A New form of credit card scam?
Today I got an email from a guy named “Michael”. The subject of his message was “Web Design Needed!”. This was his short message:
I’m Michael, I would love to 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 ASAP so i can send you the job details.
So I wrote back ASAP and told him that I accept credit card payment via PayPal, but I also accept other payment options. It didn’t take long for him to come back with a response:
Thanks for your swift response
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 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 .[link deleted]…. 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
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 by end of December
7. My budget is $4000 to $9000
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 ??
Again, I replied to his email and explained my services and confirmed that I am the business owner. I also provided him my cell phone number (which is part of my email signature, so he already got it after my first reply). Well, a few minutes later he called me to ask if I got his reply by email. He told me that he is in the hospital for a lung cancer treatment and need my help with something. He asked me to read the email he send me. Here it became really fishy:
Thanks for your response,I’m presently recuperating from the diagnosis of lung cancer and am still in the hospital,I will like you to handle this for me. I am okay with the estimate everything sound good and I’m ready to make half payment now with my credit card, I understand the content for this site would be needed before work can start but the content, images, logos Is with the Project Consultant and I’m having a problem with him because I still have to balance him up but he does not accept credit card as a method of payment and I would need a favor from you about that so we could proceed.
The favor is that I will send you my credit card to charge for the sum of $4,800.45 plus 3% Cc company charges, You will deduct $1,700.00 as deposit for the design of the website plus extra $100.00 as a tip for handling perfect work for me and you will send the remaining $3,000.45 to the project consultant that has the text content and the logo for my website so once he receive the $3,000.45 he would send the text content and logo needed for my website to you so work can start asap,Sending of funds would be after money clears into your account and You will be charging my card for remaining balance upon completion of work, Kindly get back to me so we can proceed with payment asap. I hope you understand ?.
I told him that I will read his message and and he can get back to me by sending text messages upon his request. A few minutes after hanging up he send me the first text message, than the next and the messages became more urgent; can you set up and account with freshbook.com, can you do it now? I didn’t reply and after two minutes or so, he tried calling me again. I didn’t answer. What I did do was searching for similar stories, to confirm my suspicion. I found four sources that confirm my suspicion and decided to share my experience also. Apparently this is some organized credit card fraud group of people that try to approach businesses, “pay” with stolen credit cards and make you transfer a big chunk of money to their “project consultant”. Another form of white washing money? I located the phone call to Westminster, U.S. The phone number they’re using is +1 802-518-0542.
This can happen to your business and is not limited to web designers. When something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Be warned and I can only hope that you will come across this article before falling for for this trap.
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Edited Nov 02-2016: link not working anymore. http://wrightnetdesigns.ca/home/website-scam