5 Tips on how to spot online fraudsters when setting up a business in Turkey

Online B2B website, Alibaba.com has announced its intentions  to targets 30% more Turkish membership by 2011; As someone who along with others have been scammed before on alibaba.com, I though it appropriate I comment on the online business portal’s Turkish ambitions.

Alibaba.com is the world’s biggest international business to business online marketplace; they have more than 56 million registered users in over 240 countries and have more than 8.2 million storefronts or shops.

Alibaba.com entered the Turkish market in 2008 under partnership with the Logo Group and has about 264,000 members which they aim to increase by 30% in 2011.

Already established in Turkey, Alibaba Turkish site is the second largest market in Europe, after the UK; they gain an average of 5,000 new members per month. Turkish members mainly focus on sectors that have the greatest local growth potential, these are machinery, textiles and leather, food and beverage, and construction sectors.

For example, in the last year Turkish suppliers have seen a 60% increase in buying inquiries to Turkish suppliers for textiles and leather goods.

For people moving to Turkey, alibaba.com is a great way to establish a business and keep a steady stream of income; the website has a lot of fake companies and scammers so here are a few tips on how to deal with traders  and  how to spot a scammer a mile off.

1. Branded products at unreasonably Low Prices

Branded products especially electronics no matter where they come from are not cheap. So beware if a company is offering to sell you a £400 electronic product for £80, such products are fakes that never work and you could be arrested or prosecuted for selling them.

2. Never do business with sellers from Putian, Fujian, China.

Majority of scammers on Alibaba.com come from this region; they always offer a good deal on prices and quantity so beware.

3. Never use western union to send money.

Western union is not a safe way to send money when trading on Alibaba.com, this is because once you send money through western union you have no control over it. Companies who request payment by Western Union are usually scammers who will disappear as soon as they receive the money. Whatever reason suppliers give, never send money using Western Union.

4. Take advantage of Google search

Majority of information such as addresses and telephone numbers given on Alibab.com are false so use Google search to get information about a company before dealing with them.  Even if Google doesn’t have a lot of information on the company, searching the name +fraud or scammer will give all the information needed to verify if they are there to scam you. Such searches always have customer testimonials and forums about previous experiences with the company.

5. Free Shipment Scam

Free shipment is not usually offered by B2B suppliers in international trade because of the varying costs and shipment time to different countries. When giving quotations to buyers, suppliers normally quote in EXW or FOB and add a separate shipment cost.

However, scammers will usually use ‘Free Shipping’ as a method for attracting victims as well as to simplify the buying process and close deals faster. Please be extra vigilant when suppliers in B2B business offer ‘Free Shipping’.

There is always a degree of risk involved in international trade so if you are moving to Turkey and thinking of starting a business through Alibaba.com; use these simple tips to trade safely online.


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