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  • 02 November, 2021

Potential customer : potential scammer

A man named Mr David posted that he was looking for “reliable” website developers. Sounds pretty desperate. No problem. Making professional e-commerce websites is Technomancer’s job, so we reached out to him.

Hi Mr David,

Regarding your post looking for *reliable* website designers/developers we can help with that. Please check out some of our portfolio, and let us know when we can meet.

James Kim

That's us :)

James Kim

We sent him a sample of our websites.


Thanks for your quick response,Here is the job details below...

I just open a new Restaurant which i run now and i need a website for my business to grow, So i need you to go through this example link site: https://themes.shopify.com/themes/canopy/styles/fresh/preview but i need something more perfect than this if possible, I will like you to get back to me with an estimate and the estimate should include hosting and i want you to understand i want the same page as the example site i gave you to check and I want only English language and i want you to know you will be updating the site for me. I want the site up and running before ending of next month and i don't want a shopping cart in my reservation page also i don't have a domain name yet and i will prefer: kaitindrestaurante.com, My budget is $1,000/$1,500 for the web design, i have a private project consultant, she has the text content and the logos for the site with the image artwork,so please go ahead and check the example site and get back to me with an estimate also will like to know if you are the owner or the manager

James Kim

Hmmm. His website template is Shopify. But he also mentions that he wants us to host their website? That doesn't make sense as Shopify is it's own hosting platform. But maybe there's just some confusion about terminology.

James Kim

We neither speak nor use English perfectly. But it seems ironic that this person was particular about English but, frankly speaking, is obviously not a native speaker, and his document has several misspellings and grammatical mistakes in almost every sentence.


Hi Mr Anthony,

A few things.

  • Your website theme is Shopify, but we assume you do not want to use Shopify, as you want us to estimate hosting. But to be safe, please verify that you prefer a custom solution. Choices would be Shopify (on the Shopify platform), Wordpress +Woocommerce, or custom solutions which give the most freedom.
  • We sent a number of websites in our portfolio, with #1, #2, and #3 being the bigger e-commerce brands we're currently supporting. Please let us know if these are in line with your expectations.
  • Our typical fee for website building is $600. +$200 for a typical e-commerce solution. If you're more particular, or your system requires more customization, we'll have to charge more.
  • We're based in the Philippines and operate on that time. English is not our first language but we believe we speak it well enough. If all these are acceptable, we should set an online meeting. We're usually available from 2:30 PM - 7 PM for meetings, Philippine time. Please let us know if this works with you.

- James

James Kim

We replied, of course. We listed our concerns, gave our price, and asked for a meeting.


Thanks for the response back, I want you to know that i'm okay with the estimate cost and will be glad to give you the opportunity to do the job for me. I hope I will get a perfect job from you and I would have preferred to pay you by pay pal or credit card machine but I was warn by my bank not to use my card on pay pal or any other merchant again because they double remit my account twice in the past and I don't want to go against my bank warning. I will gladly mail out the payment to you by check. I am located in USA and it does not matter the Country you are provided you assured me a good and quality job. I need your name and address or your representative name and address in USA to send the payment to so that i can make an upfront payment and you can proceed on my web design. I also understand you will need the text content with the logo and other document files to start work on my web design asap as you know the document files are with my project consultant and she will have them send to you via email... Thank you

James Kim

Hmm. He did not actually answer any of our questions/concerns.

James Kim

Yay! So far, so good!

James Kim

Uh oh. That doesn't seem right. Banks offer credit cards all the time - they'd love for customers to use credit cards.

James Kim

They just want to send a check right away for the full amount? Why does it have to be in the US if it does not matter what country we're located in? Why not send an international check? Money order?


Let's meet first Mr Anthony. To make sure we're a good fit. What would be a good time?

- James

James Kim

Many red flags. Might be just a misunderstanding, so we request a meeting.


kindly get back to me with your relative in USA details on my WhatsApp so that I can Mail the payment to him/her and once your relative receive the payment for you my consultant will contact you and send you all the documents to start my work here is my WhatsApp number. +1 (801) 508‑4431

James Kim

He really, really wants a US name and address and is focused on nothing else.



Can we do a quick video meeting here Mr Anthony? Please join with video, and so will I.

To join the video meeting, click this link: https://meet.google.com/von-sjha-uga Otherwise, to join by phone, dial +1 347-478-5830 and enter this PIN: 593 583 577# To view more phone numbers, click this link: https://tel.meet/von-sjha-uga?hs=5

- James


James Kim

We set up an online meeting and waited. He never showed up or replied. Either he was insulted or busy. Or it was a scam.




So what could the scam be?

  • It could be the fake check scam. This works in the US because of the particular banking laws (this will not work in the Philippines):
    • James invoices scammer for $600.
    • Scammer sends fake check for $1,000.
    • Scammer says they made a mistake. Asks for $400 check back.
    • James deposits check. Gets $1,000 from US bank.
    • James writes $400 personal check to scammer. James still has $600.
    • After 2 weeks or so, bank finds out check is fake.Bank takes back the $1,000.
    • James now lost $400. Potentially more if this causes an overdraft on his bank account.
  • It could be the beginning of an identity theft. Once we give that information, they can ask for more, bit-by-bit, until they have enough to open an account or credit card in your name. Like your birthday. Parent’s names. Childhood pet. Etc. They can also use that personal information to try and reset your online passwords.
  • They can use that address as a forwarder for stolen goods, perhaps bought with identity theft. Or they’ll register a business or website in your name. They’ll send packages to your house that they’ll ask you to forward somewhere else. They might even pay you, maybe with real money, maybe with stolen goods, or maybe with fake checks. By participating, you’re now technically an accomplice and can be charged, and will probably need to return or refund whatever payment you received.
  • All of the above! Why stop at one?!