How to Avoid Alibaba Scams and Fraud?

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How to Avoid Alibaba Scams and Fraud

You’ve probably heard of Alibaba, the world’s largest online marketplace. It’s a great resource for finding suppliers and manufacturers for your business, but it can also be a breeding ground for scams and fraud.

As an entrepreneur, it’s important to be aware of the dangers of doing business on Alibaba and know how to avoid them. In this article, we’ll go over some of the most common scams and frauds that occur on Alibaba, as well as some tips for protecting yourself.

Scams are Extremely Rare in China

Actually, outright scams are incredibly rare in China. Alibaba is a vast online marketplace in China, and as with any large marketplace, there will be a few scams. But the percentage of scams on Alibaba is meager, especially compared to other online marketplaces.

Why is that? It’s because Alibaba has a rigorous screening process for sellers. In order to sell on Alibaba, you must provide proof of your business license and registered company name. Plus, Alibaba has a team of fraud investigators who work round-the-clock to sniff out any scams.

So while it’s always important to be vigilant when shopping online, you can rest assured that the vast majority of sellers on Alibaba are legitimate businesses looking to make a fair deal.

Most Scams Occur when Sending Money to a Non-Chinese Company

When you’re dealing with a company or individual not based in China, the risk of getting scammed is a lot higher. Why? Because it’s a lot easier for these people to set up fake businesses and scam unsuspecting buyers.

The best way to avoid getting scammed is to only send money to companies based in China and have a verified company profile on You can also ask the supplier to provide you with a purchase order and an invoice, which will help you verify their legitimacy.

If you’re ever unsure about a supplier, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and walk away. There are plenty of other suppliers to choose from, so don’t feel like you have to settle for the first one you come across.

Delivering High-quality Samples & Low-quality Goods

When ordering products from Alibaba, it’s essential to be aware of the risks involved.

One of the most common scams is when a supplier delivers high-quality samples but then sends low-quality goods once you’ve placed an order. A product or order problem looks typically something like the following:

Golden Sample: Actual products purchased do not match the quality of the sample

Material Substitution: Inferior materials substituted

Quality Fade: Quality deteriorates over time

So it’s crucial that you only work with suppliers willing to send you high-quality samples before you make a purchase. Make sure the supplier is reputable and has a good reputation on Alibaba.

Payment Scams

When buying products from Alibaba, it’s important to be aware of the payment scams out there.

One common scam is when a seller asks you to send money to a sales representative’s private accounts, even for a big discount. Because doing that will make you ineligible for Alibaba’s trade assurance.

Another common scam is when a seller asks you to send money to a new or different bank account. The email requesting the change may be an Alibaba scam. To avoid this, feel free to contact your supplier to confirm.

Last but not least: waive to use of trade assurance. Suppliers may make excuses for not using trade assurance, but it is in your interest to pay strictly through Alibaba.

So how can you avoid these scams? Well, the best thing to do is to only pay for your order after you’ve received it or have checked it for quality. And always use a payment method that offers buyer protection, like Alibaba’s Escrow service. This will help protect you from fraud and scams. If you’re ever unsure about a seller or if a deal seems too good to be true, it’s best to walk away.

Supplier Email Hacking is a BIG Problem Right Now

It’s no secret that supplier email hacking is a big problem right now. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 80% of all Alibaba supplier emails are fake. That’s a lot of potential scams and fraud going on!

So how can you avoid being taken advantage of? Well, there are a few things you can do. First, always do your research before selecting a supplier. Look for reviews and check if they’re registered with the Alibaba Trade Assurance program.

Second, use common sense. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be especially wary of suppliers who offer insanely low prices or those who ask for payment upfront.

Lastly, be sure to use a payment processor like PayPal or Alipay. This will help protect you from fraud and scam artists.

Pricing Scams

When shopping on Alibaba, it’s important to be aware of the pricing scams out there. Some sellers will list a really low price on their product, but when you try to checkout, the price has suddenly gone up.

Other sellers will add on extra fees at the last minute, or they’ll ask for a higher price after you’ve already agreed to a lower price. It’s important to ensure you’re aware of all the costs involved before making a purchase.

And remember to check the seller’s ratings and reviews. If other buyers have had a bad experience with this seller, it’s best to stay away.

Fraudulent Supplier Certificates/Product Qualification Certificates

You should be careful of suppliers who offer you fraudulent supplier certificates or product qualification certificates. These certificates can be forged, so it’s crucial always to do your research before you decide to work with a supplier.

Make sure to ask for a copy of the certificate and compare it to the official website of the issuing authority. You can also contact the authority directly to verify the certificate’s authenticity.

If you need to find out whether a supplier is trustworthy or not, it’s best to play it safe and avoid dealing with them altogether. Many other suppliers would be happy to work with you, so don’t hesitate to shop around until you find one you can trust.

Shipping Scams

When buying products from Alibaba, it’s important to be aware of the various shipping scams out there.

One common scam is asking for a deposit but never shipping the product. Other scammers will promise to ship the product, but it will never arrive. And some scammers will even send a fake tracking number so you think the product has been shipped when it hasn’t.

Another common scam is missed lead times. For example, the supplier does not give you a tracking number. Your goods arrived many months after the promised date.

Or, they say the cargo is stuck in customs and needs more money to be delivered. This results in you paying a higher price than expected and not getting your item.

The best way to avoid these scams is to only deal with suppliers who have a good reputation and have been verified by Alibaba. And always check the reviews from other buyers to get an idea of what you can expect. If you have any questions about freight shipping, brokerage fees and import duties, ABL Logistics is here for you. A China freight forwarder with a customs brokerage arm can ensure proper product classification and duty charges.

Selling Brand Products at A Very Low Price

Some Alibaba scammers may sell brand products at low prices to attract buyers and raise the price after the buyer places an order.

They’ll justify this with some reasoning, including blaming it on inflation and market conditions or because they need to use higher quality equipment or parts.

So if you want to avoid Alibaba scams and fraud, ensure you’re getting a price that’s in line with the market.

How Can I Avoid Being Scammed on Alibaba?

Here are a few tips for avoiding scams on Alibaba:

Be Aware of Scams & Fraud: You can start by being aware of the various types of scams that are out there. eg: there’s the fake invoice scam, where a supplier sends you a fraudulent invoice in order to get you to pay for goods that you never received.

Be Skeptical of Very Low Prices: If a product is too good to be true, it probably is.

Avoid Non-Gold Member Suppliers: If a factory is serious about wanting business from Alibaba, they will purchase the Gold Member status to lend legitimacy and trust to their name. Gold Members may also be subject to periodic “Onsite Check” from Alibaba to maintain the gold membership status. Although the membership fee does not 100% guarantee they are reliable, gold suppliers are less likely to be scammers who disappear.

Work with Verified Suppliers: To be verified as a Verified Supplier, a supplier’s company profile, production capabilities, products, and process controls must be inspected, assessed and verified by independent third-party institutions to ensure reputable and consistent expertise on Alibaba.

Check If the Supplier Has a Good Reputation: You can do this by reading reviews or contacting other buyers.

Look for Pictures of Product from Different Angles: If the pictures seem too good to be true, they probably are.

Request a Sample before Buying Large Quantities: This will help you make sure the product is real and up to your standards.

Validate Your Product Before Shipping Out: It’s better to spend a little money on the front end to find out if your product will be successful than it is to lose thousands on the back end potentially.

As a reputable product sourcing agent in China, ABL Logistics offers a cost-effective way to get a complete cost analysis & validation report for your product. Providing you with a total landed cost breakdown and allowing you to decide if the product will be worth it to manufacture, ship, and sell.

Hire A Full-Service Provider

After spending dozens of hours just sourcing one product, many successful sellers realize one important fact: their time is money. They would rather spend that time building their brand and marketing their product than figuring out the Chinese sourcing, negotiating, manufacturing, and quality control puzzle. Thus, they hire a comprehensive agency, like ABL Logistics, to handle every aspect of China sourcing.

ABL Logistics offers a complete range of services from China sourcing to warehousing to international shipping. Get a quote today to see how we can maximize your supply chain.


When you’re shopping on Alibaba, it’s important to be aware of the different types of scams that are out there. By being vigilant and knowing what to look for, you can avoid getting ripped off and ending up with a fake product.

Is your manufacturing in China? We are the leading sourcing & shipping service for high-growth companies from the US, Canada, UK, Europe, and beyond. Contact us to get a quote TODAY!

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