JimTrade is committed to making your trading experience safe and simple. By providing you with as much information as possible about potential buyers and sellers, we help both you and your trading partners make informed business decisions. These Safe Trading Tips are designed to help you take advantage of JimTrades' services in identifying trustworthy trading partners as well as online and offline resources that can help to make your internet experience more secure and safe.
There are a number of actions you can take to research your potential business partner whom you have met on the internet, so that you can reduce the risk of being subject to a fraudulent transaction or business misunderstanding. These include:
Always confirm if the address, phone number and email address given to you by your trading partner belongs to the same company. If a trader provides phone number from another country, we recommend you look up the address in the local phone directory and obtain the local phone number, and call this number to confirm that the person you are in touch with actually works for the company. Similarly, if a partner's email heading states that they work for a certain company, you should verify this. Be aware that some scam artists could alter their return email address heading to make it look like they work for a company that they don't.
Background checks from independent third-party sources include a search for legal registration and credit reports. In many countries the existence of a company and its legal status is a matter of public record. Check with the companies registry in the partner's country to ensure that the company exists with a valid registration. If you cannot have independent access to your partner's registration information, ask your partner to provide you with a Certificate of Good Standing issued by the companies registry of his country or state/province. You can also gain further knowledge about your partner by ordering a credit history report from a local credit agency. Credit history reports contain information about the partner's business history in their relationships with banks and other trading partners. Go to contact credit agencies which can provide credit history reports.
Whenever possible, meet your business partner in person and visit his company's facilities. While the internet offers you a wealth of information on your potential partner which enables you to make an initial assessment, there is no substitute for face-to-face contact.
As a buyer, order a sample before committing to a purchase order to be sure that the product meets your expectations. As a seller, request payment for a sample and/or payment for shipping costs before you send out the sample, especially if your product has a high resale value.
If you are a buyer, you can protect yourself against poor quality by ordering a pre-shipment inspection of the products. You can demand the inspection as a condition to payment.
If you are a seller and have not been doing business with your partner for very long, avoid selling your products on open-account (in which case you are extending credit to your buyer). Instead ask your buyer to open a letter of credit (an "L/C").
If you are a buyer, sometimes a supplier may ask you for a deposit before he accepts the order. While this is not unusual between long-standing trading partners, if you are doing business with the supplier for the first time, make sure you have done sufficient background checks on the supplier before you agree to the deposit, or ask for a different form of payment, such as a letter of credit. If the seller seems more focused on payment than any other issue, or indicates that cash payment must be made urgently, more caution should be given to the transaction. Be extra cautious when the seller asks you to send money to an account whose real owner cannot be traced; for example, you cannot trace the real name of the person behind an account with a wiring service such as Western Union.
It is possible for anyone with some technical knowledge to send an email with a fake address. When you receive an email from someone you know or whose email address appears legitimate, but the message of the email looks suspicious, you can verify whether the email came from the person whom the sender claims to be by using a simple procedure to check the email address.