The most common AliExpress scams and how to avoid them

Anton P. | September 27, 2023

AliExpress scams can ruin your efforts to find a bargain on this online retail service. Although AliExpress is known for cheaper buying options, scammers sometimes leave trusting buyers with nothing.

There are common AliExpress scams trusting buyers might fall prey to. In this article, you will learn about some of the most common scams. Additionally, below, you will find the steps for reducing the chances of being scammed on the AliExpress platform.

Learn to avoid common AliExpress scams.

What is AliExpress?

Launched in 2010, AliExpress is an online retail platform based in China. It is part of Alibaba Group Holding Limited, a large multinational technology and e-commerce company.

AliExpress provides a platform for retailers in China to sell their products online and ship them all over the world. Meanwhile, online shoppers gain access to lower prices, which AliExpress is known for.

Is AliExpress legit and safe to purchase from?

Low prices on AliExpress might cause some concerns over the quality of products on the AliExpress platform. Is AliExpress safe to buy from?

As mentioned above, it is not a scam site itself, yet AliExpress scams do exist. Unlike some of its competitors, such as Amazon, AliExpress does not have its own products to sell. All it does is provide a platform for sellers and take a commission from each item sold.

Thus, you might encounter all kinds of sellers on this platform. Most will be trustworthy and provide you with precisely what they promise. Yet, you might come across someone selling counterfeit products or attempting to hustle you somehow.

AliExpress has instated measures to minimize the risks. For example, the buyer protection program entitles buyers to full refunds whenever they do not receive what was promised.

Buyer protection lasts for up to 90 days after the order is shipped. During this period, you should either receive the package or contact the seller to resolve delivery issues. If communicating with the seller fails, open a dispute for AliExpress to review the case.

Some of the most common AliExpress scams

There are many ways someone might scam you when shopping online. Keep an eye open for the following AliExpress scams.

  1. Wrong tracking number

The seller might provide you with the tracking number for a different shipment without shipping you anything. Once that shipment gets delivered, the seller marks yours as closed, too.

You can open a dispute about it. Most likely, the seller will provide tracking information as proof of a successful delivery. You can contest it when the tracking shows that the delivery address is not your residence. 

However, careful scammers will not leave such an address in the tracking details. In that case, unfortunately, there is little you can do aside from leaving a bad review.

  1. Cheaper shipping option

You might want to pay extra for a faster delivery. Some sellers will take the extra money but use a slower, cheaper shipping method.

You can open a dispute to get the surplus of the shipping fee back. If you do, wait until the package arrives to make sure that there are no other issues. 

You can only dispute the same order once. Thus, the seller might use the slower shipping method as a decoy to have you dispute the order too early. Meanwhile, they could have sent you a wrong or faulty item, which you can no longer dispute.

  1. Asking to close the dispute

Many AliExpress scams revolve around the seller trying to get you to close the dispute before resolving it fully. They promise to resend or refund the order, maybe even something extra, if you close the dispute as soon as possible. 

They say that you will be able to reopen the dispute later if necessary. They ask you to preserve their reputation on the platform. If you believe them, you will probably receive nothing and never hear from them again.

You cannot reopen the dispute after closing it. Never trust the seller who says otherwise.

  1. Payment-related AliExpress scams

You can choose from different payment methods on AliExpress, including direct transfer, PayPal, and credit card. The safest way is using AliExpresses escrow service – Alipay. It holds your payment until any dispute is resolved and will refund you if needed.

Dishonest sellers will want you to stray away from secure payment methods. For example, they can ask you to transfer money to their friend’s bank account. If you follow their instructions, you might not be able to receive a refund after a failed delivery.

  1. PayPal refund scam

The seller might make a separate transaction via PayPal to refund you the money. When you close the dispute or after the buyer protection expires, the seller can get PayPal to charge the money back.

Using a different method for your initial payment and PayPal to get the refund makes this possible. In this case, from PayPal’s perspective, the money the seller sends you is not a refund but a payment. The seller can then get a chargeback from you, claiming fake issues. 

Tips to avoid scams on AliExpress

There is very little you can do after becoming a victim of AliExpress scams. However, the following steps will help avoid getting into such situations.

  • Check the seller’s rating and reviews. You might read stories in the reviews describing one of the AliExpress scams above. Only buy from reputable sellers.
  • Check the number of orders shipped. Some scammers keep closing their accounts and opening new ones to cover their tracks. Be careful if the store has no or very few orders shipped.
  • Avoid products at unrealistically low prices. If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 
  • Stick to secure payment methods. Do not send money to third parties.
  • Do not let the buyer protection expire. Always know for how long it is still valid.
  • Only close the dispute after it is actually resolved. You will not be able to reopen it. 

Following these simple tips and standard online shopping procedures will significantly decrease the risk of falling prey to AliExpress scams.

Anton P.

Anton P.

Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.



© 2023 Atlas VPN. All rights reserved.