I wanted to share the most common scam I see targeting web designers. Hopefully this will save somebody from wasting their time, or even getting scammed out of $$.

This scam comes in the form of a 3-phase email. We pasted the full email text and discussed it in more detail on this blog post.

Email 1: Initial Contact

r/web_design - Anatomy Of The Most Common Scam Targeting Web Designers

The scammer will contact you, requesting an estimate for the project. There are three standard pieces to this email:

If you bite and send them an estimate, you’ll be greeted with the second phase of the scam.

Email 2: “I need a favor”

r/web_design - Anatomy Of The Most Common Scam Targeting Web Designers

This email has two main pieces:

If you continue by asking what the favor is, you’ll be sent the final email of the scam.

Email 3: The Closer

If you follow the steps in this email, you’ll be scammed out of your money.

r/web_design - Anatomy Of The Most Common Scam Targeting Web Designers

This email has a couple bits:

  • Scammers consultant cannot accept credit cards

  • To get the content to finish the project, you charge the scammers card for the down payment + the consultant fee. You then send the consultant money via a cashier’s check.

  • They’ll also probably offer you a tip for your time & helpfulness (how nice of them)

We cover how this works in detail on our companion blog post, but essentially, the money that you’re sending to the “consultant” is actually going to the scammer. You’re sending it via a non recoverable method of payment.

Once the scammer has the payment from you, they will initiate a charge-back, getting the original payment back, and leaving you minus whatever amount of $ sent to the “consultant”.

Sometimes, the credit card is stolen, meaning that there are two victims, not just you.

IF you’re getting something like this, don’t waste your time. Send the email to spam, and burn it by reporting it here https://www.justice.gov/fraudtaskforce. Keep in mind, this is just a part of the industry, as the scammer will make a new account, and continue his scam — one success will pay living expenses for a year, in many cases.

Hope this post saves somebody some anger and $. If you have any more info that would help others avoid this, leave it in the comments.



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