We live in a marvellous world full of magic and surprises, and it is even more so when viewed through the eyes of my 8 year old son, however it is not an ideal world, and there are negative aspects and unprofessional people as well. One such negative aspect manifested itself earlier this week in a scam which I would like to share.
I am a professional web designer in Nottingham. I work for a firm that provides high quality business websites for small and medium sized businesses. We know how to get on the first page of Google, and our own business website is constantly high up in the search engine results pages.
This is great as it brings in many new customers who have discovered our web design services from searching on the Internet. These are real people wanting to know how to get a great business website design. The other side of the coin is not so great as it means that scrupulous, unprofessional, scammers can also find us.
Earlier this week, I received an email requesting a quote for an e-commerce online shop. The email seemed a little “impersonal” but this happens fairly often as people like to shop around and send the same email to a variety of web site designers.
The brief corresponded exactly to our fantastic online shop starter offer, and so I replied outlining the unique selling points of this e-commerce web design (a bespoke, hand-crafted, design so that his online shop would be optimised for Google and the look and feel would truly represent his business; free FaceBook and Twitter integration so his customers could easily create a “buzz” around his e-commerce business; a personalised back office Content Management System offering the easiest interface to manage his online shop website articles...) and all this for only £1,195.
It was a professional reply explaining our professional e-commerce web design offering.
A few days later, a cheque arrived in the post for £2,000. This was accompanied with a letter explaining that he wanted us to go ahead with the development of his e-commerce web design and that we should cash the cheque as payment. If there was any remainder, he requested the balance to be sent to his bank account.
I checked and I had included our standard price of £1,195 when I had replied to him, so obviously there was a balance to return of £805. However something did not feel right about all this.
I did some investigation on the Internet, and found the details of this scam. The cheque for £2,000 would bounce when paid into our company bank account. We would never get that money. Even worse, we would be charged penalty fees for this bounced cheque. And even worse, if we had sent the balance of £805 to his bank account, that money would be lost as well. All this for a scam to try and obtain money from us illegally.
Luckily the feeling that something was not right had appeared. Our Nottingham Web Design agency did not lose any money over this, but we might have done. Fortunately not everyone out there is dishonest and trying to scam people - the majority of the people I have met are genuine, entrepreneurs, from all sizes of businesses, both big and small. It is really magical to work with them and to see how our web design skills can help grow their business. However my word of warning is to keep your eyes open for anything that doesn’t quite feel right - if your gut feeling tells you there is something wrong, there probably is...