How to detect a fraudulent Chinese seller

New Member
1 0 1

This  guideline on how to detect a fraudulent Chinese seller is almost as safe as a Durex and will protect you from losing your hard earned money or being sacked by your superior.

The first step is a quick and dirty test on the information just in front of you. The test will reveal warning signs of a swindle and is straightforward to conduct. All you have to do is simply answer YES or NO to the information in front of you. YES raises a red flag.

The low hanging fruits:

  • The online seller got your attention because product prices are significantly lower than the average market price for the exact same product.
  • Sells a highly diverse range of unrelated products such as watches, baby toys, shoes, wallpaper, plastic pipes, photo frames
  • The website is only in English. There is no Chinese version or reference to a Chinese company name
  • No ICP filing number on the bottom of the website. The ICP number is issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and required for websites hosted on servers located in China.
  • A Google search shows that the company is associated with a scam and negative reviews

Contact and location:

  • The only contact number is a cell phone number (Country code + 11 digits eg. +86 139 XXXX XXXX) and no landline to call (country code + area code + number (5 to 6 digits)
  • The mobile phone number begins with 17x xxxx xxxx.
  • The seller is located in one of these places:
  • Zhengzhou, Henan
  • Xian, Shaanxi
  • Anhui province
  • Wuhan, Hubei
  • No company email, contact email is from a free email service provider like,,,,, (note: to be fair, then there are a lot of legit operations in China where employees send mails from free service providers but nevertheless dishonest sellers never use a company email)
  • The office or factory address points to a location in a residential area. (Can be difficult to assess for non-Chinese speakers but try to look up the address on the Google Map satellite photo. In most cases you will have an impression of the surroundings)
  • The contact works alone and is not an employee at a company
  • The contact person has a weird English name like Alien Wang, Flower Huang, Scorpio Zhang

If the quick and dirty test turns out positive (you reply No to all or most of the questions), you can move on to discuss your purchase with the Chinese seller. However, there are still a couple of issues where you should walk away

  • The seller wants you (for whatever reason) to pay into a personal account or foreign account outside of China
  • The seller can only receive payments through Moneygram or Western Union.
  • Shipping is only by EMS (Operated by China Post)
  • The seller asks for additional customs clearance fee
  • Information on the invoice does not correspond to company information.

The guideline is built on the most common and renowned signals that should prevent you from falling into a trap. However, it is still strongly advised to conduct an in-depth background check on companies that do not trigger any of the most obvious warning signs. The quick and dirty test cannot safeguard you against from overpaying to a trading company that claims to be a manufacturer or conducts a risky transaction with a newly established company.

To add an extra layer of protection, you should always ask for a copy of the business license and verify that the information is correct. I can do a preliminary verification completely free of charge. The business license verification can reveal information about business registration number, legal representative, registered capital, registered business scope etc which is enough information to press legal charges and hold the company accountable for misconduct.

If you consider placing a large purchase order from a Chinese company that appears to be legit it is moreover advisable to check with Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and China Custom that the company possesses all the necessary permits and approvals to conduct foreign trade and request a copy of the bank account permit to verify.

Please share and provide constructive input or suggestions that can improve the quick and dirty test.

Originally posted on 

New Member
8 0 0

Great! Agree On That. Maybe we'll find these fraudulent suppliers only if we're looking for cheaper, cheaper prices. In general, the basis for selecting a supplier is visibility. For suppliers that have a reputation, we can't make a judgment based only on the evaluation of some of them. After all, being famous and growing for many years must have its advantages. We can only judge if we experience it ourselves and communicate with the company.


We recommend verify details and the documents provided by Chinese companies.

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Hi @Chinesecompanyc 

An awesome guide. Thank you. We Help Shopify Dropshippers
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40 0 3

I have come across an blog article. I think it provides some good points to help you detect the bad apples from the good ones.

You can access the article with this link: