I was contacted by an individual (Alabama) who told me he found me on Thumbtack and wanted a website. I was a big project (over 40 pages), with a framework of eight main pages. He asked that I make the website look like a mockup he sent, and that he needed it right away. I worked for two days on the main pages with the look that he wanted and prepared a proposal and sent it to him with the website build.
He was very excited and said to send the invoice for $5,000 right away, that he would pay the $2500 deposit immediately. While I was creating an invoice to send I got a text email with a request for a website. I replied with my email to send the details to.
I received the same email as I did for the aforementioned site requesting the same exact website to be built as well as the same mockup example from a California area code.
I have sent a payment request from the first individual (Alabama) based on my conversion with Thumbtack and customer supports recommendations. TT also said they would contact the individual about payment.
I contacted the first individual, and he texted me and indicated he was ready to proceed. He asked if I could get it to him in 4 weeks. I sent the website primary build, and he indicated that it "looks good."
So, I'm moving forward cautiously, as this feels like a scam, although I'm not sure what the scammer could get out of it.
I'm wondering if anyone else has been in a similar situation and can provide any insights.
@Jamesenator Definitely give that check enough time to clear I would not be surprised if he responds back in the nex day saying he wants to cancel and wants his money back... If the check is a fraud, you get nothing and if you send him a full refund you are out $2500.
Its a very common trick. Definately wait for 7 days for that check to fully clear
@Jamesenator You may not have to wait 30 days... depends on how fast your cc clearing company works.. but most are under 10 days if not faster.
If you havent committed, tell them that all funds are held for 30 days and no refunds will be made in that time... see if that scares them off,
@Jamesenator I'm quite sorry to hear about this but appreciate you using the interaction as a lesson to help other pros. This contact sounds questionable to me so if you haven't already I recommend reporting the customer in the messenger. To do this, go to your inbox, open the customer's message, and use the report button in the messenger. We’ll review the report within 24 hours and share an update with you on any next steps we took. For more information about when and what to report see this page: Report suspicious activity.
@Jamesenator Great and best of luck. A scam like that is common for us lawyers... people say they need urgent legal help and give you a big retainer check only to cancel the next day saying they no longer need a lawyer... by law we have to return 100% of the retainer upon request so many lawyers have been burned by that. I have a policy in my fee agreement contract that says I will hold all retainers for no less than 10 days so I am sure that scares away the would-be con artists.
I was targeted by the same sort of scam years ago while living in Seattle (I live in 'Bama now). I was advised to never ever ever ever cash that check. It seems you did -- I was told that they are able to access certain banking information once you cash their check. That didn't make any sense to me, but I didn't cash the check.
Please update if there's any further action.
I do computer repairs, so I expect full payment as soon as the job is done. I also make it easy for people to pay me. I accept paypal, venmo, Square and cash (if traveling to the customer and in front of him or her)
There have been remote jobs where I charge per hour, but I explain completely that cost per hour, and estimated hours of work.
Maybe with such a rush job, request a retainer of 25% before you start the work because you need to move aside other work. I have not been stiffed a job, but those 5 minutes when we close the job and waiting for payment are a little tense.