Lessons Learned From A Website Development Phishing Scam

It started innocently enough, I receive a short text from an unknown number in Orlando saying,

"Good Day, Am Mark .i wanna know if you can handle website design for a new company and also if you do you accept credit cards kindly get back to me at [email protected] Thanks"

My first thought is,  “A new lead, our SEO strategy must be paying off.” This is quickly followed with a short sigh, as I internally lament that everyone feels like when they text they can forego all decorum of grammar and punctuation.

I shoot off an email within 7 minutes of the lead coming in. I also congratulate myself because as we all know, quick responses lead to sales. In my email I ask to set up a call because that is the easiest way to start planning a new website.

“Mark” responds to my email with a polite letter outlining the site he wants to build:

Here is the job details

I have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in TN and the company is based on Aviation Services such as Services for military and civil aviation, avionics sales, airport handling services 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.aviationservicesgroup.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 aviexplore.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 $7,500

Kindly get back to me with an estimate for the Web Design,
 Your Full Name:
 Shop Address:
 Types Of Credit Card You do Accept:
 Your Cell Phone #:(so we can communicate via text message:

Best Regards
 Mark

 

Okay, simple enough. I respond with an email saying in a nutshell, “Yes we can do this,” while asking to set up a call to discuss the details. From there we go back and forth on both email and text with Mark asking repeatedly for a “final price” and my asking for a call and sending over questions that I need answered before I can give him a final price.

It isn’t uncommon that I work with businesses who are building a website for the first time and they don’t understand the lingo or the process of building a WordPress website, so I end up having to educate them. This can be a slow process. I assumed this was the case for Mark and because I was being polite, I missed all the red flags:

  • He asked, re-asked and then asked again, before asking a fourth time for details about our accepting credit cards
  • I didn’t notice until afterwards, but he started the conversation with the phone number of 4072162198 based in Orlando, Florida and then switched to 4159960804 based in Ignacio California
  • He started with the email of  [email protected] and then used the email of  [email protected] When I asked why, he said it is because his email was hacked
  • Every time I asked a question about the site he wanted to build he would give a short response and tell me he trusted me to make it happen
  • He wouldn’t respond for a few days or a week and then would impatiently barrage me with texts and emails

Finally the clincher came and I received the classic email:

i will be depositing $1,900 using credit card so work can commence ASAP.  i will need a Little favor from you and the reason i need this favor from you is because the consultant does not have the facility to charge credit cards and i also am presently in the hospital for surgery so i will be glad if you can help me out with this favor,The favor i need from you is. i would give you my card info's to charge for $7,000. so $1,900 would be a deposit payment for my website design and the remaining $5000 you would help me send it to the project consultant that has the text content and the logo for my website so once he has the $5000 he would send the text content and logo needed for my website to you also the funds would be sent to him via cash deposit into his account, sending of funds would be after funds clears into your account and also $100 tip for you stress hope you understand  me clearly and  i will be looking forward to read back from you.Thanks

Ah, Mark was in surgery at the hospital and was asking to pay me with a credit card and then he would give me a $100 tip if he could pay additional money that I would then wire transfer to his consultant who was creating content for the site. That makes perfect sense. I was so impressed that he was so dedicated to building his site that he would write me from the hospital.

Now because I felt bad he was in the hospital and because I am a shrewd businessman I decided to negotiate and ask for a $500 tip instead of $100 and then I went through with the deal and wired his consultant the money . . . NOT! Instead what I actually did was report his email address to Outlook, which isn’t much consolation.

In total I wasted a couple of hours – especially initially when I thought I was teaching a new business owner how to build a WordPress website. Instead I was the one being taught a lesson in a) what to watch for in a scam and b) to trust my gut. Because my gut kept telling me to decline the deal but every time I declined to Mark he would come back and show renewed interest.

What I can’t figure out is why this scam would be successful. Shouldn’t people who build websites be smart enough to not fall for a wire-fraud scheme? Has Mark had enough success that it’s been worth his time to target the demographic of web developers?

How about you? Do you have any funny stories of web development fraud schemes? Or have you ever wired thousands of dollars to someone you didn’t know and are brave enough to admit it? If so, sound off in the comments below.

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Showing 92 comments
  • Andrew
    Reply

    I just got this request through Thumbtack.com and after his email about “a Favor” I googled his number to find he’s located in San Francisco, I’m in Ohio, and he’s talking about TN… His favor asking to send money to a consultant… BS! Red flag! Thanks for confirming this.

    • ThemeSupport
      Reply

      Andrew – I’m glad we were able to save you hours of wasted time. Good luck in your business.

    • nidhi vora
      Reply

      I just got the same response with his gmail id and he requested similar requirement. Thanks for saving my money and time.

    • Bradshaw’s Designs
      Reply

      Thanks for getting back to me, I have business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in OH and the company is based on importing and exporting of Salon Equipment such as Dryer, haircream, Weavon, Hairdressing, Clippers, i need the 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. https://camautomotivepa.com/… I have a private consultant that has the text content and logo for the site. the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate.

      1. I want 15pages 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 horsfallfranklinsalon.salon
      4. you will be updating the site for me twice in a month.
      5. i will be providing the images, logos and content for the site.
      6. i want the site up and running before ending of 3months.
      7. My budget is $8,000 to $16,000
      8. Give me your personal cell phone number
      9. Are you the Owner

      This is what he sent me today.
      You have a new message:
      Via: https://www.bradshawsdesigns.com/
      Message Details:
      Name Horsfall Franklin
      Email [email protected]
      Subject Web Design
      Message Hello, how are you doing today? My name is Horsfall Franklin, I wanna know if you can handle website design for a new company and also if you do you accept credit cards ?? kindly get back to me… so i can send you the job details.Thanks Franklin

      • Drew Rigler
        Reply

        Just got the same email. Always fun seeing them waste their time, but still annoying. Yes Horsfall, we do web design, just not yours!

  • Karen Kampmann
    Reply

    I can’t thank you enough for this blog post! I was contacted via text then email by a ‘Timothy Dixon’ that said, verbatim, what you wrote above. Thankfully, one of the first things I did was check to see if the domain name he wanted was available and up popped your blog post and just before it was a link to Scamwarners with the same details. You saved me a ton of time and I thank you for it! For obvious reasons, I texted ‘Tim’ back and told him I wasn’t interested in wire fraud and haven’t heard back… 😉

    • ThemeSupport
      Reply

      Karen,

      It looks like our friend Timothy Dixon recently changed his name – he must be going through an identity crisis. His last text he sent me did make reference to a surgery in the hospital, so that must be what is going on 😉

      I’m glad I saved you some time and headache. Good luck in your business going forward. And if you ever need WordPress development for your customers, let me know. We partner with lots of digital agencies to provide WordPress development and support.

      -The ThemeSupport Team

  • Jose
    Reply

    oh my GOD!!!! I have received a text message from a number 1-786-353-5151 with the name of Mark Lewis requesting a web design on my cellphone number. One thing that came first to my head was how this person got my cellphone number? all our advertisement shows our toll free number not my cellphone. But I politely replied with the answer “YES” because we do web design. This person asked me the same thing.

    I have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in TN and the company is based on Aviation Services such as Services for military and civil aviation, avionics sales, airport handling services 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.aviationservicesgroup.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 aviexplore.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 $7,500

    Kindly get back to me with an estimate for the Web Design,
    Your Full Name:
    Shop Address:
    Types Of Credit Card You do Accept:
    Your Cell Phone #:(so we can communicate via text message:

    Best Regards

    I researched this number and could not find anyone with this number register, then I found as a google number, which I do not do business with these kind of number at all. Then I started researching more and more until I have found this platform and came up with the surprise that it is a scam.

    One thing I would like to share to anyone is that any real person or company would never send a text message to your cellphone when you do not have your cellphone number listed on your marketing advertisement.

    Share this so no one will be victim of this scam.

  • Brey Tyson
    Reply

    I am so happy this post is out there. I received a text from the number 4159960804 from a guy named Mark asking the same thing. Right after I googled the number and this came up. I am glad it did so I told him his number has been reported.

    • ThemeSupport
      Reply

      Brey – Glad we could help you out. Hopefully, soon enough it will no longer be worth the time and money for this guy to go through the process of trying to scam others.

      -ThemeSupport

  • Nicholas M
    Reply

    Got a text from (415) 996-0804: “this is mark i want to know if you do web design”. Googled the number, as I almost always do, first two results are normal ‘who called me’ sites, third being this one, titled as it is.

    Thanks for writing this post, though I would’ve found out after he followed up with a crap email like the one quoted above, which I’m used to seeing as I work with wedding photographers (they get TONS of phishing/scams), I’m glad you made this post to keep others aware!

    **** this guy!

    • ThemeSupport
      Reply

      I’m happy to hear that we saved you the hassle!

  • L Stoudenmire
    Reply

    Chalk up another contact from “Mark Lewis”. Thanks for the post.

    • ThemeSupport
      Reply

      That rascal!

  • Lindsey White
    Reply

    Thanks for your post! I just received a text from “Mark” in Ignacio, CA asking if I do web design. :o/ I’m familiar with the email scam as they have all had the same basic requests and layout, but the text is a new one for me. I appreciate the heads up.

  • Paula
    Reply

    Many thanks for posting this!! I just got the exact text message today but he said his name was Timothy and then changed to Mark in the email. I read the email and something’s just didn’t seem right. So I copied it and googled it and found your story! My GUT was correct! Thanks again!

    • ThemeSupport
      Reply

      Boy, the overseas scammers have been busy this week!

  • Cassie
    Reply

    THIS LITERALLY JUST HAPPENED TO ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Crystal Groves
    Reply

    Just got the same with my business. First a text to my business phone, then an email from Mark Lewis about the same damn aviation website.

  • Nick Lancaster
    Reply

    Thank you for this blog. I just got the same thing. I thought there might be something weird about it so checked online. Sure enough….

    • ThemeSupport
      Reply

      Boy, this scam just keeps going. It makes you wonder if they have made any money off it?

  • David
    Reply

    Good Stuff – This saved me the hassle I just got the “this is Mark, did u web design” text out of the blue. Thank you for having this posted and your experience shared saved us a lot of trouble of dealing with him or them.

    • ThemeSupport
      Reply

      Glad we could help!

  • Melissa
    Reply

    I am glad I found this…I just got a text from Mark at 415-996-0804 and he is not just trying to scam web design companies. I am an electrical contractor and he wants my email address which can be found on our website with a form to contact us. I asked if he was a potential customer or wanted to sell me something, which i don’t have time for. I then googled the number and found this. Thank you so much. I hate wasting time with people who make themselves out to be potential customers then you waste time only to find out this is just a scam.

    • ThemeSupport
      Reply

      Thanks for the heads up. It is intriguing that ‘Mark’ is taking his scheme to electrical contractors as well.

  • Pete Carle
    Reply

    Thank you so much for writing this! I have a construction company and I just got a text from this number 5 min ago, “this is mark did u offer electric wiring.” At first, I thought it was a developer that I’ve been trying to work with, but I already have his number and there would be no reason for him to have a different area code in my opinion. I googled the number and his name, then your article popped up. Thanks again for saving me the time!

  • Jeff Couturier
    Reply

    Same scammer, same request, new name and email address. I received it on Thursday, and it threw up a bunch of red flags.

    The new name being used: Bowen Moreno
    The new email being used: [email protected]

    Here’s the email request I was sent:

    ———————————–

    Thanks for your responds, below is my project details.

    Here is the job details I have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in NJ and the company is based on importing and exporting of Sport wears such as running jacket, jersey,dance wear,socks, boots etc for both adult youth ladies and girls so i need a best of the best layout design for it. Can you handle that for me ? The site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate based on my want below, the estimate should include hosting and i have a private project consultant, he has the text content and the logos for the site.

    WHAT I WANT-
    I need a very simple informational website that shows the products that I sell.
    (4 main pages)

    HOME PAGE

    ABOUT US

    OUR PRODUCTS (gallery) – about 25 products for now and adding 5-10 new products every month. I want the product to be classified into 4 pages , which are
    Male : Adult and chidren , Female : Adult and children. so that the customers can get full details.

    CONTACT US – with a form to fill out so that they can get in contact with me.

    Domain Name i want- “bmsportwears.com ” or anything along that line.

    TIMELINE- this should go “live” in 2 months.

    Note:
    1. I want only English language
    2. You will be updating the site for me.
    3. I will be proving the images, logos and content for the site.
    4. I want the site up and running before ending of next two month.
    5. My budget is $3000 to $6000
    6. No shopping ability
    7. The site will be mobile friendly
    8. I don’t want sitemap
    9. I have 25 product to be on it.

    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 ??
    (4) Do you accept credit cards as payment ?
    Get to know you through a website designer, he said that he got a lot of project his working on. So he refer me know your email but he said that he havent work with you before.

    Regards
    Bowen Moreno
    ———————————–

    • Rachel Flowers
      Reply

      I got the same email word-for-word. I’ve been going back and forth with him since about February 6. I am a new website designer on the scene, and the whole “I’ve been in the hospital. Can you do me a favor and send $4000 to [email protected]?” I wrote up a written contract and I have not rendered any services. I am done with this joker. Can I sue him for phishing?

      • ThemeSupport
        Reply

        I’m sorry that you went through that. It’s annoying.

        I doubt you can sue for phishing, because most likely the perpetrator of this lives in a country that would never enforce an American law suit.

        • Rachel
          Reply

          I told him that I’d contacted the appropriate authorities and not to contact me again.

          He’s trying to play dumb now.
          “I don’t get you ? ”
          “But i use some content to get the idea of the kind of website i need.”
          “Am curious about what you are saying”

          I’m glad that I’m a stubborn shit on demanding a 50% retainer fee up-front for services to be rendered, and that I refuse to deliver until payment is made and secured. I’m the webmaster and owner of the domain he requested. Hahaha.

    • Craig
      Reply

      I received the exact same email today. From Bowen Moreno . Thanks for sharing this info with me!

  • ThemeSupport
    Reply

    So we just received another phishing request with all the same hallmarks of fraud. However, this time it is from Mary Lander, who happens to be hearing impaired so she only communicates via email. Poor Mary . . .

    On Tue, Feb 14, 2017 at 3:27 AM, mary lander wrote:

    My name is Mary Lander,I am hearing impaired that is the reason why contact you through via email.I’ll like to know if you render Web Design for a new company i will appreciate if you can get back to me with this Information Require from you so i can send you the job details

    Your full name…
    Company Address…
    Company Phone Number..
    Your Cellphone Number..
    what is your position in the Company:

    I will be looking forward to hear from you any moment from now and also let me know the major credit card that you accept for payment as soon as possible . till i hear from you remain bless and a nice day

    Thanks

  • ThemeSupport
    Reply

    Well, I got another one, this time from Matt Jones.

    1st Email:
    From: Matt Jones
    Subject: Theme Question Form
    Email: [email protected]
    Phone: 9292632990

    Hello,
    Am Matt 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.

    2nd Email:
    Hi Jonathan, 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 Matt 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.

    3rd Email:
    Thank you,
    God bless you okay,I will like to make an upfront payment of $4,000 for the web design and the 3% card charges but before I give you my card information I will need a little favor from you.

    4th Email:
    Okay I will give you my card info to put through for the sum of $12,100,you be holding $4,000 as deposit for the work need to be done and you will send the remaining $8,000 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? Below is the final break down of the total charges I will be authorizing you to charge on my credit card.

    Web Design Fee: $4,000
    Private Graphic Designer’s Fee : $8,000
    Tips & Gratitude : $100
    3% CC charges?

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

  • Ron
    Reply

    “Mark” is now targeting Photographers. Thank you for writing this and saving me a lot of time.

  • Rob Lindman
    Reply

    Thanks for your responds, below is my project details.
    Here is the job details I have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in NJ and the company is based on importing and exporting of Sport wears such as running jacket, jersey,dance wear,socks, boots etc for both adult youth ladies and girls so i need a best of the best layout design for it. Can you handle that for me ? The site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate based on my want below, the estimate should include hosting and i have a private project consultant, he has the text content and the logos for the site.
    WHAT I WANT-
    I need a very simple informational website that shows the products that I sell.
    (4 main pages)
    HOME PAGE
    ABOUT US
    OUR PRODUCTS (gallery) – about 25 products for now and adding 5-10 new products every month. I want the product to be classified into 4 pages , which are
    Male : Adult and chidren , Female : Adult and children. so that the customers can get full details.
    CONTACT US – with a form to fill out so that they can get in contact with me.
    Domain Name i want- “ivankaursportwears.com ” or anything along that line.
    TIMELINE- this should go “live” in 2 months.
    Note:
    1. I want only English language
    2. You will be updating the site for me.
    3. I will be proving the images, logos and content for the site.
    4. I want the site up and running before ending of next two month.
    5. My budget is $3000 to $6000
    6. No shopping ability
    7. The site will be mobile friendly
    8. I don’t want sitemap
    9. I have 25 product to be on it.
    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 ??
    (4) Do you accept credit cards as payment ?
    Get to know you through a website designer, he said that he got a lot of project his working on. So he refer me know your email but he said that he havent work with you before.
    Regards
    Ivan Kaur

  • Rob Lindman
    Reply

    Not sure why you deleted my comment. (or maybe you didn’t and it’s pending approval or something)…

    Anyway… I was trying to tip people off that this person or someone similar is at it again. Ivan Kaur is the new identity.

    I’ll post it one more time in case there was a misunderstanding. I lost some time today although it was a learning experience… Here’s the email I received and the name the person is using now… If my comment winds up disappearing again I’ll just assume I’ve wasted enough time on this garbage.

    Note that I did not get the full gist of the scam because I don’t take credit cards except through Paypal and I suspect Paypal is incompatible with the scheme. When we agreed on a down payment, I directed him to a payment form on my site with a Paypal form for the exact amount we’d agreed to. Then he got back into email and told me he couldn’t use Paypal. I sort of bent over backwards trying to come up with some form of an online method he could use to pay me, in part because I need work, in part because I felt it could not hurt to have more payment methods. So, he tried to get me to use QuickBooks, that didn’t work, then he tried to get me to set up a Stripe account. I actually went through and set these things up but luckily I am too broke to steal from right now. I set up a Coinbase form, and a Stripe account, but I was too tired to see that through. So, by sheer dumb luck he did not get my two dollars, but now I’m better at online payments and equipped with this knowledge. So… thanks.

    —-
    Thanks for your responds, below is my project details.
    Here is the job details I have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in NJ and the company is based on importing and exporting of Sport wears such as running jacket, jersey,dance wear,socks, boots etc for both adult youth ladies and girls so i need a best of the best layout design for it. Can you handle that for me ? The site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate based on my want below, the estimate should include hosting and i have a private project consultant, he has the text content and the logos for the site.
    WHAT I WANT-
    I need a very simple informational website that shows the products that I sell.
    (4 main pages)
    HOME PAGE
    ABOUT US
    OUR PRODUCTS (gallery) – about 25 products for now and adding 5-10 new products every month. I want the product to be classified into 4 pages , which are
    Male : Adult and chidren , Female : Adult and children. so that the customers can get full details.
    CONTACT US – with a form to fill out so that they can get in contact with me.
    Domain Name i want- “ivankaursportwears.com ” or anything along that line.
    TIMELINE- this should go “live” in 2 months.
    Note:
    1. I want only English language
    2. You will be updating the site for me.
    3. I will be proving the images, logos and content for the site.
    4. I want the site up and running before ending of next two month.
    5. My budget is $3000 to $6000
    6. No shopping ability
    7. The site will be mobile friendly
    8. I don’t want sitemap
    9. I have 25 product to be on it.
    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 ??
    (4) Do you accept credit cards as payment ?
    Get to know you through a website designer, he said that he got a lot of project his working on. So he refer me know your email but he said that he havent work with you before.
    Regards
    Ivan Kaur

    • ThemeSupport
      Reply

      Rob,

      Thanks for the comment. Yes, we have a delay in posting comments, as they are all moderated.

      I’m sorry that you too had to lose time on this guy as well. Hopefully, however, having set up online payments will come in handy on a future gig and the practice will have paid off.

  • Teri Johnson
    Reply

    I received a text today from 929632990, “Hello, how you doing? Am Matt and I will like to know if you can create an informational site for me.” Googled the number and found your post. Thanks for saving me some time and aggravation. 🙂

    • Lorri
      Reply

      gotta love google – I knew it was a scam as I only take development by referrals.
      Just received a text from 929-263-2900
      Hi, am Damon and I will like to know if you can create an informational site for me?
      after reading all this I decided to ask
      did someone refer you to me?
      thanks for sharing the article.

  • MICHELLE HAAR
    Reply

    I received the exact email. I even called the guy and spoke to him on the phone so I really thought he was legit. How can we report this?

    The email they’re using now is [email protected]

    “Thanks for your responds, below is my project details.

    Here is the job details I have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in NJ and the company is based on importing and exporting of Sport wears such as running jacket, jersey,dance wear,socks, boots etc for both adult youth ladies and girls so i need a best of the best layout design for it. Can you handle that for me ? The site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate based on my want below, the estimate should include hosting and i have a private project consultant, he has the text content and the logos for the site.
    WHAT I WANT-
    I need a very simple informational website that shows the products that I sell.
    (4 main pages)
    HOME PAGE
    ABOUT US
    OUR PRODUCTS (gallery) – about 25 products for now and adding 5-10 new products every month. I want the product to be classified into 4 pages , which are
    Male : Adult and chidren , Female : Adult and children. so that the customers can get full details.
    CONTACT US – with a form to fill out so that they can get in contact with me.
    Domain Name i want- “bowenactivewear.com ” or anything along that line.
    TIMELINE- this should go “live” in 2 months.
    Note:
    1. I want only English language
    2. You will be updating the site for me.
    3. I will be proving the images, logos and content for the site.
    4. I want the site up and running before ending of next two month.
    5. My budget is $3000 to $6000
    6. No shopping ability
    7. The site will be mobile friendly
    8. I don’t want sitemap
    9. I have 25 product to be on it.
    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 ??
    (4) Do you accept credit cards as payment ?
    Get to know you through a website designer, he said that he got a lot of project his working on. So he refer me know your email but he said that he havent work with you before.”

  • MICHELLE HAAR
    Reply

    I received the exact email. I even called the guy and spoke to him on the phone so I really thought he was legit. How can we report this?

    The email they’re using now is [email protected]

  • Norm Czaplicki
    Reply

    Thank you for saving me time – here is the e-mail i’ve gotten from him – texting me from 929-263-2990 – Matthew Jones <[email protected] – 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 Matt 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.

  • CHP
    Reply

    Thanks for posting this and thanks for all these comments. I was so excited to get some freelance last week. It’s the same exact email from “Bowen Activewear”. I’ve been emailing him back and forth for days. He even signed the contact I sent over. However, now he’s telling me he’s in the hospital and wants me to pay his “consultant” to release his logos, photos, and text. I’m going to see how far I can take this before he realizes I’m a dead end.

    • CHP
      Reply

      It’s been a few days and I’ve continued to email “Bowen” back and forth. He really wants me to do two things: pay off the consultant and then invoice him using Openbooks or Stripe. I understand how tricking me to pay his “consultant” would benefit him. Could someone explain how getting an invoice for a service would scam me? Could he use my invoice and my company name and address to scam other people? Right now I keep jerking him around, avoiding the invoice.

      I also got some info on his “consultant.” It is Couleur Clic (http://couleurclic.com), which is a generic media template with no content. Contact was: [email protected]. According to the IP of Bowen’s emails, they originated in Iowa.

      • ThemeSupport
        Reply

        >Could someone explain how getting an invoice for a service would scam me?
        >Could he use my invoice and my company name and address to scam other people?

        The whole scam is to get you to send him money. He may send you a bad check or pay with a stolen credit card or a good credit card that he’ll then cancel. Or he may push to get an invoice in hopes that for your accounting practice that’s good enough. But the end goal is to get you to believe you have been paid or will be paid by a valid customer, so that you will then pay off his consultant for him, which is really just sending him money. Once he gets the money you wire “his consultant” (i.e., him), then he stops communicating with you further and you find out whatever payment he had sent is gone.

        • CHP
          Reply

          I wanted to follow up on this. I have been talking to this guy for weeks now. He eventually gave up the pretext and flat out asked if I would run the scam with him. He literally asked if I could create an invoice for him to run cards that he “somehow found”, then split the final sum. This has been a nutty ride.

          • ThemeSupport

            Wow, so he is asking you to run credit cards for him through your company? That is crazy.

            Is the point of him requesting an invoice just to protect you in the process?

          • CHP

            At this point, I think it might be safe to say that this guy isn’t in the running to be the next Kingpin of Crime. So, I have no idea what exactly his overall plan is, but it involves invoices, credit cards, and a fake consultant.

  • Melissa
    Reply

    OMG
    I got the first and second emails yesterday, and decided to google search. My emails match the emails you share here – EXACTLY – in structure and tone. The person who emailed me goes by the name “mary lander”, and had a Hotmail address and a Gmail address.

    I knew this was fishy from the first email, and decided to email back with “no thanks, not interested, can’t do it”.

  • Andrew
    Reply

    I’m dealing with this same guy now! Same name “Mark” and same exact phone #. Going on day two of just messing with him. It’s kind of fun

  • Roland
    Reply

    Wow glad I googled this, I’m dealing with Mark as we speak, thank you everyone for this definitely saved me a lot of time and possibly more.

  • Dean
    Reply

    Thanks for this info. I too saw just enough in it to think it could be a legit lead. Googling exact sentences proved this scan has been documented several times. My version info below:

    From [email protected] (I initially googled his email and phone number (469) 336-8446/Midlothian TX, and got nothing).

    After a formal proposal (I wasted maybe 1.5 hours) I got this:

    “Thanks for your response, I am okay with the estimate and i wanna proceed so i will pay the sum of $3000 as down payment for the job using my credit card so work can commence ASAP i understand the content for this site would be needed so as for the job to commence so regarding the content But i will need a little favor from you And the reason why i need this favor from you is because the consultant that has the content and logo for the website does not have the facility to charge credit cards and i also Am presently in the hospital with my Daughter for surgery so i will be glad if you can help me out with this favor. Thanks.
    Matt”

    My tepid response:

    I hope the surgery goes well.

    In order to proceed with a formal estimate I’d like to get your contact information (Company Name, address etc. and any Purchase Order #’s). I’m not sure what you are asking regarding the other consultant.

    His response:

    “The favor i need from you is. i would give you my card info’s to charge for $7500. So $3000 would be a down payment for my website design and the remaining $4,500 you would help me send it to the project consultant that has the text content and the logo for my website so once he has the $4,500 he would send the text content and logo needed for my website to you also the funds would be sent to him via cash deposit into his account sending of funds would be after funds clears into your account And also $100tip for your stress So i will be looking forward to read back from you.Thanks
    Matt”

    The disappointing thing is that every time I use Craigslist etc. over half the responses are these types of scams. There doesn’t seem to be any risk of being caught. Having these types of blogs to report is out only defense and, once again, thank you for starting this thread.

  • Ron Singleton
    Reply

    Thank you everyone for posting. Just had the same Mark contacting me today about website design. Phone number – 415-996-0804. He is still asking the same questions with very little input.

  • ThemeSupport
    Reply

    The latest email we received from these same scammers (who have since joined the military):

    ***Email #1 – Submitted on our website***
    From: EDGAR LARRY
    Email: [email protected]
    Phone: 3479193247
    Website: [your-website]

    Message Body:
    Hi Sir/Ma’am

    How are you doing today, I’m Sgt. EDGAR , US Army. I will like to know if you can handle website design for a new company and if you accept all Major Credit cards for payment. I want to apologies for not calling direct than email. I’m in the US Army National Guard presently stationed at Military Base Camp on Special operations where I’m not able to call your company at the moment from the field due to exposing my location. But I assure you that you can reach me anytime via e-mail or sms text which I believe is better to communicate as well, I hope you understand my situation so kindly bare with me and email me back so I can give you more details regarding the job.

    Thank You.

    Sgt EDGAR

    ***Email #2***
    Hello

    It’s a great pleasure to hear back from you and I will be happy to do business with you. I have business which I want to turn into large scale business by the time my tour of duty is over in few months. The company is located in Honolulu, Hawaii and is based on civilian firearms and self-defense training. We have Certified Ultimate Gun Safety Classes, Shooting Range Experience and self-defense training company for Adults, I need a best layout design professional website. I want you to take a look at this website http://www.deltatacticalgroup.net and do a similar but more perfect design if possible. I want the same number of pages with this example site including videos and blogs. Please note that I have a private consultant that has the text content and logo for the site. The site would only be information, so I need you to work on an estimate for me according to my request.

    * I want only English language
    * I don’t have a domain yet but I want the domain name as ( garygunacademy )
    * You will be updating the site for me.
    * I want the site up and running before ending of next month.
    * My budget is $4000 to $8000

    ***Email #3***
    Kindly get back to me with your full Name and cell number for texting and also let me know if you are the owner. Do not hesitate to ask any further questions which may help in getting this done for me.

    Looking forward to your swift response as it will be highly appreciated.

    Thank You.

  • Jeff Wright
    Reply

    It is very helpful to have seen this conversation. I am getting Matt Kay Phone 469-336-8446 The correspondence is much the same as the above posts throughout regarding details, daughter in surgery though.

  • Greg
    Reply

    How could you Adriane Scott from Florida trying to scam me! I thought my new listings in a number of business directories brought us together and that my startup website located in Texas was so special that you actually chose me (choking up right now).

    Clever scam, actually saw a heads up on this on LinkedIn where a peer was hit up three times in one day by various nefarious entities.

    Thanks for the post!

  • Lori
    Reply

    Yep just got the same! He is using Matt Kay with this email; [email protected]

    And this company contact info;
    Company name:MK SALON
    Address:13857 Creekside Pl Dallas, TX 75240
    Phone:::469 336 8446

    I would LOVE to get ahold of idiots who have the time and energy to waste the time of those who actually work for a living. #donthavetimeforthis #therewillbenoscamsinheaven

    • Joseph
      Reply

      We just got a similar email from Matt Kay, this time calling himself “Dr.Matt” and asking for personal training services for his 3 sons for 2h twice per week. Extremely lame to waste people’s time like this.

  • Robin
    Reply

    EXACTLY the same inquiry just received. What a waste of time. Thanks to all for posting.

  • yuru
    Reply

    I have a Scam in progress…

    Okay I will give you my card info to put through for the sum of $5,269.50, you be holding $1,269.50 as deposit for the work need to be done and you will send the remaining $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? Below is the final break down of the total charges I will be authorizing you to charge on my credit card.

    Web Design Fee: $1,269.50
    Private Graphic Designer’s Fee : $4,000
    Tips & Gratitude : $100
    3% CC charges?

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

    The same exact words! I reported to the FBI this morning.

  • sid
    Reply

    I just received an email from what appears to be the same person or group of scammers. At first, I thought that this was legit. I received this email about a half hour ago from [email protected].

    Hello, My name is Matt Kay, I wanna know if you can handle website design for a new company and also if you do you accept credit cards ?? kindly get back to me… so i can send you the job details.
    Thanks Matt

  • Maksym Bezorudko
    Reply

    Hi,
    I received 2 such texts and emails from different people:

    Thomas J Noah
    [email protected]
    phone number (701) 566 9862

    Fiona Coker
    [email protected]
    phone number (951) 547 2062
    Be careful!

  • ThemeSupport
    Reply

    Just received a new one of these from “Shannon Gruber:”

    From: Shannon Gruber

    Good Day,

    I have a small clothing business for both male and female which i run here in CHICAGO,IL, 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.

    I need you to checkout this site but i need something more perfect than this if possible,http://www.missrebel.co.uk.
    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 8 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 shannon-gruberwears.com or Shannongwears.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 September.
    6. My budget is $2000 to $8000 Kindly get back to me with:
    (1) an estimate
    (2) I will like to know if you are the owner ??

    BUSINESS NAME ; Shannon Wears

    Thanks,
    Shannon Gruber

    • Kieran
      Reply

      I’ve just received this exact one today from the mysterious Shannon Gruber, googling the name came up with this thread because I thought it sounded a bit fishy. Glad I found this.

      • ThemeSupport
        Reply

        Glad we could help save you some time 🙂

  • Dardanella
    Reply

    They are still around… Those that receive email from a Gmail address should report it to Google: https://support.google.com/mail/contact/abuse

    Name :matt kay
    Email :[email protected]
    Subject :web design
    Messsage :
    Hello, My name is Matt Kay, I wanna know if you can handle website design for a new company and also if you do you accept credit cards ?? kindly get back to me… so i can send you the job details. Thanks Matt

    Also from Google: Avoid and report phishing emails
    https://support.google.com/mail/answer/8253?hl=en

  • Mattias
    Reply

    I just got the same email from matt kay. They are still active, how is this possible???

  • Chris
    Reply

    Yep just got this from Matt Kay. So annoying.

  • Lew
    Reply

    Have learned from posting many ads online that anyone asking if you take credit cards is a scam. I happen to be here as I received two emails today from this scammer.

    your_name: Martins Koller
    company_name: MKSALON
    phone: 4693368446
    email: [email protected]

    “Hello, My name is Martins Koller, I wanna know if you can handle website design for a new company and also if you do you accept credit cards ?? kindly get back to me… so i can send you the job details. Thanks Martins”

    I have learned to ignore these requests…yes, 1 in a thousand could be real, if if that is how they are contacting me and what they are saying, then I am going to assume a spammer, as you have noted here.

    • Ana P
      Reply

      Yup, just got hit by him too. LOL

  • Kat Brand
    Reply

    Thank you for this blog! I received a very similar email correspondence (see below – as I have pasted it here but removed my personal email info but not his) and finally got a phone number from them, where I googled it and found this blog. Thank you for saving me and everyone here massive amounts of time, money and headache. However, instead of a text, I received an email through my contact form on my website. So they are getting more “sophisticated” ( s/) LOL.
    I knew something was “fishy” when I noticed they put my phone number ( on my site) into the contact form instead of a contact number for them. I went along for a few emails, to make sure it was indeed, a scammer and not just someone who was truly ignorant of protocol for web dev.
    The new email these these buffoons are using is: Quavious Damon . The number is: 929-263-2990

    Here is our correspondence:
    On Sun, Oct 1, 2017 at 6:41 PM, Quavious Damon wrote:
    Hello,
    Am Damon 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.
    ========
    Hi Damon-
    I’d be happy to chat with you and see what your needs are for your website. Are you free tomorrow in the afternoon at 4pm?
    What is your number?

    Thank you.
    ==========
    On Sun, Oct 1, 2017 at 8:07 PM, Quavious Damon wrote:
    Hi , 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 Damon’s Clothing.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 $2,000 to $10,000 Kindly get back to me with an estimate.

    Hope to read from you,
    Thanks.
    ==================
    Hello Damon-
    Thank you for all this information.
    I would be happy to help you and my team can definitely get a site up for you before the end of next month.
    I would like to set up a time to meet with you.
    Can you arrange to meet with me on Skype?
    I am located in Pacific Standard Time (in Los Angeles, California, USA).
    Can you please pick a time when you are available from this link below?
    At that time, I can give you a quote. We will talk about some more details about you needs with your website and any features you’d like.
    Thank you very much.
    =====================
    On Tue, Oct 3, 2017 at 5:52 PM, Quavious Damon wrote:
    Currently not on Skype and can’t meet up due to my health conditions that took me out that’s why am contacting you through mail. Am sorry for the inconvenience. Can I get a rough estimate?
    ======================
    Hello Damon-
    Of course. I completely understand and my condolences for your health.
    I do hope you feel better as soon as possible.
    Our pricing ranges, depending on your website needs and your marketing needs.
    We have both one-time payment plans for specific work or monthly payment marketing plans.
    I do hope this helps you with your decision.
    If you have photos or website examples you’d like me to look at, please let me know.
    May I ask where you are located?
    Please do look over our website at examples of our client work.
    Thank you very much.
    =====================
    On Tue, Oct 3, 2017 at 6:35 PM, Quavious Damon wrote:
    Thank you,
    God bless you, am okay with the estimate and I will like to make an upfront payment of $3,000 for the web design and the 3% card charges but before I give you my card information I will need a little favor from you.
    =====================
    Hello Damon-
    Thank you for your interest.
    The fee is for a website only. It is not a maintenance program. If you want the maintenance program after your site is built, I would be happy to set up options for you.

    We do have a specific protocol and several questions for you, before we can begin to help you create your vision of your website. Here’s how we do this:

    1. If you are ready to move forward, we will need to have you sign a binding legal contract, guaranteeing that we promise to complete the work for you, in a timely manner.

    2. I will create a proposal for you, as soon as payment is received and has been complete.

    3. Please send over some website ideas you would like for us to use for your website?
    Just send a few websites you really like and tell me what you like about them.

    4. We will need to make arrangements for payment and I will have several questions for you.
    Please, let me know where your location is?
    I will need:
    -Full name
    -Full name of your company
    -Billing Address, city, state, country
    -Email
    -Phone number

    5. Please let me know if you have bought the domain?
    If you have, I will need administrative access to the host company. So, I will need username and password. If you have not yet bought the domain, we can do that for you but you will need to pay for it.

    Do you have any other questions?
    Thank you very much.
    ====================
    Quavious Damon Tue, Oct 3, 2017 at 10:19 PM
    Hi
    1. Let me have the contract
    2. No problem about that
    3. The graphic designer will be doing that soon
    4. Quavious Damon
    Damon’s Clothing Wears
    [email protected]
    9292632990
    Does these answers your questions

  • Mariia
    Reply

    First email came from [email protected], after she described her project I was not able to send her a quote, as the address was not found anymore, I guess someone blocked it by that time :)))
    Second email came from [email protected], with the same project description, it all became clear and when I googled it to double check got to this article, thank you guys for posting this.

  • Ana P
    Reply

    Hey guys,

    Thanks for this post! I received this message from Martins as well. My spidey senses went up when they started to get very specific about what they wanted for his website. A little too specific. Usually, client’s really don’t know what to say. And, he asked for my personal cell…. it was on the email signature….

    * * * * ** * * ** * * * ** * ** * * ** * * * ** * * * * *

    Martins Koller

    Actually I have business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in Carlifornia and the company is based on importing and exporting of Salon Equipment such as Dryer,hair cream,Weavon,Hairdressing, Clippers, 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://vdiinc.com… I have a private consultant that has the text content and logo for the site . the site would only be information, so i need you to give me an estimate.

    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 M.KSALON
    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 $4000 to $8000
    8.Give me your personal cell phone number
    9.Are you the Owner

    Martins

  • Trig Web Design
    Reply

    I got the same exact email today, but I have seen these in many forms, so I just played with him a little. I told Tim Dixon that I reported him to Interpol, the FBI Cyber-Crime Unit and the Russian mob.
    These scams are designed for the desperate little web developers who will concede to just about anything to get the sale. Bad grammar, anything to do with an Agriculture or aviation site, the wording, all red flags all web developers should be able to spot. It’s a real shame, we have enough to worry about with real business to have to field these criminals trying to use stolen credit cards and leave us holding the bag. Sad™.

  • Chad
    Reply

    I have just received one of these scams. I think these scams are targeted more towards small-scale, individual and freelance designers. I mainly do just graphics, most people don’t even want you to build a site anymore just the graphics to go on it. I also do fabrication for signs, posters and billboards. Web design is is a very small part of what I do, which clearly states that on my website.
    Luckily I am financially stable and don’t feel the need to jump at a project request as ridiculous as this. My suspicions about this came from the email outlining the job. For anyone who knows enough about web design you will see how suspicious the request is based off just the sitemap request. Also the previous emails he always asked about accepting credit cards after telling him that not be an issue.

    This is the email he sent me last….

    From: Robert Jose [mailto:[email protected]]
    Sent: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 7:21 PM
    To:—————————————————
    Subject: RE: Website Design

    Thanks for your responds, below is my project details

    Here is the job details I have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in MN and the company is based on importing and exporting of Sport wears such as running jacket, jersey,dance wear,socks, boots etc for both adult youth ladies and girls so i need a best of the best layout design for it. Can you handle that for me ? The site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate based on my want below, the estimate should include hosting and i have a private project consultant, he has the text content and the logos for the site.

    WHAT I WANT-

    I need a very simple informational website that shows the products that I sell.

    (4 main pages)

    HOME PAGE

    ABOUT US

    OUR PRODUCTS (gallery) – about 25 products for now and adding 5-10 new products every month. I want the product to be classified into 4 pages , which are

    Male : Adult and chidren , Female : Adult and children. so that the customers can get full details.

    CONTACT US – with a form to fill out so that they can get in contact with me.

    Domain Name i want- “josewearsforsport.us ” or anything along that line.

    TIMELINE- this should go “live” in 3 months.

    Note:

    1. I want only English language

    2. You will be updating the site for me.

    3. I will be proving the images, logos and content for the site.

    4. I want the site up and running before ending of next three month.

    5. My budget is $3000 to $6000

    6. No shopping ability

    7. The site will be mobile friendly

    8. I don’t want sitemap

    9. I have 25 product to be on it.

    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 ??

    (4) Do you accept credit cards as payment ?

    Regards
    Robert Jose

  • ThemeSupport
    Reply

    We just got a new scam request from “Matt Kay”:

    From: matt kay
    Email: [email protected]
    Phone: 4697714123

    Message Body:
    Hello, My name is Matt Kay, I wanna know if you can handle website design for a new company and also if you do you accept credit cards ?? kindly get back to me… so i can send you the job details.
    Thanks Matt

  • Derek
    Reply

    Thank you for writing this article and posting this thread – just received an inbound “lead” from [email protected] and looked for his contact info online when I found this. Simply replied only by providing the link to this article/thread (https://themesupport.net/website-development-phishing-scam/) – Troll level 100.

    • ThemeSupport
      Reply

      Glad we could help out Derek.

  • Shijie Zhou
    Reply

    I got the same scam from Tyrese Andre. The man had sent a lot 5144.73 and told me to transfer to the consultant. The bad thing is that I had sent to the consultant. Will the bank charge me back for that scam? I never use any of the money and he tried to scam me another 5000 dollars.

    Thanks for your responds, below is my project details

    Here is the job details I have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in MN and the company is based on importing and exporting of Sport wears such as running jacket, jersey,dance wear,socks, boots etc for both adult youth ladies and girls so i need a best of the best layout design for it. Can you handle that for me ? The site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate based on my want below, the estimate should include hostingand i have a private project consultant, he has the text content and the logos for the site.

    WHAT I WANT-

    I need a very simple informational website that shows the products that I sell.

    (4 main pages)

    HOME PAGE

    ABOUT US

    OUR PRODUCTS (gallery) – about 25 products for now and adding 5-10 new products every month. I want the product to be classified into 4 pages , which are

    Male : Adult and chidren , Female : Adult and children. so that the customers can get full details.

    CONTACT US – with a form to fill out so that they can get in contact with me.

    Domain Name i want- “Tyresewearforsports.us” or anything along that line.

    TIMELINE- this should go “live” in 3 months.

    Note:

    1. I want only English language

    2. You will be updating the site for me.

    3. I will be proving the images, logos and content for the site.

    4. I want the site up and running before ending of next three month.

    5. My budget is $3000 to $6000

    6. No shopping ability

    7. The site will be mobile friendly

    8. I don’t want sitemap

    9. I have 25 product to be on it.

    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 ??

    (4) Do you accept credit cards as form of payment?

    Regards
    Tyrese Andre

    • ThemeSupport
      Reply

      Tyrese,

      I hope that you are able to recover the money. We would definitely be interested in hearing how things go in your recovery process.

      Good luck on this!

  • Veteran Web Guy
    Reply

    Just got one of these. Why are American’s being offered more money than us Brits? If you are going to scam me, at least offer me a half decent fee to get me interested.

    I had my suspicions when they told me they wanted a site like nelly.com only ‘more perfect’. If I could build a multi-million dollar business for £3000 I wouldn’t be making websites.

    Broken English and “I want, I want, I want … ” I didn’t want to work with anyone who opens with that kind of BS. No social media, sent from a g-mail address … nope. Quick google and here I am.

  • Jai
    Reply

    I immediately deleted my request as the language and layout of the email felt “scammy”. But was pleased to find this article to back up my instinct. Hope that us simple web designers don’t get duped into falling for this scam. FYI, this was my one…

    From: Shannon Gruber

    Message Body:
    Good Day,

    I have a small clothing business for both male and female

    which i run 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.

    I need you to checkout this site but i need something more

    perfect than this if possible ,https://nelly.com/ww/womens-

    fashion/

    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 8 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

    shannongwears.com sgwears.com or shannonwears.net

    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 ending of October.

    6. My budget is £500 to £5000 Kindly get back to me with:

    (1) an estimate

    (2) I will like to know if you are the owner ??

    BUSINESS NAME ; Shannon Wears

    • Nathan
      Reply

      Just got this exact email today. So glad I decided to search the business name and came across this article

  • SPM
    Reply

    The “Horsfall Franklin” request and the phishing attempt came to me by email, but I didn’t fall for it.

  • Tommy Lesternson
    Reply

    Thank you for your blog. I just got this message.

  • Irvin
    Reply

    Seems like he’s back at it again. Got the exact same message. Glad I didn’t fall for this scam and decided to try to look him up. I started with his name and location first. Got nothing. I then decided to Google his email and found your blog.

  • Murphy Design
    Reply

    Same name, same design request, same scenario. Just happened today. Thanks for posting this.

  • Murphy Design
    Reply

    Same name, same design request, same scenario. Just happened today. Thanks for posting this.
    Here is what was sent:
    Thanks for getting back to me, I have business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in OH and the company is based on importing and exporting of Salon Equipment such as Dryer, haircream, Weavon, Hairdressing, Clippers, i need the 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. https://www.saloncentric.com/… I have a private consultant that has the text content and logo for the site. the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate.

    1. I want 15pages 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 horsfallfranklinsalon.com
    4. you will be updating the site for me twice in a month.
    5. i will be providing the images, logos and content for the site.
    6. i want the site up and running before ending of 3months.
    7. My budget is $8,000 to $16,000
    8. Give me your personal cell phone number
    9. Are you the Owner

  • Scott
    Reply

    Just received this today:

    From: Horsfall Franklin

    Phone: 0000000000

    Subject: Website Design Needed

    Message:
    I have business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in OH and the company is based on importing and exporting of Salon Equipment such as Dryer, haircream, Weavon, Hairdressing, Clippers, i need the 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. https://www.saloncentric.com/… I have a private consultant that has the text content and logo for the site. the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate.

    1. I want 10pages 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 horsfallfranklinsalon.com
    4. you will be updating the site for me twice in a month.
    5. i will be providing the images, logos and content for the site.
    6. i want the site up and running before ending of 3months.
    7. My budget is $6,000 to $12,000
    8. Give me your personal cell phone number
    9. Are you the Owner

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Justin Lee
    Reply

    Just got this today “Hello, how are you doing today? My name is Horsfall Franklin, I wanna know if you can handle website design for a new company and also if you do you accept credit cards ?? kindly get back to me… so i can send you the job details.Thanks Franklin”

  • TK
    Reply

    I received the same email from a Horsfall Franklin but thought he was legit until I decided to research him and few days later. I had him pay me via Stripe and the confirmed everything was good. The funds were eventually sent to my account in which I paid the “consultant”. What am I guilty of because I had no clue and still have some of the funds from a transfer.

    • ThemeSupport
      Reply

      TK – Wow, that is crazy that he transfered funds and you still have some of them. I am not sure what yo do at this point on your side – I would contact either Stripe or local law enforcement to see what they would recommend.

      Let us know what you end up doing and how it goes! We are very interested to hear the rest of the saga.

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