Anything I can do if my legit supplier’s email was hacked and I sent money to scam account?
After reading our blog post on the Shanghai Surprise, some readers ask if anything can be done to get money back. The chances of recovering funds are not good in the case of the typical “Shanghai Surprise” but there have been rare instances where things worked out for the buyers.
According to China Sourcing Information Center:
In one known case, the factory felt bad because it was their email that was hacked and they offered a bit of compensation to retain the client and get the next order. But legally they are not responsible as the factory themselves didn’t scam the buyer.
The person who hacked the email and set up the new bank account is probably long gone. But if that account is still active, that would be the logical place to grab the scam artist. Get a private investigator and/or local police involved as soon as possible.
Even if the hacker has closed the accounts, he needed to show some paperwork to open the account in the first place. This may be the trail for the police or a private investigator to start tracking him down.
For your reference, know that the hacker may not be Chinese. Last year we learned that a Brazilian hacker set up a bank account in HK and succeeded in hacking multiple PRC supplier emails and stealing payments from multiple buyers across Europe!
Are you a professional buyer? What mechanisms do you have in place to ensure the PO has been received by the factory (not a hacker) and payments are going to the right bank account? Leave your reply below!