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. In the web design industry, 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

371 thoughts on “Avoid Web Design Scams

  1. We get these fairly frequently as well (the latest coming from a “Richard Dojcak” – which is how I found this article).

    I chased one of these down the rabbit hole once just to see where it went. It’s amazing how much time these people are willing to spend on this scam. Thanks for posting this article to make sure those of us in the design community are aware.

    1. Wow… thanks so much for posting this! I received this message through my website form:
      “Richard Dojcak
      Email: richarddojcaksnr@gmail.com
      Business Name: Kings Trendies
      Work Phone: 4029571511 | Cell Phone: 4029571511
      Business Description: NA
      ________________________________
      Interests:
      Website

      Current Website: None

      Message: Hi, i am Richard, 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! Richard
      ________________________________

      Date Submitted: July 9, 2020, 8:45am
      IP Address: 89.238.139.52″

      As always, I did a Google search to see whom I’d be dealing with and your post came up immediately. Thank you for saving me a lot of time and frustration!

  2. Thank you so much! I rec’d nearly the same email for your first example with the “Kent Walter” email. So, it didn’t sound right to me and I did a bit of searching to see what I could find, and here you are with your great disclosures. Thanks again.

  3. I just got this one. I was suspicious as soon as I got the txt message. This guy Paul said he found my profile on Creative Hotlist, except I don’t have a profile there! These people are sick, beware!!!. Thanks for posting this on your blog!

    The company name is “FABREXA”

    We should be launching as soon as branding and other materials is completed so I’ ll be needing brand Visuals (Website design)

    We are focused on indoor furniture and Decor.

    The full-text content, logo and all images for the Website will be submitted to you by the Project Consultant. Layout and design would be done by you.

    See below are few samples

    WEST ELM CATALOG LINK https://www.westelm.com/pages/we-catalog/2020-03.html

    IKEA CATALOG LINKhttps://www.ikea.com/ext/us/ikeacatalog/

    RED COUCH LINK; http://www.redcouchcreative.com/contact.shtml

    This brand name is clearly derived from the words ‘fabric’ or ‘fabricate’. It looks and sounds superb, and is short and easy to say and spell: all great qualities in a business brand name. The suggestion of fabric and fabrication would make this an excellent choice for a business that’s all about fabrics, or one that is focused on making things – from structures and buildings to furniture and other objects. This is a really well-made contemporary business name.
    All our products are shipped from Germany unlike IKEA, West Elm. Their products comes from China.

    MISSION: Promoting German culture and building a national brand, Undoubtedly, Germany continues to be counted among the world’s biggest furniture nations. The main reasons for its good reputation are the high standard of quality, the use of selected materials
    and the attractive modern design, but also the reliability and the competence of German furniture manufacturers.

    VISION: To become a world-class multinational company that provide our customers with
    high-quality home life by establishing a long-term foundation.
    The needs of customers are the foundation of our survival and development,
    our pursuit is to always meet up with our customers’ needs and expectations.

    PURPOSE OF BUSINESS: The purpose of my business is to bring modern furniture that will provide beauty and comfort for everyone.

    COMPETITORS: Alexandro Furniture & Mattress https://www.alexandrofurniture.com/
    Direct Home Furniture https://www.directhomefurnitureni.com/

    COLORS: My competitors love red. Teal and Brown should be fine.

    TARGETS: I have a wide target Age range 25-56, I would like to target their income demographics.

    I look forward to working with you!

      1. I just got the same scam today. Odd that he texted my cell to establish contact. And then when I attempted to call the number to see if he answered, his message said that he only accepts text message. Not wasting any more time on this one! Thanks for confirming the scam.

  4. I got scammed $150, I dodged a bullet, but I deposited the cheque I got and the cheuqe was fake. The bank overdrafted my account for $250. Call law enforcement, or if you used paypal, western union, or moneygram, call them and try to get your money back.

  5. I’m a new web developer and I saw these posts on freelancer.com, looking to hire freelancers to build websites and contact them at an email address. over the past few weeks, I got more and more excited, that I was getting all these clients, and after “paying their consultants” I would be left with $10 grand. I looked back on all the clients and I noticed that all their emails were simlilar. They had wrote the same thing, and it looked like a script. I searched this up and found this article. Sure enough, I contacted all of them who already sent out cheques and told them my company is going under, and we’re no longer recieving any cheques. They got mad but ultimatley left me along. Thank god I didn’t go in any deeper, or else a lot of them were asking to send money to their consultants out of my own pocket, while I wait for the cheques to arrive. I lost $250, but at least now know to never make the same mistake again. So to all my fellow new web devlopers. Please do your research to avoid this tempting scam.

  6. I’ve been communicating with a “Richard Dojcak” whose wife has cancer so he needs help with the navigation of payment and may be delayed getting his content to me. – otherwise, he’s using the exact same verbiage listed above, unbelievable!!! I actually offered to pray for his wife and family. Grrrrrrr. Thanks for this post!

    1. I’m a web developer and I’ve been communicating with “Richard Dojcak” email address is richarddojcaksnr@gmail.com. He is asking me to create a website. He’s from NJ he said. Thank you for the article. I was going to waste my time tremendously!

      1. Now he has a Nebraska phone number:

        name: Richard Dojcak
        phone: 4029571511
        email: richarddojcaksnr@gmail.com
        desc: Hi, i am Richard, 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!
        Richard

  7. I was just contacted yesterday and found out it was a scam when Firefox blocked the site the person sent me to for a web design job. Firefox reported: “Warning: Potential Security Risk Ahead”.

    The guy used the name, “Nicolas Romano”
    The text came from the number, “785-294-5031”
    The web site he sent me to was, “silaglobal.com”

    The guy used the same exact letter from above that starts out, “I have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in TX…”

    So Kudos to Firefox!!! No money exchanged and Scam Stopped!

  8. I just got a similar text from someone asking if I can build them a web site and if I take credit cards: 234-348-3977. I haven’t done web sites from scratch in over 20 years and I never gave out my cell number, so I thought this was really odd. I’d had a couple of other similar texts in the past few years that sounded wrong. He was in a big hurry. I asked who this was and where he got my number. He said he saw it on an ad. I asked who he thought I was. He gave the name of my company from over 20 years ago. I told him that was my ex’s company from 20 years ago and asked where he saw the ad. He said he saw it on TV and said “Have a great day if you can’t work for me.” He never would tell me who he was. If he had said he saw it in an old phonebook or a list that someone had put together and posted on the web, that might have been believable, but there’s no way he saw it on TV. Thank you for this page. I knew it had to be a scam but couldn’t imagine how it worked. Thank you so much for educating us!

  9. Thanks. Your post was helpful.
    We was received other text
    ==
    Thanks for getting back to me and here is the details.

    I have a small business which i want to turn into large scale business now in Houston Texas. The company is a Thailand Restaurant/Kitchen and pizza. The main core objectives is to render Virtual Restaurants ( Take Out and Delivery Order Services) at this time.

    So i need an awesome website design for it where orders can be placed. Can you handle that for me ?. so i need you to check out this example site: https://www.northitalia.com , http://orderchaothai.com . This example websites would only be for you to understand what my specifications is going to looks like and get some information on how i would love it to looks like. I need something more perfect than anyone you chose for me if possible or if you have any sample you have done, you can share that with me. so i need you to give me an estimate based on the sites as a benchmark and the estimate should include hosting. The pages should be between 5 to 8 pages most. I only want it in English language. You will be responsible for updating the site quarterly or yearly.

    The website should be up and running before ending of next month. Is that possible? Also I don’t have a domain name yet and I will prefer: SWEETESTDISHES.NET OR SWEET-DISHES.COM/NET

    I have a private project consultant, that has the text content and the logos for the site with the image artwork, so please go ahead and
    check the example site above.
    Kindly get back to me with:
    (1) An Estimate
    (2) And i will like to know if you are the owner ?
    (3)Your direct cell phone number

    ====

    Thanks for you respond..I found all information useful..I have a private project consultant who will have to coordinate with you with the text and logo for the website..kindly get back to me with the details needed for the check payment in the following mode:

    Name to be written on the check
    USA mailing address
    Direct phone number
    Estimated amount due for the website

    Kindly get those details to me so your payment can be prepared as soon as possible.

    ===

    S.Dishes
    address: 5085 Westheimer Rd #B56, Houston, TX 77056
    (469) 554-9842.
    ===
    The private consultant will only coordinate with you when the payment agreement is reached.. kindly supply the details needed for your payment in the previous email

    Name to be written on the check
    USA mailing address
    Your direct phone number

    Here is my own number
    (469) 554-9842
    ======

  10. I think the key giveaway is the “I have a project consultant that will provide you with…” line. I got an email from a Bob Miller (bobmiller6991@gmail.com) and I believe it’s the same scam, only I have a graphic design business:

    Hello, I’m Bob. I’ve been working from different spas as a qualified esthetician, now I want to have my business set up and I will be needing your services.
    ______________________________________

    Hello Nick,

    Thanks for the response., I will need you to help design a Brochure, Banner Ad, Business card & Rack card. I want you to understand that I have a project consultant who has the Logo, scope, and text content of the brochure & others also he will manage the printings after the project is ready.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    ______________________________________

    Hello Nick,

    I’m the point of contact. Give me a rundown and the area of your procedure, and also I would need you to do me a little favor regarding the consultant.

    (I stopped responding after this message)

    1. Oddly enough I just got off the phone with the same Bob Miller (bobmiller6991@gmail.com) that I’m guessing contacted you! I’m in Florida and initially got a text from (931) 389-4055: Tenessee, at 6:03 am requesting my photo and video services. I called the number was greeted with a Google Voice name prompt so I hung up and texted back that he could call me to discuss details. Within moments I got a call from Bob wanting a quote. No details mind you, just quote for doing general photo/video. I pressed him for details on the off chance it was a legitimate request, just poor communication.

      I gave him a ballpark figure that was leaning heavily towards the high end and without question he said GREAT!” I will pay by credit card!” Then he asked who processes my card transactions? I even asked why he needs to know that and he said it’s for the safety of his credit cards…… right.

      At that point, I was sure it was a scam and pressed for any details to see if I could trip him up. He’s persistent though and even just sent me an email containing the supposed address of the party he’s planning. Thanks to your post, I will be stopping contact now.

  11. I just got this one!
    inoterior

    This fantastic name combines the two-word elements: ‘ino-‘ (a reference to innovation) and ‘-terior’ from the word ‘interior’ (or ‘exterior’). And it is of course created by simply adding the letter ‘O’ to the word ‘interior’. The result is a contemporary name that suggests newness, improvement and restyling – as well as referencing the world of interior design, architecture or space planning. Whilst invented, this superb name feels established and has a smart, confident style.
    All our products are shipped from Germany unlike IKEA, West Elm. Their products come from China.
    MISSION: Promoting German culture and building a national brand, Undoubtedly, Germany continues to be counted among the world’s biggest furniture nations. The main reasons for its good reputation are the high standard of quality, the use of selected materialsand the attractive modern design, but also the reliability and the competence of German furniture manufacturers.

    VISION: To become a world-class multinational company that provide our customers with high-quality home life by establishing a long-term foundation.The needs of customers are the foundation of our survival and development, our pursuit is to always meet up with our customers’ needs and expectations.
    PURPOSE OF BUSINESS: The purpose of my business is to bring modern furniture that will provide beauty and comfort for everyone.
    COMPETITORS: It’s quite obvious already, American Signature, Pottery barn, West Elm, Crate & Barrel.
    COLORS: My competitors got Black and brown in common. Teal and Brown ( any comments?)

    TARGETS: I have a wide target Age range 25-56, I would like to target their income demographics.

    For logo inspirations, you can look at brands likeAmerica Signature Furniture https://www.americansignaturefurniture.com/Crate&Barrel https://www.crateandbarrel.com/West Elm https://www.westelm.com/Williams Sonoma https://www.williams-sonoma.com/I look forward to working with you!

  12. Hey there! These weirdos are at it again just using different names. I want to get it out there on the web so it doesn’t take as long for someone else as it did for me to find out this was a scam. Went down a rabbit hole of searches!

    Here’s the email scam:

    Paul DeWalt
    May 19, 2020, 9:23 PM (20 hours ago)
    to Nicole

    The company name is “INOTERIOR”

    We should be launching as soon as branding and other materials is completed so I’ ll be needing brand Visuals (i.e. Logo & brand identity)

    We are focused on indoor furniture and Decor.

    My website is under fabrication which would be registered soon.

    The full-text content and all images for the catalog will be submitted to you by the Project Consultant. Layout and design would be done by you.
    The catalog should be 44 pages including front and back cover. Texts are approved and crosschecked

    The size of the catalog should Be 8.5 x 11.

    I would be needing just the digital version.

    You will oversee the catalog update.
    Final files should be submitted in pdf.

    See below are few samples

    WEST ELM CATALOG LINK https://www.westelm.com/pages/we-catalog/2020-03.html

    IKEA CATALOG LINKhttps://www.ikea.com/ext/us/ikeacatalog/

    This fantastic name combines the two-word elements: ‘ino-‘ (a reference to innovation) and ‘-terior’ from the word ‘interior’
    (or ‘exterior’). And it is of course created by simply adding the letter ‘O’ to to the word ‘interior’. The result is a
    contemporary name that suggests newness, improvement, and restyling – as well as referencing the world of interior design,
    architecture, or space planning. Whilst invented, this superb name feels established and has a smart, confident style.

    All our products are shipped from Germany unlike IKEA, West Elm. Their products comes from China.

    MISSION: Promoting German culture and building a national brand, Undoubtedly, Germany continues to be counted among the world’s biggest furniture nations. The main reasons for its good reputation are the high standard of quality, the use of selected materials
    and the attractive modern design, but also the reliability and the competence of German furniture manufacturers.

    VISION: To become a world-class multinational company that provide our customers with
    high-quality home life by establishing a long-term foundation.
    The needs of customers are the foundation of our survival and development,
    our pursuit is to always meet up with our customers’ needs and expectations.

    PURPOSE OF BUSINESS: The purpose of my business is to bring modern furniture that will provide beauty and comfort for everyone.

    COMPETITORS: Alexandro Furniture & Mattress https://www.alexandrofurniture.com/
    Direct Home Furniture https://www.directhomefurnitureni.com/

    COLORS: My competitors love red. Teal and Brown should be fine.

    TARGETS: I have a wide target Age range 25-56, I would like to target their income demographics.

    For logo inspirations, you can look at brands like
    America Signature Furniture https://www.americansignaturefurniture.com/
    Crate&Barrel https://www.crateandbarrel.com/
    West Elm https://www.westelm.com/
    Williams Sonoma https://www.williams-sonoma.com/
    I look forward to working with you!

  13. Same here. We were contacted by a fake person going under STACY SEAMAN from AMERICAN ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS INC . They FedEx-ed a check for $25,000 USD from a fake company called BPX Energy cheque number 12019101. We were supposed to pay $5K to a consultant (of course, the consultant doesn’t exist). The cheque looks legitimate and the company name is very similar to a real oil company. When we confronted “Stacy” about the discrepancy, she said that BPX was sponsoring their project. It all seemed very fishy, and after a couple of online searches, we unveiled the scam. Thanks for publishing this article, I hope no one falls for the scam and they get caught and put in jail soon.

    1. AMERICAN ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS INC. is also running a video animation version of the scam too. Thanks for the article. It came up pretty early in my background check on them and saved me some time and money!

  14. I had this happen to me in May 2015 and almost lost money (well lost money on registering a domain but it was just $9 and worth the experience. i got almost to the point where he wanted me to wire his “Designer” money.

    i got the final laugh though and got a big FUCK YOU text at the final reply. It was very detailed and could possibly fool new designers

  15. Alex, bless you! Just caught another scammer

    Name : Richard Dojcak
    Phone number : 4029571611
    Address:136 Sylvan Ave, Newark, NJ 07104
    Email : Richarddojcaksnr@gmail.com
    Business name : Kings Trendies

    Consultant’s info
    Name : Akinola Okachi
    Phone number : 3473450161
    Address : 42-00 Northern Blvd Long Island City, NY 11102
    Email : Akincreative101@gmail.com
    Business name : Akin Creative Marketing

    1. he is the same man who messages me last night Richard Dojcaksnr, thank God I feel like something fishy with the proposal and name.

  16. On May 11, 2020, at 7:34 AM, Herbert Jackson wrote:

    Hello I’m Herbert do you offer website design l have a Auto painting company business and i need an information website to promote my business also if you do you accept credit cards?

    Thanks
    Herbert
    ______________________
    my reply:
    Hi Herbert,

    Yes we can help. Can we set up a call to better understand your goals?
    ———————————————-

    Thank you very much for your email,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.Collisionrepairsolution.com
    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 the phone

    Best regards
    Herbert
    ———————————-

    

    1. Yea I recently got this email and another agency owner friend of mine got it too.

      “Hello ******,
      Thanks for getting in touch. The website i am looking to build should be fairly simple for you as it would be an informational website with no online sales. I would like you to review the details and get back to me with any question you may have.
      Here are the project details, well i have a small clothing business for both male and female which i run here in New Jersey, now am trying to expand the business and i want you to build an informational website for it for advertisement, drive traffic to my physical location, and to increase my sales rate..
      so i need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if it’s possible https://www.paolita.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 Kingtrendies.store
      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 the end of next month.
      6. My budget is $2000 to $3500
      Thanks,
      Richard”

  17. i’ve been getting such emails from a very long time thank you for sharing this valuable information with us really appreciate your efforts and saving us from such traps.

  18. Same here got 2 of these:

    The thing that tipped me of off, was the repeated use of the company name in exact same fashion “MELDEEP ESSENTIAL NUTRIENT INC” and obviously announcing significant budget, without even asking for an estimate.

    Sorry for the late response. I’ll like to know if I got the right contact to a graphic designer. I want you to design for me a logo and an e-brochure for my new company, based on production and sales of organic foods (plant based food and drinks).

    1. Company Name: MELDEEP ESSENTIAL NUTRIENT INC.
    2. My website is under constructions which would be registered soon.
    3. I Don’t have a logo yet but would need one to be made by you
    4. Full text content and all images for the e-brochure will be submitted to you by the project consultant. You just have to handle the layout.
    5. The e-brochure should be 24 in pages (Including front and back cover. I have lot of information already approved. The text and images have also been crosschecked)
    6. The size of the e-brochure should be 8.5 X 11.5
    7. I want you to add our core values, mission and vision (This information will be provided by the consultant)
    8. My budget is not more than $7000
    9. I want this delivered in 5-6 weeks to the latest.

    My Goals about the project:

    MELDEEP ESSENTIAL NUTRIENT INC. is pet project and same time a business avenue for me. I will be 10 years a vegan in June and I hope to launch the business (and unveil the logo with e-brochure then)to my customers. MELDEEP ESSENTIAL NUTRIENT INC. should be able to provide over 500 plant-derived minerals that can improve the value of foods, liquids, nutritional formulations and cosmiceuticals. That way also improving value of life.Whoever purchase our products would have a guarantee of good living and relish.

    Our uniqueness will be privilege of our 5 locations around Texas and online store. Our products are also 100 percent plant based produce under strict standards from International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). Our brand and style would also stand us out.

    Other project essentials:

    1. 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 Green, Red and Brown (let me know what you think about that) with an image of some mixed fruits. I want a very mature and presentable design and my budget for this project is not more than $7000.
    2. For logo inspirations you can look at logo from this samples site below:

    https://www.sprouts.com/

    Kindly get back to me with:

    (1) a price estimate/quote :
    (2) your cell phone number:
    (3) And will like to know if you are the owner ?

    Best Regards
    Melissa Barksdale

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