Several years ago we made a Facebook post warning others to be wary of doing business with someone you have not met in person. The post was motivated by an email that we received from a "prospect" that was actually a phishing scam.
We've seen several of these since that post, but recently we're getting a lot of these same type of inquiries. Like 2 to 3 per week, both as direct emails and from our contact forms.
If you are a website developer, please be aware that this scam is targeting our industry. Here's a website design quote request we received today:
Contact Name: EDGAR BROWN
Company Or Organization Name: ICONPARTERN
E-mail: ebrownforyou25 @ gmail.com
Services I'm Interested In: Website Design
Brief overview of your project: I have business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in NY 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://govliquidation.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.
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 iconpartner
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 2 months.
7. My budget is $4000 to $8000
8.Give me your personal cell phone number
9.Are you the Owner
Approximate budget: $4000 to $8000
Please enter any other details that are important to your project: Hello, how are you doing today? My name is EDGAR BROWN, 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 BROWN
These quote request always follow similar patterns:
We're putting this out in hopes that it will help others avoid becoming a victim. If you move forward with one of these prospects, ultimately they will try to engage you in a classic phishing scam: they will send you a payment, but you must send a payment to a third party like the "marketing person". Take our advice and don't do it!
Update on 12/18/2017:
We found a forum post that describes a similar scam targeting the Sign industry, linked to our post here. Interesting to see that these people target many different industries.
Our suggestion for all, learn how to identify the warning signs of a phishing scam.
Update on 11/7/2021:
We're now seeing a new variation of this geared at social media advertising. Here are two messages we have received in the past week:
Hi Our company sells furniture, i need a FB ad scaling and optimization expert who knows how to create profitable campaigns. please contact the project manager directly at whatapp +1(857)230-0185, his name is Christian shelley
Note that "shelly" had already contacted us via our website quote request form, and offered similar project details as the email below from "James Kearns".
I need to promote my business our company sells massage chairs, I need a FB ad scaling and optimization expert who knows how to create a profitable campaign. for small and large budgets $2000 - $5000 per day contact the project manager via whatsapp +1(775) 464-1726 Thanks very much James Kearns
For whatever reason the scammers are trying to get us to communicate on whatsappp, but we're not taking the bait. We already know where this is going!
Update on 4/5/2022:
These scammers never stop trying. In the latest twist, they're using Google My Business to send messages that follow the same predictable pattern:
As you can see, the GMB messages follow the same patterns of asking if we accept credit cards, and specifying that the business is an import/export company.
Be careful out there, and if you found this article helpful feel free to promote it on your networks.
Look at what a difference a website redesign makes!
- Before and After - jvmovers.com