With the number of people entering into the world of international trade continuing to grow it is also unfortunate to see the number of newcomers to the industry falling prey to fraudsters also rise. This article will outline a number of things to remember when choosing potential business partners.

Rule 1: Never be greedy

Many people fall for a fraudster's trap of low prices because they feel that the prices offered are too good to miss. When buying products, research the market first to determine a realistic price. If the price the seller offers to you is far lower than the current market price, say 50% or 1/3 of the market price, it is imperative to pay close attention to every aspect of the transaction. Low prices don't always mean fraud, but drastically low prices require a closer look before you buy. One strategy is to ask. the seller as much as possible about the product. The more difficult and technical the question is, the better. If the supplier is unable to answer you it may be wise to pass on this deal.

Generally speaking, fraudster's tend to offer hi-tech electronic commodities such as mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras, plasma TVs, etc. Suspicious sellers will offer very low prices and request payment via wire transfer (Western Union) or credit card.

The following is a typical scenario of someone falling victim of the low-price scam. A buyer discovers what appears to be a reputable factory offering very competitive prices and requests a sample. The good quality sample is sent to the buyer who in turn places a large order. When shipment is received the products are of a lower quality and could not be sold. The buyer complains to the manufacturer who replies by stating that the quality of goods is determined by the price offered. If the price is low then it follows that the quality will probably also be low. 

Rule No. 2: Choose safe payment methods

During negotiation arrange with sellers to accept safe payment methods such as PayPal, Escrow, L/C, etc. A lot of people get caught using Western Union which is a fast, easy and convenient ways to send funds to people who you know. Western Union was NOT indented to be used a payment vehicle for business transactions with strangers.  

Rule No. 3: Visit the manufacturer's factory

Before or after placing a large order, buyers are recommended to visit the manufacturer's factory. If this is impractical then it is advised to employ a reputable inspection agency to visit on your behalf and to check your order before shipment. An inspection report from a third party agency can save you time and money as you will be able to decide what, if any, action is necessary before shipment when an order fails to live up to the specifications agreed upon before manufacturing commenced.

Following the tips above can hopefully help to reduce the risk of falling prey to fraudulent activity.