Scam Targets Web Designers Developers

Scam Targets Web Designers Developers

I am sharing this so as to warn un-suspecting web designers and developers – beware.  Don’t waste your time as I did in back and forth conversations.  This person is trying to scam you.

It starts with an email

Good Day, Am Davis Walker .i wanna know if you can handle website design for a new company and also if you do you accept credit cards ?? kindly get back to me ASAP so i can send you the job details.
Regards,
Davis Walker.

or in another case ———

Good Day
I’m Jackson,i would love to know if you can handle website design for a new company and also if you do you accept credit cards ?? kindly get back to me ASAP so i can send you the job details.
Regards
Jackson Moore.

and yet another added here after having written this post ——

Greeting’s i am Ralph Tyler i need to know if you can handle website design for a new company and i also need to know if you accept credit cards as form of payment because i have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located here in the state i want you to understand am going through illness situation at the moment because of my diagnosis of lungs cancer which i will be under going surgery soon and and the company is based on CINNABON CLASSIC ROLL,MINIBON,CINNASWEETIES,CINNABON STIX,CINNAPACK,SIGNATURE BLENDED BEVERAGES,SIGNATURE BEVERAGES OVER ICE,E.T.C so i need a best of the best layout design for it. Can you handle that for me?

If you reply in the affirmative, then something like this

Thanks for your swift response

Here is the job details

i have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now and am hearing impaired that why am using via Email to contact you and my business is located in Philippines but i like all your work that while i chose to use you for this project and the company is based on importing and exporting of Agriculture products such as Kola Nut, Gacillia Nut and Cocoa so i need a best of the best layout design for it. Can you handle that for me ?. so i need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible .http://www.agroamerica.com…. the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate based on the site i gave you to check out, the estimate should include hosting and i want the same page as the site i gave you to check out and i have a private project consultant, he has the text content and the logos for the site.
Note:

1. I want the same number of pages with the example site i gave you to
check excluding videos and blogs.
2. I want only English language
3. I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as tomssfarsmsproduce.com
4. you will be updating the site for me.
5. i will be proving the images, logos and content for the site.
6. i want the site up and running before ending of next month.
7. My budget is $4000 to $6000

8. No Shopping Cart

9. it will have Photo Galler, Members-Only, Contact Forms

Kindly get back to me with:
(1) an estimate
(2) your cell phone number
(3) And will like to know if you are the owner ??

Regards
Davis Walker

or in the second case this ———

Thanks for your prompt response, I do appreciate that so much.. I need a responsive website for my business let me know the right time to send over my project details?.

Best regards.

followed by this ———

Here is the project detail.. I need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible
.http://www.hunland.com ….. the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate based on the site i gave you to check out, the estimate should include hosting and i want the same page as the site i gave you to check out and i have a private project consultant, he has the text content and the logos for the site.
Note:

1. I want the same number of pages with the example site i gave you to check excluding videos and blogs.
2. I want only English language
3. I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as
uniquepreciousfarm.com
4. you will be updating the site for me.
5. i will be proving the images, logos and content for the site.

Kindly get back to me with:
(1) an estimate
(2) your cell phone number
(3) And will like to know if you are the owner ??

Go over the details and get back to me so we can hop on a call on Monday.
Regards
.

Now – did you notice the similarities.

How about that last part starting with, “Kindly get back to me with:” which is not only worded but formatted exactly the same”.

I went down the road with one of these guys, “Jackson” for about 5 weeks which ended when I refused to do his “favor” (details below).  The second one from “Davis” arrived in my email inbox the next week – I clearly assume not aware that I just finished playing this game.

So what is the scam?

Jackson first wanted to send messages to me via text service, I don’t know why specifically but we went back and forth about it.  Maybe it is harder to track or something. Either way I don’t text (that’s another story). I told him I needed to talk with him.  Communication was once a day because my emails from him would come around 4am, which one of several factors that was odd, along with his accent when I actually spoke to him.  He sounded like he was Haiti or similar, although when I asked him he said he was living in Richmond, VA running a farm with one parent born American and the other Mexican.  Not likely, but I thought maybe it was because the guy had some strange medical problem that I could not understand.  You see he would mention a few times he had to get off the phone to take his medicine.  His story, extracted over time, was that he was a farmer in Richmond and had had a farming accident and the farm was most important to him and his family and he wanted to get this website up to help his farm.

I believe part of the strategy was to elicit compassion, and for me to invest a fair amount of time and effort over a long period of time talking with him, so that when he asked for his favor, that I would more willing to help out.

And by the way, I had sent him an invoice within the first week via Freshbooks (that is an affiliate link), which he at first said he did not know how to pay and he needed me to send him an invoice from Quickbooks, not that he knew I even used quickbooks, but there were a number of other strange requests like this.  Anyways we went back and forth with that as well, he said he could not seem to pay me via my freshbooks link – which is a joke because it is about as easy as it comes.  And if you are thinking why did I not cut this off right away, it is easier said than done.  You now have a perspective I did not at the time.

The Favor

Eventually he simply emailed,

Alright i need a slight favor from you?. regarding my text content, images and logos.

As usual, not that much detail.

Eventually,

I want you to add the fund of my consultant on the invoice you sent to me..cause he is the one that has the Text content, images and logos with him.

after a few more back and forths:

here is my consultant email address Graphicselite@yahoo.com
i would email you my credit card info shortly.

and then

Have you reached out to my consultant?..if so let me know what you both concluded..kindly get back to me asap.

and then

Sound good am ready to make the payment for the initial deposit that is why i need a slight favor from you?.

I kept telling him I needed to know more clearly what the deal was, why he wanted me to pay his content person

Hi David,

Is not what you are thinking I just need this slight favor due to my current health status and this project meant everything to me the farm is my life.

Regards.

then

You know I told you that i will be providing the text content, images and logos. and you will be working a long with my consultant on this project.. my consultant has all the text content, images and logos with him & he insisted that i need to pay him before he release the document to whoever i hired for the development of the project.

and

You both would be working together on the project and am just recovering from an accident I had on the farm.

Yea he doesn’t accept credit card nor PayPal it was so annoying when I heard that
I should have get it done without you knowing about this.

so I emailed this content person curious to see what their deal was, asked for their name, website, where they worked from, etc.  They responded:

Hello,

Nice meeting you Mr David, Jackson told us about you,
we are looking forward working with you on this project
Actually we don’t accept credit card nor PayPal we accept cash deposit, ACH & wire transfer.

When I finally said, no, I will not do that, he responded with

Can you refer me to someone who can help me out on my project?.

Which is smart on his part, maybe I know someone who would, why not get me to refer someone.  But I said I did not nor would I recommend anyone do that. And I was still unclear that he was asking to find a replacement for me, because his communication was so poor, so I asked him to clarify what help and why.  He responded

Someone that would help me out with development of my website and that will help me with the favor.. With more humanity that understand the meaning sympathy.

There you have the sympathy card.  We went back and forth a few times and the final email message I received from him was

At this point my health is more important since no one understand me.

Then one week after I had that email from, I received an email from “Davis Walker”, emailing me,

Good Day, Am Davis Walker .i wanna know if you can handle website design for a new company and also if you do you accept credit cards ?? kindly get back to me ASAP so i can send you the job details.
Regards,
Davis Walker.

It was late at night and although I recognized being asked a similar and unusual request before (did I take credit cards) I responded simply, “yes and yes”.  And then I received the next email which is at the start of this article.  The similarities just hit me and I went back and read and compared the emails from the two people and thought – wow!  That was a good scam attempt, much more sophisticated than most I am approached with, I should share this.

Essentially I figure he wanted to get me to pay his “content person” with cash.  I do not know if he intended to try to get me to pay this person in cash before he ran a card to me and then just would not pay me, or if he would pay me with a credit card, then have me pay this person in cash, and then he would recover his money on his credit card, which is certainly possible with a credit card – although not for me if I were to pay cash.

Or as shared by someone else who read this,

Thanks for sharing this. The likely scam was that they are using a stolen credit card that they hoped would go through on your side and you would then pay his cohort in cash and, ultimately, be out the money that you sent over to them when the credit card company caught up with the theft. As the merchant who accepted the bogus credit card, you would see the payment cancelled and be out the money you sent to them legitimately. This is now called “spear phishing” in which the potential victim is cultivated on a 1-to-1 basis instead of the mass emailings that used to go out from Nigerian princes.

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17 Responses to Scam Targets Web Designers Developers

  1. David Tierney April 13, 2017 at 11:15 am #

    I just got another email today. New person. Same pitch:

    Greeting’s i am Edgard Vereecken i need to know if you can handle website design for a new company and i also need to know if you accept credit cards as form of payment ? because i have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located here in state and the company is based on importing and exporting of Agriculture products such as Kola Nut, Gacillia Nut and Cocoa so i need a best of the best layout design for it. Can you handle that for me

    • WizardofWordpress May 26, 2017 at 8:47 pm #

      David Gilbert
      18 May (8 days ago)

      to me
      Hello,

      Sorry for the late response. I have not been feeling well. I am glad to read back from you. My wife and I have a small scale business which we intend to turn into large scale, It is located in Cobb County, GA and it is based on importing and exporting of Agriculture products such as Pine Nut, Almond Nut, Hazal nut and Pistachio. So i need a good layout design for it. Can you handle that for me ? So i need you to check out this site but i need something similar if possible http://www.cargill.com/ the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate based on the site i gave you to check out, the estimate should include hosting and but we do not want more than 20 pages for the site as we want it to only be informational and a Contact Us page. I have a project consultant that has the text content and the logos for the site.

      Note:
      We do not wnat Videos and blogs for the site
      We want only English language
      We don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as http://www.gilvnutsfarmpro.com
      You will be updating the site for me.
      We will be providing the images, logos and content for the site.
      We want the site up and running by the end of next Month.
      My budget is $3000 to $8000

      Kindly get back to me with:
      (1) an estimate
      (2) your cell phone number
      (3) And will like to know if you are the owner of the company ??

      Thank you

  2. Doug Armster March 17, 2017 at 8:00 am #

    I received a text message from a person named “Thomas Nicolas” this morning (2017 MAR 17). The text came from this source: (202) 681-9472 . The message “Thomas” sent me:

    – Hello, Its me Thomas Nicolas i need know if you can handle website design for a new company ?

    Interestingly, the scammer did not ask me about credit card information. However, approximately one minute later I got another message, this time via email from the same person with this email address: (email address removed from comment). The message is this:

    – Hello, I am Thomas Nicolas i need know if you can handle website design for a new company and i also need to know if you accept credit cards as form of payment ?

  3. Lee-Anne August 5, 2016 at 4:53 pm #

    Thank you so much for this.
    I did suspect a scam and will now cut communication
    I am in Australia and the from name on the email is Donald Gibson

  4. Johnny July 15, 2016 at 3:51 am #

    You just saved me =) positive karma to you my friend.

  5. George July 7, 2016 at 8:35 pm #

    I got the exact same scam email at least 3 4imes, same text different person. And last month I got a new scam via TEXT message. It said:

    From 1-415-340-4808
    “Hello am Gilbert Jimenez, am hearing impaired i wanna know if you can handle website design for new company and also if you do accept credit cards??”

    These scum of the earth people just don’t quit! I had to block this person’s number and another identical text message except the second text message came from a different name and number, but identical message and both withing 1 week.

    • David Tierney July 8, 2016 at 11:00 am #

      I still get them all the time. I just got the following yesterday via my website contact form:

      Hi there,

      We are a start up company and looking to create an online portal for selling our home hardware products. Can you please let us know what time suits you best to discuss further about the website development procedure? Do we need to pay 100% advance to get started? Also please confirm us if you accept any of these following payment systems QuickBooks, FreshBooks, Xoom, Square or Stripe? As we can only make payments through these payment gateways.

      Please revert back on this email (his email address).

      Regards
      TEAM V.H.

      • Marlon July 11, 2016 at 6:07 am #

        Thank you David!

        You have just saved me, and anyone else who comes across your blog in time, from a whole load of trouble and upset. I received the exact same email this morning from an alias called ‘Mark Richardson, Team V.H.’ I started to be become suspicious after reading the email a few times, when he was strangely asking to pay via FreshBooks or Xoom. So I quickly searched ‘Xoom scam’ etc. and luckily came across your blog, which confirmed my suspicions. I just wish there was a way of completely shutting down scam operations like this, leading to the scammers being prosecuted. I am just so tempted to reply back to them and give them a piece of my mind!!! But I won’t. I will just follow your fellow commenter’s advice and spread the word.

        Thanks again David!

        Marlon, UK

      • David Tierney July 11, 2016 at 4:28 pm #

        yah. same guy.

  6. Tom June 28, 2016 at 8:34 pm #

    Hey,

    We were just thinking of whether or not we were going to offer this guy a quote based on the design criteria he provided when we searched his name and the email and found this.

    Ralph Tyler you devious madman! We are in Australia! hahahaha.

    Thanks very much for the post, very helpful.

    Tom

  7. Charles Ng June 13, 2016 at 12:35 am #

    I got plenty of these scam email…
    They always start with “do you accept credit cards”, then when you request to talk to them in detail (as they are always “crunching for time”), they would tell you they just underwent surgery or they cannot talk on the phone and that they are asking some agency to communicate with me.
    Another big hint is that they never haggle on your price proposal..
    Be safe, IF IT SOUNDS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT IS NOT TRUE!

  8. Nicky Davies June 9, 2016 at 8:12 am #

    Thank you, you just saved my brother and I from wasting a lot of time. I was contacted by Ralph Tyler and as soon as he asked his favour I did a search of his name and found your site. As I have done sites for overseas clients before I was not suspicious to start with.

  9. Nina Lempicka March 28, 2016 at 8:18 pm #

    These are all Nigerian/Ghanians. The national economy in both those Nations is scamming. Literally millions of men are doing this, all using scripts. The United States has ZERO jurisdiction, so technically what these people are doing is LEGAL! Now, if YOU run a credit card for them, YOU are the one breaking the law, and thats when you need police help so you are not arrested for theft.
    NEVER EVER tell a scammer you know its a scam or why (it teaches them to scam better) ALWAYS post FULL EMAIL ADDRESSES/PHONE #S/LETTERS/TEXTS from the scammers on sites like this to warn potential victims.
    Visit http://www.scamwarners.com for more help/to learn more

    • Tom June 28, 2016 at 8:35 pm #

      Good point, I was about to just tell him he was phishing and leave the conversation there but now I will just leave it be.

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