Have you gotten an inquiry that looks like this:
Hello I am James Tobby and i am hearing impaired i need to know if you can handle website design for a new company and i also need to know if you accept credit cards as form of payment ?
I have been getting these with increasing frequency. The name always changes, but the content in the first message is always the same. First, they make sure you know they are hearing-impaired and then want to know if you accept credit cards.
When I got the first one of these, I responded with my typical questions and then the next email from them looks something like this:
Here is the job details
I have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now 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. the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate based on the site i gave you to check out, the estimate should include hosting and i want the same page as the site i gave you to check out and i have a private project consultant, he has the text content and the logos for the site.
1. I want the same number of pages with the example site i gave you to check excluding videos and blogs.
2. I want only English language
3. I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as rootsnherbs.com
4. you will be updating the site for me.
5. i will be providing the images, logos and content for the site.
6. i want the site up and running before ending of next month.
7. My budget is $4000 to $8000
Kindly get back to me with an estimate asap
This almost seems legit, right. There’s information on what they want, a budget, etc. But not so fast. If you continue to do exchanges with this person, and even go so far as to send a proposal, they will request something odd. Wouldn’t you know that their “project consultant” doesn’t take credit cards? And since you do, they’d like you to charge the full amount to the credit card, then send a payment to their project manager.
Now it’s starting to sound fishy.
There are a lot of people who may not have heard about it, and may think that a great website project just fell into their lap. The reason they claim to be hearing-impaired is so they don’t have to talk to you on the phone, because either they are not good enough actors or else they have thick accents they don’t want you to hear.
What happens if you agree? Well, you charge the card. It goes through, no problem. You send the payment and they cash it. Then you never hear from them again. Who you DO hear from is the credit card company about the fraudulent charge.
And if you take credit cards but haven’t experienced this, if someone calls their credit card company and claims your charge is fraudulent, they take the money right out of your bank account, with very little notice, I might add.
And if you actually sent a check to that person, not only do you lose the original deposit, but you lose the money you sent to their “project consultant” as well.
That’s when you are really in trouble.
I keep getting these messages, almost weekly now, and I can only assume that it’s working and that’s why they keep sending them. This is my warning. Never agree to send money to another contractor on your client’s behalf. This will never end well.
And to these scammers, please STOP.