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Chinese Trading Scam Sites – how to spot and avoid a growing Internet rip-off


Just a note to warn all you good folk against buying gear from some of these new Chinese scam sites like They look really professional, have a great selection of consumer technology, and – here’s the real clue – all at unbelievable prices. An iPhone 3GS at $198.99? Yeah right!

If you’re tempted, be aware that the goods you’ve paid for will mysteriously get stuck in customs somewhere and you will be asked to pay an extra sum of money to get them out. Needless to say you won’t see your product or money again. A newer version of the Nigerian scam.

Anyhoo, just thought we’d mention it. Stay clear, and be aware that if a price seems too good to be true, then it isn’t true! Be aware that the scammers set up and shut down domains at high speed, so just because a Google search doesn’t show up a particular store you’ve found as a scam, doesn’t mean it’s legitimate.

Some other URLs to watch out for right now according to these sites:

Here’s some helpful information on how to recognise the type of scam (seems to have been going on for a few years and getting worse).

1. Web Shop Scams. Excellent blog post detailing the scams.

2. Avoiding Web Scams. Good checklist to follow if you’re suspicious.

3. Cheap Electronics Scams. Great run-down of what to watch for.

4. Scammed by a Chinese Seller. A more current page.

 Names of these outfits keep changing, so don’t pay too much attention to the name. The telltale sign is their insistence on insecure payment methods (wire or bank transfer, PayPal or E-Gold), as well as the use of a bogus physical addresses.

Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.

1 Comment

  • i buy from china, but i always pay using they don't release the money until i receive and approve of the products

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