15 Alibaba Scams: How to Avoid Alibaba Scams/Fraud?

Nov 10, 2022 Chapter 3. Payment

Is Alibaba a Scam? – a joint statement on the internet! Alibaba scams indeed exist, and one may be a victim in case they are ignorant. The details given in this article enables one to escape being a victim of various Alibaba scams. First: Is Alibaba a scam?



Is Alibaba a scam?

Alibaba is not a scam. Contrary to popular concern, Alibaba is completely safe to buy from. It has a range of policies and rules to ensure that all the transactions carried out on this platform are secured and there is no private information breach whatsoever. If you take some right measures, it is absolutely safe and legit to avoid Alibaba scams.

Suppose you’re still unsure about the safety and security of Alibaba. In that case, it’s recommended that you go through the testing steps of the suppliers you’re interested in acquiring products from.


Alibaba Scams vs. Bad Quality:

It should be mentioned that getting scammed on Alibaba and receiving absolutely nothing that you paid for is a completely different case from receiving all your order components but not being fully satisfied with them.

Although receiving poorer quality products definitely fall under the category of “scamming,” that is an entirely different problem that needs to be dealt with.

In most cases, these substandard products cannot pass the strict customs and end up being either discarded, destroyed, or charged an extra fine.

In such cases, it’s possible that you might not receive the products you order and may be under the impression of being “scammed.”

So, After finding an expected supplier, you also should know how to make quality control when buying from Alibaba. This is very important.




Where Can You Get Scammed on Alibaba?

Some of the information here are Alibaba scams, and some of them are potential issues you may get when you buy from Alibaba. I put all of them together so that you will know what you need to pay attention when you buy from Alibaba.

Now let’s start the main things here. I am going to talk about the Alibaba scams and issues from 4 different aspects: suppler, sample, payment, and production.






Avoid Alibaba Supplier Scams

The first aspect is related to Alibaba scams and issues you may experience in the process of finding suppliers.


There 2 main types of non-reliable suppliers on Alibaba. Some suppliers will post hot selling products with very low price and MOQ to attract you to contact them. But actually they are just selling very poor quality products or fake products. After you place order with them, Some of them just have a very bad attitude and don’t want to communicate with you.

Some of them may ran into financial difficulties during the trading process and they may use your deposit money o fill their fiscal gap or to do something else instead of making your products, which may cause you troubles since they cannot guarantee you a normal production process.


So How to Avoid Those Alibaba Suppliers Scams?

  • Tip 1, If possible, you can hire a 3PL to visit their factory and do a factory audit if you can.
  • Tip 2, just step away from the suppliers that cannot communicate well with you since a good communication is always the most important thing in your business. Without a good communication, you can not get the product you want and it could even be a disaster in the end.
  • Tip 3, an overall suggestion to avoid all these potential issue is to try to deal with larger factories. You can normally get a pretty good feel for a company’s size by browsing their Alibaba page. Good signs include like Gold Suppliers status  for 5 years or plus, a large staff (specifically sales staff) number, and just an overall polished appearance.




Avoid Alibaba Samples Scams

The second aspect is related to Alibaba scams and issues you may experience in the process of ordering samples.

Three typical scams you should be aware of in this case.

First, you may get a very very good sample, nearly perfect, but this may just be a little trick played by the supplier, they send you a perfect sample, however, when you place a batch order, you will notice that the quality looks totally different compared to the original sample you received. To deal with this, the best way is to order couple of samples instead of just one and see whether they have consistent quality.

Second, you may receive fake certificates to demonstrate their products comply with the regulations you are looking for. Some suppliers will just claim they have such certificates in order to attract you to purchase from them, however the certificates are created by Photoshop. Some other suppliers will promise to provide you with those certificates after placing order.

However after you placing the order, they do not offer the certificates with various reasons or give you an expired one. Either of this may cause you issues later, for example, your goods may be blocked at the time of customs clearance, or you’ll have to pay thousands of dollars for own certificates. So be careful when you check the certificates that the suppliers provided to you.


The third type of issue you may experience is ordering an infringing products from the supplier, but the supplier did not do it intentionally, since they may not even know that their products are infringing. In this case, do the product research by yourself carefully and check whether the product is infringing.




Avoid Alibaba Payment Scams

The next aspect is related to Alibaba scams and issues you may experience in the process of placing the order and making payment. Again, there are three typical kinds of Alibaba scams here.

The 1st kind of scam is not  the scam by a supplier, instead by a hacker. They will use the email on behalf of the supplier and tell you the bank account has been changed and ask the client to send money to another account. What can you do in such situation? You can try to reach out to suppliers via phone call, skype, WhatsApp and double check with the supplier whether changes are real.

The 2nd kind of scam is that seller will ask you to send money to their personal pocket by giving you special price discount and they will cut communication and disappear after receiving payment Before Production or Delivery.

The 3rd kind of scam is that seller is trying to steal your money at the time of payment via western union or  some other similar payment methods without assurance. If you do payment through these ways, although you may still have a reference number for your transfer, if anything happens, your money cannot be returned.


Overall, to avoid this kind of Alibaba scams, the best way is to pay through Alibaba trade assurance. Paying by PayPal (specifically by a credit card and not bank transfer) offers you very strong protection. If you are paying via wire transfer, make sure the payment is to a company bank account in China.




Avoid Alibaba Production Scams

The last aspect is related to Alibaba scams and issues you may experience in the process of product production process. Several different scams that may occur here.

  • First, the produced product does not have a quality that can match the sample that they sent to you earlier.
  • Second, the supplier may substitute the inferior material that they promised you earlier with bad or lower quality material to save cost and make extra money.
  • 3rd, the supplier may miss the lead times they promised you, like it takes 120 days instead of 30 days.
  • 4th, you may find the quality of the product deteriorates over time.
  • 5th, you may also experience product copyright issues, the factory may give your product information to other competitors or they use your design to make their own money.
  • The last Alibaba scam you may experience is that the factory will ask for higher price using different reasons and threatens you by not delivering your goods.


This is not uncommon. For example, the supplier will say the price of raw material has increased a lot and have to change the price in order for them to start the production. 

Well, this might be true, but sometimes the reality may be that they can not bear the loss of the profit due to increased price of raw materials and they even want to delay the production to wait for the price of raw material to go down again. This may affect your selling plan and you may miss out the best selling seasons, especially for the seasonal products.

So overall, how to avoid these Alibaba scams that can happen during the production process. Here are few suggestions.

Always try to sign a confidentiality contract with the factory and learn how to protect your product intellectual property rights. Confirm with the factory that the copyright of the OEM product mold belongs to you. In addition, after placing the order, do follow up and understand the progress of the production.  And the last thing, do a pre-shipment inspection.


Alibaba Scams Example:

Is there any way to file a complaint against a Chinese or Russian supplier in the U.S? I got scammed on Alibaba; I want to file a complaint against a specific person/representative of the factory who I met in the U.S. at an expo in Nevada.
It’s a long story, but we lost a lot of capital in marketing; they changed their mind over a night after a long time working together.
They hold on to our inventory, didn’t ship it for a week, and then refund the money and gave our inventory to our competitor.
We did all the work for US certification, and FDA cleared, etc…It’s was a long-term Collab to get the products ready to launch in the US, but they give it to someone else’s at the end.
I don’t have a solid contract; it was more of verbal agreement and email threads. I’m hopeless to get my money back, but I do want to put an end to the unfair and misleading business practices they have.








How to Not Get Scammed on Alibaba?


How to not get scammed on Alibaba? Look out for these fifteen elements when evaluating an Alibaba scam and buy from Alibaba safely.


1.Choose Gold Suppliers

In Alibaba’s business platform, a supplier with the title gold supplier can be trusted. The title means that the supplier has a premium paid account status; hence they are genuine. Some scammers on Alibaba cannot afford these payments; therefore, you can quickly know they are not real and can’t be trusted.


2. Use Verified Suppliers

When you find a supplier with the title “Verified Supplier,” it means that the recommended bureau has conducted an inspection on the manufacturers’ firm and verified that they are genuinely carrying out the business. You can check if a supplier has been verified by checking their profile logo and analyzing why they got their verification.


3. Use Trade Assurances

You can check whether a supplier has been accepting all trade assurances before getting into business with them. The platform is used by Alibaba to place and manage orders and payments. You can use the sign to predict if a supplier is trustworthy or not.


4. Check the Suppliers’ Transaction History/Level

You can always check the supplier transaction history on Alibaba because it’s indicated by an orange diamond next to its name. It’s an easy way to see the performance or financial capacity before doing business with them. You can also use the information to find out if the supplier is genuine or not.


5. Check Out the Reviews and Ratings

It is normal to have your doubts when you are doing business with an Alibaba vendor. One of the safest ways to check if the supplier conducts quality services is through the reviews clients leave on the suppliers’ profile. Through the ratings and feedback nowadays, you can access the performance of a supplier. It’s also a great way of determining how genuine a customer is. Through other customer experiences, you can predict how satisfied you will be after getting the same supplier’s services.


6. Do Factory Inspections

One of the safest ways to conduct a perfect background check on a manufacturer is by going through their factory inspection reports. It’s among the easiest ways of telling whether the supplier is genuine or not. You can check whether the company does the services stated on their Alibaba profile and how efficient these services depend on customers’ feedback.


8. Ask for Certificates

You can always use certificates to verify a supplier; however, you need to be very careful because people can scan fake certificates nowadays. Whenever you are checking a supplier certificate, you should look for details like their ISO certification codes etc. Be sure that you are dealing with an ISO certified manufacturer before getting into business with them.


8. Check AliExpress Stores

Nowadays, you can find as many Alibaba stores as many companies are opening AliExpress stores to sell safely and pay using escrow and credit cards. Whenever you find a supplier with an AliExpress store, you need to analyze the store. The details like feedback can help you explore how genuine a supplier is in product quality delivery and dispatch.


9. Live Factory Videos of a Supplier

You can quickly know if a supplier is genuine by checking out their live videos on Alibaba profiles. Alibaba usually produces the videos, so checking the producer can tell that the supplier is real. These are some of the common signs that can tell you if a supplier is genuine or not. Do not let scammers on Alibaba to take advantage of you as a customer. Conduct these background checks before getting into business with them because it’s necessary.


10.Browse Website

Companies with a website in English and describe all the data in detail about the company can be trusted. Once you check a company’s reputation through the website, you can quickly know if you are dealing with the right or wrong supplier. Check out the domain’s registration dates to access how genuine a company is, and the older, the better.


11. Check Trade Shows Data

Among all the safe strategies of analyzing a client’s genuineness on Alibaba, it’s advisable to check their trade show information. Alibaba is an open platform, but people conducting businesses there cannot be trusted easily; hence it is your duty as a customer to do these background checks for your safety. When you check trade shows data, you can know whether the supplier is genuine because scammers didn’t attend trade shows.  


12.Use Google Search Engines and Global Sources Profiles

Before getting into business with anyone on Alibaba, you need to do some background check on their company. Please conduct your research to see how proficient the company is and their level of expertise. That’s how you can tell if the company is legit, and you can click on the links on their website to analyze their previous work. Go through their portfolio keenly using the internet. Nowadays, technology has made it easier for everyone.


13. Ask for Details of the Invoice or preferred Bank

Throughout the negotiation process, you will receive several things like a pro- forma invoice. These are the basic things to look out for in Alibaba before you end up being scammed or get yourself involved with dangerous people. Whenever you notice their details and personal data vary from the profile, don’t dare transfer funds to their accounts.  


14. Negotiate Payment methods

When you are shopping on this platform, you need to be cautious when transferring funds. One way to tell if a supplier is a scammer is by considering his preferred payment method. Whenever a supplier says they prefer MoneyGram or Western Union, know that you are about to get conned. Customer safety is essential, and you need to be cautious when it comes to payment methods. That’s how many vendors scam customers !!


how the alibaba scam works



15. Do Quality Control Service

The pre-shipment inspection mainly check for two aspects:

  • 1st, check whether the product quality meet all of your requirements.
  • 2nd, check whether the labeling, packaging and product information is correct.


There are two ways of doing pre-shipment inspection.

product inspectionYou can hire a hire a third-party inspection agency to go the factory and do a random inspection and verify the product information. If you chose this way, you have to negotiate with the factory that the defective rate cannot be higher than what number, say 3%.  

Another way to do this is to send all your goods to a third-party, like a professional sourcing company who also do inspection service. They have their own warehouse and you can send all your products there for a one-by-one inspection.

In this way, the pass rate of the product basically reaches 99%. There are not many professional companies who can hand this task since it requires a lot of professional labor, but we are proud to say that Supplyia is one of them.





Top 15 Common Alibaba Scammer List:

alibaba scams


1. First Alibaba Scams is dispatching counterfeit items with brandings!

It is Alibaba’s undeniable commonest fraud! In what way does the scam happen? Always the seller sends the buyer counterfeit items with legit brandings. These items always have popular labels, symbols and badges of companies from the west. Unfortunately, victims of buyers only get to know they are scammed after the supplier’s stock is removed.


2. The second Alibaba Scams is stealing intellectual property rights

When you’ve painstakingly spent a lot of money developing a private product, some suppliers will usually secretly produce more without your permission to market it at a lower price or sell it to your competitors.

Always try to sign a confidentiality contract with the factory and learn how to protect your product intellectual property rights. Confirm with the factory that the copyright of the OEM product mold belongs to you. In addition, after placing the order, do follow up and understand the progress of the production.  And the last thing, do a pre-shipment inspection.


3. The third Alibaba Scams is the United Kingdom and the United States’ unconfirmed Alibaba accounts!

Scammers from China start gratis Alibaba account with legit information of the United Kingdom, United States and European Union corporations. These scammers act like the real companies to vend labelled items (also the unlabeled), making people pay for undelivered items. They operate unverified accounts giving no assurance of conducting business with the profiled entity.

Ways to circumvent this fraud? Don’t ever conduct business with unconfirmed sellers on this platform.


4. Fourth Alibaba Scams is channeling payment to a personal account

In what way does this fraud happen?

The seller claimed that their bank was invalid at the time of settlement and suggested transferring to another private account. Often this is the case when the seller’s email has been hacked and they try to direct you to pay into the hacker’s account and try to cover the seller’s eyes and ears.


5. The fifth Alibaba Scams is asking for extra custom bonds payment

After a client has made the payment, the scam works, and days later, the supplier contacts asking for extra cost in custom fees. Failure to pay makes the suppliers complain about how they can not release the goods for shipping. That’s an Alibaba scam right there, and once you notice such an incident, know that you are about to be coned.

You can avoid these Alibaba scams by being cautious because there are no custom bond fees in china. Once you pay the cash, there is no retrieving it; hence you should accept the loss and move on. There is always a next time.


6. The six Alibaba Scams is usually accepting fund transfer through western union or MoneyGram

Many Alibaba scams use this strategy to cone naïve clients. They ask for money with an unfamiliar registration name, and once you notice such behavior, stay cautious.  When a supplier talks about transacting through western union, you need to be cautious as the buyer. That’s how much Alibaba scams occur without the customers’ knowledge.


7. The seventh Alibaba Scams is sales of fake memory goods

Among all the common Alibaba scams, conmen mostly use conmen who target customers through suppliers selling storage goods. The prices seem like reasonable prices, and customers think that it’s a good deal. Little do they know that it’s an Alibaba scam!

 You can avoid such scams by analyzing goods with weird price tags before purchasing them. Keep in mind that not all that glitters is gold!


8. The eighth Alibaba Scams is usually on invoices

The bank account you are supposed to send money to, maybe a personal statement. But it is supposed to be a company account. Once you find yourself in such a situation, you should beware of scams and avoid such Alibaba scams.

The only way to avoid such Alibaba scams is by avoiding sending money to a personal account always ensures that it’s a company account. Before transacting, still, ensure that the details that appear on the bank account match with the ones in the clients’ profile.


9. The tenth Alibaba Scams is usually increasing prices after customers place orders

The ninth scam is usually by selling brands at low prices to attract customers. This is just a scam. Fraudsters generate such offers, and as a customer, you should proceed with caution.

As soon as you notice that the price when you placed an order has changed, you as a customer should be cautious as these are signs of fraud. When acting oddly in the early stages of sample negotiations, you should question how he will behave later.


10. The tenth Alibaba Scams is usually sending out gold samples to customers

You should be cautious when you request a sample from a supplier and realize that the model sent to you is not of the same quality as the one you ordered. Often scammers create gold samples and send them to customers. Once you are satisfied with the sample, and when you place an order, you will find that the production of bulk goods usually cannot reach the production level of the sample.

Although, through Alibaba Trade Assurance, pre-shipment inspection, you can stay away from these scams and avoid losses. But once you are not satisfied with the quality of the product, you may lose 30% of your deposit


11. The eleventh Alibaba Scams are fake certifications by suppliers to prove that their goods are genuine

Many suppliers end up being involved in these scams to evade compliance rules by the bureau of standards. The market place has a lot of competition; hence some suppliers love taking shortcuts, and that’s how they become conmen. As a customer, you need to be aware of these Alibaba scams and check supplier compliance certificates. Do not enter a contract with a fraudulent supplier because you may end up in serious trouble.  


12. The twelfth Alibaba Scams is changing products without a dispatch notification

When dealing with china suppliers, you need to beware of this fraudulent behavior because it often happens. These cases can occur, for instance, when you order one hundred blouses made of cotton, they will arrive as eighty cotton and a mixture of twenty polyester blouses. The suppliers do this a lot, and in case you return the goods, you will not get a refund. These Alibaba scams are common, and you need to be cautious when buying from china suppliers.  

To get customer protection, that’s why you need trade assurance because, in such instances, you can get protected, and the funds will be refunded.


13. The thirteenth Alibaba Scams is suppliers who agree to use a trade assurance and lie later that they didn’t receive their money

You may hear a lot that you can get protection when you use trade assurance, but some fake suppliers play smart. They use this strategy to get more customers, but after getting the customers, they end up coning them. They ask clients to send money; then, after sending cash, the supplier will start by saying that they didn’t get the money to their bank account. When you agree to send money to their bank, there will be no protection from the trade assurance, and you will end up losing your money. That’s why clients are advised to be cautious when dealing with such clients.

You can avoid these incidents as a customer by playing by the rules and regulations set by Alibaba. When you start sending money to suppliers, you will lose all the protection if fraudulent cases arise.


14. The fourteenth Alibaba Scams is using a gold account to scam customers with fake or low-quality goods

Many Alibaba scams use this strategy because they know that customers go for the products with a gold supplier’s name. As a customer, you need to know that suppliers can buy these accounts and still use them for selling fake goods. It doesn’t mean that because a supplier has a premium account, he/she is genuine.  

It is hard to tell which supplier is genuine on Alibaba, but you need to be cautious about your safety. Look at the suppliers’ profile keenly, do a thorough background check on the supplier before getting yourself involved with them. You can visit the factory and do physical examinations on the manufacturer as you analyze their products.

Some important things to look out for include the suppliers’ production capacity; check their compliance certificates keenly to evade Alibaba scams. Customer safety is essential on every business platform like Amazon, eBay, Etsy and others. There are many things customers need to look out for when it comes to sourcing for products online. Failure to beware of fraudsters may end up losing a lot of cash within a short period.  


15.  Disappearance and cutting off communication after transaction and before delivery

Many Alibaba scams with this strategy of coning customers are usually new suppliers with less than a year of experience in Alibaba. The problem with Alibaba is that everyone can become a supplier as long as they can afford membership fees. That’s how many suppliers end up being scammers. As a customer, to evade these Alibaba scams, you need to use trade assurances to choose verified suppliers. Customer safety is essential, and Alibaba tries its best to protect customers. However, it would be best if you protect yourself at personal levels.





Scams on Alibaba Conclusion

Multiple buyers end up getting scammed on Alibaba for low prices unintentionally. So is Alibaba a scam?

The problem is not Alibaba. Alibaba is not a scam. The individual seller who scam people and take their hard-earned money are the true culprits here.

By using the above steps, you can make sure to avoid Alibaba scammers and only purchase products from actual sellers.

Hire a China sourcing company also is a good choice to avoid Alibaba scams. Well, from the guidelines in the article, you will stay woke and evade Alibaba scams easily. The worst thing that can happen to anyone is getting scammed!

You are now in the know, and you can quickly put these tips in practice to know genuine vendors from scammers! With the guide, your chances of getting scammed on Alibaba are low. You have to be very greedy and avoid every red flag and common-sense warning to fall for those Alibaba scams.




Frequently Asked Questions about Alibaba Scams

Can you get scammed on Alibaba?

That’s a common thing in Alibaba because, in this world, not everyone has pure intentions, so some vendors scam customers. The main thing to look out for on all sales platforms is suppliers’ genuineness before trusting them. These things happen daily, and the activity is usually beyond the manager’s control. Watch out for some sites with unscrupulous suppliers! Protect yourself as a customer for your safety

Is it safe to buy from Alibaba com?

Among all the online sales platforms, Alibaba is ranked among the best and safest places to buy your goods. The venue has several reputable and trustable sales practitioners; hence its a legit business platform. Alibaba has a set of rules and guidelines that protects customer safety, and it is known to be among the best platforms. Your customer rights will be covered on the platform; hence you can easily avoid getting scammed.  

What happens in the platform is that customers and buyers are brought closer through this connection; hence it is your duty as a customer to know what’s best for you.

Is Alibaba legit?

The truth is that Alibaba is a great and safe online sales platform full of genuine products and vendors. However, you need to evaluate your supplier of choice as a buyer or customer to know if they suit you. Appraising a supplier is an essential process, and there are specific considerations you need to make before choosing the right supplier. That’s the only way to tell if a supplier is genuine or is a scam!

Why is Alibaba so cheap?

Products sold on Alibaba are usually cheaper because the products are made in China have a lot to do with the possible “cheap” price. Chinese manufacturers through hire “cheap labor” to reduce production costs—the cost of electricity. Another reason is that China has a complete supply chain from material to mass production.

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1 year ago

If you’ve lost money to a scam or given out your details to a scammer, you can still get back your lost money. However, there are steps you can take straight away to limit the damage and protect yourself from further loss.
I have had my share of binary options scams and Alibaba .I lost over USD 200k , and I was still told to send more money to unlock my account and also on the Alibaba website. I reached out to Lallroyal (.org) and they helped me get my money back from the scammers.
If you have ever been scammed and you wish to get money back you can pursue your case with Lallroyal recovery on google.Do not forget to be more carful when dealing online with customers.

1 year ago

Just got scammed by one of the Alibaba freight forwarder who quoted $12.5/Kg price and once my product reached at his place changed the price to 50/Kg.

When I contacted Alibaba they told me they can’t do anything as they don’t offer non-deliverable goods(Logistics Services) trade insurance.

Last edited 1 year ago by Rohan
Josh Bellamy
Josh Bellamy
5 months ago

I remember being scammed on Telegram by a fake customer support agent, i lost $17,000 just because I clicked on a malicious link. I felt really stupid and devastated and tried everything to get my money back but all to no avail, I was already losing all hope when a friend introduced me to yixiao@supplyia.com;he’s a digital forensic & recovery expert, he was able to help me recover my stolen funds and I’ll be forever grateful to him, you can reach out to him if you have a similar issue, don’t lose all hope yet!