For website designers and developers, acquiring clients is of utmost importance. Thus, responding to email requests from potential clients is common. However, there is a new scam that target web designers and developers that they should be wary of.
How the Scam Starts
The scammers will reach out to unsuspecting website designers and developers via email or text. You will get something similar to the message below. The names vary, but they make sure you know that they are hearing impaired and they want to know if you accept credit cards as a form of payment.
Hello, My name is Lucas Jean. I would like to know if you’re available for web design and do you accept credit card for as Method of Payment?, I would have love to talk to you on the phone in regards of the Service needed but I am hearing impaired So i can only be reach via Text or Email. I hope you Understand.
Thank you and God bless you
Firstly, this scammer posing as “hearing impaired” is most likely to elicit empathy and kindness from their target. Them pretending to be disabled is a ploy for us to invest time and effort in tolerating whatever requests they have. Do not be fooled: the reason they claim to be hearing-impaired is so they don’t have to talk to you on the phone because most likely English isn’t their first language and they have thick accents they don’t want you to detect. The best course of action when you receive this type of message is simply to ignore it. However, other web designers and developers who are unaware of this scam, will naturally send a response to know more about the project.
How the Scam Continues
When you ask about the project, the scammers will send something similar to this:
Thanks for your swift response and i have small scale 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 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 <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.
- I want the same number of pages with the example site i gave you to check excluding videos and blogs.
- I want only English language
- I want the domain name as Finestplantationproduce.com <http://finestplantationproduce.com/>
- you will be updating the site for me.
- i will be proving the images, logos and content for the site.
- i want the site up and running before ending of next month.
- My budget is $4000 to $8000 Kindly get back to me with: (1) an estimate (2) your cell phone number (3) And will like to know if you are the owner ??
Seems legitimate, right? They even mentioned a budget, their preferred domain name, target date of completion, etc. You get rather excited thinking that a good website project just fell into your lap. However, when you continue to exchange information with them, even go so far as to sending a proposal, they will say that their “project consultant” doesn’t accept credit cards. And since you do, they would like you to charge the full amount to the credit card then send a payment to their project manager. This should raise a lot of red flags already. But what happens if you agree? You charge the card, it goes through. You send the payment to them. Then you never hear from them again. You will, however, hear from the credit card company notifying you of the fraudulent charge.
Never ever agree to send money to another contractor on your client’s behalf no matter the circumstances. This type of “hearing impaired scam” usually targeted uninformed seniors. However it has evolved into a scam that target web designers. The scammers are looking through online directory and portfolio sites to pick their targets.
How You Can Help Stop the Scam
Report the email scam that target web designers immediately by forwarding the message in its entirety to the following:
You can also submit a report to the email service of the sender (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.).