Move On, Scammers

Move On, Scammers

Here’s an email exchange from a few months ago. I’ll comment where necessary:

From: Richard
To: Adam Whitley
Date: Jun 30, 2017 at 4:27 PM
Subject: New Website Design

Hello,
Am Richard by name, I would like to know if you can handle an informational website design for my new company? kindly get back to me as soon as possible with your cell phone number for me to send you the job details. Thanks.

– Richard


From: Adam Whitley
To: Richard
Date: Jul 1, 2017 at 12:52 PM
Subject: Re:New Website Design

Hello, Richard.

Feel free to send me any details via email.

Regards,
Adam


From: Richard
To: Adam Whitley
Date: Jul 2, 2017 at 8:07 PM
Subject: Re:New Website Design

Hi Adam, I have a small clothing business for both male and female, 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. The site would only be informational, so I need you to get back to me with an estimate for the web design, the estimate should include hosting and I want the site to have not more than 15 pages since it is informational. I have a private project graphic designer, 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 Chard’s Wears.com 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 $2000 to $8000 Kindly get back to me with an estimate.

Hope to read from you,
Thanks.

So, I’m already suspicious when he asked for my cell number in the first email, but I don’t want to dismiss him out of hand so I got a bit more info. In the follow-up, you can see the paint-by-numbers scam: He’ll lay out the bait (which is a simple website he’s willing to pay up to $8,000 for) and mention a third party that has the site content. Richard is hoping I’ll bite at which point he’ll tell me he’ll pay me $10,000 or so and I can use the extra $2,000 to get the content from the third party.

Once I pay the imaginary content creator, however, Richard is going to get a charge-back for the full amount at which point, I’ll be out $2,000.

I know this because I’ve been doing this for over a decade and because I’ve seen it take down a company. In Fredericksburg, we used to have a company called Cardinal Press that fell for a similar scam (on a much larger scale) and it drove them out of business after decades in the community. Dozens of people I knew lost their jobs so you can see why I have NO sympathy for these bottom-feeders.

…but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a bit of fun. So I called his bluff:

From: Adam Whitley
To: Richard
Date: Jul 3, 2017 at 9:26 AM
Subject: Re:New Website Design

Congratulations, Richard! You are Coconut Radio’s 500th client!

Your solicitation of our services today has earned you a coveted spot on our client list. Not only will you earn significant exposure on our website and social media, but your forthcoming web project will be handled by our expert team AT NO CHARGE! That’s right: your web project that was going to cost $2,000 – $8,000 will now be free!

All you need to do is send us the logos, content, and graphics and fill out the attached design questionnaire and we will get started on your dream project.

Our family of clients are what makes the work we do so important. Empowering small businesses is what we do best and we’re SO glad you’re a part of our family!

Thank you and congratulations!
//AW


From: Richard
To: Adam Whitley
Date: Jul 3, 2017 at 11:18 PM
Subject: Re:New Website Design

Oh okay, thanks a lot Adam, I really appreciate this and I will also need you to assist me with a lil request I will be needing from you.


From: Adam Whitley
To: Richard
Date: Jul 3, 2017 at 11:49 PM
Subject: Re:New Website Design

How can we help?

//AW


From: Richard
To: Adam Whitley
Date: Jul 4, 2017 at 10:24 AM
Subject: Re:New Website Design

Okay I will give you my card info to put through for the sum of $4,100 as soon as the funds get clears into your account, you will help me send the $4,000 to the private graphic designer that has the text content, images and the logos for the site via cash deposit and a tip of $100 for you so once he receives the money he will make the text content, images and the logos for the site….okay?

Get back to me as soon as possible for me to authorize the charges from my end.
Thank you.

So, he still wants to go through with it. AND he wants to soak me for $4,000!

If he wants to raise the stakes on a bluff, I’m more than happy to oblige:

From: Adam Whitley
To: Richard
Date: Jul 4, 2017 at 11:39 AM
Subject: Re:New Website Design

Hello, Richard.

Our accountant is on personal leave for the next few days in Nigeria helping a prince with some personal matters so we are unable to process a transaction of that size at this time.

Since we are so excited about this milestone, we are going to offer you a special one-time only deal: We will write all your website copy, purchase all necessary stock photos, and work up a FULL logo treatment for your new company AND offer you free service and hosting for the next 3 years! The value of this prize has now gone FAR beyond the $2,000 – $8,000 you budgeted for your site. This package is now worth TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS!

We value small business and want to make sure those making an honest living are able to achieve their dream. Your story, like those of our other clients, is a testament to the hard-working, fair-minded men and women that make our country great and we want to honor that spirit by helping to start your new venture on the right footing.

Just fill out the previously-attached design questionnaire and our team will get started immediately!

Congratulations!
//AW

Yeah, I haven’t heard back.

In retrospect, the Nigerian prince thing might have been a bit too far.

I’m writing this article for two reasons:

First, if you do business on the internet, please be careful and watch for scam artists. A quick Google search or a few minutes of sound advice could save your business. I’d be MORE than happy to field a few questions for free even just to stick it to these losers.

Second, if you are one of those losers and you’re heading to the contact form to try and pull one over on me, I’m willing to give up my free time to make your life difficult. For more proof, see below:

//AW

 

Example #2


Adam Whitley

Adam created Coconut Radio as a way to put his 10+ years of web development experience to use helping the businesses and community of Fredericksburg, VA. He was born here and can still be found around town goofing off with his wife and 2 kids, playing guitar at the farmer's market, or digging through used books and vinyl.