Scam Alert: "Do you take credit cards?"

Posted on October 20, 2017

A common scam is tearing through our contact forms, here on the Internet Of Things.

It begins so well. “I need a new website.” Something agricultural. It needs to be better than this other site. I’d like it done quickly. I have a reasonable budget. They have all their ducks in a row.

They may be hard of hearing (aww cute?). They may have improper punctuation. They may go on and on about their business plan. Or they may be a “new company.” They ask if you are the owner.

They ask if you take credit cards.

I have seen so many versions of this, so many of these, so many names on the end. I could compare them with the number of kinds of cookies I have ever eaten. They are just as varied and similar in scope.

I believe they are human spammers or human-backed automatic response generators.

If you write any one of them back, you get a response that expects you to have asked some questions, even if you haven’t. For example...

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

“We have received your question and will get back to you..”

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 

This bug wants you to know he’s serious.

Here’s another:

Hello I'm Alex I wanna know if you can handle website design for a new company and also if you do you accept credit cards ??
Regards alex

And another:

I have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business, i'm thinking to choose Unique Farm Product, it's located in MN and the company is based on importing and exporting of Agricultural products such as Chilly,Garlic, Ginger, Cumin,Pepper,Saffron,Nutmeg etc 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://hn.arrowpress.net/foodfarm/home-3/) this Template would only be informational, i dont have a website before. So i need you to give me an estimate based on the Sample Template 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 contents, Pictures and the logos for the site. Note: 1. I want the same number of pages with the Sample Template i gave you to check excluding videos, blogs and the Ecommerce. 2. I want only English language (US) 3. I don't have a domain yet but i want the domain name as UniqueFarmProducts.com or UniqueCrops.com 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 before ending of this year. 7. My budget is $4,000 to $8,000 8. Do you accept credit cards? Kindly get back to me with: 1 An estimate 2 and your direct number.
Best Regards, Darren (501) 436-9631

(“Chilly”? Really?)

They’ve also reached out to me via my art site, carolinecblaker.com - offering to buy the detail image they see on the home page calling it, indeed bla bla bla (Detail) and they’re travelling the world so they’ll send a courier to pick it up. They probably have some version of this figured out for your industry as well. The target appears to be small-scale businesses whom they estimate could be hungry for work.

So what’s the deal with these people? What do they want? Surely someone to offer me money for my services on my terms (which they have just detailed as their terms, so we agree) is not such a bad thing.

Indeed. Seems a little too good to be true?

So what happens is there’s a dark horse they’re not telling you about. They want to charge their costs to your credit card services.. but would you mind sending -actual cash- to this other person? Just charge the card for it.

Never, ever do this. If they’re not the thieves of these credit card numbers, somebody else is, and I’ve seen enough of these to bet actual money (do they take credit cards?) that this is a commission or pyramid gig whereby they are working for the people with these credit card numbers that nobody knows have been stolen.

They are counting on getting away clean, with your cash, while you have the stolen charges reversed on you, and get added to watch lists for dealing with these people.

Is it a scam?

Nobody who is serious about your services will ask if you take credit cards before they know what it’s going to cost them, even if they have a budget. They certainly won’t ask you about your available methods of payment before they actually reveal what they are willing to spend. These vary in sophistication, organization, written english ability, and backstory. Individuals set up these circumstances based on what they know about what you expect and what you want a client to come forward with on the outset. “I’m just chomping at the bit here! Look! I don’t work with a developer, yet I already know exactly how to speak with one and line one up so that they take my money immediately.” 

The old adage applies: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re not sure if it’s a scam or not, you lose nothing by shooting them an email back, acting friendly, and asking a couple of questions that they may not be prepared to answer, like “Have you heard about what they’re doing to lime farmers in Mexico?” or “I’m running a promotion this month where every new site gets to try my cousin’s new chocolate. Where can I send it to?” If they respond with an actual address, google it. It’s likely fake. And be wary if they send an address in one country and say they are doing business in another.

But again, never ever let someone convince you to be their ATM. Sending cash and taking their credit is just that. You’ll lose what you send them, possibly pay for the reversed charges, and possibly get in trouble with the law. Instead, singing softly to yourself, toss these in the trash and go about your merry way.

Scam Alert: "Do you take credit cards?" Image

Caroline C. Blaker

Welcome, I'm a solo-preneur web professional living in the Land of Enchantment. I blog about things related to personal and professional life. My business specializes in Content Management Systems - ExpressionEngine, Craft CMS, and WordPress — and learning of new-to-me tech like Laravel. I also like writing content like you see here. Please consider hiring me if you’re looking for a developer who is responsive to email and gets it done on-time and in-budget.

What I'm cranking on:

Who doesn't miss Tom Petty? Argh..

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