Could you identify a scammer? Your financial security may depend on it.

I know what you’re all saying, I won’t get scammed, I’m smart enough to see it. Whilst this may be the case, if you get complacent about it, you can still become a prime target.

I recently was the target of a scammer, but fortunately I smelt a rat and picked up on it early on. I received an email from someone requesting a new website. They wrote a rather extensive email without giving any real details about the proposed job. At first, I thought it was a real client, but then the text messages started and alarm bells went off straight away.

What happened?

Basically they were going to pay me to create a website for them and also pay a 3rd party on their behalf because they were going into hospital shortly and the 3rd party wasn’t yet set up to receive payments. My first reaction of this was fear – what if they do a charge back on the credit card (they would only pay via credit card)? I’d be out of pocket, so I Googled web design scams and found an identical email posted in a scam alert.

Then I had a bit of fun, I went along with the conversation for a while wasting his time and reported the credit cards as stolen (I got confirmation that the owner of the cards had no idea about the impending charge). I also reported him to the police – although I doubt they’ll be able to do anything as I didn’t have enough information on him.

What to look out for in a potential scam?

  1. Is it too good to be true? My scammer had a large budget and agreed to everything instantly – it was simply too easy.
  2. Is there an unknown 3rd party involved?
  3. Can you confirm their identity?
  4. Is there something odd about them?
    • He insisted his only payment option was credit card and he was OK with sending credit card details via SMS and email. He also had an endless supply of credit cards to use.
    • He was super keen to pay me, was very pushy.
    • He wouldn’t reveal any details of the 3rd party until he had confirmation that I had received the payment.

So please stay vigilant and don’t get scammed!