Sun 4 Apr 2010
On my German blog I posted some information about the most popular China-related online scam. I often get emails from companies or private customers of scammers who ask for assistance after they got ripped off. Normally there is nothing you can do after transferring the money. Just do not send them anymore.
Here is a short summary of the most popular methods
- cheap branded articles or electronic articles are offered on online shops with a very professional layout. The support seems to be great, too. The contact happens via phone, skype, email. The prices of the products are often just 30% of the marked price in Europe or the US. After you did the payment, the scammer will ask for another payment, using some excuse like the goods are hold back by the customs. Or the special offer suddenly expired or their supplier needed more money. Whatever. If you paid per Western Union, there is normally no way to get your money back. You wont find any company under the address mentioned in the imprint of the website.
- Domain registration is also very popular scam. You will get a message by an “official domain name registrar” who received a request by a company who wants to register a domain name like “your-company-name.cn” or “your-company-name.cn.com”. Just move those mails into your spam folder. Their only goal is to sell you an overpriced domain registration with their company
- Forwarding payments or goods to China: This is also very popular. A Chinese company seeks represantatives in several countries. Your job as representative will be to accept payments by their customers and forward them to China. Of course they will never delier any goods. They just need your account to create trust because many of their customers will hesitate to transfer money directly to China. You will get paid by cheque. The cheque is a counterfeit. Or sometimes they will ask you to accept orders of goods and forward them to China. They do not pay those goods and after a few weeks you will get trouble with the supplier
- Sudden contacts to potential business partners: A Chinese company contacts a western company and invites them to negotiations about a huge contract to China. They will ask you to pay for hotel fees, food, give them expensive presents. After the “negotiations”, they will suddenly disappear.
- Sales of academic titles: You can “buy” them online or even at the side entrances of universities in China. Those titles are worthless of course, even if you do some “academic work” to get them.
- Orders per cheque: A Chinese company contacts a Western supplier and orders goods. Payments will happen with counterfeit cheques from third parties (who have no idea about any payments). Sometimes the bank clerk will credit the cheque and the goods are delivered. After a while the third party will bounce the cheque and your goods are lost.