Verifying the Identify of a Supplier (And Avoiding Scammers)

If you have nervous feelings about a supplier and have suspicions that they may in fact be a scammer there are some easy steps to take to verify their identity.

-Type the company’s website into web.archive.org which will return a historical snapshot in time of how that company’s website looked over the past several years. If there is a record of the company for a least a couple of years and they’ve consistently sold the same overall products, they’re likely legitimate. However, the opposite isn’t necessarily true- many Chinese companies may have just recently designed their website and there may be no record for even legitimate companies.

– Google their address. I can Google the address of any one of my supplier’s and I’ll get dozens of listings. Legitimate Chinese Suppliers leave their footsteps in the sand of the internet. They have their company listed in countless directories across the web.

-Request a sample. The company should expect you to pay the freight costs and request a bank transfer for this. If they provide you the name of a beneficiary account name along the lines of “XXX Import Export Company” it probably means they’re a legitimate company. Also, if they send the sample, they’re likely not a scammer either.

-Suppliers who have been “Gold Suppliers” on Alibaba for at least 2 years are likely legitimate.

-Always start your orders small and gradually make them bigger. For your first order, make it small enough so that if you do lose your money, you’re not going to be financially ruined. For your second order, make it slightly bigger. After successfully receiving two orders, you’re likely working with a legitimate supplier.
It’s common practice for a buyer who is looking to import hundreds of thousands of dollars of products from a Supplier to start off with a couple of ‘trial orders’ totalling only a couple of thousand dollars.


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