If you are a freelancer, your website is supposed to generate prospects not criminal scammers. Sadly, the new normal is that your website also draws a target on your back.

The basic email scam goes like this:

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

The most important line? “Do you accept credit cards”.

There are variations for dozens of freelance professions. Photographers, writers, SEO specialists, graphic designers have all been hit.

Some of the twists are:

I’m Fred Cole,am hearing impaired.i would love to know if you can handle website design for a new company and also if you do you accept credit cards?

Hearing impaired, legitimate reason not to call them. (I’ve never figured out what the hearing impaired explains the bad grammer but then hey, I’m not a criminal mastermind.)

Some of the emails look really good:

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 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. 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.
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 yourtopfarmproduce.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 $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 ??

Wow! This sounds like a good gig! No?  NO!

As you’ve figured out already, this is a credit card scam.  It basically works like this.

The bad guys will send you credit card information and you’ll be told to charge for more than you are owed on the project. The balance gets sent to the project consultant, the SEO constant, the name your poison contractor. The reasons the other guy needs you to pay them can be pretty pathetic or kind of sort of legitimate (until you actually think about it). Now that they have your account information get ready for charge-backs and typical identity theft behavior.

These scams are so persistent that it is tempting not to take any new business at all. If that’s not good for business then look for the warning signs.

  • start up business out of the country
  • poor grammar
  • identical email inquiries – just the name changes
  • unusual payment terms
  • international money orders for payments
  • payments bigger than your invoice.

There is a reason some truthisms become cliches. Just remember: If it sounds too good to be true – it is. 


Read more and contribute your story: http://www.alvalyn.com/email-scam-targets-web-designers/#comment-29441

Internet Crime Complaint Center


Published On: August 14th, 2015 /

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