This Morning I received a text message from what I thought was a potential client. It took some time, but later found out that it was a decently executed credit card scam. This post is to show you what transpired, and to hopefully help you to not be deceived by a scam such as the one below.
The text message came early in the morning, 7:30am. It was poorly written but it was a text message so that wasn’t too surprising. The potential client said his name, said he was hearing impaired, asked if Shreveport IT Solutions can design a website for a new company and if we accept credit cards. (nothing strange so far)
W*****sam hearing impaired.i wanna know if u can handle website design for a new company and if u accept credit cards ?”
I responded with an initial response and suggested that we use e-mail to continue as to have an easier medium to type long form on. (Standard response)
“Hi Mr. Williams, yes we can Design and Develop websites. We also accept credit cards. If you would like to email the details of what you need to email@example.com we can create a bid and timeline for you.”
I started to become a little suspicious when he responded insisting we continue to use text messages, but I continued.
“i can text you the detail here now”
“Ok, great. So what is the business name?”
The next string of messages were what made me seriously believe that this was a legitimate client.
have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in TN 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.
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.
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.*******.com….
- I want the same number of pages with the example site i gave you to check excluding videos and blogs.
- I want only English language
- I don’t have
a domain yet but i want the domain name as ********.com
4. you will be updating the site for me.
- i will be proving the images, logos and content for the site.
- i want the site up and running before ending of next month.
- My budget is $**** to $****
Kindly get back to me with:
(1) an estimate
The detail of what he said led me to believe that this was going to be a solid deal. The website that he sent that he wanted to emulate was a good site, the budget was on point, and the rest of the information sounded good for a initial starting point. I reviewed and sent him back a bid.
“Going by what the site provided shows, about 15 pages and the blogs $**** + $**** a year for hosting fees + $**** a year for website support.
$***** for design and development.
$**** a month for hosting and website support (updates and changes) Domain name purchase is separate and price varies by website name. ******.com is auctioning at $***** right now. ***** is going for $****** *******.com is already taken.”
So far the entire conversation was a little strange but still sounded fairly normal. At this point his responses turned to what I considered to be an obvious scam.
Thanks for your response, i am okay with the estimate and i wanna proceed so i will be depositing $**** using credit card so work can commence ASAP, i understand the content for this site would be needed so as for the job to commence so regarding the content i will need a Lil favor from you would be a deposit payment for my website design and the remaining $***** you would help me send it to the project consultant that has the text content and the for surgery so i will be glad if you can help me out with this favor,The favor i need from you is. i would give you my card info’s to charge for $****.so $**** log and the reason i need this favor from you is because the consultant does not have the facility to charge credit cards and i also am presently in the hospital for my website so once he has the $**** he would send the text content and logo needed for my website to you also the funds would be sent to him via cash deposit into his account,sending of funds would be after funds clear into your own account and also $100tip for your stress
I’m not going to claim to know exactly how this would have worked, but I knew a few things were definitely off. My list of a few small strange things, when added to the request to send cash funds to his private consultant added up to scam.
My list of oddities:
1. Text only. — I understand the need to communicate via written form because of physical impairments, but e-mail is a more appropriate medium.
2. The lack of a company name. — In some circumstances a company will withhold company names or locations without a signed NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement). The issues with this is that he claimed to be the owner so there was no reason to withhold the name, also he never asked for an NDA.
3. The money aspects. — There are a few issues here. 1: He offered up his highest budget amount within 10 minutes of talking with me and didn’t ask for a bid or quote before telling me. 2: Once I sent him the bid, he offered up more than %50 of the money immediately without asking for a contract or how the price should be paid out. 3: the biggest issue. the request to send us extra money to then cash and send to his still unnamed private consultant. 4: Offering a $100 tip on top of the agreed bid.
4. The hospital notations. — the fact that he said that he was in the hospital and unable to get any money to the consultant was a obscure. It also seemed to be a pull on the sympathy strings.
All of those issues led me to call the local police and express my concerns that it was a scam. the police instructed me to stop communication. They did not request any further information. (I’m sure this is not a rare occurrence for them)
Here is how the rest of the conversation played out.
“I am sorry sir, our company can not accommodate that. Any transactions between you and the private consultant would need to be made between your two parties.”
i want you too help me with this because right now am in the Hospital
“I am sorry to hear that, but our company cannot do business that way. I hope you find someone to build your site for you. I hope you get better soon.”
I hope that this information is helpful.
Written By: Paul Groven