web design scam text correspondence

Recently, we’ve received a number of different requests for website redesign proposals that had some odd and striking similarities, enough to trigger alarm bells that something wasn’t right. What started as a simple text message turned into a call with the Secret Service (yeah, really). We all know how prevalent scams are online, so it’s no surprise that these extend to specifically crafted web design scams, SEO scams and other scams that directly target photographers, designers and other creative professionals. The truth is, we’re all targets. Be alert, trust your instincts and reach out to others in your professional community.

Here’s how the scams work

They’re called the Third Party Payout Scam, the Payment Reversal Scam, the Advanced Fee Scam or the Overpayment Scam. The Fraud Prevention department at credit card payment processor Stripe put it like this:

I can see that you work in web design. Designers such as yourself are common targets for a type of scam known as a Third Party Payout. Essentially, the scammer makes a payment (generally in the thousands) for a project, and pays more than they need so you can then transfer money direct to a third party (e.g. a consultant, graphic designer, etc). I imagine your correspondence with your ‘client’ has been along these line. As I’m sure you’ve figured out, the fix is that the card used is stolen and the third party is actually the scammer. So when the legitimate cardholder disputes the payment the business is left holding the bag on the money retrieved from their account and what they transferred to the scammer.

What’s amazing about these web design scams

  1. How involved they are – by the time any money were to actually make it back to the scammers, a lot of work and time is devoted to each scam
  2. How long they’ve been going on for – these scams have been going on for a while, and they don’t look to stop
  3. The exact scams aren’t changing much – a basic web search will turn up dozens of minor variations on the same web design scams that are being recrafted into seo scams, designer scams and other freelancer scams
  4. The scammers will email you, text you and sometimes even talk on the phone with you – it’s amazing just how easily a scammer can be totally anonymous hiding behind a throw away webmail account and a Google Voice phone number

Here’s how the web design scams went down

The first scam came through from Kent Walter <kentwaltersnr@gmail.com> and seemed strange because it mentioned a budget right off the bat (what clients reveal their budget in a blind outreach email) and asked “are you the owner” – strange. It also referenced another website to copy – pretty unusual. Here’s the full email:

From: Kent Walter <kentwaltersnr@gmail.com>

Good I just want to open a new Indian Restaurant i need a website for my business to grow the site should be up & running by ending of March i don’t want a shopping cart in my reservation page also i don’t have a domain name yet i prefer: DHARMAKENTRESTAURANT.COM My budget is $5000-10000 for the web design i need you to go through this example link site: http://www.indikausa.com, i want the same page as this site i want only English language you will be updating the site for me. I have a private project consultant, he has the text content with logo along with the image artwork get back to me with an estimate including hosting i will like to know if you are the owner or the manager?

Thank you

This person is the scammer: “I have a private project consultant, he has the text content with logo along with the image artwork”

web design scam fake website sitemap

“Kent” even sent through a sitemap drawing of the website he wanted to make – pretty funny in retrospect. And since this time, the website http://www.indikausa.com has been suspended by HostGator. I emailed with “Kent Walker” a few times until I realized the whole thing was going nowhere – he never responded to basic discovery questions. I didn’t suspect this was a web design scam. Until a few weeks went by.

The second web design scam came through a few weeks later – early in the morning as a text message from someone claiming to be Luis Lee at (732) 893-0731. The first text read “good day are you available for a website design.” Our business number accepts text messages and our Google My Business listing allows potential customers to text message us. Here’s where the alarm bells start going off:

From Luis Lee (732) 893-0731

am luis i would love to know if you can handle website design for a new company and also if you do accept credit cards ?? kindly get back to me with your email so i can send you the job details.

And it gets even more fishy when the email came through from luis lee <luislee23@yahoo.com>

From: luis lee <luislee23@yahoo.com>

I have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in TX 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 leetopfarmproduce.com
4. you will be updating the site for me.
5. i will be provideing 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

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

Regards

This person is the scammer: “i have a private project consultant, he has the text content and the logos for the site”

I immediately thought, “There is that same email we received from the Indian Restaurant a few weeks ago. What are the odds.” It became obvious pretty quick that both were web design scams.

But then my brain quickly went to “how do these web design scams work? – how do they play out – what kind of people are doing this?” I have no intentions in vigilante justice. Or intentions of repeating the amazing journey of phone scam discovery that took the producers of the Reply All podcast to India to meet the people behind those annoying junk calls from a phone number a few digits off from your own (episodes one and two – will blow your mind).

Curiosity got the best of this cat, so I played along with the web design scam to find out more.

Luis of course eagerly responded to my proposal

I emailed with “Luis Lee” a few times and even made up a quick proposal based on the sitemap of the Agro America website and sent it off to Luis. I even called him to see if he would pick up. I ended up talking to Luis on the phone, though the connection was terrible and neither of us could understand each other. He did, though, email me right back to accept my proposal.

From: luis lee <luislee23@yahoo.com>

Thanks for your response, I am okay with the estimate everything sound good and i’m ready to make payment now with my credit card, I understand the content for this site would be needed so work can start asap but i will need a Little favor from you and the favor is that I will send you my credit card to charge for the sum of $5850 plus 3% Cc company charges, You will deduct $2750 as deposit for the design of the website plus extra $100.00 as a tip for handling perfect work for me and you will send the remaining $3,000 to the project consultant that has the text content and the logo for my website so once he receive the $3,000 he would send the text content and logo needed for my website to you so work can start asap,Sending of funds would be after money clears into your account and You will be charging my card for remaining balance upon completion of work, Kindly get back to me so we can proceed with payment asap

Regards
Luis

Here’s the scam: “you will send the remaining $3,000 to the project consultant that has the text content and the logo for my website”

Pretty good location for a gacillia nut business

I asked for a name and address of the company, and was given the kind of uncreative name “Luis Lee LTD” and the address 5603 Peacock Ridge San Antonio, TX 78228. As if more evidence of this web design scam were needed, a quick search on that address showed that it had been listed for sale just 21 hours ago.

fake address used by web design scam attempt

I reached out to Stripe to see if they had any interest in at least tracking an IP address from these people. I can turn my credit card payment processor into testing mode so charges aren’t really processed. The great people at Stripe’s Fraud Prevention department told me to do absolutely nothing like that, to stop all communications and to reach out to the Secret Service with details of the web design scam.

It turns out this particular variant on the Third Party Payout Scam / Payment Reversal Scam / Advanced Fee ScamOverpayment Scam has its own name: the Agro America Scam and the Gacillia Nut Scam. Unlike the Indian Restaurant variant where the example website seems to have been suspended, it seems that Agro America is a legitimate business and doesn’t play a part in this scam. The website did send my computer’s CPUs through the roof, making me wonder about BitCoin / cryptocurrency mining. But enough about the scam.

What to do if you’ve been targeted

  1. Unless any money has been stolen from you, the best thing to do is nothing. Delete the emails / texts and never reply at all. It’s unlikely that the scammers are sitting in a room together and will put you on some kind of organized hey don’t contact this web designer again, she’s onto us type list. More likely is that the scammers are an unconnected group of people using the same scam, are totally disorganized and will probably contact you again. So just delete. We played along for a bit to find out more about the scam out of curiosity, but it’s probably not a good idea.
  2. If you want to report the scam, or have unfortunately lost any money, you can reach out to
    • The Secret Service – we were referred to them by Stripe even though no money had changed hands. The Secret Service is responsible for counterfeiting law violations as well as financial fraud including banking, access device, advance fee fraud and computer fraud, financial document counterfeiting, and money laundering. I had a pretty nice chat on the phone with a Secret Service agent who confirmed how widespread these web design scams are and told me that unless money had changed hands, they weren’t too interested in trying to track anyone down
    • FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) – complaints filed via this website are processed and may be referred to federal, state, local or international law enforcement or regulatory agencies for possible investigation
    • Federal Trade Commission Complaint Assistant

We’ve heard reports from others like fellow web designers Olive Group and Covington Creations about similar encounters. Have you been contacted? Have an update to report?

Updates

Looks like the scammers are moving to Yelp! Is anyone else getting these Yelp scam messages? Seem very similar to other general web design scam emails we’ve gotten dozens of times…

New Message: James H. is requesting a quote

Hi there, please respond with a price estimate. Here are my answers to Yelp’s questions regarding my project:

In which ZIP code are you looking for professionals?
78711

Describe your need:
Good day, am Hanson i would like to know if you can create and handle an informational website design for my new company ? Kindly get back to me as soon as possible with your email or cellphone number so i can send you the job details. Thanks

Thanks for the comments posting the details of all the variants on this same third party payout scam. Hopefully the scammers get tired of spending all this time trying to steal money and put their efforts into something more constructive. Keep up the comments so others can stay alerted!

This stuff never stops. Good thing is that it can be put online so others can find it hopefully before any money changes hands. Just got another of the same scammer emails from leon gregory <leongreg2006@hotmail.com>

From: leon gregory <leongreg2006@hotmail.com>

My name is Gregory Leon and I would like to get a quote for an e-commerce website for customers in Haiti, with the same functionality as Craigslist, but with distinct design. In addition, I want to integrate google translation because Haitians speaks French and Creole. Furthermore, the website will be for small businesses and individuals with goods and services they are interested in selling or advertising via this website. There are additional features I want integrate into the website as well:

Certify SSL, and all traffic to the website will be over HTTPS.
WordPress
Ensure current architecture adequately supports future systems upgrade
Enable electronics gift card payment.
Create ten additional staffs accounts.
Maintain complete ownership of the website and its content.
Mobile-responsive, fast-loading, and able to adapt properly to changing screen sizes
Maintain complete copyright protection of the website and its content
Please send me your quote to include the development, design and a reasonable monthly charge for hosting the website no later than June 1, 2018.

I can be reached at leongreg2006@hotmail.com and by phone at 786-473-4663. Thank you and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Unfortunately, we were in the middle of putting together two proposals and didn’t have the time to catfish more out of Leon. Next time…

This crap never stops. Just got the exact same scam sent it via email from james morgan <jm6994017@gmail.com>

From: james morgan <jm6994017@gmail.com>

Sound good …… I have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in 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 yourtopproduce.co
4. you will be updating the site for me.
5. i will be proving the images, logos and content for the site.
6. My budget is $3000 to $8000

These scammers never stop. You’d think they’d start getting more creative. But everyone knows creativity is inversely related to profitability, or something like that.

Just got another of the same scammer emails from
julian johnson <julian4real147@yahoo.com>

From: julian johnson <julian4real147@yahoo.com>

Here is the job details

i have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in USA 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 UlyateFarm.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 $5,000 to $19,000

Kindly get back to me with:
(1) an estimate

Favorable Regards,
Julian Johnson.

Sent from my ipad

I asked for the name address and phone number of Julian’s business, and he said it was

JULLYFARM
USA
OFFICE 1754 Woodruff Road #153
Greenville, South Carolina
29607, USA
+1-785-428-2862

I called the number and spoke with someone I couldn’t really understand. It was a busy day in the office so I didn’t dig much deeper, but I did email Julian to get a life and stop stealing money from people.

blog post author avatar
Written with by Alex Wright

Runs a creative digital marketing, web design and SEO agency in Austin, Texas   |   Likes good looking, fast performing and high ranking websites   |   Doesn't want to understand Snapchat   |   Wants nothing to do with bananas   |   Wishes he were a BMX superstar

148 thoughts on “Avoid Web Design Scams

  1. Our graphic design company received two design request spam/phishing emails on September 9, 2019:

    1. From Oyin Williams (williamsoyin044@gmail.com) for an apparel website for the domain ELITEXCLUSIVEAPPARELS.COM following the same template as what others are reporting.

    2. From stan jenifer (jeniferstan11@gmail.com) for catalog & logo design for a newly established furniture company called Oakwey. I found it followed a template referenced in a Reddit thread under r/graphic_design > phishing scams.

  2. A good article, but what a shame these scammers will never stop in stealing people hard earn money. Thanks for sharing your experience…

  3. The scam is being attempted often on my Arch Drafting business as well. Must be because my biz name has “design” at the end. The emails ask (about three a week in my spam) if I create plans for homes, etc. The red flag is the bad english and misspellings. The one time I did reply, I asked for specifics such as: What city is the project located? What square footage will the project be? I didn’t hear back so I figured it was a scam. I am curious how the scam works and google brought me here.

  4. Hi,

    I have received the similar email:

    Hello

    I did told you i was gonna get back to you soon,sorry am getting back to you late,here is the details of the new job for you.Am a CEO and an entrepreneur so i dont really have the time but lets get things straightened up cos i will be less busy for days.My name is April Petals(CEO April Petals Restaurant)living in Florida USA.

    I will be needing you to build a world class website for our newly about to be opened restaurant.I will want you to create the website within the space of 4 to 5 weeks,no prolongation about this.I said 4 to 5 weeks because the interior decoration of the website is the only thing left and it will be ready by that time,so i want both the restaurant and the website to start running the same day.

    Look at this website here https://www.lamarchaberkeley.com . I want you to check this website and create something similar to that for me,let me know if you can.So kindly get back to me with an estimation,the estimate should include the hosting too.

    Also i will like to inform you that there will be no shopping cart in my reservation page and there will be no chat include also.I will be preferring the domain name (aprilpetalsrestaurant.com or aprilpetalsrestaurant.net).

    Note: My budget is not more than $5500.So kindly get back to me with your total estimate for the job with domain price include.

    Note;I will be providing the logos,image and contents.All you need to do is to create the website

    Do you accept check payment?kindly let me know

    April Petals

    (CEO April Petals Restaurant)

    ————————————————————–

    Hello,

    I got your email now and am cool with it.Am not able to use PayPal or any other merchant because i had a double remit from a website i use few weeks ago.Since then i have a strict instruction from my bank that i must not use PayPal or wire transfer for any transaction now matter what pending the time been

    However,i can have my personal assistant write you a check and have it sent to you if you live in USA or to any one you have in USA that could receive a check for you.

    Let me know if you have someone that can receive check on your behalf in USA.I will be needing his or her name,address and mobile number for communication to have the check sent out to him

    —————————————————————————–

    Hello

    I will be sending you a check of $6100.89 which include the private consultant advance payment,once you clear the money remove your upfront payment of $2250.89 and send the rest ($3,850) to the private project consultant for her advance fee, she has the text content and the logos for the site with the image artwork, i could have pay her myself but she does not have facility to receive check or credit card at the moment. Are you clear with that?

    kindly acknowledge this message ASAP.

    April Petal

    ——————————————————————————

    Hello

    I want to inform you that the check has been delivered to your friend mailing address today via Fedex.Here is the new tracking 789487548748 so you can check its delivery status.Kindly tell your friend to have it deposited and funds will be available the next business working day for you to withdraw.You can deposit using your bank application,via ATM or physically at your bank.

    Kindly let me know once the check is received and once the check is deposited so that i can inform my bank.

    Here is my phone number(302) 385-6483.Tell the check receiver to text me when its received!

    Hoping to hear back from you soon.

  5. Just had a question from Dan Mike
    with the email: dan891515@gmail.com

    It was completely blank with the only sentence
    Hello, am Dan, do you offer Logo design service?

    I intimately googled email address and it brought me here. Thanks everyone.

  6. Just got one a couple of days ago.

    Name used is “April Petals” and wanted a website for a “restaurant”

    Here’s the introductory email:

    _____________

    Hello

    I did told you i was gonna get back to you soon,sorry am getting back to you late,here is the details of the new job for you.Am a CEO and an entrepreneur so i dont really have the time but lets get things straightened up cos i will be less busy for days.My name is April Petals(CEO April Petals Restaurant)living in Florida USA.

    I will be needing you to build a world class website for our newly about to be opened restaurant.I will want you to create the website within the space of 4 to 5 weeks,no prolongation about this.I said 4 to 5 weeks because the interior decoration of the website is the only thing left and it will be ready by that time,so i want both the restaurant and the website to start running the same day.

    Look at this website here https://www.lamarchaberkeley.com . I want you to check this website and create something similar to that for me,let me know if you can.So kindly get back to me with an estimation,the estimate should include the hosting too.

    Also i will like to inform you that there will be no shopping cart in my reservation page and there will be no chat include also.I will be preferring the domain name (aprilpetalsrestaurant.com or aprilpetalsrestaurant.net).

    Note: My budget is not more than $5500.So kindly get back to me with your total estimate for the job with domain price include.

    Note;I will be providing the logos,image and contents.All you need to do is to create the website

    Do you accept check payment?kindly let me know

    April Petals

    (CEO April Petals Restaurant)

    _____________

    “Her” response to my follow up email ticked me off that something wasn’t right. Anyway, I just wanted to share this publicly in case some creatives receive the very same scam and is looking at google search for confirmation.

    1. What i got from april patels is

      I got your email now and am cool with it.Am not able to use PayPal or any other merchant because i had a double remit from a website i use few weeks ago.Since then i have a strict instruction from my bank that i must not use PayPal or wire transfer for any transaction now matter what pending the time been

      However,i can have my personal assistant write you a check and have it sent to you if you live in USA or to any one you have in USA that could receive a check for you.

      Let me know if you have someone that can receive check on your behalf in USA.I will be needing his or her name,address and mobile number for communication to have the check sent out to him

  7. We got the “do me a little favor” Third party Payout Scam email just now from someone claiming to be Blain Edward at blainedward20@gmail.com. Don’t they know that web people are aware of phishing? Geez. Must not be too smart.

  8. Afraid its still going on:

    From: Carlos kidd
    Sent: Thursday, August 08, 2019 10:41 AM
    To: nick@jupseo.com
    Subject: Re: Website examples

    Thanks for your response, i am okay with the estimate and i wanna proceed so i will pay $2000 deposit payment for the job using my 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 and i will need a little favor from you And the reason why i need this favor from you is because the consultant that has the content and logo for the website does not have the facility to charge credit cards and i also Am presently in the hospital with my son 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 $7500. so $2000 would be a down payment for my website design and the remaining $5000 you would help me send it to the project consultant that has the text content and the logo for my website so once he has the $5000 he would send the text content and logo needed for my website to you also the funds would be sent to him Cashier check deposit into his account sending of funds would be after funds clears into your account And also $500 tip for your stress

    1. I got same emails but my client asked a your representative in USA, and he will send money checque to his location. And he delivered the checque and my representative has been cashed out, but now my client is not replying my emails, what should I do now, please reply.

  9. Thanks Alex,
    I just received this email today:
    Okay My business name is DharmaTJ Indian Restaurant I want my site exactly like this example link site: https://n-naka.com/ even better than this, The website should be ready by the next 3 month I don’t want a reservation page yet on my website I have purchased a domain name already: DHARMATJINDIANRESTAURANT.COM, My budget is $15,000-$25,000 for the web design I already have a project consultant that is taking care of the text content, logos for the site with the image artwork you will be updating the site for me, are the owner or the manager & I will like you to get back to me with a proposal estimate including a year hosting for the web design, Thank you
    SEE ATTACHMENT ON HOW I WANT MY SITE TO LOOK

    1. I just got one from email: sammyhuges100@gmail.com

      “Thanks for getting in touch. I would like you to review the details and get back to me with any question you may have.

      Here is the project details, well i have a small clothing business for both male and female which i run, 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..

      so i need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible http://www.missrebel.co.uk. the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate .The estimate should include hosting and i want the site to have not more than 5 pages ,since it is informational. I have a private project consultant, he has the text content, images and the logos for the site.

      Note:

      1. I want only English language
      2. I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as ELITEXCLUSIVEAPPARELS.COM
      3. You will be updating the site for me.
      4. I will be providing the images,logos and content for the site.
      5. I want the site up and running before ending of next two month.
      6. My budget is $3000 to $6000

      Thanks,”

  10. I was just contacted as well. At first, everything seemed very legit. Until the scammer got lung cancer and couldn’t pay his “consultant” via credit card so he then decided maybe he could pay me the whole amount and I could just transfer the difference to his “consultant”. Mine was for a logo and catalog for a new furniture business called VEEHAUS.

    1. This exact same scenario happened to me. It was weird from the start. Glad I didn’t get sucked in. Was it Paul Lowery from VEEHAUS? Lung cancer too. 🤦‍♀️

  11. I just got one today. Haven’t had one in about 1 year so didn’t recognize it right off:
    Hello Mick,
    Thank you very much for your email,l have a Auto painting company business and i need an information website to promote my business,so i need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible http://frontrangedents.com/. So i need you to get 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 blogs.
    2. I want only English language
    3. I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as http://www.premiumautos.me
    4. i will be proving the images, logos and content for the site My budget is $3,500 to $6,500
    I will be waiting for your email for the estimate

    Here is my company name: COLLISION REPAIR SPECIALISTS kindly get back to me with your cellphone number so that we can have suitable text on phone

    Best regards
    Scott

    Oh well – live and learn. I can’t imagine giving any “ project consultant” any of the $$$ though, lol. I want it all for myself hahahah

    1. I just received the exact same email request yesterday! The poor punctuation and English turned on my internal “scam radar.” Also, no information as to where the business is located. Not registered in State of Washington. No return phone number or address for the “new business”. Thank you for posting the warning, Eesa, as a Google search brought up the exact same words in the scammer email.

  12. Ya’ll! This is happening WAY too often. Does anyone have a hunch on how to stop the emails coming through? My delete button has had it with me!

  13. This also happened to us: email sent:
    On Fri, Jul 19, 2019 at 1:56 PM Vidal William wrote:
    Thanks a lot for your prompt reply, Yes, i do, I have a small clothing business for both male and female, now am trying to expand the business now, it located in NV and i want you to build an informative website for it for advertisement. I need you to checkout this site but I need something more perfect than this if possible, https://www.reveboutique.com/. The site would only be informative, So i need you to get back to me with an estimate for the website design, The estimate should include hosting and i want the site to have not more than 12 pages since it is informative. I have a private project graphic designer,that has the text content, images and the logos files for the site.

    Note:
    1. I want only English language
    2. I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as vidalwills.store
    3. You will be updating the site for me twice in a month.
    4. I will be providing the images,logos and content for the site.
    5. I want the site up and running before Two to Three Months Out.
    6. My budget is $5,000 to $15,000
    Kindly get back to me with:
    (1) an estimate
    (2) I will like to know if you are the owner ?
    (3) and provide me with your cellphone number

    Hope to read from you,
    Thanks.
    Vidal William

    Then changed the email address to: businessenterprises0007@outlook.com
    Phone Number: 740-310-5919
    and the designer who would receive the money from us:
    Name: Dustin Patterson
    Phone Number: (615) 378-5740
    Address: 916 E BRENTWOOD DR MORRISTOWN, TN 37814
    email: dusconsultant4life@aol.com

    Then I went about asking for proof of company (EIN, etc). He replied back saying he could not provided. We told him we could not do business with them.

  14. Interesting to see I’m not the only one who’s been contacted by these scammers, and DEFINITELY grateful I trusted my gut instincts when it came to that “Grascilla Nut” Nonsense!

  15. On Wed, Jul 17, 2019 at 2:09 PM sammy hughes wrote:
    Thanks for getting in touch. I would like you to review the details and get back to me with any question you may have.

    Here is the project details, well i have a small clothing business for both male and female which i run, 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..

    so i need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible http://www.missrebel.co.uk. the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate .The estimate should include hosting and i want the site to have not more than 5 pages ,since it is informational. I have a private project consultant, he has the text content, images and the logos for the site.

    Note:

    1. I want only English language
    2. I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as ELITEXCLUSIVEAPPARELS.COM
    3. You will be updating the site for me.
    4. I will be providing the images,logos and content for the site.
    5. I want the site up and running before ending of next two month.
    6. My budget is $3000 to $6000

    Thanks,

      1. got the exactly same thing 🙂

        Thanks for getting in touch. I would like you to review the details and get back to me with any question you may have.

        Here is the project details, well i have a small clothing business for both male and female which i run, 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..

        so i need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible http://www.missrebel.co.uk. the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate .The estimate should include hosting and i want the site to have not more than 5 pages ,since it is informational. I have a private project consultant, he has the text content, images and the logos for the site.

        Note:

        1. I want only English language
        2. I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as ELITEXCLUSIVEAPPARELS.COM
        3. You will be updating the site for me.
        4. I will be providing the images,logos and content for the site.
        5. I want the site up and running before ending of next two month.
        6. My budget is $3000 to $6000

        Thanks,

        sammy hughes “web design scammer”

          1. Also got an email from williamsoyin044@gmail.com. It was really simple, too. Subject line: WEB DESIGN (so that was a red flag…who types in all caps?). And the body of the email simply asked if I could design a website for a clothing store. No other details.

            But I got the exact same email last week so yeah. Scam scam scam.

  16. Here is one I got today that fits the profile from Dustin Patteson, duspattent@gmail.com with Dustin_Enterprises. He gave no phone number:

    I have 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 Salon Equipment such as Dryer, haircream, Weavon, Hairdressing, Clippers, i need the 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. https://www.absalonequipment.com/
    … 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 just 10 pages 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 10pages 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 dustin.salon
    4. You will be updating the site for me twice in a month.
    5. I will be providing the images, logos and content for the site.
    6. I want the site up and running before ending of 2 to 3months.
    7. My budget is $8,000 to $16,000

    Kindly get back to me with an estimate for the Web Design,
    Your Full Name:
    Shop Address:
    Types Of Credit Card You do Accept:
    Your Cell Phone #:(so we can communicate via text message:

  17. I just got this email. I was a bit suspicious, but responded anyway. Afterwards I started poking around and found this thread. So far I haven’t received any kind of response, but I’m interested in seeing what comes.


    I need an informational website on my business. 6-7 pages will be a good fit for me, My company is base on Agriculture products, such products are Cocoa and Gacillia Nut so i need best layout design, the site would only be informational, I need you to give me an estimate should include hosting and i have a private project consultant, he has the text content and the logos for the site.

    Note,

    1. I want only English language
    2. I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as (qualityfarmproduce.shop)
    3. you will be updating the site for me.
    4. i will be proving the images, logos and content for the site.
    5. i want the site up and running before ending of August.
    6. My budget is $4500USD
    Kindly get back to me with an estimate,

    Thank you!

  18. Wow, I’ve had several of these exact scripts sent to me but the details (like probably website name) are different. The poor English and flaky budget and/or “project coordinator” were big tip-offs, though.

  19. THANK YOU FOR THIS ARTICLE!!! So glad I found this because I’ve gotten two in the past month…

    Thanks, i want you to know that this is the first time I will be doing a Logo design so I can only give you little details then you can decide on designs but I want the color to consist of Black and Gold with an image of an ancient chair. I want a very mature and presentable design and my budget for this project is $2000.

    For the Brochure, I want a double folded A4 size brochure with 8 pages and I can only supply the text content and photos but all are with my project consultant but the logo and brochure will be designed by you and the due date for the project is 3rd of June 2019.

    The company name is JBROWNE FURNITURE INC and is based on importing and exporting of furnitures.

    Thats all i can provide from my end and i hope you understand what i listed above i need a more perfect Job.

    Kindly let me know the total cost of the Brochure and Logo Design if it’ll cost more than I budgeted.

    NOTE: My website is still under construction and will be completed soon.

    I would be very happy to hear from you on time.

    Thank you.

    From James Browne (jbrowne231231@gmail.com)

    AND

    Thanks for the response Alex. i want you to know that this is the first time I will be doing a Logo design so I can only give you details then you can decide on Colors and designs but I want a very mature and presentable design and my budget for this design is $1500.

    I need you to make 2 designs writing ” GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME AND ALL THE TIME HE WILL BE GOOD” in the logo and 2 designs writing “THOSE WHO TRUST IN THE LORD SHALL FIND NEW STRENGTH”. making 4 Logo designs. I need you to include religious images like cross or dove bird to make the Logos look more different.

    This logos will be printed on t-shirts, banners,fliers and mugs and I need to know how long this will take you and also get back to me with your total estimate so i will know if my budget can make the Logo design.

    Thanks

    Frank Eyeson (feyeson001@gmail.com)

    1. “Mr. Frank Eyeson” just emailed me. It smelled fishy right away. I googled his name and email address and found this article. I find it odd/ironic that searching for “Frank Eyeson” yields an actual(?) designer in D.C.

      feyeson001@gmail.com
      “Hello, how’re you doing today? I’m Frank Eyeson and I want you to design some logos that’ll be printed on t-shirts, fliers, banners and mugs. This is needed for our church’s program coming up soon.

      Kindly get back to me so i can send you the details in full.

      Thank you.”

    2. Wow! I am absolutely floored. THANK YOU FOR THIS ARTICLE. I got the same email for Frank. Word for word. I thought something was up from the start.

    3. Thank you for posting this I was getting emails from the same address looking for the same things. I thought it sounded fishy when JBROWNE FURNITURE INC emailed:
      The little favor is that i will want you to add $4000 to the estimate this will be the Project Consultant which will be sending you the content of the Project such as images and text, once the payment is made an complete he will be sending you the details of the brochure in full also i will like to know the best file for you in sending the images and text.

      I need you to understand that the project consultant has all files needed for the brochure and he hasn’t been paid because he doesn’t have the access and facility to charge my credit card, that’s why I want you to help me with that.

      I’d be glad if my favor is highly considered.

      You will be charging the 3% Credit Card Charges and Tax.

      Thank You.

    4. I just received a similar one from a ‘Brian darius’. ‘I need a graphic design for a rally event 6 Logo design (1)”GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME AND ALL THE TIME HE WILL BE GOOD”. (2)” TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD”. (3) ”O TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD”. (4)”THOSE WHO TRUST IN THE LORD SHALL FIND NEW STRENGTH ‘’(5) ”HIS FAITHFULNESS CONTINUES THROUGH ALL GENERATIONS’’(6) HAPPY IS THE MAN THAT TAKETH REFUGE IN HIM”.

      ‘He’ asked right away if I accepted credit cards, and that a separate T-shirt printer was already lined up. I was immediately suspicious when he gave me a ridiculous $2500 budget right up front. Very fishy.

  20. I just got 3 separate emails for a logo design, supposedly from a company in San Francisco. I spotted it as a scam right off, but I recently got job scammed on Zip Recruiter, so I’m hyper aware now. They went through a 2 hour text interview on Google Hangouts, pretended to be a real person/company, sent a job offer and everything. They sent a check to set up a home office, but I stopped it when they said I had to make a deposit into a personal account to purchase the items. Not only a huge waste of time, but I gave notice to my job that I was leaving. I’m still working and looking to move and find another job, but holy shit, what a total time suck.

  21. Wow thanks for this warning. I just encountered the Indian restaurant scam. I was almost ready to tell them to go ahead with payment, but they were going to send me more than double my estimate so I could pay their consultant. It sounded suspicious and similar to another scam I encountered at my old job. I searched for restaurant website scams and your article popped up first on google and right away I knew it was indeed a scam.
    I told them “Sorry , but I don’t do third party payouts. If you would like to proceed anyway you can send the initial payment of (estimate) and we can get started.” Haven’t heard a reply yet.

  22. Today i also received an email:

    from: Gregory Fennell

    My Wife and i just opened a new Restaurant which I now run and I need a website for the business to grow, So I need you to go through this
    example link site:

    http://sullivansquay.com

    I need something as simple as this if possible, I will like you to get back to me with an estimate and the estimate should include hosting and I
    want you to understand that I want the same page as the example site I gave you to check and I want you to know you will be updating the site for
    me. I want the site up and running before I am back to the state and I don’t want a shopping cart in my reservation page also I don’t have a
    domain name yet and I will prefer: HYNESRESTAURANT.NET, My budget is $2000-4000 for the web design, I have a private project consultant, she has
    the text content and the logos for the site with the image artwork, so please go ahead and check the example site and get back to me with an
    estimate also will like to know if you are the owner or the manager and do you accept check as payment.

    Text me here if needed +1(985)306-2983

    I want you to know am okay with the estimate cost and i hope i will get a perfect job from you.I am willing to pay 50% Upfront and pay the rest
    when the project website has been done.

    For Clarification i was warned by my bank not to use my card on pay pal or any other merchant again because they double remit my account twice
    before and I don’t want to go against my banks warning and I wish i can be able to wire the funds to you but am very busy here I am currently in
    Hawaii on a business trip and don’t have time to do all that so in view of this,my account manager can only send check to you on my behalf, I
    tried to persuade him but he said that,he is out of options for now. Let me know your thought about this asap.

    Do you have anybody in the United States that can receive the check on your behalf? If YES

    Kindly get back to me with the persons information below :

    Full Name to be written on check:
    Mailing Address:
    Cell Phone Number of the person receiving the check:

    1. Looks like they have changed their approach a bit. Here comes updated email:

      Prior to receiving your email,someone else had already been chosen for the job, however i personally have an immediate opening for you.

      Here is the new job details below:

      I just opened a new Restaurant which I now run and I need a website for the business to grow, So I need you to go through this
      example link site:

      http://sullivansquay.com

      I need something as simple as this if possible, I will like you to get back to me with an estimate and the estimate should include hosting and I
      want you to understand that I want the same page as the example site I gave you to check and I want you to know you will be updating the site for
      me. I want the site up and running before I am back to the state and I don’t want a shopping cart in my reservation page also I don’t have a
      domain name yet and I will prefer: { hynesrestaurants.org },My budget is $3000-5000 for the web design, I have a private project consultant, she
      has the text content and the logos for the site with the image artwork, so please go ahead and check the example site and get back to me with an
      estimate also will like to know if you are the owner or the manager and do you accept check as payment.

      Thank you.

  23. Thanks for your quick response,Here is the job details below…

    I just open a new Indian Restaurant which i run now and i need a
    website for my business to grow, So i need you to go through this
    example link site:http://www.indikausa.com but i need something more
    perfect than this if possible, I will like you to get back to me with
    an estimate and the estimate should include hosting and i want you to
    understand i want the same page as the example site i gave you to
    check and I want only English language and i want you to know you will
    be updating the site for me. I want the site up and running before
    ending of next month and i don’t want a shopping cart in my
    reservation page also i don’t have a domain name yet and i will
    prefer: KAITINDRESTAURANT.COM, My budget is $750/$1,500 for the web
    design, i have a private project consultant, she has the text content
    and the logos for the site with the image artwork,so please go ahead
    and check the example site and get back to me with an estimate also
    will like to know if you are the owner or the manager and do you
    accept credit card as payment.

    I am from India and would have almost got scammed! Thanks a lot!!

  24. Currently talking to a guy who contacted me this morning. He’s literally going by a lot of this exact same script. He’s wasted my entire morning going back and forth negotiating this fake freelance job. Kinda pissed about that, but thanks so much for this article. Saved me from an even bigger nightmare.

    1. Sorry you experienced this time suck, Tyler. Super irritating, no? I’ve had heaps of time wasted as well. The only solace I feel is – imagine how much of a time suck is is for the scammers on the other end of the line? They sit there and do this all day long. Ugh. Get a life.

    2. Had a similar one here – I sent him to a questionnaire on my site that I have saved especially for people like him, takes around 2.5 hours to complete and sends them all over the internet to find info required to complete it, The Questionnaire is set up to be impossible to complete in one go, I know I have gone through it to test it and it’s a nightmare,lol when he finally sends it through after much stress on his part and several emails complaining, I send him an email telling him he was figured out a long time ago and I hope he had fun. Unfortunately we can’t stop this kind of thing but we can have a little fun with it and make it a difficult and time consuming process for them, hopefully in the long run this will put them off.

  25. got this email :

    Hello, I need help with my project,I have a specification for the website and which the private consultant will provide logo and other artwork needed for the project. I have a budget of $2000-$5000, Reply me if you are interested in the project through my gmail only (christopherrichard2006@gmail.com ) so I can send you the full job details.

  26. Now they are targeting agencies in India
    Hello

    Sorry here is the new job details

    My Wife and i just opened a new Restaurant which I now run and I need a website for the business to grow, So I need you to go through this example link site:

    http://sullivansquay.com

    I need something as simple as this if possible, I will like you to get back to me with an estimate and the estimate should include hosting and I want you to understand that I want the same page as the example site I gave you to check and I want you to know you will be updating the site for me. I want the site up and running before I am back to the state and I don’t want a shopping cart in my reservation page also I don’t have a domain name yet and I will prefer: HYNESRESTAURANT.NET, My budget is $2000-5000 for the web design, I have a private project consultant, she has the text content and the logos for the site with the image artwork, so please go ahead and check the example site and get back to me with an estimate also will like to know if you are the owner or the manager and do you accept check as payment.

    Text me here if needed +1(985)306-2983

    Thank you.

    Now the next email comes as..

    I want you to know am okay with the estimate cost and i hope i will get a perfect job from you.

    I was warned by my bank not to use my card on pay pal or any other merchant again because they double remit my account twice before and I don’t
    want to go against my bank warning to me and I wish i can be able to wire the funds to you but am very busy here and don’t have time to do all
    that so in view of this my account manager can only send check to you on my behalf, I tried to persuade him but he said that he is out of options
    for now. Let me know your thought asap.

    Do you have anybody in the United States that can receive the check on your behalf?

    Gregory

    3rd Email with clarity about scam..

    A check of $6000.00 has been issued out to the address you provided,which include the private consultant advance payment, Once the money
    cleared in your account remove your upfront payment of $3800.00,your friend can deduct the $200 and send the rest to the private project consultant for her advance fee, she has the text content and the logos for the site with the image artwork, i could have pay her but she does not have facility to check or credit card
    at the moment. Are you clear with that?

  27. just got this a few days ago.

    i have business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in WA and the company is based on importing and exporting of Salon Equipment such as Dryer,hair cream,Weavon,Hairdressing,Clippers, 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 .https://avada.theme-fusion.com/classic-shop/.. I have a private consultant that has the text content and logo for the site . the site would only
    be information, so i need you to give me an estimate.

    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….Meimuliproductive
    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 2 month.
    7. My budget is $4000 to $6000
    8.Are you the Owner

    Follow up after quote sent.

    Thanks for your response, i am okay with the estimate and i wanna proceed so i will pay $2000 down payment for the job using my 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 and i will need a little favor from you and the reason why i need this favor from you is because the content creator that has the content and logo for the website does not have the facility to charge credit cards and i also Am presently in the hospital with my son for surgery so i will be glad if you can help me out with this favor.

  28. Thanks for this website. Otherwise I almost being cheated today. Same mail same content same URLS.

    We should forward these things to more people especially freelancers.

  29. My apologies for the delayed response, I have 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 Salon Equipment such as Dryer, haircream, Weavon, Hairdressing, Clippers, i need the 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. https://edenscrown.com/… 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 just 10 pages 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 10pages 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 dustinsalon.com​
    4. You will be updating the site for me twice in a month.​
    5. I will be providing the images, logos and content for the site.​
    6. I want the site up and running before ending of 2 to 3months.​
    7. My budget is $8,000 to $15,000​

    Kindly get back to me with an estimate for the Web Design,​
    Your Full Name:​
    Shop Address:​
    Types Of Credit Card You do Accept:​
    Your Cell Phone #:(so we can communicate via text message:​

    Best Regards​
    PATTERSON

    1. Yep, I just got this same one this morning. Usually, I get the Kola Nut one. The initial email through my contact form was more professional than what I usually get, so I ended up responding. As soon as PATTERSON responded, I knew I’d been had.

      Normally, the first contact is through text so this was different. You can never let your guard down!

  30. We have had the same thing! looking at our analytics we had a few views from Delhi, india around the time the email was sent.

    From: Alex Pritchard
    Sent: Friday, 17 May 2019 10:01 AM
    Subject: Re: Web Design Proposal

    Hi,
    Thanks for the Swift Response, Well i do have hearing problem, that was why i reach out to you via the E-mail. I would like you to review the details and get back to me with any question you may have. Here is the project details, I have a small clothing business for both male and female which i run, 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, so i need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible https://www.missrebel.co.uk/ the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate, Plus the estimate should include hosting and i want the site to have not more than 5 pages ,since it is informational. And i do have a private project consultant, he has the text content, images and the logos for the site.

    Note:
    1. I want it in English language only.
    2. I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as (farms-bj.net)
    3. you will be the one updating the site for me.
    4. i will be providing the images, logos and content for the site.
    5. i want the site up and running before June Ending.
    6. My budget is $4000 to $5000
    Kindly get back to me with an estimate

    Regards,
    Alex

  31. Thanks for the article. This happened to me months ago and it seemed incredibly legit, all up until it was time to submit payment – that’s when I was presented with the ‘We’ll pay you $8k and you just refund us $4k’ sketchiness. I spent considerable amount of time researching the project, preparing a proposal, learning about the ‘business’, etc. I probably lost a total of 4 or 5 hours because I am sure to learn as much as I can about my client projects before just throwing an arbitrary solution and proposal out there for them as it would be a disservice to both of us.

    In any event, I was just contacted by the scammers from Gacillia Nut. I did a quick Google Search of the contacts email address and found this article. You saved me several hours of research and proposal time, so thank you. Will report to the SS. Thank you for taking the time to make our industry a safer place and helping to keep others from wasting their time.

  32. I just got this one sounds very similar

    I run a small agro-company that basically deals with importing and exporting of Agriculture products such as Kola Nut, Gacillia Nut and Cocoa. I’m currently looking for the best website layout design (including hosting) for my booming small scale company/business. I would need a perfect website that has the features of the following website. Please take a look of this https://www.misfitsmarket.com/ . The site should only be informational, so i will only be needing an estimate based on the site above.

    Misfits Market – Ugly and Imperfect Produce, Delivered To Your Door
    Misfits Market delivers ugly, but otherwise perfectly edible fruits and vegetables right to your door. Our mission is to combat food waste and provide affordable, healthy produce to the world.

    The estimate should include hosting and should posses almost some of the page content of the above website. I also have a private project consultant and she will be contacting you with text content and the logos for the site.

    Note:

    1. I want the same number of pages (almost the same content, graphics) with the above sample site
    2. It should only be in English language
    3. I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as Meyersfarmproduct.com
    4. You will be responsible for the site update.
    5. I will be providing (through my project consultant) the images, logos and content for the site.
    6. I want the site up and running in the next 2 to 3 months
    7. My budget is also flexible.

    I will be waiting to hear back from you soon with an estimate or proposal.

  33. Last week on Guru.com, Someone posted an email to get a quote to develop a web application for the restaurant business, I contacted by email and get replied as below: (Same as Jasmine Griffin received)

    From: engrobertmilan@gmail.com
    Named Given this time: Robert Milan
    =======
    Hello

    My wife and I just opened a new Restaurant which I now run and I need a website to grow the business, So I need you to go through this example link site: http://sullivansquay.com, I need something as simple as this if possible.

    The Most Important features will be:

    – Table booking
    – Online food ordering
    – Invoice system
    – Order management
    – Payment Integration (PayPal and credit card)

    other Highlighting features should include:

    User and marketing friendly interface, SEO optimized, Responsive pages, Aesthetically pleasing and should be in accordance with the latest design and market trends.

    My budget is $2000-5000 for the whole project, My private project consultant has the text content, logo, artwork and all the pictures needed, so please go ahead and check the example site and get back to me with an estimate which includes hosting and domain and I will prefer: goldcoastrestaurant.net

    I will like to know if you are the owner or the manager, Payment will be made only by check in the US, let me know if that is fine or you have someone that can receive for you if you are not in the US.

    Text me here if needed +1(720) 336-9594

    Thank you
    =======

    I provided detail estimation and he agreed with the amount and forced to do check payments only. I informed him, we are fine with check payment and share your location details, within 10 minutes he provided his name and location details as “My name is Robert Milan, 3470 S Poplar St APT 205, Denver, CO 80224, I will be expecting the details for the check receiver”

    As I receive a quick reply, I started to think, something going wrong here and searched on the internet to verify his provided details. I found his all details are fake and I got this website link with all other’s experience as well. Then I decided to follow him, tried to grab more information to catch him if that will help.

    I emailed him like “Oh great, we have a local person in Denver will visit you and collect a check. Can you please share your photo identity proof and address proof, we have to collect as per our company policy.”

    I am waiting for his response, will inform if received answer from him.

    Thanks

    1. I just received this scam email from the same email address (engrobertmilan@gmail.com):

      “We need a website for our restaurant, which will be very simple and have just a few pages, Home page, about us, contact us, a menu page where all the items on our menu will be listed with pictures and lastly a gallery page for our restaurant and outlet pictures. The website has to be responsive for web and mobile browsers on all devices, that is all we need.

      You will be responsible for the design , hosting, domain name and everything there is concerning the website, whatever code or plugins or add on you believe you need just calculate an estimate, i do not need to be bothered with questions of what do i prefer, this or that , you just think of whatever will give us the best result and give me an estimate, the domain name i will like is cafemilan.com or something close if this is not available.

      As for the logo, artworks, photos and write ups for the website, all that is available and with our private project consultant who will be forwarding all that to you, so let me know the estimate and if you will be able to receive a check or you have someone in the US who can do that on your behalf.

      Note: Check is the only form of payment , if it doesn’t work for you then good luck

      Regard”

  34. Today I received a Gacillia Nut scam email from “Sandra Greg” . I’ve gotten so many of these “need a website and do you take credit cards” solicitations.

    Hi Sharon,

    I would not be able to call for now due to some reasons here is the job details, I need informational website on my business. 8-10 pages will be a good fit for me, my company is base on Agriculture products. such products are Gacillia Nut and Cocoa so i need best layout design, the site would only be informational, I need you to give me an estimate should include hosting and i have a private project consultant, he has the text content and the logos for the site.

    Note,

    1. I want only English language
    2. I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as (qualityfarmproduce.us)
    3. you will be updating the site for me.
    4. i will be proving the images, logos and content for the site.
    5. i want the site up and running before ending of next month.
    6. My budget is $6000USD
    Kindly get back to me with an estimate,

    Thank you!

  35. So I haven’t even been on Guru.com for 5 minutes and I’ve already become a potential victim of this scam.

    At first, he was asking for a new website for his restaurant. And then before I know it, he’s telling me he’s going to send me $8,000 so I can pay $6,000 to his “project consultant” because she doesn’t have the ‘facility’ to her credit card at the moment. And I keep the $2,000 for myself. Baring in mind, my quote wasn’t even $2,000. 😂

    Things seemed so real and genuine until this point. So I done some research into web designer scams and found this site.

    Email from engrobertmilan@gmail.com:

    Hello

    My wife and I just opened a new Restaurant which I now run and I need a website to grow the business, So I need you to go through this example link site: http://sullivansquay.com, I need something as simple as this if possible.

    The Most Important features will be:

    – Single Restaurant website
    – Table booking
    – Online food ordering and tracking
    – Invoice system
    – Order management
    – Payment Integration (PayPal and credit card)

    other Highlighting features should include:

    User and marketing friendly interface, SEO optimized, Responsive pages, Aesthetically pleasing and should be in accordance with the latest design and market trends.

    My budget is $2000-5000 for the whole project, My private project consultant has the text content, logo, artwork and all the pictures needed, so please go ahead and check the example site and get back to me with an estimate which includes hosting and domain and I will prefer: goldcoastrestaurant.net

    I will like to know if you are the owner or the manager, Payment will be made only by check in the US, let me know if that is fine or you have someone that can receive for you if you are not in the US.

    Text me here if needed +1(720) 336-9594

    Thank you

    *****END OF CONVO*******

    Once I spent like 3 hours on a detailed quote, he replied in just 1 minute saying:

    I will be sending you a check of $8000 which include the private consultant payment, Once you clear the money remove your payment of $2000 and send the rest ($6000) to the private project consultant for her fees, she has the text content and the logos for the site with the image artwork.

    I could have paid her but she does not have facility to check or credit card at the moment, Are you clear with that? I will also be needing the full name, address and cellphone number of the receiver of the check.

    *****END OF CONVO*******

    I got suspicious when he replied in only 1 minute, meaning he never even read any of my quote plus the $2000 wasn’t even the price I said lol.

    This is probably a common problem within the community that most may know about but I was not aware myself. And if you’re new to web design then it’s very easy to get excited when you get any potential new client.

    Stay safe people.

  36. We have gotten a couple of these as well. Wanting an eCommerce site. In our case it was “MellisaJavon23@gmail.com”. Once they started asking about what bank will be charging my credit card we knew it was a scam. Total wasted of time building a quote.

    1. I got a call from a guy called Mark asking for catalog design services. Thankfully I did my research! He’s been hounding my phone and email, but definitely DO NOT reply to this number. Plus, he can’t write a sentence without screwing it up, so that’s a red flag as well.

  37. Even I’ve got a same email of a fraud person ‘molizzy844@gmail.com’

    I came in touch with him via freelancer. I was much more than happy to be chosen for the project. He emailed so positively, I literally relied upon him. Read this email I got too like you guys-

    “I just open a new Indian Restaurant which i run now and i need a
    website for my business to grow, So i need you to go through this
    example link site : http://www.indikausa.com but i need something more
    perfect than this if possible, I will like you to get back to me with
    an estimate and the estimate should include hosting and i want you to
    understand i want the same page as the example site i gave you to
    check and I want only English language and i want you to know you will
    be updating the site for me. I want the site up and running before
    ending of next month and i don’t want a shopping cart in my
    reservation page also i don’t have a domain name yet and i will
    prefer: KAITINDRESTAURANT.COM, My budget is $750/$1,500 for the web
    design, i have a private project consultant, she has the text content
    and the logos for the site with the image artwork,so please go ahead
    and check the example site and get back to me with an estimate also
    will like to know if you are the owner or the manager and do you
    accept credit card as payment.”
    ———–
    And you would be amazed to know, I got the payment cheque from this scammer as well. Keep an eye out for these guys, and beware of growing fraud because of these stupid scammers.

    Though, I luckily got saved because I googled and fortunately got this link of same email and related thing. Thanks to @alexwright

    1. i have got a project from Freelancer. i emailed her that i am interested in doing your project she tell me the same thing. it means she is a scam . i am happy now i am sad.

  38. This is classic! I just posted a reply here yesterday about one of the scams. I reported the number and email address they gave me with the FTC as well as a few websites that keep track of scam numbers. I replied to these idiots telling them I had reported them and immediately blocked their number, a few hours later I get another message from a different number running a very similar scam. This time I’m just toying with them asking stupid questions … The number in question is 805-591-4947, here’s the dialog:

    SCAMMER: Hello, am Dan, do you offer Logo design service?
    ME: Hi Dan, of course. How did you hear about us?
    SCAMMER: I want you to know that this is the first time I will be doing a Logo design so I can only give you details then you can decide on Colors and designs. I need you to make 2 designs writing “ Happy New Year “ in the logo and 2 designs writing “2019 Year of Favor”. making 4 Logo designs. I need you to include religious images like cross or dove bird to make the Logos look more different, i want you to get back to me with the total estimate for the 4 Logo designs..
    ME: sounds good. So what do you want?
    SCAMMER: i want you to get back to me with the total estimate for the 4 Logo designs..
    ME: Yes. But before that, tell me about your business. And who refer you to me please
    SCAMMER: We are having our national youth convention and wanting the logo design to be printed on the T-shirts we want to be on as uniforms on the convention..
    ME: What is the name of your business and your contact information? I need your physical address and email address too
    SCAMMER: The Redeem Christian Church Of God
    Dan Larry
    dan891515@gmail.com
    ME: Is this Dan Larry from UT? Man I haven’t heard from you in a while! What are you up to?

    … That’s when I lost them 🙁

  39. I just had someone text me in a similar fashion to whats been previously mentioned. It started out with them asking if I provided logo design services and accepted credit cards (I answered yes to both).

    They then went on to explain the project, stating that it was for a youth convention and they needed 10 different t-shirt designs with a budget of $1200-1500 and the shirts saying “GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME AND ALL THE TIME HE WILL BE GOOD” and “THOSE WHO TRUST IN THE LORD SHALL FIND NEW STRENGTH”. We went back and forth and I stated my usual “okay, i will send you over an agreement, i need that signed, a deposit, and then i can start the work”

    This then led into the person asking about my merchant and how long it would take to receive the funds. The person then asked if they could just give me the credit card info directly and just send a receipt back. Finally, I got the “Can i ask for a favor” message which went into:
    “I want to pay the printer some amount to get materials and work started so they can meet up with set deadline but they do not have facilities to accept credit card payment So I’ll add the extra amount to your deposit and once everything clears into your account, you will take your deposit and help me send the remaining amount to them the sum of $3,390 i will be responsible for the credit card charges and tax and there is also a $100 tip for you.”

    These texts came from the number 740-715-1613, but I was never able to get an actual name after asking multiple times.

    1. I just wasted about 1 hour total in back and forth messages (thank goodness I used the Messages app on my Mac, otherwise it would have taken 10 hours typing stuff on my iPhone). The person’s supposed name is Charles Rodwell and his email address is chhadam012@gmail.com.

      If your gut is telling you that something doesn’t add up, is because it doesn’t. I couldn’t put my finger on it, the immediate disclosure of budget, the English misspellings, the lack of answers to basic questions, etc. so many things alerting me that something was fishy … but that’s why God invented Google. I searched for the number (740-715-1613) and this post appeared as one of the results.

      Everybody else receiving this type of scams should paste the phone numbers and message here. The article is well written and alerts creative types like us about this BS.

      1. Even I was approached by a scammer Lizzy Morgan ‘molizzy844@gmail.com’

        It seems to be very interesting while you’re been offered a project. But, confirm details before accepting payment via cheques.

        Thank you!

  40. Yesterday I wasted half my morning preparing a quote for ‘Justin William’, who was expanding his cacao import business into the UK. After spending an hour preparing a detailed quote I then got the request for a ‘favour’. Needless to say I declined!

  41. Here is the email that arrived:

    Hello, I need a design for my project, It’s an Indian restaurant that i run but need a website for the business to grow, Please let me know if you can and my budget is between the range of $5000-$10000 within the interval of one month. I will be looking forward to your response via my business address (Mthmp6n@gmail.com) so i can forward the details to you.

    Thanks,
    Michael
    ———

    Here is our stock response to these senders:

    Sure Michael.

    Send us a deposit of $5000 to continue this discussion. We will refund your deposit IN FULL if you decide to have another company handle your project. You can e-Transfer the deposit to this email address. No further contact will be made until the deposit is in place.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi All,

      Alex, Kudos for having this up here or I could have been in a tough spot. It seemed very “to good to be true” so my stomach was already turning. Luckily my background is forensics and ethical hacking… Red lights and sirens all around. lol

      In any case, much like the above user, we have the same email from Michael Thompson using a yelp account. The same email was used (mthmp6n@gmail.com), in fact is was a mirror copy of the email above.

      Then he mentioned his Indian Home Restaurant business was actually called Osaka Restaurant. I could be wrong but has anyone ever seen a Japanese Indian Restaurant?

      We have filed information with authorities and major agencies here in Canada.

      Thanks,
      Jonathan – PivoDigm Digital Marketing

  42. I have received 2 of these recently, from different addresses.
    Naturally they rang alarm bells.

    Latest:
    Thanks for getting in touch. I would like you to review the details and get back to me with any question you may have.
    Here is the project details, well i have a small clothing business for both male and female which i run, 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..
    so i need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible http://www.missrebel.co.uk the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate .The estimate should include hosting and i want the site to have not more than 5 pages ,since it is informational. I have a private project consultant, he has the text content, images and the logos for the site.
    Note:
    1. I want only English language
    2. I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as ELITEXCLUSIVEAPPARELS.COM
    3. You will be updating the site for me.
    4. I will be providing the images,logos and content for the site.
    5. I want the site up and running before ending of next two month.
    6. My budget is $3000 to $6000
    Thanks,

    On Fri, 15 Feb 2019, 2:01 AM James William,

    1. We had exactly the same message three days ago.
      Sadly I didn’t check google, because that would have saved me the 20 minutes I spent writing a budget for this S.O.B…

  43. Well, this one just floated over my email lines last couple of days… A typical inquiry followed by…

    Thanks for getting in touch. I would like you to review the details and get back to me with any question you may have.

    Here is the project details, well i have a small clothing business for both male and female which i run, 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..

    so i need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible http://www.missrebel.co.uk. the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate .The estimate should include hosting and i want the site to have not more than 5 pages ,since it is informational. I have a private project consultant, he has the text content, images and the logos for the site.

    Note:

    1. I want only English language
    2. I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as ELITEXCLUSIVEAPPARELS.COM
    3. You will be updating the site for me.
    4. I will be providing the images,logos and content for the site.
    5. I want the site up and running before ending of next two month.
    6. My budget is $3000 to $6000

    Thanks,

    Well… THAT looked dodgy so I googled and showed up here. Hauh. Imagine that. Thought this one seemed familiar. My response included – 

    “Please be advised that the text and content of your message is extremely similar to a number of fairly well-known web email scams targeting creative professionals. We are not prepared to proceed further without the appropriate bona-fides and assurances of legitimacy.”

    Wonder if they will stick it out, or vanish back into the darkside of cyberspace.

  44. Recently my firm received a mail from some Glenn Smith. We didn’t know it was some online scam. Infact the person involved with the firms mail already informed our agent in the us and the so called “scammer” claims to have sent the check and sent us a courier tracking. What should we do?

    1. Sorry to hear that! I’d not deposit the check. Generally what happens is the check initially clears then you pay the scammer then the check amount is removed from your account after it is discovered to be fraudulent. You could always try talking to the bank or the police, but I’m no lawyer or banker. I’d advise against depositing it unless you find out more about the check and the “client”.

  45. Was starting to think there was something not quite right with the enquiry I received, I’m glad I googled it before it went any further.

    Thanks for your responds, below is my project details,

    Here is the job details I have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in Manchester and the company is based on importing and exporting of Sport wears such as running jacket, jersey,dance wear,socks, boots etc for both adult youth ladies and girls so i need a best of the best layout design for it. Can you handle that for me ? The site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate based on my want below, the estimate should include hosting and i have a private project consultant, he has the text content and the logos for the site.

    WHAT I WANT-

    I need a very simple informational website that shows the products that I sell.

    (4 main pages)

    HOME PAGE

    ABOUT US

    OUR PRODUCTS (gallery) – about 25 products for now and adding 5-10 new products every month. I want the product to be classified into 4 pages , which are

    Male : Adult and children , Female : Adult and children. so that the customers can get full details.

    CONTACT US – with a form to fill out so that they can get in contact with me.

    Domain Name i want- “stobartsportwears.co.uk” or anything along that line.

    TIMELINE- this should go “live” in 3 months.

    Note:

    1. I want only English language

    2. You will be updating the site for me.

    3. I will be proving the images, logos and content for the site.

    4. I want the site up and running before ending of next two month.

    5. My budget is £1000 to £5000

    6. No shopping ability

    7. The site will be mobile friendly

    8. I don’t want sitemap

    9. I have 25 product to be on it.

    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 ??

    (4) Do you accept credit cards as payment ?

    Regards,

  46. Thanks for getting in touch. I would like you to review the details and get back to me with any question you may have.
    Here is the project details, well i have a small clothing business for both male and female which i run here in Nebraska, 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..

    so i need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible http://www.missrebel.co.uk. the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate .The estimate should include hosting and i want the site to have not more than 5 pages ,since it is informational. I have a private project consultant, he has the text content, images and the logos for the site.

    Note:
    1. I want only English language
    2. I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as Nobleclassicwears.com
    3. You will be updating the site for me.
    4. I will be providing the images, logos and content for the site.
    5. I want the site up and running before ending of next month.
    6. My budget is $2000 to $4000

    Thanks,
    David

    1. I just got exactly the same message but it came from James Kruse . Luckily that I was looking for their business and found out this is a scam from google search, Thanks!

  47. I just got the one from David Dojcak

    BUT hey I would definitely do it for BitCoin sent to my public wallet absolutely no harm there!

    He said his budget is around $2,000 so I would gladly do his apparel information only 5 page site for $500 BTC

    1. Sigh… and everyone says I’m such a cynic. This is why! I, too, had been approached by Mr. Dojcak. I asked if we could do a Skype, to which he replied that he had been injured and could not do it.

      From David:
      I would like you to review the details and get back to me with any question you may have.
      Here is the project details, well i have a small clothing business for both male and female which i run here in Nebraska, 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..
      so i need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible http://www.missrebel.co.uk. the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate .The estimate should include hosting and i want the site to have not more than 5 pages ,since it is informational. I have a private project consultant, he has the text content, images and the logos for the site.

      Note:

      1. I want only English language
      2. I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as Nobleclassicwears.com
      3. You will be updating the site for me.
      4. I will be providing the images, logos and content for the site.
      5. I want the site up and running before ending of next month.
      6. My budget is $2000 to $5000

      Thanks,
      David
      —————–
      Thanks for posting about this. I guess my gut was telling me right. I keep saying I should listen to it more often 🙂

  48. Email 1:

    Hello,

    How are you doing today? my name is Battista I’m a retired Surgeon in the Army. Who Served in Iraq and Afghanistan, I read about your Web Design service on a business directory I would like to know if you can do Web Design for my new company and will you be able to get me an estimate? Also what to know if you accept all major type of credit card for payment? and also want you to get back to me so i give you my Website Design details and can i have your email address. Thanks i hope to hear from you soonest.

    Regards,
    Battista

    Email 2:

    I have business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in CA and the company is based on importing and exporting of Salon Equipment such as Dryer,hair cream,Weavon,Hairdressing,Clippers, 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://govliquidation.com… I have a private consultant that has the text content and logo for the site. the site would only be information, so i need you to give me an estimate.

    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 omerco
    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 2 months.
    7. My budget is $5000 to $10000
    8.Give me your personal cell phone number
    9.Are you the Owner

    Same scam. Thank you for this warning.

    1. I just got the same emails from the same dude “Battista”. First they texted my office number, at which point I gave my email address for further details. Everything was fishy from the get go, but I played along. Got Email 1 word for word, definitely fishy! But continued playing. Email 2 came word for word. Told them I am the owner and that they already had my office number. That’s when I got a text from a different number saying it was “Battista”. Googled scams involving web design and found this wonderful page. Told them to f*ck off. So glad this is up to warn everyone! Thank you!

  49. Thank you for this article, as i received an email that is almost word-for-word what you’ve pasted on here. I gave the guy a page on my site that has a link to send me payment via pay pal. When he said he had a problem sending money through pay pal and suggested another method of payment, I then looked at my site tracker to see if I could determine if he actually went to that page on my site, and that’s when I saw the page view came from Nigeria. Big clue right there! So then a google search brought me here. Thanks for posting this!!!!!

  50. I just open a new Indian Restaurant which i run now and i need a
    website for my business to grow, So i need you to go through this
    example link site:http://www.indikausa.com but i need something more
    perfect than this if possible, I will like you to get back to me with
    an estimate and the estimate should include hosting and i want you to
    understand i want the same page as the example site i gave you to
    check and I want only English language and i want you to know you will
    be updating the site for me. I want the site up and running before
    ending of next month and i don’t want a shopping cart in my
    reservation page also i don’t have a domain name yet and i will
    prefer: KAITINDRESTAURANT.COM, My budget is $750/$1,500 for the web
    design, i have a private project consultant, she has the text content
    and the logos for the site with the image artwork,so please go ahead
    and check the example site and get back to me with an estimate also
    will like to know if you are the owner or the manager and do you
    accept credit card as payment.

    1. Thanks for your quick response,Here is the job details below…

      I just open a new Indian Restaurant which i run now and i need a
      website for my business to grow, So i need you to go through this
      example link site:http://www.indikausa.com but i need something more
      perfect than this if possible, I will like you to get back to me with
      an estimate and the estimate should include hosting and i want you to
      understand i want the same page as the example site i gave you to
      check and I want only English language and i want you to know you will
      be updating the site for me. I want the site up and running before
      ending of next month and i don’t want a shopping cart in my
      reservation page also i don’t have a domain name yet and i will
      prefer: KAITINDRESTAURANT.COM, My budget is $750/$1,500 for the web
      design, i have a private project consultant, she has the text content
      and the logos for the site with the image artwork,so please go ahead
      and check the example site and get back to me with an estimate also
      will like to know if you are the owner or the manager and do you
      accept credit card as payment.

      1. ohh, on 17may i got the same email few days before(on 20may).

        jonally rosky

        Mon, May 20, 8:51 AM (2 days ago)

        to me
        Thanks for your quick response,Here is the job details below…

        I just open a new Indian Restaurant which i run now and i need a
        website for my business to grow, So i need you to go through this
        example link site:http://www.indikausa.com but i need something more
        perfect than this if possible, I will like you to get back to me with
        an estimate and the estimate should include hosting and i want you to
        understand i want the same page as the example site i gave you to
        check and I want only English language and i want you to know you will
        be updating the site for me. I want the site up and running before
        ending of next month and i don’t want a shopping cart in my
        reservation page also i don’t have a domain name yet and i will
        prefer: KAITINDRESTAURANT.COM, My budget is $750/$1,500 for the web
        design, i have a private project consultant, she has the text content
        and the logos for the site with the image artwork,so please go ahead
        and check the example site and get back to me with an estimate also
        will like to know if you are the owner or the manager and do you
        accept credit card as payment.

        then i send them a estimate
        then they ans me
        jonally rosky

        Tue, May 21, 3:34 AM (21 hours ago)

        to me

        Thanks for the response back, I want you to know that i’m okay with the
        estimate cost and will be glad to give you the opportunity to do the
        job for me. I hope I will get a perfect job from you and I would have
        preferred to pay you by pay pal or credit card machine but I was warn
        by my bank not to use my card on pay pal or any other merchant again
        because they double remit my account twice in the past and I don’t
        want to go against my bank warning. I will gladly mail out the payment
        to you by check. I am located in USA and it does not matter the
        Country you are provided you assured me a good and quality job. I need
        your name and address or your representative name and address in USA
        to send the payment to so that i can make an upfront payment and you
        can proceed on my web design. I also understand you will need the text
        content with the logo and other document files to start work on my web
        design asap as you know the document files are with my project
        consultant and she will have them send to you via email… Thank you.

  51. Found this today after I received a similar series of texts from a “Gary Walton,” who wanted some brochures (mailers) designed, printed and mailed for his restaurant, “GryWlton Food Restaurant.”

    I questioned him, “That’s the name of your business? No A’s on the first part and ‘Food Restaurant,’ as opposed to a non-food restaurant?” 😛

    He said, yes, and since I try to give the benefit of the doubt, especially considering autocorrect, I contacted printers to get print quotes and prepared a set of design + print/mailing estimates, which would require his signature before I would send over the initial invoice (to cover 50% of my design cost + 100% of the printing/mailing costs).

    After a small delay for him to look over the emails, he texted back, saying, “Great i use both visa and master card i want to finalize booking with the private towing guy i would get back to you asap please do a great Job on the Boat for me can i really on you on that?”

    LMAO!!!

    On that note, I blocked his number.

    If nothing else, pretty entertaining or something…

    1. … i want to finalize booking with the private towing guy i would get back to you asap please do a great Job on the Boat…

      Definitely one of my favorite lines from any of these crazy emails…

      1. Yeah, LOL. Got a couple email replies from him today, too (he replied to my email w/ the estimates). One just said, “How are you doing today?” The other asked if I had time in December 2018 and something about 100 guests… Needless to say, blocked again. 😉

  52. I just got one of these:
    “Hello there, My name is Brian Darius, i will like to know if you offer Graphic Design and and do you accept credit card.” And then another email with: “I want you to know that this is the first time I will be doing a Logo design so I can only give you the details, then you can decide on Colors and designs, but I want a very mature and presentable design and my budget for this design to be $2500”

    $2500 for a logo! Seems fishy…

  53. Had the same thing happen today. Got an email inquiring about web site development from a David Dojcak . I was suspicious as I do not normally get cold calls from other states. I did a bit of searching and found this page. Thanks for putting this information out there!

  54. I got the exact email from David Dojcak yesterday. I thought it was a scam when I first read it, even looked up his name online, but didn’t find anything unusual. I have a fairly large ecommerce website, and market to my clients primarily on Facebook, so I figured maybe David Dojcak had found me on there. I responded with a very small email just to see if this was a legit website design job or not. David Dojcak responded with the exact same text written in the comments above by Mark Kolodziej.

    I just spent an hour writing this person, but something didn’t feel right, and I decided to do some deeper digging with his name in quotes on Google, and this site came up on the first page of the results. THANK YOU Mark Kolodziej for listing this guy’s Fishing Name so that I did not get sucked into this scam.

    I will send this URL over to him, and inform him that he is a known scammer, and please do not every contact me again. WHAT A WASTE OF TIME. I also got several weird texts on my phone for the last few days from a number I had never seen. I did not respond to the texts, but then received the email from David Dojeck late last night. Just glad I found this post.

  55. Wow, I thought something smelled fishy with some correspondence I received. Thankfully before it went too far, I Googled “web design services scam” and your post was the first non-ad to display. Thank you!

    Long story short, the email inquiry at first seemed promising but a little strange with the way it was worded. I wanted to meet in person or have a phone chat to discuss their web design needs, but as you (and others in comments) have outlined, they listed their budget first and the other details mentioned above. We went back and forth several times, but two things stood out: the credit card need where they dictated they’d pay several thousand dollars before I quoted them anything, but I’d have to take out my deposit and send several thousand to their consultant. The second thing that happened was a new email from someone else asking about my web services that they found online. Then I did my Google search and here we are.

    I’ve marked as Junk the second inquiry, but – since there’s been communication with the first, and I *try* to be professional (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) – I sent this reply. (I hope you don’t mind I shared your link to this post, and I’d like to share via my social media channels, as well):

    I’m sorry, I am unavailable for project work for you at this time, or any time in the future. In the meantime, please read this informative article, I hope it’s helpful: https://alexwright.net/web-design-secrets/avoid-web-design-scams/
    PS – Future contact with me will be putting you in contact with the Secret Service, so think twice before responding.
    Have a nice day 🙂

  56. Same thing here! Thank you for writing this blog – confirmed my suspicions!!

    On Tue, Sep 25, 2018 at 10:19 AM David Dojcak wrote:
    Hi, i am David, i would like to know if you can handle website development for a clothing store?
    Get back to me so i can send you the details.
    Thanks!
    =============================
    On Tue, Sep 25, 2018, 12:18 PM David Dojcak wrote:
    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for getting in touch. I would like you to review the details and get back to me with any question you may have.
    Here is the project details, well i have a small clothing business for both male and female which i run here in Nebraska, 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..
    so i need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible http://www.missrebel.co.uk. the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate .The estimate should include hosting and i want the site to have not more than 5 pages ,since it is informational. I have a private project consultant, he has the text content, images and the logos for the site.
    Note:
    1. I want only English language
    2. I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as DavetrendywearsNE.com
    3. You will be updating the site for me.
    4. I will be providing the images, logos and content for the site.
    5. I want the site up and running before ending of next month.
    6. My budget is $2000 to $5000
    Thanks,
    David
    =============================
    On Wed, Sep 26, 2018 at 7:41 PM David Dojcak wrote:
    Hi Mark,
    Great to read from you again. Yes, the website would be strictly informational with no eCommerce capacity as i am not looking to sell online. I will figure out another domain name and get back to you on that.
    Hosting cost sounds good. You will also be updating the website for me on a monthly basis, and the number of updates would largely depend on how productive the website has been.
    I am okay with the numbers you have put out. I assume you would be providing a detailed quote?
    Let me know if you have other questions.
    Regards,
    David
    =============================
    On Fri, Sep 28, 2018 at 12:18 PM David Dojcak wrote:
    Hi Mark,

    How are you today? I got your email just now. Here is to your questions :

    There would be just one page (New arrivals) that would be displaying apparels not more than 60. The rest of the pages would be :
    Home
    About us
    Privacy policy
    Contact.

    II. I would like a product to just enlarge when clicked on it.

    Let me know if you have other questions.

    Regards,
    David
    =============================
    On Sat, Sep 29, 2018 at 8:38 AM David Dojcak wrote:
    Hi Mark,

    I got the estimate you sent my way. Thanks for your response and the clarification of the building process. i am okay with the cost as it is well within my budget. I believe the terms of payment would be half upfront and the balance upon completion?

    I am glad we are on the same page, everything seems to be in place and i hope i am going to get a perfect job from you.​

    Quick question, do you accept credit card payments? Because i can’t do cash transactions at the moment as i am presently recuperating from trauma to the urethral secondary to fall astride. ​I might also be slow in my replies as we build the website due to my condition. I hope this is not an issue?
    Let me know.​

    Regards,​
    David​

    PS : I am also going to need a little help from you regarding my consultant
    =============================
    On Mon, Oct 1, 2018 at 11:07 AM David Dojcak wrote:
    Hi Mark,

    That sounds good. Here’s what I need from you, I’m ready to make payment now with my credit card, I understand the content for this site would be needed so the project can begin asap. I am going to need you to send an invoice for the sum of $4600 plus 3% Cc company charges, you will deduct $1500 as deposit for your service and you will send $3000 to the project consultant that has the text content and the logo for my website via cash deposit to his account, so once he receives the money, he would send the text content and logo needed for my website to you so you can commence asap, you can have the remaining $100 as tip for helping with the consultant’s fee. Sending of funds would be after money clears into your account and you will be charging my card for your balance upon completion. I need your help because the consultant doesn’t have facilities to bill credit cards at the moment and the project has to begin on time so we can meet the proposed deadline plus my present situation won’t allow me to other options. Kindly bear with me. I Look forward to your favourable reply.

    Regards,
    David
    ================================
    My last response was just to see what they would say ; this was before I googled this scam and found your site – posting my encounter here just so others may be able to Google this guys email and name and find this
    ===================================
    I need to verify with the chamber of commerce and a google webmaster places account for your site.
    I need-
    Business name:
    Address:
    Phone Number:
    Credit Card #:
    Address on file:
    CVC code on back:
    Name on card:

    1. Dang, Mark, that’s an intense experience. I still get these inquiries just about weekly. I’m glad everyone is sharing the details of their experiences with these people. Hopefully the scammers will move on to maybe spending all that time doing something productive…

    2. I am glad I saw this. Here is the email I received a few days ago:

      Thank you for your response. i will be glad if you can create a website for me.
      Here is the job details for the site i want created.
      The business is a salon and spa but it still a small scale business so i need a best of the best layout design for it.
      Can you handle that for me ?.
      Here is a site as an exaample, https://www.utopiabeautique.com..
      Please kindly check it out but i need something more perfect than this if its possible
      The site would only be informational, so E-commerce functionality is not needed on this site,
      I need you to give me an estimate based on the example site i gave you to check out, the estimate should include hosting and also i want the site to be on word-press plus
      I want the same page as the site i gave you to check out and i have a private project consultant, whom has the text content and the logos for the site so there wont be any delays.
      Note:
      1. My budget is £1,000 to £5000
      2.I want the same exact numbers of pages with the example site i gave you to check
      3. i want the domain name as SnappySpa.net, because i don’t have a domain yet
      4. Updating of the site will be by you guys
      5. the images, logos and content for the site will be provided by me.
      6. i want the site up and running before ending of next month.
      Kindly get back to me with:
      (1) an estimate
      (2) Are you the owner ??

      This was followed by another email asking for my credit card details so he could make payment. WHen I told him I did not accept credit cards he was very insistent that I go to one of the pyament providers. I also note from the timestamp he is not UK based so very suspicious

  57. Hi yes I just had the same, the build a site like agroamerica scam attempt. Interestingly, the first email was from Sarah Fordwest but the second one was from Sarah Thomson . So maybe they have one person sending out the enquiry email and another who does the follow up emails.

    Anyway thanks for your article, which confirmed my suspicions.

  58. Glad I read this. Just dodged a bullet after reading it.

    Here is the email I just received today.

    ————————–

    Hello ,

    I have small scale business which I want to turn into a large-scale business now is located in MO 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? I need you to check out this site but I need something more perfect than this if its possible

    http://www.americasfarmers.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 best Hosting/Domain and the pages might vary from the site I gave you to check out and I have a private project consultant/expertise, he has the text content and the logos for the site.

    My Budget is $1,500 to $3,800

    I want you to find out this domain name for me http://www.greenerfarm.net

    You will be buying a better/preferable domain for me if my suggested domain is already taken, so it should be part of your estimate.

    I will send you more breakdown about numbers of pages and some more useful information in my next email if that will help your estimation perfectly.

    I am not the CEO of the company but I am hired to be in charge of it been a family Attorney for a client.

    Regards,

    Kevin

  59. I got an email from a guy saying his name was Mark and if I could design a logo for him. So I sent an email back to him asking some questions.
    I knew something was a bit off when he didn’t answer any of my questions I asked regarding his business design preference.
    Here is the email he sent:

    Hello, my name is mark, i want you to know that this is the first time I will be doing a Logo design so I can only give you details then you can decide on Colors and designs

    Logo 1 –
    GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME AND ALL THE TIME HE WILL BE GOOD.
    – 5 concepts (Black & white)
    – 2 revisions
    – Colour swatch combinations (once final design is chosen)
    – Final design delivered in various formats

    Logo 2 –
    THOSE WHO TRUST IN THE LORD SHALL FIND NEW STRENGTH
    – 5 concepts (Black & white)
    – 2 revisions
    – Colour swatch combinations (once final design is chosen)
    – Final design delivered in various formats

    I need you to include religious images like cross or dove bird to make the Logos look more different. 2 logos with 10 variations.

    It’s an open to creativity. We are having our national youth convention first week of next month and we planing to be on T-shirts as uniforms, that why we would be needed the logo design ahead and get it sent to the printer when we’re pleased with your samples. I need to know how long this will take you Also let me know the credit card Processor you using so now can move on from there.

    Best Regard
    ——–

    So what he wanted wasn’t really a logo but t-shirt designs and then to have 10 variations seems absurd just to get 2 designs. So I sent an email about my terms and what I was willing to do. Also asked him how he was referred to me.
    He sent this email:

    Sound good, I want you to understand that the Printer that would be printing on the T-shirts has not been paid due to he doesn’t have facility and access to credit card and there’s no way for me to make the payment with my credit card with him that’s why i want you to help me out okay. His charges fee is $3,520 So i would want you to make the addition charges on my card, so when the funds clears into your account you would help me send the funds to his account,immediately he receives the funds, he will be able to get the necessary materials and ready to do the printing when he receive the PDF file from you. i hope you can handle this for me?
    ——–

    Knew right after this email that it was a scammer. They are getting creative on us creatives. Keep an eye out for these guys.

    1. Wow, Zay, that is an incredible variation! A printer who just happens to need $3,520? Oh, and of course make the design based on religion – nothing better than scamming people in the name of a god! Glad you didn’t fall for it.

    2. LOL. Just got this exact same scam via text last night. Something seemed oddly familiar about it, so I searched through my email for “god is good,” and sure enough, I found an email with the exact wording in it from earlier this year.

  60. Thanks for this. I was just contacted today about the Agro America scam. I spent about an hour doing analysis and getting back to him. I’m a free lance developer and thought my site was finally getting some traction. The tip off for me was his request for my credit card details and then finally my bank info. If it sounds too good to be true… 🙂 So glad I have 2 other current projects and am not hungry at the moment. I hope others can benefit from this.

    1. Thanks for adding your experience MaryBeth. We still somehow get contacted from these scammers despite this post that collects all their information. Stay in touch if you get contacted again…

  61. i’ve been getting hit with a lot of these same emails. i thought for a while it was something unique to us but it looks like it goes around to everyone lol.

  62. Thank you for posting this! I received the Luis Lee text and then email this morning. I did not find any details on the 425-247-3962 at first when I tried searching on it. Once I got the email address I found this article pretty quickly.

    1. Hey Roger, wow, that’s crazy the same guy (or someone) is using that same name. It must be exhausting running that scam over and over. I find myself wondering what their organization is like. They must have spreadsheets about people they’ve contacted, things that worked, what phone number was used, etc.

      On another note – great looking website / work! Dig the way you’ve clearly laid out your pricing and services.

  63. I always get the “DOMAIN APPRAISAL SCAM” where they are interested to buy your domain but require you buy an appraisal from a third party. Some even make a payment then file a chargeback

    1. Whoa Chris that’s one I’ve not heard of. So like you’re supposed to be selling a domain name but then need to buy an appraisal and the appraiser is the scammer. That’s wild. And cold.

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