The other day I received a very nice, albeit full of broken English, contact through the general contact form on my business website. The sender, a Ms. Jennifer Webb, email address firstname.lastname@example.org, wanted to know if I could help her build a website. It needed to look a lot like another website, same number of pages, no blog, but all the other same features. She had one other question, which is a little peculiar at this point in the inquiry. She wanted to know if I took credit cards for payment. “Sure”, I said, “I accept credit cards for payment on website projects”.
I asked Jennifer to complete a questionnaire I put together to gather up much of the information I need to get the ball rolling. She filled the questionnaire out promptly. Cool beans, I thought. She is serious about this. While she did not answer all of the questions using the form I provide on my website, she did answer many of the questions in the context of her email.
It went like this.
I want the same number of pages with the example site i gave you to check excluding blogs.
I want only English language
I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as www.premiumautos.me
i will be proving the images, logos and content for the site My budget is $3,500 to $6,500
I will be waiting for your email for the estimate
Here is my company name: Preniumauto Collision Inc kindly get back to me with your cellphone number so that we can have suitable text on phone
Not bad. I ran a quick scan of the sample site using my Screaming Frog app to get a feel for the number of HTML pages I was dealing with. 20 pages, not including the blog. Okay, we can do this. Nothing fancy, fairly straight-forward.
I offered a couple more follow up questions to make sure I had covered all of the major features, the correct number of pages, the content delivery from her ‘project consultant’, the type of hosting she requested and provided her with my business phone, aka cell phone.
Yes, she said. I had everything covered. Good, I’ll get you a proposal in the morning.
Spent about an hour putting together a proposal, writing the covering email, and adding the ‘lead’ to my CRM. Sent it out today with a sign of relief. Good, sales activity completed for the day. Onto other things.
About three hours later she replies and is ready to go. All I need to do is . . .
No wait. You need to read this exactly as it is written to get the full effect.
Good Afternoon Matt,
Thank you so much for your endless effort on my project. Am okay with the estimate everything also ready to make payment now with my credit card, I understand the content for this site would be needed so work can start asap but i will need a Little favor from you and the favor is that I will send you my credit card to charge for the sum of $5,100.00 plus 3% Cc company charges, You will deduct $2,000.00 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 $3,000.00 to the project consultant that has the text content and the logo for my website so once he receive the $3,000.00 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,Will you send me an invoice to make the payment ?Kindly get back to me so we can proceed with payment asap including your direct cell phone.
I’ll await your positive response, so, we can get the ball rolling.
Shit! I’m being scammed. What a PITA! I put time and effort into this lead, and for what. A chance to exercise my creative writing and spreadsheet tweaking? Really?
Then I do a quick Google for ‘Jennifer Webb’ and … well … don’t waste your time friends. Do people actually go through with this?
Thanks for listening.
Photo Credit: Nick Youngson – http://www.nyphotographic.com/