A small Finnish company received a large order for mustard from England. It turned out to be a hoax. 

Hints and tips spot a false message

  1. What if you receive a request for a tender for a surprisingly large quantity, from a surprisingly sizable entity.  
    1. Check the email address –  Googlesta the sender person with the supposed company web domain, e.g. joe.doe@tesco.com
    2. Do you find other people working for the same company? In what for are their email addresses?
    3. Many international players have two email addresses. The real one, that they read. And another, secondary one for not-to-urgent matters, that is used on their business cards, in seminars.  
    4. Check if the email address changes during your interaction.
    5. Consider, whether a company of this size with its quality systems, would make an order of this size without auditing the merchandise.  
    6. If it feels like a hoax, it probably is. 
    7. Play it safe with terms of payment. Start production only after a half of the reimbursement is fully delivered to your company. 
  2. You can contact your local embassy in that country, or in the example case, your local branch of UK’s officials, who are represented in more than 200 locations around the World. In Helsinki, the UK Department for International Trade (DIT) has their own office.   
  3. The MEP Team has plenty of experience in Chinese trade, where all sorts of problems may arise.
    1. The Swedish embassy in China may be able to help, whether a company even exists or just further information on its background.  
    2. MEP has so-called Black List of 200.000+ Chinese companies or business people  
    3. In addition, it pays to clarify and investigate with the help of locals, which you can find by asking for help. Usually, the truth comes out, when a phone call is made in Chinese…
    4. Hundreds of Nordic companies have lost a lot of money in Chinese Business Hoaxes.
    5. There are companies, which evaluate the operations of a Chinese company – and even test their products. You don’t want to end up ordering a full ship container of rollators, which won’t endure 80 kilos of body weight or your newly established Chinese company branch, with a local CEO who steals your tools and vanishes…