Tips and Practices to Avoid Scams
In my previous blog, I was talking about The 3 Most Common Scams. So you might be thinking “Oh my God how do I protect myself?”. Here’s the good news, it’s easy to avoid scams. All the scary things we talked about can be avoided if you follow a couple of tips and practices in this blog post.
1.) Ask for references
Don’t focus only on price. Do your research, make sure that this is a legitimate seller, ask for references, and do some due diligence. Most buyers skip this important step. Maybe hire an auditor, or visit the factory yourself. If you’re sitting here saying “My order is too small, I can’t pay a few hundred dollars for due diligence”, or “I don’t want to fly to China”, then maybe you shouldn’t be buying from China in the first place.
2.) Structure payments to performance
It’s not enough just to say “I’ll pay you after you ship,” because the seller can ship you a box of rocks or a box of junk. A more professional way is “Here’s a small deposit up front”, maybe “Here’s a small second payment after it ships”, and then the third final payment after it’s delivered. Especially, if you tie in that second payment with some independent factory inspection, then you’ve linked the factory’s performance with your payments. They need to meet a certain milestone, and then you pay them. The scam artist will often say “We don’t accept third party inspection, we don’t allow quality control to come in from outside parties”, and you’ll start seeing that “Alright, this person is out there to scam us.” As soon as you start talking about the independent inspection, paying after the quality has been verified, you’ll knock out 90% of the scams.
3.) Check SupplierBlackList
Also, any buyer should go online, plug in the name of the Chinese seller and the keyword “scam” on Google or go visit supplierblacklist.com, because when people get ripped off, they want to tell the world about it. If the seller has scammed other people, you might be surprised at how much information you can find by a simple Google search or a keyword search under supplierblacklist.com.
4.) Verify the verifications
For example, a vehicle for sale that actually had a logo said “Verified by SGS” and “Officially verified supplier with global sources and Alibaba”. They had all the stars, so they’re claiming that they’re a verified supplier by a famous online directory. As buyers, we even have to verify the verifications, because those logos can be photo shopped very easily. It’s one thing to go to a scam artist’s website and for them to tell you “We’re on the global sources network” or “We’re an Alibaba, gold supplier.” It’s very different then if you go to an online directory of global sources, tradesparq, or Alibaba and see on the official website that this supplier is legitimate. Don’t just take the seller’s word for it that they’re verified because they tell you they are. You need to actually find out what’s their verification number, double check it, and then you’re really safe.
Long story short, don’t be scared. The simple practices will avoid the scams. In this blog post we covered how to avoid the scam artist that are out to get you. If you need help with Due Diligence, you may click here to contact us and get our rate sheet.
About the Author: Michael J. Bellamy
Originally from Upstate New York, Mike moved to Asia in 1993 and is a China business advisor to both Fortune 500 companies and small businesses. Recognized as an expert on doing business in China, he has been interviewed by WSJ, CNBC, FT & Bloomberg.
A featured presenter on China issues at seminars, trade shows and corporate events across the globe.
Learn more about Mike and AsiaBridge Law at