Hi, my name is Rob and I look after all sales and project management here at South Coast Web Design. We often receive contact requests at the weekend from small business owners wanting further information regarding our web design and development services. Most of the time this is a pleasant and fruitful start to a business relationship with a ‘real’ client…
This Sunday I received a contact request from what purported to be from a small business owner wanting to expand his small business further and required some information on our services. I was initially a little suspicious of the content as it had bad grammar and I quote “Hi, I’m <random name> i will like to know if you are available for website design please get back to me so we can discuss in details.”
I gave the sender the benefit of the doubt, after all business is business right? I requested some contact details in particular a phone number to which he replied “this is the best way for me to communicate with you due to my hearing disability”. He went on to say, “I have a small clothing business for both male and female which I run here in Whitefield, Manchester, now am trying to expand the business and I want you to build an informational website for it for advertisement and to increase my sales rate”. Again, I gave the sender the benefit of doubt and after a flurry of emails I got to the point where the sender simply accepted my proposal and, in his words, “I’m okay with the estimate everything looks good and I am ready to make an upfront Deposit”. The wording ‘estimate’ rang alarm bells with me as did the fact that he was ‘ready to make an upfront payment’ already.
Imagine my luck…! We have a business relationship with a lead generation company in London who forwarded a lead on to me this morning with the following text contained within the email “I have a small clothing business for both male and female, now am trying to expand the business and I want you to build an informational website for it for advertisement”. Spot the similarity? It’s not exactly subtle is it?
I started scratching my head thinking “How is the sender going to scam me”, so I went to our lord and master ‘Google’. It didn’t take long for me to find web companies in the USA receiving the exact same requests from businesses outside of the USA and reporting them as scammers. How do they do it you ask? Well it’s simple really. The sender eventually requests to pay for your web design services using a credit card. He over pays and requests that you pay the over-payment back to a different account. As it is a credit card payment it takes some time to clear and arrive into your account as available funds. If you are silly enough to pay back the over payment, the credit card payment never arrives in your bank account as it is flagged as a bogus payment by which time you are out of pocket for the over payment and they are off with your hard earned money.
In my case, this is surely the most unlucky scammer in the world as he has managed to attempt to scam me via two different unrelated forms of contact medium which has unravelled his scheme.
BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME MY FRIEND AND PLEASE STAY SAFE MY FELLOW WEB DESIGN BUSINESS OWNERS!