How to protect yourself from fraudsters – our expert tips

In recent times an increasing number of fraud cases have been reported again, during which Swiss SMEs fell foul of fraudsters. Methods are becoming more and more sophisticated, and cases of fraud are rarely recognizable as such straight away. It’s therefore worthwhile taking a closer look.

keyboard safe

Imagine you are contacted by a company which, after receiving a small amount of rather superficial information about your products, decides to place a large order. The company is even prepared to pay some of the invoice amount in advance. You are then asked to pay administration, registration, or notary fees based on “regional customs or procedures,” and you may also be invited to visit them on site. It is at this point, at the very latest, that you should pay close attention, as you are probably dealing with fraudsters.

What to pay attention to at the moment

The case mentioned above is real and is only one of many that we are hearing about from China at the moment. And with such cases, you really should proceed with caution. Our experts on site have summarized detailed information and further examples for you. It's not only China, as other examples, such as those observed in Ghana and Russia, are popping up time and again.

No details, advance payments und «too good to be true»

Scams come in all shapes and sizes, but the underlying ideas are usually quite similar. For example, you should proceed with caution if:

  • an offer seems too good to be true.
  • high sums are involved, which are unusual for an order in your industry.
  • no technical details about the order or the product have been discussed.

Other indicators of fraud may be:

  • Your offer is accepted directly without any real negotiations.
  • The request is made spontaneously without any prior contact with the company or the intermediary.
  • Before completion of the order, you are asked to make a payment, for registration purposes for example.
  • Bank accounts are registered under a personal name.
  • Apart from the website, you cannot find any information about the company via search engines.

What should you do if you are uncertain?

Your own gut feeling can be a good indicator, although unfortunately it is not always enough. So come to us. On the one hand, we can help you with uncertainties and, on the other, your case can help others. After all, the more we know, the better we can help.

We’re there for you

Please contact us at any time if you are uncertain. Our experts at ExportHelp are there for you. For specific questions about China, please contact Daniel Bont, Senior Consultant China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

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