How to Avoid Alibaba Scams

Sharline Shaw

Have you got scammed on Alibaba ever? That may be for some reasons, especially if you are a beginner. So, you need to put the solution to avoid scams from the Alibaba scammer list.

Being import experts for the last ten years, we can help you find ways and get trustworthy suppliers to buy from Alibaba. Alibaba scams are due for multiple reasons. When you don’t choose the gold supplier having only trade assurance orders, it may be the justification.

So, do you want to keep scammers away from your business? Great! Here is a detailed guide for possible reasons for scams.

How to Avoid Alibaba Scams

Different Scams Types on Alibaba

There is no single type of scam, as you might assume. Scammers come with different strategies for fraudulent activities. Here are possible types of common Alibaba scams.

  • Payment Scams: The scammers are clever enough to do payment scams. They will request you to send money to their bank account directly. Sometimes, they will say their bank account has been changed. So, transfer the funds to another bank. So, don’t do bank transfers directly.
  • Product Quality Scams: The scammers will send you low-quality products. Sometimes, products appear alright but lose their strength quickly.
  • Sample Scams: In samples scams, the samples sent to you are pretty different from the product quality. Before ordering a product, it is better to check the suppliers’ profiles.
  • Pricing Scams: To attract buyers, the scammers might put the items on sale at low prices. These are hard-to-believe prices. So, more buyers get attracted to those products.
  • Shipment scams: Shipment scams are pretty popular. For example, the supplier doesn’t give you a tracking number. The product arrives many months later after the promised date. 
Suggested reading: How to buy from Alibaba?

Top 20 Alibaba Scammer List

1. Sending FAKE branded inventory!

  • How does The scam work?

It is one of the most famous scams on Alibaba. The worse thing is that many individuals who receive fake products from a Chinese vendor do not realize it.

The vendor will try to send you copies of the brands to sell branded products in the main. Every brand from all niches can be included in the fake and copied goods scam list.

  • How to avoid The scam?

As simple as that when you see a branded product available at an affordable rate. That is a red flag for you. Avoid buying branded goods at 

2. Selling BRANDED goods but delivering nothing!

  • How does The scam work?

It is the same as the above scam, but the difference is that here, you will pay the money.

But you will not receive the item. The sellers will show you branded products and try to allure you by selling at reduced prices. When they succeed in the task, they will ask you for payment before sending the product to you.

Once they receive the amount, they will not send you anything. So you will be left empty-handed. 

  • How to avoid The scam?

 First of all, you can never find Western branded goods on Alibaba. If you do, that is the warning signal for you. Avoid buying branded goods at any cost if you do not want to be scammed.

3. Unverified Alibaba profile for a UK or US company account!

  • How does The scam work? 

Chinese Alibaba suppliers change their names and disguise their profiles as UK or US trading companies.

But in fact, they sell their fake goods. Some Chinese suppliers will change their profile names to UK or US trading companies. They will try to sell their Chinese Alibaba products to you in exchange for your money.

So how to find the difference?

How to know if they are trying to scam you?

  • How to avoid The scam?

Alibaba website lets you distinguish genuine sellers from fake ones. You will find a “blue tick” on the seller’s page if they are real.

The blue tick implies that the seller is genuine and sells original products.

Whereas no blue tick means the seller is not yet verified, you have to be careful.

4. Sending money to the boss’ bank account

  • How does The scam work?

Other suppliers may ask for the payment to someone else’s account rather than the business account when you will be asked to pay the amount before receiving the goods.

The scam Alibaba suppliers might ask you to pay on their boss’ bank account for various reasons. Sometimes, you will receive the product, but there is no guarantee. There is no reason to panic, though.

It can happen with authentic suppliers as well as they can ask to receive money excluding the taxes.

  • How to avoid The scam?

Suppose you have an intuition that there is something wrong. You should then refrain from paying in advance or paying to your account.

No time for a long article?

Let us know your problem and get solutions.

5. Asking for additional payment for customs clearance 

  • How does The scam work?

Above all, It issue happens a lot of times. Many customers complain that the seller did not send them Alibaba products ever, even when they paid the amount in advance.

Most of the time, your seller will ask you for the payment in advance. You may pay the money and wait for your product to be delivered to you.

Yet, the seller often asks you to send additional money to clear the customs. If you pay the amount, that is well and good.

But if you refuse to pay the amount, the seller will give you a fake tracking ID. You will keep waiting for your product to arrive, but it never will. 

  • How to avoid The scam? 

There is no customs clearance cost for sending goods from China when you get an e-mail stating that you have to pay the additional amount.

Sad to say, you have already lost your money. You need to accept the fact that your money is lost.

Or next time, do not pay the money in advance.

6. Selling fake DVDs, software, video games, Blu-rays

  • How does The scam work?

Another scam that made its place on our Alibaba scams list is selling fake items. Such as DVDs, video games, Blu-rays, and so on.

The sellers will send you high-end products once you receive them. You will notice that they are the cheapest, poor-quality, and illegal-to-sell products.

  • How to avoid The scam?

Never buy such products from Alibaba. You will not be able to purchase or find genuine tech-related products. Instead, you will get only fake or pirated ones.

Alibaba has filtered these products out of the website. But there might be some illegal and cheap products still on the web.

So use your sense and avoid buying these products online.

7. Refusing to send samples

  • How does The scam work? 

So you like a product, and you place a massive order for them. But once you receive the goods, you only see low-quality and damaged goods.

Some sellers will try to send you products in bulk quantity. But when you ask them to get a sample first to check the quality of the product.

They will refuse you and give illogical reasons.

  • How to avoid The scam?

We do not say it is a sign of a scam. Yet it is better to avoid new suppliers who do not want to send their products as a sample.

A legit supplier will agree to send you samples, but when someone disagrees. It is time to move on.

Suggested reading: Alibaba samples

8. Only accepting payment via Western Union or MoneyGram!

  • How does The scam work? 

Well, It is not a solid sign of a scam. But you still need to be careful with It one.

Once you get the Proforma invoice, you will receive the information on who to send the money to and which medium.

If you find Western Union or MoneyGram there, you should think twice before sending the money.

  • How to avoid The scam?

Sending money using Western Union means sending to individuals and not business license sellers or a trading company. So chances are your money is not safe.

Hence, choose other payment options or look for a seller who accepts Paypal, Escrow, or Bank transfers. These methods are solid and increase your chances of receiving high-quality goods.

Suggested reading: Alibaba payment

9. Selling FAKE memory products!

  • How does The scam work?

Again, tech-related products do not come with a guarantee if they are genuine or fake. Like we have said earlier, try to stay away from such Alibaba scams. Some vendors will try to send you tech-related items.

For example, a memory card, USB devices, and so on. These high-tech products can only be purchased physically when you find a seller selling these products at the lowest possible rates.

Turn yourself aside as they might be trying to scam you. 

  • How to avoid The scam?

You need to ensure that the seller is reputable and sells good products. What you should do is:

  • Ask them to send you a sample first.
  • Check if they are Gold or verified suppliers.
  • Make sure to check the information provided for the product.
Suggested reading: Best selling products on Alibaba

10. Invoice made to a personal bank account

  • How does The scam work?

We have already talked about It. You do not need to send the payment to your bank accounts. Instead, opt for the sellers who use secure methods to receive payments.

As stated earlier, the sellers will send you their bank account details. They will ask you to send the money there.

  • How to avoid The scam?

Never send the money to a personal bank account. You need to make sure you still want to send the funds through Wire transfer. The account is of a trading company and not any individual.

Also, for further verification, check the company’s profile on Alibaba or Google it.

11. Increase Price After Placing Order While Quoting Competitive Price in the Beginning

  • How does The scam work?

As we had mentioned earlier. Some suppliers will try to attract you by offering lower prices at first. But after you pay for the product, they will increase the price.

They will ask you for labeling, packaging, and shipping prices. 

  • How to avoid The scam? 

For avoiding such a scam, you have to consider having 2-3 suppliers at the same time. So when one unreliable supplier asks you for extra money, you can contact the other one.

Also, make sure to talk to them about pricing terms and conditions.

So that they do not increase the prices after placing the first order.

12. Send Out Sample With Premium Quality, But Rather Poor Quality for huge Order

  • How does The scam work?

Some suppliers are ahead of everyone in the competition but in a negative way. They will send you the best sample.

But once you place the bulk order, they will send you the cheapest quality products. It can occur with everyday products like kitchen hardware, clothes, etc.

  • How to avoid The scam? 

It is the area where Alibaba Trade Assurance comes in handy.

You need to come up with an agreement, including the color, quality, and other details on the product.

So when you do not get the quality you desire, you will be refunded your money from the supplier with the help of Alibaba.

Suggested reading: Alibaba inspection service

13. Use Fake Certificates to Demonstrate Their Products Comply With The Regulations of Your Country

  • How does The scam work?

What some suppliers do is when you buy from Alibaba, you can ask the supplier to show you their certificate. Now what will happen:

  1. Either they will show you the certificate (but that might be forged)
  2. Or they will never show you the certificate.
  • How to avoid The scam?

The downside is that you will have to pay for the goods yourself, or your products will get blocked from the customs clearance.

Good luck; knowing such certificates will help you find genuine sellers.

14. Change Products without Notification at the Time of Dispatch

  • How does The scam work?

It is quite a common problem. It is the most typical example of an online business. Many vendors will send you the products you never placed an order for.

For example, they can change the color of the product. Or they can send you somewhat different products.

Once you get in touch with the supplier, they give you excuses about the changed products.

  • How to avoid The scam?

In This instance, we recommend that regardless of it is your first order or a repeated one. Make sure to check the poor quality products or for extra assurance, use Trade Assurance. 

15. Agree to Use Trade Assurance in the Beginning, Then Lie Do Not Receive Money

  • How does The scam work?

One of the biggest Alibaba scams is that the seller will agree to comply with the Trade Assurance. It is their strong strategy to draw in customers.

But if you spend the money, they will try to cancel the order based on not receiving the money (that is the lie they use the most).

  • How to avoid The scam? 

Again, make sure to make good use of Trade Assurance. When a seller is not sure about the quality, they will try not to use Trade Assurance at any cost. Our advice is to stick with the Trade Assurance process.

 16. Hack Suppliers’ Email, Asking For Payment to Another Bank Account  

  • How does The scam work?

It is not, in fact, the work of a supplier, but a hacker is behind The scam. Because the supplier has many emails in their accounts, and buyers agree to send the amount online.

Hackers may take It as an opportunity to hack the seller’s account and send you an e-mail with instructions to send the money to their accounts instead.

  • How to avoid The scam? 

The safest way is to reach the supplier through other means.

For example, direct call, skype, or WhatsApp them. Ask them to verify their bank details.

It is always a good idea to double-check things first on Alibaba for making the right purchase.

17. Buy Alibaba Gold Supplier (3-5 years) Account to Scam with Poor Quality or Fake Products   

  • How does The scam work?

Anyone can become an Alibaba Gold seller by paying $4,000 a year. Some people get Gold membership and then start using fake products at high costs.

There is no way to tell if the seller is genuine or not. 

  • How to avoid The scam?

But some ways can help you to stay away from Alibaba scams.

  • Engage a third-party (Leelinesourcingis the perfect solution for It)
  • Make a visit to the factory for inspecting the products.
  • Check their production capacity.
  • Check if they have a compliance certificate.

A bit of research will help you in taking the necessary steps. To avoid getting scammed. 

18. Cut Communication And Disappear After Receiving Payment Before Production or Delivery 

  • How does The scam work?

The scam occurs with new vendors who have been in the Alibaba business for just a year or even less. Since we understand, everybody can become a vendor on Alibaba if they give the yearly Alibaba subscription fee.

For a few new vendors, they might find it hard to keep up with Alibaba’s business following the first year.

Hence, they begin to scam customers to the extent they can and vanish after getting money. 

  • How to avoid The scam? 

To avoid such scams, you need to apply Trade Assurance to handle those new vendors. Or choose verified suppliers with many years of outstanding records so that things will be more reliable.

Want to buy on Alibaba easily and safely?

Leeline Sourcing helps buyers source the right product and solve all their payment problems at the best service.

19. Ask for Higher Price Using Different Reasons and Threatens Not to Deliver Goods 

  • How does The scam work?

 It is, in fact, the scam of cost changes, and It is the most common as well.

Besides the above reason for products being blacklisted by customs clearance, there are many excuses. For instance, the vendor will claim the cost of raw materials has inflated a lot.

Following the initial quotes at a low cost. Hence they will need to change the cost for them to begin manufacturing.

It can be fine, but the real reason might be that they may not tolerate the loss of profits because of the increased raw material cost.

Some will also delay the manufacturing, waiting for the cost of raw materials to go back to their last level.

Often, they would instead wait for about 1 or 2 months, not telling you the truth. That they have begun manufacturing, but they have not. 

  • How to avoid The scam? 

If This scenario occurs, the possibility is that you will run short on the finest exporting seasons. For the most part, for seasonal goods, such as Christmas presents or summer goods. Such as swim costumes, pool toys, and so on. 

20. Sell Brand Products with Very Attractive Price to Make You Hard to Resist

  • How does The scam work?

We discovered that It is one of the most straightforward Alibaba scams you can fall for when doing the research. Buyers tend to consider branded goods, such as phones, PlayStations and are created in China.

So the costs will be more affordable if they buy straight from China.

Sad to say that those products on the Alibaba platform with the cheapest costs are all scams. Although a few vendors claim to be OEM producers of these branded goods.

  • How to avoid The scam?

The thing to know is that every branded product has official deals or sales channels. You can only get authentic goods from official shops or reliable online websites.

Hence, the next time when you decide to place an order. Make sure to contemplate the prices others have given to ignore other scams. For saving yourself from the exhausting processes of cheap after-sales services. Once you got scammed. 

The Ultimate Checklist How to buy on Alibaba safely 

Scams are a serious and the most critical issue. Do you want to avoid it? 

Here is the checklist assuring the safety of buyers on Alibaba.

Alibaba Gold Suppliers:

Alibaba doesn’t offer the gold supplier status to every seller. Instead, there are a limited number of Chinese suppliers who get qualified for it and enjoy Its status.

Moreover, to achieve Gold supplier status, Chinese supplier has to pay a fee. If a supplier has gold status, there are maximum chances he will be an authentic Chinese supplier.

So, to trade safely, check out the gold supplier.

Suggested reading: Alibaba Gold Supplier

Alibaba Verified Suppliers:

Alibaba verified suppliers are not ordinary suppliers. The Alibaba inspection team goes through the factory analysis and ensures the supplier is genuine. Furthermore, there are other qualifications for verified suppliers. 

A verified Alibaba supplier has a blue logo on the profile. When looking at the verified supplier, close inspect that logo. If that is present, it might be your supplier.

Suggested reading: Alibaba verified supplier

Trade Assurance Suppliers:

Trade assurance is a program available to buyers for safe payments and refunds. If a supplier tries to scam, the buyer can ask for a full refund. Moreover, the possible reasons for scams are the high defect ratio, low-quality products, and late shipments.

When ordering a Chinese supplier, you can check whether the supplier allows a trade assurance order or not. If the suppliers allow, it is excellent!

Suggested reading: Alibaba trade assurance

Check Buyer’s Review:

Feedback is an excellent resource to check the authenticity of a supplier. It doesn’t only apply to the Alibaba sellers. Instead, you can try the It method on all the eCommerce website suppliers.

Visit the review page on the products. Apart from that, you can see the suppliers’ profiles and check buyers’ feedback.

Suggested reading: Alibaba reviews

Go through suppliers’ transaction history and progress:

Chinese suppliers go through the phase of selling inventory to their consumers. When checking out the supplier’s data, you can see the orange Diamond icon next to the profile.

Do you know what it exhibits? It shows the number of transactions. You can check that and develop the analysis; of whether the supplier is fake.

Inspect factory, whether online or offline:

Factory inspection reports determine two factors:

  • Seller is authentic
  • How does the supplier manufacture the products, and what is the quality control of the process?

Both of these aspects are crucial when finding the exact supplier. So, it is better to go live with the suppliers’ factory. If you want to visit the factory physically, nothing would be better than that. Go right away!

Ensure Supplier has ISO registration:

Nowadays, many suppliers show fake certificates. Do you know the importance of certification? Maybe not, but it has a significant impact when you find a suitable supplier.

To trade safely, check the ISO registration status of the supplier and ask them to show their ISO registration certificate.

If you hard to negotiate with suppliers and pay on safely?

LeelineSourcing is ready to help you buy from alibaba low cost and efficiently.


How Alibaba trade assurance ensures safety?

Alibaba’s trade assurance is an excellent program. An Alibaba trade assurance supplier provides a money-back guarantee when:

1. Product quality is lower than expected
2. Product shipment is late

You can apply for a complete and half refund.

Why should I choose the gold suppliers?

Gold supplier membership is usually paid. But, it ensures:

1. The supplier is genuine
2. Verification of the suppliers occurs through its method
3. Such Chinese suppliers mainly offer Alibaba trade assurance.

On the profile, you can see the gold membership status.

What are secure payment methods on Alibaba?

There are many methods for secure funds transfer. Here are these:

1. Via Western Union
2. Bank Transfer
3. Paypal account
4. Telegraphic transfer

Remember, you are using the Escrow payment system to enhance safety.

Are Chinese manufacturers reliable?

Yes. There is a misconception among people about Chinese sellers. They are pretty reliable and offer:

1. Wholesale prices
2. Safe payment transactions
3. Negotiations of the price
4. Product quality
5. Safe shipments to your doorstep

There are scammers also there. You need to avoid them when considering Chinese sellers.

How do we identify and select verified suppliers on Alibaba?

Look, you can get scammed on Alibaba unless you find the verified suppliers. The verified suppliers have a blue badge on their profile picture.

Moreover, if you check the profile, you can assure whether the status shows verification or not. 


We hope that It guide provides excellent information, insights, and confidence. It is mainly for the new buyer who is afraid of getting scammed by Alibaba scams.

But we assure you that you will be able to get the finest products with our guide and quality services. The actual thing is you have to be a little careful when and where to send your money.

To avoid scams, LeeLine Sourcing experts are there to help you. We have an endless list of trustworthy suppliers, hit us now.

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Article by:

Sharline Shaw

Hey I'm Sharline, the founder of Leeline Sourcing. With 10 years of experience in the field of sourcing in China, we help 2000+ clients import from China,Alibaba,1688 to Amazon FBA or shopify. If you have any questions about sourcing , pls feel free to contact us.

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