It’s good that you have begun a career in web design and development. You’ve probably not gotten a project, then suddenly, you get an email offer for a web design project. Then you thank God that you have successfully landed an actual work. Watch out, it could be a potential scam.
Photographers and web designers are always the major target. You may have already fallen for it, or just not yet. But after reading this article, you will be better prepared.
What is a Web Design Scam?
A web design scam occurs when a web designer gets an email (most often) or text messages on a website project, with a link to an already existing website as what they client wants, your address is being requested sand you’re asked whether you accept credit card payments. This is s potential scam.
This is what the scam email looks like:
From: Mark Stevens <marksteve firstname.lastname@example.org>
Good day, I just want to open a new Indian Restaurant i need a website for my business to grow the site should be up & running by ending of March i don’t want a shopping cart in my reservation page also i don’t have a domain name yet i prefer: DHARMAKENTRESTAURANT.COM My budget is $1500 for the web design i need you to go through this example link site: http://www.indikausa.com, i want the same page as this site i want only English language you will be updating the site for me. I have a private project consultant, he has the text content with logo along with the image artwork get back to me with an estimate including hosting i will like to know if you are the owner or the manager?Thank you
Things to note from the scam email above
1 Added a budget.
Without asking you your pricing. You as a professional web designer should have a pricing that people can reference to not a budget quote out of the blues. Sometimes it can get as high as $10,000 just to entice you.
2 Example site.
No potential and original client would do this. They don’t need to send you a sample site, they just tell you how they want their site to be (features) and what type of site it is, (company, business, etc). If they have an example site already, then why contact you.
The scam email stated that he has a private project consultant that would send you text and image content. Again, no legit person will do this. Companies, schools, businesses that require a web design project will send you these at once when you must have reached a contract. Already you have purchased domain and hosting for which they will provide the funds for. You are a web designer and your pricing doesn’t include Domain and hosting, except you want to give a charity domain and hosting service, if you’re a registrar or hosting company. You only give them the Domain and hosting prices from hosting companies like Bluehost and they will pay you to purchase it.
This is the first point to note as it always begins the email. It will always be a new business, a start up.
5 No contact, no company name, no real or actual location.
This is how you know it is a scam. There will not be anyother means of contact apart from the email. No physical location of any kind. Every legitimate company or business, especially restaurant, will have a physical location to show they have already been existing, even if it’s a home address. Most companies without websites have Social Media such as Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram. Also, they have contact or customer care numbers and WhatsApp numbers. Now, when you receive this kind of scam email, try asking for a WhatsApp chat, either video or not, you will not get any response.
6 Use of Poor English
The email will always be of poor English grammar. This is in a bid to make you read fast and skip the consultant part and just send them the estimate.
7 Asking if you’re the owner or Manager.
This is just like sending Zuckerberg a mail asking if he is the owner of Facebook. Clearly, they saw that your email is not a personal email bearing your name. No person, company or otherwise will ask you in your email if you’re the owner or manager.
Now this is where it gets scary. The sender will respond when you reply with an estimate, telling you that he is ok with the estimate. He will also tell you that he will send you his credit card details for you to charge an upfront payment. Example, if you had sent an estimate of $3000 to which he agrees, he will ask you to charge $1450 as upfront from the credit card. Then you will have to contact the Consultant who you will send the remaining of the balance so as to enable the Consultant send you the text and logo/image content. This is where the scam is and the Consultant is the scammer.
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Scam Web Designers
Sadly, scammers are now in the profession. You will see someone posing as a web designer only to run away with your money.
How does this work
They will always charge ridiculously low prices or just accept any offer. This is in a bid to just get your money. A real web designer shouldn’t sell himself short. Example, charging as low as 15k (naira) to Design any kind of website.
No Social Media profiles or any physical presence.
Stanoz Designs is founded and owned by Stanley Ozuzu,
LinkedIn @StanleyOzuzu (visit to see his profile).
Stanoz Designs is on Facebook @StanozDesz
Scammers will not give out real information.
What to do?
Ignore the email and delete.
Stop all communication with the sender. Block the senders IP, and if you have access to the EFCC or other Anti Fraud units, send them full details of the scam email. Also flag it as spam in your email app, then send a report of the email to Gmail, Yahoo mail or anyother email service you use.
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