track him down (IF TRUE I CANT GUARANTEE)

    http://resources.alibaba.com/topic/193704/SCAMMER_Deviansyah_Devi_or_Kurnia_Indonesia_.htm?message=383351

    ''
    Replying to [makika]:
    to buy iPod NANO4G I paid deposit 15% to him via WUB(Western Union Bank) and he transfered (also via WUB) to UK supplier, name Rudy Chen & company name DELTA ONE according to him . However no ship from UK and he said that I don't know what happened. It looks like UK suppier was gone. Buyt actually I don' t think. I have pass port photo with his name DEVIANSJAH MANOCH, passport no. 777772, date of birth 23 Dec 1977, Jakarta, also driving license no. 711012057644. Hic comany name is TELKOMINDO. now I will meet him at my hotel here Jakarta ........ must make sure all the evidence, including UK Mr. Rudy Chen.....
    Need good suggestion how take back money from him. Even police catch him, he will pay money as corruption...... ''

  19. DEVIANSYAH says:

    Hello Toni. Really appreciate with your concerned. After reading your comments, it makes me wonder, that you're nothing but a shit. My English is never be perfect, as I'm not an Englishman.

    Talking about ����10,000, do you really think that is big amount of money??? Hmm...i guess we have such different perception of "BIG" money. But i just happy with my monthly sales, which around $5.000 to $10.000

    Track me down??? I'm here and not going anywhere. Come and get me then.

  20. DEVIANSYAH says:

    To anyone reading this blog. PLEASE READ AND THINK WHAT YOU HAVE TO THINK. I DON'T GIVE A SHIT. You may write down anything about me. GO HEAD. STILL CANNOT PROOF ANYTHING THAT I DID THAT. It's just a silly comments, from silly people.

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