Avoid This Scam Like The Plague

Over the weekend, I received a series of texts to my personal number from a “potential client” that was looking for some web design work. Certainly not the most professional way to begin a business conversation, but I’ve had previous legitimate jobs initiated by texts, so I didn’t think about it much – I just replied asking that he forward all business inquiries to our business line or email. About 30 min later, he replies with a 9 page text outlining his requests. At this point a few warning shots began to fire, but I was like “It’s the weekend, I’m not touching this till Monday”. If a potential client is going to ignore a basic request like refusing to use one of our business contact channels, we’re not going to work with them. So, we essentially decided that we were not going take any further steps with them, but still wanted to craft a nice reply to them & wish them luck finding another company. Today rolls around & I continue to have some fishy feelings about this, so after a couple minutes of Googling around, I find others who’ve been contacted about the same information. We’re obviously not going to work with them, but we wanted to pass on the warning to other web design/development firms & do what we can to help them to avoid getting sucked into something like this.

Here’s this gist of what they sent:

  • Name: Henry Mark, owner of a company based in Tennessee (I’ve seen variations of both state & names like “panny kay” or “patricia melvin”)
  • Number he used to send text was (617)793-6365 (which is interesting because that’s a Massachusetts area code)
  • Small scale company that he wants to grow into large scale business
  • Do you accept credit cards as payment? (probably because they’re using stolen numbers)
  • Budget: $3,000-6,000
  • Estimate should include hosting
  • They need it up & running “by end of next month”
  • Company specializes in import/export of Kola Nut, Gacillia Nut, Cocoa
  • They want site design based off of agroamerica.com
  • Only English language
  • They want their domain to be TNtopfarmproduct.com (or some variation of topfarmproduct.com <-- DO NOT go to either of these!)
  • Private consultant will provide text content, logo, etc

9 thoughts on “Avoid This Scam Like The Plague

  1. We were contacted also, via email. Thanks for posting, quit a bit of red flags, but the obvious to me was them giving their budget prior to any discussion.

    Thanks!
    Shawn

  2. Have been contacted by agroamerica. If they are using a stolen cc, what is the angle they’re working? They get nothing out of it but a website. Please advise.

  3. I just got this the other day also, but it was from another number. Then I just got a phone call from this number today (617-793-6365), they were wanting to “see if I qualified for the 1st page of Google or something. They are now using Google Voice to get phone numbers for the area that they are scamming. My business is in Mass. The Agro texts came from a 508 number, which is also a Mass area code. Stay VIGILANT and wise 😉

  4. My business partner got this text today. A quick Google got me here. Thanks for the confirmation of badness.
    The text was in poor grammar, so probably foreign.
    What do they get, was asked. Contact information? Charges for call(text)back I.e. 649 scams? Bank account numbers if you go far enough?

    I advised my associate to not reply, and have no further contact with the sender.

  5. I got the same message from them but cut off communications after I received their second email because the budget seemed too good to be true for the type of site they wanted. However, not sure why you are telling people not to visit agroamerica.com? AgroAmerica is a legitimate company headquartered in Guatemala and the site is a legit site belonging to them that just so happens to be an innocent bystander of this scam artist.

    1. @HostPrairie I have taken off the part about avoiding going there. When I initially looked into the site, some site scanners pulled up some possible security stuff, so I put two and two together & figured they possibly had something to do with it, but it’s looking cleaner now, thus the removal.

  6. These guys are really hilarious, I told them, I want to speak to you on the phone because I do not take CC via text message, that’s insane. I get this:

    ” I wish i could give you a direct call but am presently recuperating from the diagnosis of lung Cancer in the hospital at CHICAGO, IL now, and can only communicate through via text or mail for now
    kindly let me know if you are okay communicating with me via text or email”

    That’s just wrong.

    1. @NickJames That’s crazy. We actually got contacted by them again (hilariously a month after we posted this) and they played the deaf card. It’s sad that people do this.

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