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. Senchi says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience-bad but helped a lot. Wish someone can share good ones too ? There are too many bad onse that I'm not even sure if I should just give up or be so extra carefull that I would never be able to trust enough to send money to all possible Devians out there. I've had lost money buying from DHGate, paypal, escort blablabla---received fake items, returned them with $38 out of my pocket for shipping, still waiting for refund. Paypal can't help-not bought on Ebay-DHGate is not responding....Well, leason learned.
    Leason #2: Just because of leason #1 I got smarter-BRAVO me :) Did google an honest, serious and trustable businessman and guess what? FUND him here being talked about by so many of you! O my God and I was almost to make the same mistake you did. THANK YOU!!

    Here is the latest Devian's activity:

    We do understand with your concern about first time business. As
    >>>> always fist time is the hardest time. But with all do respects, please
    >>>> not to thinking that we are like any other people. We are here looking
    >>>> and establishing business relationships with any clients. On legal and
    >>>> respective ways. There's no such intention to cheat or rob our
    >>>> client's money.
    >>>>
    >>>> For payment, if you cannot do wire transfer, we have alternative such
    >>>> as money gram. This method is fast and easy. takes about minutes to
    >>>> transfer.
    >>>>
    >>>> I could accept trial order, however i will need 5 pcs for MOQ (minimum
    >>>> order). Why i need 5 pcs for MOQ? Just because we have to pay and
    >>>> covering the costs of shipping, insurance, custom duty and taxes. As
    >>>> all of our prices are inclusive with those costs. Therefore we need 5
    >>>> pcs MOQ. Hope you understand that.
    >>>>
    >>>> Thanks for your attention.
    >>>>
    >>>> Devian
    >>>> PLASA350
    >>>> www.plasa.350.com
    >>>> 350plasa@plasa.com
    >>>> plasa350@gmail.com
    >>>> Tel: +62813 82129088

    There is no way I could hurt him in any way than just let him believe he'll get my money and finally take it back to my pocket by telling him that I did know about him all along. :) What else could I do? Or would you like me to do? No guaranties anything would work as he might be reading it now.
    Best regards to all of you and good luck with your business.

    Senchi

  2. Raymond says:

    Well I'm glad this article is helping others out there avoid getting suckered into these online scams. Greed is good in the sense that it motivates us healthily in a capitalist society, however greed can also make us blind to the seemingly blatant scams out there.

    As for Deviansyah the scammer, as I mentioned before, if someone were to visit Indonesia or wherever he really lives, track his real identity down and hunt down the location of his home and resort to violence, I wouldn't be sad whatsoever.

    In fact, I would be quite appreciative and rather pleased. I'm not encouraging anyone to do so - just saying that I would be personally happy and overjoyed to get the good news of his demise or injury. Online scammers and thieves deserve capital punishment if you ask me. Obviously, I am just venting out loud.

    Deviansyah robbed me of over $2000 when I was just in my early 20's and that amount of money was quite a lot to me at the time. This crime is unforgivable.

  3. Hapsari says:

    i agreed a bit with Robert. it seems only Raymond got experienced being robed by devian (when he was just in early 20's) which is long gone by now. the rest of the member here, only got scared because of what raymond says about devian.

    I think it's quite not fair. just because of raymond got bad experienced, the other person talks as if they had same experienced as raymond. Come on... be fair to people who might read this article.... we cannot condemn someone's fault that happened few years ago, and still punished him until today...

  4. Senchi says:

    Raymond,

    Our friend Devian haad just contacted me and since he is writing about you I though you might be interested to read. I guess it doesn't really matter any more whatever happend happened we can't change it but can help other people not to make the same mistake.
    Regards,
    Senchi

    From: Plasa 350
    To: xxxxxxxxxx@ymail.com>
    Sent: Monday, August 24, 2009 8:55:17 PM
    Subject: Re: iPod Touch IMPORTANT

    i did posted apologize to Raymond before, but he's wiped the articles
    for some reasons.. i even had intention to refund his money, but he's
    refused... so don't tell me not to do anything..

    On 8/25/09, Plasa 350 wrote:
    > if i do bad things, really do bad things... perhaps you could explain
    > to me, how could i get stock pictures with my MSN ID or even with my
    > name on it???
    >
    > but once again, if you wanna believe those articles and become freaks,
    > it's your own call. I am not trying to stopping you at all.. Good luck
    >
    > On 8/25/09, Plasa 350 wrote:
    >> Dear xxxxxxx
    >> i had read all your comments on some blogs. If you wanna believe those
    >> articles, please do it. I admit, that i've done such a bad things in
    >> the past, but it was past already. I did some business also with
    >> several clients, and i did in legal way. So please not playing games
    >> with me. I know what you did and said something bad about me. Actually
    >> I'm not robbing you at all.

  5. DEVIANSYAH K. MANOCH says:

    now i have the answer, about why several of my clients avoiding to do business with me. it's all because of this articles. Raymond, you've really got me by doing this. but not really got me though. i still have many clients which not reading this stupid articles. what's your intention Raymond? get symphaty? ohh please, don't do this silly things. You even wrote on other blog and pretending to become someone else, so people will see I did a lots a lots of mistakes. IT'S CRUEL DUDE...

    Didn't you remember that I've tried to solve the problems with you few years ago???? but then you refused it. I even made some arrangement with you the other day, but still you refused me. it seems that your intention is trying to crushing and destroying me. As i told you, you've got me but not really got me. Keep playing these games Raymond. And I will always be here to against you also. Lets play.

    several days ago, i even got lunartics Russian try to blakmailed me by asking $100.000 and treat me on any possible ways. When comes to evidence, which he claimed he had, it turns that he's using all this non sense articles against me. FUCKING CRAZY... By only reading this blog, and he's trying to blackmailed me. Not mentioned to any other people here, who's also against me just because reading your articles. DO YOU THINK THIS IS FAIR ENOUGH FOR ME RAYMOND?? Okay, i will accepted if you think it is. NONE OF ANY PEOPLE ABOVE HAD THE SAME EXPERIENCED LIKE YOU RAYMOND!! BUT all of them becomes freaks and scared to do business with me, just because of your damn articles.

    IF I STILL DID THE SAME THING, AS I DID TO YOU, I WOULD BE CHANGING MY IDENTITY, MY BANK ACCOUNTS, MY EMAIL, ETC. SO NONE OF YOU COULD TRACING ME. BUT I DON'T DO IT AT ALL !!! I'm STILL USING THE SAME NAME, SAME BANK ACCOUNT, SAME EMAIL, SAME ID. I am not running and going anywhere from where i sat last time. It's so easy for me to change everything, but why should i do???? NO REASONS!! As I'm Not illegal.

    SO, Raymond... LETS PLAY YOUR GAME. TO ANYONE ABOVE, Please don't said something as you had the same experienced as Raymond.

  6. Raymond says:

    Deviansyah,

    I no longer actively engage in selling products on eBay auctions for profit so I don't know what you are referring to. Obviously your little scammer games are still ongoing after all of these years. It's quite a shame. I had thought perhaps you would have finally reformed due to guilt, but I guess not.

    "Made some arrangements with me the other day" ---- what are you talking about? I have not been in communication with you so please cut it out with your petty lies. You are quite the clever deceiver I must say, even after so much time has passed.

    Once a scammer, always a scammer I suppose. One day you will get what's coming to you.

  7. Deviansyah K. Manoch says:

    I must said, that I'm kinda miss you Raymond. Missed the way you speak about me, missed the way you mentioned any bad things about me. You may refused for what happened between us, you may even could saying anything you want.

    For all people read this blog, we had a dispute few years ago (5 years to be exact). but not all comments here against me.

    Raymond, keep blogging my friend. FYI i did legal business also.

  8. Deviansyah K. Manoch says:

    i just found this blog, and from now on, i will defending my self with any of your comments Raymond. So people will know what really happened 5 years ago. I begin to think, that this whole things become personal to you.

    To all beloved friends who's been effected by Raymond's blog:

    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!!

    Look at all above names Raymond. NONE OF THEM EVER LOST THEIR MONEY BECAUSE OF ME!! But then they got freak out because of you articles. Do you think this is fair for me???

    And for SENCHI, Why don't you using your REAL NAME (SENADA)???

  9. Deviansyah K. Manoch says:

    I think i begin to love this blog. Hey, SENADA, or SENCHI... please using real names when blogging. Are you hiding something? I am here and always be here to facing you all.

  10. Deviansyah K. Manoch says:

    both of us got FANS right Raymond? Some people against you, and some people against me. So lets play our games Raymond. See the final score.

  11. Senchi says:

    Devian,
    You are sick. All of us did not lose any money because of Raymond- he wrote about you. You would take it otherwise!
    You have FANS?! Sick! Criminals do not have fans.
    Are you mad because Raymod is telling us the true about you or because you did not get money out of me and these people you had mentioned above?
    Please translate this for me: " please using real names when blogging." If I got it correctly you are complaining for us not using real names??!!!
    And why would I hide my name? I did not do nothing wrong!! WHO are you to tell me what name to use?! YOU ARE SICK!

  12. DEVIANSYAH K. MANOCH says:

    Senchi or whatever you are... i think you have missed my meaning of all the above articles. I had mentioned about many names that actually never had any experienced like Raymond did, but all of them including you, has written something bad about me and pretending like all of you are the victims as well. I had mistaken before, but that doesn't mean i am still doing the same thing right? So why all of you guys here judging me as if I did the same thing as i did with Raymond before???? Answer me...

    I don't see any reasons why you should hiding your names when blogging. obviously you have another agenda by using fake names when blogging. It might be you wrote all articles above and creates many names. so other people think that i did robed many many people.

    Again, this is blogging. anyone could say anything. and could using any names as they want it.

    I'm sick??? I don't think so. I think you got paranoid too much... take a deep breath dude.. chill out... i never think to stealing someone else money here. i just fed up many people think that i still did what i did to Raymond before.

  13. DEVIANSYAH K. MANOCH says:

    Criminals?? is that what you called me Senchi?? based of what? have i ever steal your money?? answer me? NO right? So why you called me criminals?? Do you also call ex con people just get out of jail as criminals?? Ex criminals maybe....

    FANS means, some of the people above not against me at all. But some against me including you.

    Once again, mind your own business Senchi. i have never taking anything from you. And i never taking anything to anyone above. But i did mistake with Raymond 5 years ago. NOT TO ALL OF THE PEOPLE HERE. Hope you will understand with your narrow minded and judge mental personality.

  14. DEVIANSYAH K. MANOCH says:

    again, here is the list of people THAT I NEVER CHEATED OR DID SOMETHING BAD:

    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!!

    But these people got paranoid and freaks after reading articles from our beloved friends, Raymond.

    TO RAYMOND:
    Would you still refused me if i pay your money back? Even if i pay you back, how will you recovery my names after that? since all people here called me Criminals...

  15. Raymond says:

    Deviansyah:

    If you compensate myself and ALL of the other victims for the money you stole in the past and present, yes I would remove this blog post. All we ask is to have our money returned, but you instead run away like a little coward.

    But if you wanted to reform and apologize for your crimes, you would have done so already without my prompting. Clearly, you are simply reverting back to your little scammer ways again. I am very familiar with your deceptive ways and I do not trust anything you have to say. You are a liar and a deceiver to the core. And a very skilled manipulator. One day you will receive your just deserts.

    If I never receive back the funds that you fraudulently stole from me years ago, at the very least, I will rest happy knowing that this blog post will forever stand as a warning post to all that deal with you in business transactions - Beware Of Deviansyah K. Manoch the scammer.

    Thank you for reaffirming my faith in the power of the Internet. Clearly, the fact that you have resurfaced from your little cockroach cave to cry and whine about the complaints being levied against you, this blog post has done a very splendid job of warning other prospective buyers of your fake goods.

  16. Jay says:

    Woah! This article is huge! I'm glad I was able to read this before I made a transaction in Alibaba.com.

    And yes, I believe that people who offer unbelievably low prices are just out to get our money.. Let us not be fooled. And we must learn to control our greed.

    To Raymond: Good job man! With the experience that you posted, it stopped me from making a too-good-to-be-true transaction. Whew! Everyone of us here are with you. Don't get scared with that scammer Devian.

    To Devian: Stop scamming man. That's not good. It's not cool. Do you know karma? Or do you know God? In the end, you'll pay for the things that you did. But maybe not in this world..

  17. DEVIANSYAH K. MANOCH says:

    Hello Jay, Raymond, or whatever... just wondering how you find this blog so quick. When i had issued with Raymond, suddenly there are many people posting comments out from no where. Hmmm... would it be a same person wrote this articles...? we never know..

  18. Jay says:

    To Devian: Comment sense. You ask how I came across this article? Try google. Type in the words "alibaba scam" in the search box and presto! Search result number 3 leads to this article.

    I am also from Asia (though not from Indonesia), and it pains me to see things like this wherein our reputation as a continent is ruined to the core. People like you make Asians look like swindlers and robbers to people who are not from our part of the world. Stop it man.

    I also agree with Raymond when he said that "Once a scammer, always a scammer I suppose." Scammers who were exposed by their victims tend to ask for sympathy and make amends for what they've done. Which is a futile effort since people will never again trust a liar, a scammer, and a fraud.

  19. Knight says:

    Wow..is been quite sometime and this list is still on-going. Interesting...

    To Senchi: The info you mentioned signed off by Devian, with the url: ( http://www.plasa.350.com ) is no longer available after a few days which I saw it done in quite a professional and conceiving ways. Unfortunately it doesn't seems the case.

  20. DEVIANSYAH K. MANOCH says:

    To Jay: Thanks for your comments. really amazed to read your expert judgement.

    To Knight: Those website are only for temporary offline. It will be online soon again by next week.

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