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I recently received an inquiry at my website for a shop owner in Australia wanting to carry almost my entire soap design line.  After some conversation, she listed the amount and numbers of items and it's HUGE.  Huge enough I'll have to hire some temp help to do it....if it's legit.  Here are the issues that makes me suspicious:  After posting a massive order, she made no mention of a wholesale policy or wholesale pricing.  She did say that after I calculate estimated weight and shipping, she would be paying by credit card.  If it were me, willing to buy so much, I'd not only be asking for wholesale pricing but probably private labeling, but that's me.  In her favor...she obviously spent a good deal of time on my website, listed very detailed order of items..so she didn't just gloss over it.


SO:  How must I proceed, to move forward in good faith, without being scammed?  I know that CC fraud techniques are far more involved than I can keep up with.  What should I be asking from this potential customer to verify if the order is legit?


Second question:  packing and shipping M&P soaps internationally in mid summer.  Any tips for this?


I love IBN...and would so appreciate any insights, tips or suggestions you may have regarding this order.


Thank you!




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just goes to prove:  "Indies are berrrrry berrrrry smart cookies!"

Grace......to spot a scam...they will usually want to use their own shipper.  I have gone along with a couple of these inquiries, played along until the credit card information.  They will always use more then one credit card.  And, if you run a approval on the credit card..for the full amount.....it will be declined.  These are always scams.  What happens is that you charge the cards....ship the product then the true owner of the credit card reports a fraud and you lose your money.  They always go in favor of the card holder.  Meanwhile...the scammer has gotten the money and your products are who knows where.  I now press "requests" by giving them the total amount of the order and tell them that before I go any further I need a credit card to run an authorization to make sure they have the funds to pay for the order.  That is usually the last time I hear from them.  Sometimes I just want to type SCAMMER in a reply and send them on their way.  Another thing is to notice the language.  These Nigerians, which is mostly what they are, don't use the English language in a normal way.

Hope this is helpful.


Hi Grace,

I received a similar order from a buyer in Cairo Egypt. I passed on it. Then contacted the hotel address he gave for shipping the goods to and let them know someone was using it to ship purchase goods internationally.


My RED flag was he wanted to pay with a credit card, but wouldn't pay online via paypal. 


Then....HE WENT TO MY LINKS! Sent order inquries to several of my friends who are on my links page. 

Thank goodness I keep in touch with the peeps on my links page...no one got scammed!!! 


Oh!.... just saw your reply!!! Thank goodness you found out!!!


Mauh Dear!!! Have a Bubble Love Day!


Wow.  I know there are tons of scams going on everyday but this is ridiculous.  Thank you SO much to all of you for sharing this info here.


I have also received email inquiries asking if I accept credit card payment.  I ONLY accept cc payments via my ecommerce website, which means they never actually looked into placing a real order.  Also, many of those emails will have spelling or grammatical errors and/or are very generic/vague in their questions (i.e. they don't mention any of your products by name) and they often don't ask for wholesale discounts.


Grateful to all you indies who are banding together here!


Hi Grace,

I just received this same email scam yesterday. It sounded very fishy to me too. Thank you for questioning and posting this!



I just checked my spam mail and I got this exact same email today, too!  (about opening a shop in a remote part of Australia)

Thanks for this valuable discussion. We all get excited when people want to buy your products, but we have to be discerning. If it's too good to be true, it probably is, and this is a great place to ferret out the scammers because they contact people en masse. If we share the information, fewer people are hurt. Thank you all for sharing your experiences and saving others great potential harm.


I just had a similar thing happen to me, this one involved China. Met them through an acquaintance. They initially told me they were growing their Chinese customer base online,  these customers are crazy about American products, would love to carry my products, knew a shipping company that charges under $10 to ship anything under 10 lbs, with no tariffs or customs restrictions. Hmm. It turns out they do have an office and business where I live, but their new website looks so cheesy with low quality vitamins and Viagra (nothing wrong with either, just not really a good fit for my product line) and one other skincare company, and it's a membership/MLM thing. I tell them I don't want my products listed on their site, but they still have them up. They keep telling me they want to place orders. Now, I find out that there is no special shipping company as described (only in California, they say), they never tell me the orders, that they need to visit my office and look at my products first before they tell me the order, etc. Weird, fishy stuff like that. Then, when they sense some resistance on my part, they want to buy whatever I have now and they will take care of all shipping for me. 

Maybe I am being too suspicious, but this is not going smoothly at all, and I am getting bad vibes. 

What are your thoughts on this?  I need all the input/help I can get! This is the first time for me dealing with an international company, and the experience is very different from what I experience with companies here, to say the least. 


Thank you!


Theresa....a vast majority of these deals are scams.  You can read about them extensively in "Scambusters".  I always take the route of 'it it seems too good to be true...it probably is".  Personally, I'd run away quick.  There is a place you can also report this kind of thing on Scambusters....I'd do that too....may help someone else!


Hope this helps!

Hi Grace I had received the same thing awhile back, glad you caught it yes total scam!

Hi Grace!

I too have been the recipient of several scammy emails, but I have also been contacted by some legitimate foreign companies, and am in fact finalizing an export agreement with a company in Turkey as we speak. As Cynthia suggested, this company was quite amenable to using a shipping company that I located for them, and was very pleasant to deal with.

It has been an incredible learning experience for me. One thing I found out that may be of help to my Indie sisters is that many states have a local international trade commission, and this can be a valuable resource. Denver's World Trade Commission was able to contact their local scout in Turkey, who then researched the company that had approached me, and was able to verify the company's good standing in the international business community. This was a free service to me, but they also offered a paid in-depth report for about $600 that would supply greater detail about their finances, backgrounds of the principals/owners, and specifics about how they do business with other companies in Europe and the United States.

So, we all need to be on the lookout for scammers, but don't forget that there are other wonderful and legitimate opportunities out there, as well!


Best of luck! I'm rooting for y'all!


Sharon thanks for sharing your actual legit experience!  Absolutely they are out there....but it seems in our Internet world the scams outnumber the legits by 100 to 1. (or more)


This is a very good tip about the World Trade Commission...and the services they may provide...thanks for sharing that!  For small Indies, it's always the best policy to really do your homework up front. 

Here is another question for you:  Do these International companies expect that you send them sample boxes of your product at your expense?  It would seem to me that a legit company would share in that cost at the least...or pay shipping if they wanted samples.  Do you have a policy about this?


Thanks again for your great post!



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