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How to NOT Get Scammed

7/27/2016 11:08 AM

Ten days ago, I get an email from asking if my company can handle website design and "do you accept credit cards or check ??" The email closes with "kindly get back to me ASAP so i can send you the job details."

The first problem with this is that web application development is what my company does. The second is the use of the word "kindly." I despise that word and it is only ever used by English as a Second Language (ESL) speakers. Third, the email address is pretty hokey. Fourth, bad grammar and punctuation. Fifth, "do you accept credit cards or check ??" No, I prefer to run my company on a pro bono basis and as such we don't like to get paid. But, business is business so I wrote back and asked him for the details. He responds:

Hi, Here is the job details
I have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now and my company is based on importing and exporting of Agriculture products such as Kola Nut, Gacillia Nut and Cocoa so 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. the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate based on the site i

  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
  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

Kindly get back to me with:
  1. an estimate
  2. your cell phone number
  3. And will like to know if you are the owner ??


Jeff Brown

Hm. What difference does it make that I'm the owner, I answered the email and speak for the company. The company phone number is published on our site at Sentia Systems.  I responded that we can do his project and that I would send over a contract for him to sign and return and we could get started. I copied the legal department and they sent me back a contract for him to sign on the following Monday. He signed it and sent it back. I was shocked. He also sent back this response:


Attached is the copy of the sign contract, your estimate cost meet up with my initial budget and also ready to make down payment so that you can start work on the website design for my new company and do you have a manual terminal machine for the processing of my credit card. please advice so we can proceed with deposit.
Await your response.

Thank You

Jeff Brown

Now my spidey sense is really really tingling.

Is the credit card stolen? What does he have to gain by a manual entry process? I respond that he can use his credit card to PayPal me the deposit or he can snail mail me a check. He responds:

check work for me, i will need full name and address for check mailing.

Kindly get back to me so we can get the ball rolling.

Again, with the 'kindly' that sets my teeth on edge. I reply back with "the name of the company is Sentia Systems, Inc, and the address is on the contract." I informed him that we would wait for the check to clear and then begin on his site.

I haven't heard from him since. I get up this morning to a text message from the legal department with this link detailing the exact same scam, just with a different front man.

What is the moral of the story? Like they said at the end of the pre-shift meeting on Hill Street Blues "Let's be careful out there."

Yes, I am old and I remember watching Hill Street Blues in prime time.

This post originally appeared on, today, 7/27/2016.

Date Written Comment
7/11/2017 11:17 AM I too got an email from this email address and name, requesting part costs of items we do not sell. My cell phone number is on my email signature. The person "Jeff Brown" text me. Now I'm nervous.

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