Two months ago I created a simple test. With this test everybody can check with just 6 questions whether a (Chinese) online store is legitimate or fake. If you haven’t seen this test, please follow this link: Fake Chinese shopping sites – Black list.
After this blog I got a lot of emails of frustrated people who lost their money on fake sites. This week I got a detailed email from Victor who is scammed by a site called www.onsinking.com.
When I checked this site, my conclusion was fake! And the only thing I could say to Victor was, he lost his money…. By leaving a comment on our site, he gave a good insight in how scammers think. Based on his comment I wrote this blog. I’m sure it can help you to recognize scammers next time. So I like to say thanks to Victor!
The site onsinking went offline 3 days ago. I bet the scammers copied the site to a new url address. And I’m pretty sure more people like Victor will fall for these scammers. Fortunately you are warned now!
What Scammers think….
This is what Victor wrote:
Sales Manager from Shenzen (HK) Onsinking Technology Limited sets up your order and asks you to pay through Western Union or T/T with Bank of China. She sends you a real invoice and once you have confirmed your payment she sends you a DHL tracking number. The tracking number provides no information, and when you contact her back she says that customs asked for $150 more to release the goods. Even if you pay the additional money you never see the products or a refund. She ignores your email and skype messages.
His comment is written through the eyes of the victim. But what does a scammer think? I like to point out a few things to get you aware of the tricks these scammers play with you.
Written with the mindset of the scammers:
Victim: Sales Manager from Shenzen (HK) Onsinking Technology Limited sets up your order
Scammer: Why bother for an expensive computerized payment system. Let’s have a fake customer service and our victim will think our shop is real. When he contacts us, we pretend we will help him. Very friendly of course.
Victim: and asks you to pay through Western Union or T/T with Bank of China.
Scammer: Paypal and credit cards can be refunded or tracked. We don’t want that! But with a bank payment our victim has no clue who he is paying. We are safe. We get his money, and our victim will never get his money back.
Victim: She sends you a real invoice
Scammer: We must send a real invoice. Our victim will think he is dealing with a real company and he will get his product. Now wait for the payment.
Victim: and once you have confirmed your payment she sends you a DHL tracking number. The tracking number provides no information,
Scammer: Bingo, he paid for the first time. Let’s fake the shipping. If we send a fake DHL tracking number, our victim thinks it has been shipped. We can say DHL has a computer malfunction with the tracking numbers service.
Victim: and when you contact her back she says that customs asked for $150 more to release the goods.
Scammer: Finally, he’s complaining! Great. Now. Let’s say the parcel got stuck at his customs. Our victim knows he needs to pay for that, so why not ask another 150 USD to handle the inconvenience. Let’s see if he bites. (note: Customs fees are paid in your country. Never pay custom fees to a shop in China!!!)
Victim: Even if you pay the additional money you never see the products or a refund.
Scammer: Bingo again! Our victim paid twice, for the product and the customs. We got the money and will never send a product. Let’s run! But what if he didn’t pay the customs fee? Then we send our victim many extra emails till he does pay! Very friendly of course!!
Victim: She ignores your email and skype messages.
Scammer: Stop bothering us! Your transaction is closed. You paid us twice and you will never get your product. So stop emailing us and we blocked you on Skype too! We will never respond to you again.
Victim: Site is now offline!
Scammer: Oops, our hosting company got too many complaints. Let’s move the site to another hosting/server and do this trick again. Sure there are more people like our last victim.
What happened is a proven way of how people got scammed: They pretend they are real. They let you them pay. They pretend they shipped the article. When you complain, they say the customs need more money and they let you them pay again. When you do, they will never respond again. I hope you will recognize it when something like this will happen to you. Be warned.
Bu the way, if you are looking for real shops, this China store list has 80 tested Chinese online shopping sites.
But….. How do you find these fake sites?
My mission is to filter out these fake sites. And this is what really puzzles me. How do these scam sites find their customers? How do they find you? Or how did you find these sites?
- Do they use Facebook pages or ads
- Do you search in Google/Bing?
- Do you see Google ads? (like the ads on the right side of your Google results)
- Do they send emails for cheap offers, like an offer for a cheap iPhone 6?
- Are they on eBay?
- Are these sites referred by ‘friends’ – mouth to mouth?
- Other ways?
I hope you will help me to answer this question.
Please write in the comment box below, how you found a fake site as described above. And if you haven’t, please tell me if you ever see suspicious emails, ads for very cheap products. Any comment will help.
With your help we can come with a list of ways these scammers use to target their potential victims. From this list I will create a new blog article or update for you, to prevend that you will ever get scammed online.
Wishing you all safe shoppings!
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