Alibaba Sourcing Scams – How to Avoid Them in 2023


As you begin your journey into international trade, Alibaba Sourcing scams should be top of mind. Unfortunately, these scams are prevalent in the global market and can cost businesses a lot of money if they are not careful. 

As we move into 2023, we must know the potential risks associated with Alibaba Sourcing scams and how to identify and avoid them. In this blog, we will discuss how to prevent Alibaba Sourcing scams in 2023, so you can confidently source products from the platform without worrying about being taken advantage of.

Let’s take a closer look!

What is Alibaba Sourcing?

Alibaba product sourcing is finding and acquiring products to be sold on Alibaba, the world’s largest online retail platform. Product sourcing for Alibaba can involve various methods, such as purchasing directly from manufacturers, wholesalers, or distributors. It can also include dropshipping or other alternative supply chains. 

Alibaba has become an increasingly popular marketplace for retailers and entrepreneurs looking to source products from reliable vendors at competitive prices.

Alibaba is an excellent resource for sourcing products and services. Businesses can find a wide range of products and suppliers with its massive online marketplace. Alibaba also offers a wide range of services, such as purchasing and sourcing products, connecting businesses with suppliers, and providing marketing and advertising services.

Alibaba Sourcing Scams – You Need to Know

Product sourcing for Alibaba can be an effective way to buy branded goods at a discounted price, but plenty of scammers lurk within the platform. To ensure that you have the best experience while sourcing products on Alibaba, you must be aware of the common scams you may encounter. 

Here are the most common Alibaba sourcing scams and how to avoid them: 

1. Sending FAKE Branded Inventory

This scam happens when a supplier sends counterfeit products instead of genuine branded items. 

To avoid this scam, always use reputable suppliers recommended by Alibaba and have positive customer reviews. Additionally, always order a sample before placing a larger order to check the quality and authenticity of the product. 

2. Selling Branded Goods but Delivering Nothing

This scam occurs when a supplier claims to sell branded goods but does not deliver any of the promised items after the order is placed. 

To avoid this scam, always check the payment terms and ensure you are protected from the non-delivery of goods or services. Verifying the supplier’s legitimacy is essential by checking their business license, certifications, and other credentials. 

3. Changed Price After Order Placement 

This scam happens when a supplier changes the price after placing an order. To avoid this scam, always ask for a quotation before making a purchase and ensure the supplier includes all applicable taxes and fees in the final price. 

4. Sourcing of Branded Products with Fake Logos

This scam occurs when a supplier offers products with fake logos or brands. To avoid this scam, only source products from verified and trusted suppliers that are certified and licensed. Additionally, always inspect the products before they are shipped to ensure they are authentic and of good quality. 

5. Fake Suppliers 

This scam happens when a supplier pretends to be a legitimate company but is just a fraudster trying to rip off unsuspecting buyers. 

Always verify the supplier’s authenticity by checking their business license and credentials to avoid this scam. Additionally, ensure all the details about the supplier are listed on the website or in their contract. 

6. Poor Quality Product Compared to Sample

One of the most common scams involves a vendor selling you a product with poor quality, much different from the sample they had sent you. Always ask for samples before ordering and inspect them thoroughly to avoid this.

7. Unverified Profile for UK and US

Chinese vendors on Alibaba frequently change their names and present themselves as being based in the United Kingdom or the United States of America.

However, they do sell counterfeit goods that they produce. Some Chinese vendors will rebrand themselves as enterprises based in the United Kingdom or the United States. They will make an effort to make a monetary transaction with you in exchange for purchasing one of their Chinese Alibaba products from you.

On the Alibaba website, you can differentiate between real and bogus sellers. If the vendor is legitimate, their page will have a “blue tick” next to their name.

The blue tick indicates that the vendor is legitimate and only sells authentic products.

You should tread carefully because the absence of a blue tick indicates that the vendor still needs to be validated.

8. Gold Suppliers with Fake Products

The platform has certified many Alibaba vendors as ‘Gold Suppliers.’ This certification is meant to give buyers peace that they’re working with reliable vendors. 

Unfortunately, some unscrupulous vendors take advantage of this certification by selling fake products under the guise of being a ‘Gold Supplier.’ To protect yourself, always verify the validity of their Gold Supplier status by looking for more information about the company on other sites. 

9. Suppliers Refuse to Send Samples

You’ve decided that you like a product, so you make a large order for it. When you finally receive the goods, however, you discover they are of poor quality and damaged.

Some vendors may make an effort to ship you their wares in large quantities. However, when you request that they first obtain a sample of the goods so that you can evaluate their overall quality.

They will tell you no and give excuses that don’t make sense.

We are not suggesting that this is a symptom of a fraudulent scheme. However, it is best to steer clear of new vendors unwilling to provide product samples and refrain from doing business with them.

It is common practice for new suppliers who have been in business for less than a year to steal their customers’ money. New suppliers have been in operation for less than a year. If they pay Alibaba’s annual membership fee, any business can become a supplier on the platform. 

Some new vendors discover that it is difficult to continue doing business after the first year. As a result, they may attempt to defraud as many customers as they can in a short length of time before going out of business.

If you have a legitimate supplier, they will agree to offer you samples, but if they don’t, you should go elsewhere. It is time to move on to better things.

10. Only accepting payment via Western Union or MoneyGram

It is not necessarily indicative of a fraudulent scheme. However, it would help if you still wield caution when dealing with It one.

After receiving the pro forma invoice, you will be provided with information regarding the recipient of the money and the method to send it.

If you find a Western Union or MoneyGram location, you should give sending money severe consideration before doing so.

When you use Western Union to send money, you are sending it to individuals rather than a trading firm or a business that sells licenses for commercial activities. Therefore, there is a reasonable probability that your money could be more secure.

Therefore, you should select a different payment method or search for a vendor willing to take bank transfers, PayPal, or Escrow. These techniques are reliable and will significantly improve your chances of obtaining items of superior quality.

You will be afforded a high level of safety if you make your purchase using PayPal (more precisely, a credit card rather than a bank transfer).

By understanding these common Alibaba sourcing scams, buyers can protect themselves from becoming victims of fraudulent activities on the platform. If you ever encounter suspicious activity while sourcing products on Alibaba, do not hesitate to report it immediately to the platform’s support team.

How to Find the Right Supplier on Alibaba? – Tips to Know

Regarding product sourcing for Alibaba, finding the right supplier is essential. There are many scammers out there, and if you’re not careful, you could end up paying too much or getting poor-quality products. 

To help you stay safe and secure, here are some tips for finding a reliable supplier on Alibaba: 

Pick Gold Suppliers

The Gold Supplier icon next to a company’s profile indicates that the company has been checked by Alibaba’s team and verified as a legitimate business. Gold Suppliers are required to pay a fee to join this program, and the additional screening is designed to assure that the supplier is genuine.

Pick Verified Suppliers

A verified supplier has undergone a third-party verification process. These suppliers are considered reliable and trustworthy because they have been screened by an independent verification organization such as SGS or TUV. 

Don’t Forget to Review the Profile 

Unsurprisingly, you should gather as much information as possible on the supplier before deciding to use it to obtain your goods. Alibaba provides a profile for each supplying agency and company that use the platform. 

They start from the beginning when compiling the information found in these profiles. Therefore, if you are interested in the provider’s history, you can quickly investigate that aspect.

First and foremost, make it a point to read over the profile part of the wholesaler or retailer. Keep in mind that it is essential to note the date they joined the Alibaba platform. It is because the older suppliers are typically the ones who can be relied upon the most out of all the others.

Use Filters for Research

Alibaba is a global platform for business, and as such, it provides users with access to a diverse range of opportunities. It is something that we are all aware of. Alibaba hosts several different agencies. 

Manufacturers, wholesalers, and dropshippers are all included in this group. They distribute their items over the entire planet. Thus, when you’re browsing for any supplier, there is no need to get confused by other possibilities. Therefore, you must use filters if you are investigating reliable suppliers. 

In addition, these filters make it possible to obtain the selections with just a button. When a user reaches out to any supplier on Alibaba, the possibility of falling victim to an Alibaba scam is reduced significantly.

Response Rate is Must

One of the best ways to determine a supplier’s reliability is to check its response rate. If the supplier has a high response rate, they are more likely to respond quickly to inquiries and provide an accurate quote.

Check the Company’s Background

Another critical factor to consider when choosing a supplier is to check the company’s background. You can look at their ratings and reviews and browse their website for more information. It will help you ensure that your chosen supplier is legitimate and trustworthy.

Check the Supplier Name for Scam

Scams involving Alibaba are prevalent in the online market at the moment. That is, purchasers experience some trepidation whenever they contemplate selecting any supplier. 

On the other hand, there is a solution to every problem. You have various options available to you to determine whether or not the provider is a fraud. Google has a solution for everything, including the issue of dealing with con artists.

Therefore, whenever you are contemplating selecting any provider, you may search for the name on Google and add the word “scam” after the business name. It will provide you with more accurate results regarding its history. In addition, you can form an opinion on the absolute validity of the supplier.

Choose Trade Assurance and Assessed Suppliers 

A great way to guarantee that you are working with a trusted supplier is to opt for one that offers Trade Assurance services. 

This service helps protect buyers by providing a 100% money-back guarantee in case the shipment arrives late or has any quality issues. Additionally, suppliers who Alibaba has assessed are usually more trustworthy than unverified ones.

Shortlist the Options

After verifying that every aspect of the supplier has been examined, it is time to create a shortlist of potential vendors and send an email to the one who appears to be the most qualified. There is also an art to selecting the best possible suppliers to work with. You must verify the details again and choose the best available alternative.

Consequently, once you have finished selecting your provider, you should ask your questions in the email. Please make an effort to inquire about their budget, minimum order quantity (MOQ), and shipping time.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that you’re dealing with a legitimate and reliable supplier when product sourcing for Alibaba. Doing your due diligence will help you avoid scams and get good quality products at the best possible prices.


Product sourcing for Alibaba can be a great way to find quality products for a reasonable price, but it can also be risky if you don’t know what to look for. Unfortunately, Alibaba scams are pretty common and can be hard to spot. 

Doing your research ahead of time, asking the right questions, and being aware of red flags are all crucial steps regarding Alibaba product sourcing. You can successfully source your products through Alibaba without getting scammed if you know the potential risks.


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