One Born Every Minute: Beware of Chinese Online Scam

October 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm 11 comments

My uncle has been living in the States for as long as I can remember, but his trust in the human race remains undiminished. Sometimes, Ii’m afraid, it borders on naiveté with dire consequences.

He’s the same uncle that I wrote about in this post.

If he’s not my uncle, I’ll call him a sucker many times over. But he happens to be my uncle, so I’m not going there. Besides, it runs on the family. I confess there are them days when I can be one as well.

Take case when he decided to buy an iPad for his granddaughter. It was one of those spur of the moments thing triggered by an e-mail ad that he received recently. It came from a company called HongKong Aroa-shop Electronic Trade Co., Ltd. It offered to sell an iPad 2 for $140. With Walmart selling the same item for $499, how could he or anyone else resist such a bargain?

My uncle contacted the company’s manager, Lincoln Guo, and placed an order. As instructed, he sent his payment through Western Union payable to:

First Name : Hongying
Last name : Zhu
City : Shenzhen
Province : Guangdong
Country : China
Postcode: 518000

After receiving the money, Mr Guo promptly sent him an e-mail saying that the iPad had been shipped via DHL and provided him with the tracking number.

A day later, Mr. Guo followed up with another e-mail bearing bad news. He said that the package containing the iPad was placed on hold at the Chinese custom. It could only be released if my uncle pay the import tax due. He warned that if the tax wasn’t paid within 5 days, custom will confiscate the iPad.

I guess my uncle had no choice but to send Hongying Zhu additional money to cover the tax which happened to be 100% of the price of the iPad.

At this point, it must be said that my uncle never heard from Mr. Lincoln Guo again. Repeated e-mails to him had remained unanswered.

This alarmed my uncle. He worried that Mr. Guo might be in a life-threatening situation. He thought of dialing 911, the local emergency assistance service number, but then changed his mind. After all, Mr. Guo might be unreachable, his whereabouts unknown. He called me instead.

Upon hearing his story, I knew right there and then that my uncle had been had. He had fallen prey to an online scam.

The ad from company showed items that were too good to be true. An iPod Nano for $30? An unlocked iPhone 5 for $180? An iPad 3 for $160? C’mon, folks, seriously? Even though I’m not an Apple fan, I’ll be tempted to buy at these ridiculously low prices.

I checked their fancy Website. Its offerings blew me away. They are all brand name electronics from top of the line companies such as Apple, Dell, Samsung, etc. For discreet reasons, the price of each item isn’t advertised. You have to contact Mr. Guo and his surrogates for that.

I did some googling and found out about scams involving Hongying Zhu of Shenzhen, Guangdong, China. It appears that this person is connected to several Chinese websites selling brand name electronic stuff. Those who sent money to him or her never got the items that they ordered.

As the saying goes, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Since brand name electronics are priced the same all over the world, it’s likely that somebody selling them much cheaper in China is engaged in fraud. My uncle learned his lesson. I just hope that he learned it well.

My uncle has asked me to write something that he can post online to publicize his story for which I half-heartedly obliged at first. Why bother? I told him. There’s no way he can stop scam artists like Lincoln Guo and Hongying Zhu. Well, he thinks it’ll be worth the effort even if only one person is saved from these people. Way to go, uncle. You’ve gained my new found respect.

Entry filed under: Blogroll, daily prompt. Tags: , , , , , , , .

the girl with the big heart Portrait of a Chinese as a Scammer

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jofelyn M. Khapra  |  October 15, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Ordering online has its risks. In one of my post Greed Negligence or laziness I narrated not a scam but a case of dishonesty from one of the online websites I order books from. I did all that they ask me to do so they can refund my money but nothing has been done until now.

    • 2. plaridel  |  October 15, 2012 at 10:23 pm


      we really need to be careful nowadays. once they got our money, we are at their mercy. dealing with reputable companies costs a little more, but it’s safer.

  • 3. dianewrites  |  October 16, 2012 at 6:38 am

    I felt bad for your Uncle. While online shopping facilitates some convenience, one of its trade offs is that it became a haven for the not-so-good and greedy businessmen. But as they say, when something is taken away, destiny will make a way to replace it 🙂

    • 4. plaridel  |  October 16, 2012 at 10:32 am


      agreed. nowadays it’s so easy to create a website to fool people.

  • 5. AC  |  October 16, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    awwwww… goodbye, $280..
    hayyyyyyy.. chinese people.. hayyyyyyyyy……
    anyway, impt thing here is your uncle finally learned his lesson.

    • 6. plaridel  |  October 17, 2012 at 11:04 pm


      i sure hope so.

  • 7. Cindy  |  January 7, 2014 at 1:29 am

    If an online shop requires you to pay through wired payment like Western Union, then that is a scam. An online shop gives confidence to its customers by providing them a reliable payment method. Check our website and download our free eBook to help you determine whether or not a site is a scam or legit.

  • 8. Boris  |  July 22, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Funny, I was looking for sites about chinese scams and also for the Blix WordPress Theme. Nice to find them both on one site.

    • 9. plaridel  |  July 22, 2014 at 11:03 pm


      cool! 🙂

  • 10. savingtipsblog  |  October 27, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    There are so many online scams nowdays, not only the chinese scams. we really need to be careful. In my opinon, You’d better not to buy too expensive stuff online, and pay with reliable payment methods like paypal. You can buy stuff from China online stores which sell cheap clothes,cheap bag,cheap shoes etc under $100. There are still majority kind-hearted and sincere businessmen selling stuff from China online stores I think.

    • 11. plaridel  |  November 12, 2014 at 4:47 pm


      so true, indeed.


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