If you have offered website design services on a personal or small business level via a website, then you have probably received those scam emails and texts from people that claim to be needing a website designed for a new company. They include some kind of believable story along with a question asking if you can accept credit card payments. They may claim to be hearing impaired. They may claim to be working outside of the country. They will say a lot of things that make you want to follow up and get more information. It sounds great doesn’t it! If they mention budgets, it is easy to get excited about the possibility of building a website for a new client.
Most companies that offer creative services accept credit card payments. This question asking you if you accept credit cards should throw up all kinds of red flags to you. Payment is usually not discussed until an estimate of services is accepted. It is the website developer that offers payment options not the customer.
Website Scam Warning
Yes, there could be some legitimate requests out there and I am not saying ignore everything that comes in as a lead, but just be warned. It can happen to just about anyone. If you are trying to build a business with any kind of creative services like websites or web applications, you will get this solicitation from a person that seems very genuine. If they ask about credit cards in the first contact to you, I say BLOCK, IGNORE and even consider REPORTING them if you have the time and can figure out where the request is originating.
With a little research, you can see that this scam has been going around for years. They are getting better and more clever. I have received phone calls, emails, texts, and even had my website request forms submitted on various websites I manage. I think the single biggest indicator is asking if you take credit cards or all forms of credit card payments. If you take the next step, you will find they don’t typically want to pay you via paypal. They will probably not want to provide any kind of verification that they actually own the credit card they are planning to use for payment.
What is the Scam?
If you go through the process, you will most likely get a request to send a portion of what they pay to you to a 3rd party. In other words, if your estimate of services totals $5000, they will agree and offer to send you $7000 with a additional tersm. They will ask you to send $2000 to a consultant they have been working with in the states. They may even offer a tip to you for helping them out. Don’t accept these terms!. You will probably be out the $2000 and possibly be responsible for paying back $5000 or $7000 to someone else. You may be at risk of credit card charge-backs and other issues as a result of accepting this payment. Remember, if it sounds to good to be true.. It probably is not true. It is a scam or connected to credit card fraud.
Do you have examples?
Post them here to make sure others do not fall for these scams
Example I got today