As part of Shopify Experts program, I get a fair amount of inquiries for website work and consultation. But one of my most recent inquiries, was just different enough to start raising tiny alarm bells in the back of my mind. The first inquiry was seemed innocent enough, an email about a site.
They use a legit site agroamerica.com as the site they want to use as a model.
Hi I'm Alex,
I would like to know if you can handle website design for my company? kindly get back to me so i can send you the job details,
I was a little skeptical because of the grammar, and I do websites of course, I can handle a project for you. but I replied because I have had seemingly less legitimate request that turned out to be real projects.
Here was the second email.
Thanks for your response,
here is the job details
i have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in LA and the company is based on importing and exporting of Agriculture products such as Kola Nut, Cacilia 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.
- I want the same number of pages with the example site i gave you to check excluding videos and blogs.
- I want only English language
- I don't have a domain yet but i want the domain name as
@brevlyagro.com or @brevlyagro.net
- you will be updating the site for me.
- i will be proving the images, logos and content for the site.
- My budget is $5,000 to $6,000
Kindly get back to me with:
(1) an estimate
(2) your cell phone number with your location
(3) And will like to know if you are the business owner ??
The Switch - Scam Alert
I was still skeptical because of the grammar and now the odd question. I was able to contact this "Alex" and it was a very poor connection, and his English was labored. He wanted to pay with Credit Card and wanted to pay a higher amount so that I could pay his project manager who supposedly had all the content and logos. As soon as I heard this it confirmed my previous suspicions "SCAM".
He wanted to pay with Credit Card and wanted to pay a higher amount so that I could pay his project manager who supposedly had all the content and logos. As soon as I heard this it confirmed my previous suspicions "SCAM".
Scam Averted - Share With Your Colleagues
After getting off the phone, (scammers phone number (925) 318-1402 )I did a Google search for scams targeting website designers and found the exact second email I received in the comments for the article about the new scam.
So beware designers you are one of the newest targets. I was able to detect this threat in time but sooner would have been better. I am sure many of my fellow designers will also be targeted so I wanted to get the word out quickly. Please share this with your communities.