GOAL MESSAGING: Trust piece on how we use our security features to validate and grow suppliers for payers.
Let’s talk about a topic that is often UNDER-discussed in the world of eCommerce when it comes to being an online merchant or third-party seller: FRAUD.
Fraud exists in any industry.
And just like any other industry, it really doesn’t matter if you’re just starting our as an eCommerce seller on Amazon, Alibaba, Wish, Shopify, Rakuten or another marketplace - or if you’re a seasoned, 7-figure seller: anyone can become a victim to fraudulent, digital scams.
Did you know?
- In 2018, a total of $423 million was lost in wire transfer scams
- In 2020, the FTC got more than 2.2 million reports about fraud
- People reported nearly $3.3 billion in losses in 2020
- Online shopping and negative reviews were the second most reported fraud category of 2020
Online sellers have to be particularly careful regarding fraud when it comes to sourcing inventory and working with different suppliers.
More often than not, the supplier you’ll be working with will be located overseas. Paying overseas suppliers is often where wire fraud comes so easily into play. However, there are more risks involved.
Below, we dive into some of the most common supplier scams, as well as tips online and marketplace sellers can use to avoid fraud.
MOST COMMON SUPPLIER SCAMS
The first list consists of different types of supplier scams and fraudulent activity that are rare when using a PingPong account to pay suppliers and conduct other areas of your online business. The PingPong platform, our security measures and thorough KYC significantly diminish or eliminate the likelihood of these types of scams from occurring to our customers:
- A supplier changes the payment recipient at the last minute
- Requesting additional payments for customs clearance
- Only accepting payment through certain platforms, like Western Union
- Payment info that does not match the factory information
- Requesting a payment be to a personal Account
Many of these scams are eliminated organically via PingPong’s standard of security features. The first being KYC, or Know Your Customer.
KYC is a compliance regulation and safety protocol that PingPong conducts on behalf of all of our customers. The procedures fit within the broader scope of a bank's Anti-Money Laundering (AML) policy. The process involves verifying customers are who they say they are, simply to conduct business on our platform.
The protection works both ways. When the time comes to pay a supplier, we take additional measures to match your supplier’s bank info, identity and other information to the information they provide.
You want to know who you're paying, right?
For all you know, the invoice you’ve received from a supplier could be photoshopped.
The bank account information your supplier provided should be a professional, business account - and not a personal banking account.
This is where PingPong’s KYC extends to our customers’ suppliers.
Here’s what PingPong will do for you:
Here’s Why We Do This:
- prevents money laundering
- Match suppliers to their company name, bank accounts, and passports
- Ensures the person you’re doing business with is who they say they are
This means your supplier has to pass these rigorous security checks before PingPong gives you the green safety light to start paying them.
Imagine opening a bank account. An ID is provided, with a social security number. A personal (or business, in the case of a business account) address and phone number is provided.
You cannot waltz into a bank, be assigned an account number and begin banking without this verified information.
This is what PingPong provides its customers. This heavy layer of protection gives you more confidence to send money to a supplier than blindly sending a wire transfer to a name and account number you’ve been given by a person you’ve never seen or met.
Furthemore, PingPong’s platform is integrated with various layers of multi-factor authentication security measures implemented to protect sellers. We make it next to impossible for fraudsters to access your account information, and require the highest level of verification to access monetary aspects of your account.
Unlike wire transfers, PingPong loves a good paper trail - meaning TRANSPARENCY! That’s how business should go down: safely, for all parties involved with a paper trail holding everyone accountable. And you already know the supplier you’re paying has been vetted and checked off security boxes, giving you ultimate peace of mind.
GOOD TO KNOW
There are four major banks in China that they almost certainly will use: Industrial And Commercial Bank of China (aka ICBC), China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, and Bank of China. The account name should match the business name. There are cases, though, where they will have a Hong Kong Office and manufacturing in the mainland if they give you an HK company to pay to be very diligent and make sure you double and triple-check everything
PingPong Actively (and Organically) Helps Prevent Supplier Pay Scams for Sellers: Here’s How
Check out how traditional supplier payments are made - meaning via wire transfer or other alternative methods - and what PingPong does differently:
PingPong makes paying suppliers easier - AND SAFER!
RECAP: Verifying Your Supplier
- Verify your supplier’s contact information
- Verify your supplier’s account information
- Match your supplier’s business name and information to account name and information
Things you Can do:
- Dial the supplier and see if they answer their listed contact information. Their phone should be in working order.
- Identify the supplier’s full business name and contact information on the website. Note whether the information is transparent on their website or if it’s difficult to find.
- Check business reports. There are forums and websites such as Better Business Bureau that collect information for these purposes. Even companies that are not US companies can be found on such sites.
ADDITIONAL SCAMS TO LOOK OUT FOR
- Counterfeit products
- Poor quality products or products not to your standards
- Products not matching the sample products sent
- Selling products that do not exist or they do not have access to
- Refusing to send samples
- Unverified profile on different marketplaces
If you’re new to the Amazon selling space and you’re in search of useful knowledge that will help you cut to the chase when it comes to the other dos and don’ts of paying your suppliers, you’re in the right place.
There are a few universal best practices to keep in mind when it comes to choosing a supplier, paying them and safely receiving your goods. To make it easy, we’ve compiled them here. Vets, feel free to weigh in with any additional tips in the comments.
Common Best Practices
Payment Agreements - The most commonly accepted agreement we see when it comes to striking a deal with suppliers is a 30/70 contract.
What does this mean?
It means you’ve found a supplier you want to buy goods/products from (you may have even had several different suppliers send you samples by this stage), you’re going to order 1,000 rollers from them (or whatever you and your customers are into), and it’s time to show them you’re serious.
Never Send 100% payment Up Front.
Why? Because you don’t know these people. They live in a different country and you haven’t met them. Establish a rapport.
Pay 30% of your invoice upfront - to start production, and the remaining 70% later when production is complete. Think about it. If anything goes wrong for any reason, you’ll only be out 30% of your money instead of 100%. Make sense?
There’s an additional step before you should sign off and send the remaining 70%.
PRODUCTION -> INSPECTION -> PRODUCTION COMPLETE
Hire someone to do an inspection on what you ordered. Don’t blindly accept and store or ship your goods to a warehouse without doing this. It’s common to hire someone to ensure you’re getting what you ordered. Suppliers expect this. An inspector can check all sorts of things that help eliminate fraud:
- Drop test
- Correct Barcodes
- and so much more
A lot of sellers do this for at least the first 3 orders when working with a new supplier. Also, double-check that you aren’t violating infringement laws/risks. Confirm patents and trademarks. If another brand is selling a similar product, you want to make sure legal action won’t be taken against you for attempting to sell that product.
About PingPong Payments
PingPong Payments was founded in 2015 with the mission of helping global e-commerce sellers keep more of their profits by beating the rates traditional banks offer. Today, the company acts as a multi-dimensional growth partner to more than 750,000 online sellers worldwide, has processed more than 90billion in cross-border payments for e-commerce merchants to-date, and transfers more than 150 million per day for international e-commerce sellers. Global merchants around the world trust PingPong Payments to help them save on cross-border payments, VAT & supplier payments, and more. PingPong works with reputable brands such as Citibank, J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo that have won licenses to operate efficiently and are subject to strong regulatory and supervisory frameworks across the U.S., Europe and Asia.