So how do you stay safe from fraudsters and scammers when shopping on AliExpress? The same way you do everywhere else. Here are four tips if you follow them, you should have no problems.
- If the price sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
This is how scammers get you; they reel you in with the promise of a once-in-a-lifetime deal (this is one of the strategies used in the recent spate of eBay fraud). Check other sites to see what the going rate is for whatever you want to buy to make sure that the price on AliExpress isn’t far too low. If it is extremely low, you’re probably buying a counterfeit product or being set up for a scam.
- Use Alipay’s Escrow service.
Escrow protects you in a number of ways. First, your credit card details aren’t given to the seller, so you don’t have to worry about them stealing your identity or going on a shopping spree with your card. Second, the payment isn’t released to the seller until you’ve confirmed that you’ve received your purchase. So if you get scammed, you can just get an easy refund from AliExpress, and not have to go through the long, painful, and probably hopeless refund process with the seller.
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- Check the seller’s feedback before buying.
If a seller has a bad reputation for defrauding buyers, there will likely be evidence in their feedback and reviews. Be wary of sellers with any mentions of not delivering or sending sub-par goods. In the time I’ve spent on AliExpress, I’ve seen mostly positive reviews, and I’ve never had a problem getting what I’ve ordered. But it’s still important to be on the lookout.
- Check your order carefully when you receive it.
Because the escrow system allows you to withhold payment until you’ve received your order, you can confirm that you got what you paid for. Make sure everything is included, that it looks like what you ordered, and that, if you bought a brand-name item, it doesn’t look like a fake.