It’s desperate times, fellow designers, but don’t be too eager for a job that it ends up costing you money.
I’ve been targeted by scammers twice in the past month via text message. I believe they got my number from Creative Hotlist where I (used to) have my phone number listed. I got the first text on April Fool’s Day, appropriately enough.
Client: Greetings. I’d like to know if you offer graphic design services. Let me know how you are doing?
I know, I know. I should have run right away. But I thought maybe English was his second language and he preferred an American alias, so why not just reply in case it was a real offer.
Me: I do. May I ask who referred you so I can thank them?
Client: Thanks for the quick reply. I need visual identity and catalog design. Can you take on new projects? I came across your info on Creative Hotlist.
I asked him to email me with details of his project request, which he did. He sent two PDFs and, although his furniture company name seemed lame (Woodrx?), I said I’d put together a bid. Naturally, I bid quite high and stated that I required 50% down. I figured that would be the end of it. He replied immediately.
Client: I got your estimate. Pricing looks good I’d like to proceed. As for payment I’m presently in Delaware for medical purposes I’ll pay with my card.
Me: Okay, great! I’ll draw up a contract. I’ll need you to sign it before we proceed.
Client: What accounting software do you use?
Huh? If you’re paying by card it shouldn’t matter. He says he can only pay through QuickBooks. I should have run then but I figured it would be easy enough to create a QuickBooks account.
Contract sent, contract signed, QuickBooks account created… and then the rub. An email with the subject line: Assistance Needed.
Client: I got in touch with the project consultant but I’m having a little issue with him regarding my agreement with him, I’d signed the agreement to make cash or bank deposit to him for his payment but due to my present condition I was diagnosed with lung cancer and will undergo a surgery soon so I’m limited and I won’t be able to do that. Kindly send me an invoice of $7,590 in which $2490 will be your payment for the job and $5000 you will help me forward to the project consultant so he can release the raw files for the catalog to you. You can keep $100 as tip. Once I make the payment and you have funds in your possession then you can help me forward to him. I will balance upon job completion.
$%#@! I’d allowed myself to be a player in a two-bit scam as old as online transactions. I quickly replied that I don’t funnel money and that the contracts were void, I voided them in Quickbooks and ignored his pleading emails that it was all on the up-and-up.
Two days later, I got another text that was exactly the same that “Robert Jack” sent from “Bob Donald. I never replied.
Fellow designers, take note. This “person” is truly a Client from Hell.