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How to Avoid Alibaba Scams: Ultimate Guide 2021

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How to Avoid Alibaba Scams

Most of the people out there complain about one thing related to online shopping is Alibaba scams. It is very serious, so we have exposed this myth.

Table of Contents Brief hide

Today, we will talk about the usual scams faced by the people when shopping on Alibaba.com.

So let’s get started.

How to Avoid Alibaba Scams

Top 20 Alibaba Scams List 2020

1.Sending FAKE branded goods!

  • How does this scam work?

This is the most famous scam happening on Alibaba. The worse thing is that many individuals who receive fake products from a Chinese vendor do not realize it.

In the main, the vendor will try to send you copies of the brands in name of selling branded products. Each and every brand from all niches can be included in the fake and copied goods scam list.

  • How to avoid this scam?

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

2.Selling BRANDED goods but delivering nothing!

  • How does this scam work?

This 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 this 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!

  • How does this scam work? 

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

But in fact, they just sell their own fake goods. Some Chinese suppliers will change their profile names as UK or US 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 this scam?

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

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

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

Unverified Alibaba profile for a UK or US company

4.Sending money to the boss’ bank account

  • How does this scam work?

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

The scam 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.

This can happen with real suppliers as well as they can ask to receive money excluding the taxes.

  • How to avoid this scam?

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

5.Asking for additional payment for customs clearance 

  • How does this scam work?

Above all, this 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, quite often, the seller asks you to send additional money for clearing 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 this scam? 

As it happens, 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.

Suggested reading:Alibaba Shipping Costs From China to US : Super Guide

Asking for additional payment for customs clearance

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

  • How does this scam work?

Another scam that made the place into 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, but once you receive them. You will notice that they are the cheapest, poor-quality, and illegal-to-sell products.

  • How to avoid this 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.

In fact, Alibaba has filtered these products out of the website. But chances are 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 this scam work? 

So you like a product and you place a huge order for them. But once you received the goods, you only see low-quality and broken 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 this scam?

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

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

8.Only accepting payment via Western Union or MoneyGram!

  • How does this scam work? 

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

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

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

  • How to avoid this scam?

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

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

9.Selling FAKE memory products!

  • How does this scam work?

Again, tech-related products do not come with a guarantee if they are genuine or fake ones. 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 products are high-tech and can only be purchased in a physical manner. 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 this scam?

You need to make sure if the seller is reputable and sells valid 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.

10.Invoice made to a personal bank account

  • How does this scam work?

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

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

  • How to avoid this scam?

Never ever send the money to a personal bank account. You need to make sure if you still want to send the money through Wire transfer. The account is of a 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 this 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 this scam? 

For avoiding such a scam, you have to consider having 2-3 suppliers at the same time. So when one 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.

Suggested reading:How to Find the Best Suppliers on Alibaba?

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

  • How does this scam work?

There are some suppliers who 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. This can occur with everyday products like kitchen hardware, clothes, and so on.

  • How to avoid this scam? 

This 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.

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

  • How does this 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 this scam?

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

By good luck, having knowledge about the certificates will help you find the genuine sellers.

Suggested reading:Alibaba Gold Supplier : Ultimate Guide

Alibaba Gold Supplier

14.Change Products without Notification at the Time of Dispatch

  • How does this scam work?

This is quite a common problem. This is the most usual example of online shopping. Many vendors will send you the products that you never placed the 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 this scam?

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

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

  • How does this scam work?

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

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

  • How to avoid this 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 this scam work?

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

Hackers may take this 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 this 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 this 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 this scam?

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

  • Engage a third-party (Leelinesourcingis the perfect solution for this)
  • 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. So as to avoid getting scammed. 

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

  • How does this scam work?

This kind of scam occurs with new vendors, who have been in 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 business following the first year.

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

  • How to avoid this scam? 

So as to avoid such scams, you need to apply Trade Assurance to handle those new vendors. Or opt for verified vendors with many years of great records, so things will be more reliable.

Suggested reading:Alibaba Trade Assurance : Complete Guide

Alibaba Trade Assurance

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

  • How does this scam work?

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

Besides, the above reason for products being blacklisted by customs clearance, there are many excuses as well. 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.

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

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 this scam? 

If this scenario occurs, 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 this scam work?

When doing the research, we discovered that this is one of the simplest Alibaba scams you can fall for. Buyers tend to consider branded goods, such as phones, PlayStations, and so on are created in China.

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

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

  • How to avoid this scam?

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

Hence, the next time, when you decide to place the 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 Avoid Alibaba Scams

Alright, so now you realize that these scams are very uncommon. Yet you understand now which of these scams to pay special attention to.

Here is a detailed guide on the most expert method to maintain a strategic distance from Alibaba scams.

Staying away from these Alibaba scams is crucial. Keep reading further to learn more.

1.Pay via PayPal

When you get the chance to pay through Paypal, just do it without giving it much thought. Paying through Paypal (in particular, using a bank card, not a bank transfer) provides you with a lot stronger security.

Most suppliers do not like to get the amount via Paypal.

Due to the capability of the customers to charge fraud claims. Or when the sellers accept money via Paypal, many will charge you 5% as a surcharge.

Suggested reading:How To Pay On Alibaba Payment : Ultimate Guide

How To Pay On Alibaba

2.Make sure the payment via wire transfer is to a company in China 

So when you pay using Wire Transfers, you need to make sure the company is in China. Also, ensure you pay to the Company in China and not to the company out of China or an individual.

Once more, vendors accept Wire Transfers. So it is not 100% sure that they are a scam.

But to be on the safer side, you must be sure of the above-mentioned things.

3.Ensure the company is an Alibaba Gold Supplier 

When the bank information shows that the company is in China. Also, it displays that the company is not the individual with a bonus that the Alibaba supplier is a Gold supplier.

The possibility of you getting scammed becomes a lot lower. But when the bank information shows that the company is, in fact, in China.

But the supplier is not a Gold supplier or supplier who does not own an Alibaba webpage. You need to follow the steps mentioned in the 4th and 5th points.

4.Before paying any deposit, do a Factory Audit through LeelineSourcing (most ideal and around $300) 

Make sure to do a background check of the company using Examine China. That costs you $99. Or you can talk to the company’s employee via a phone call or Skype.

Send US Your Request

5.Do a Pre-Shipment Inspection before paying the final deposit

Make sure to do a pre-delivery review of the products before sending out the last deposit.

How To Verify If You Think You’ve Been Scammed

Are you thinking that you might be scammed? Do you think you have become a part of the Alibaba scams?

Is it hard to get out of it?

Don’t worry!

We have some steps for you that will help you know if you have been scammed or not.

Here you go.

A.If the issue is with the product or your order 

When you have a product or you have any issues with your order. For example, poor quality of the products, delayed delivery times, broken products, and so on.

You, for the most part, should work this thing out with your vendor. In this article, we have so far mentioned the tactics and strategies to deal with such issues. When you work the things out with the vendor, they might replace these products with other new ones.

But as of now, you have been scammed.

B.When you screwed up by sending out the money to someone out of China. And that too, using Western Union Transfer

We hate to tell you this but your precious money is in all likelihood gone.

So the next good deed for others not to get scammed, you can do is to post an alert on Supplierblacklist.com. This will help other buyers to avoid such issues in the future.

Yet, by bad luck, you have as like as not experienced a little of an expensive learning lesson.

In this case, the police and even your advisor will not come in handy.

So yes, you are scammed.

C.You did send the money to the Chinese supplier. Still, you have become able to get scammed

Did your vendor not send your products to you?

Or did they send you a container full of rocks?

Do you not know the company?

If your answer to all these questions is yes.

Then, it is worth to take help from an attorney. The threats of lawful actions (as well as jail time and fines) can prove to be very useful in China.

In particular, if you know the vendor who has tried to scam you. The Debt Collector or many law attorneys can help you with, is intended to be a lot more helpful in China.

Compared to the Western areas (you must have an idea of why they are the most helpful).

D.Your vendor has crashed into a kind of financial difficulty

The basic key for this is to ensure the vendor delivers your goods before they become bankrupt. But we do not suggest you put pressure on your vendor or harras them until they send you the products.

The ethical way is to send someone you know or a reliable third-party to their manufacturing plant. This will be the best way to ensure you get your products on time.

Also, if they really are in financial difficulty, it might take a burden off of them. But if they are not, they, without any doubt, tried to scam you.


What does it mean when an alibaba seller asks if you have an “express collection account”?

The supplier want to know this because the sample freight should be paid by yourself, if you have a Express account, the freight can be deducted in your side, no need to transfer money to supplier.

For your reference, here are some resources relating to your situation:

How to avoid risks when cooperating with Alibaba OneTouch

How LeelineSourcing help you to avoid Alibaba Scam

Leelinesourcing is here for our trusted and valued buyers to help them stay away from Alibaba scams. We have always tried to make your life easier and more comfortable, so you get high-quality goods wherever you are.

Suggested reading:How to Buying From Alibaba Safety : Ultimate Guide

How to Buying From Alibaba Safety Ultimate Guide

So how do we help you to avoid Alibaba Scams?

Here is how we help you to get the best products at the best rates without being scammed.

1.When you choose to buy from the wide variety of products at Alibaba. You only need to share your request with us. Afterward, sit back and relax, let us do the rest!

We will go through the vendor’s profile to make sure they are a genuine exporter, so you get the best products.

2.Our Quality Control team reviews every product to make sure. It is in great condition and it verifies with specifications. We guarantee you get the perfect product. We, on your behalf, visit the manufacturing plant to ensure the product is of high-quality.

3.Combine your orders into one package or freight to save around 70% of shipping costs! We utilize box which has never been utilized and we ensure products are secure!

This way, your products remain safe with us, so the buyer will not ask you for custom clearance costs.

4.We deliver your products as per your chosen delivery method. We deliver by Air Express, Air Freight, and Sea Freight.

Because we look after the process when you choose the product. Your chances of getting lower quality products are almost eliminated. We take a guarantee of reviewing every step from manufacturing to delivering the products.

So what are you waiting for?

Place your order now to reduce your possibility of getting scammed by Alibaba scams!

Leelinesourcing – Your Trusted Sourcing Partner In China is here for you.


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We hope that this guide can provide you with great information, insights, and confidence. This is in particular for the new buyer who is afraid of getting scammed by Alibaba scams.

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

With this, you will eliminate the risks of getting your money was stolen or you’re getting scammed.

To make sure you get quality goods, and that too, on time is what we want.

Leave us your inqury

LeelineSourcing will always help you buy cheap and good quality goods from China.

sharline leelinesourcing founder

About the author

Sharline is the founder of LeelineSourcing.com. With 10 years of experience sourcing in China, She loves to share knowledge and ideas in sourcing bussiness.She writes only the truths which others are normally not willing to tell. This makes her posts distinguishable from other import & export articles.

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