Tips and Information.

Feature Article

Scams, Scammers and Phishing, Oh My.

Scams and phishing schemes target individuals and businesses, so it pays to be wary and do your research. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Over the last several months, I have received countless scam phone calls, emails and phishing attempts on phone numbers and email accounts tied to me personally, and my business. These types of people do seem to ramp up their efforts at the end of the year, I guess hoping that we are all so busy that we might be more prone to fall for their tricks.

This morning I received the standard scam targetted to web designers. It starts out with a standard inquiry.

From: Dan Phelps <>
Sent: December 3, 2022 6:29 AM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Web design needed

Hello my name is Bill Walter i need to know if you can handle website design for a new company and i also need to know if you accept payoneer ACH invoice or Cashier Check as form of payment because i have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located here in the state i want you to understand am going through illness situation at the moment because of my diagnosis of lungs cancer which i will be undergoing surgery soon and the company is based on importing and exporting of Agriculture products such as Kola Nut, Gacillia Nut and Cocoa so i need a best of the best layout design for it. Can you handle that for me you can contact me via Email my email( and do you accept cashier check and payoneer ACH invoice get back to me via my WhatsApp  +1(984)256-4362  ASAP.
Thank you
Best Regard Bill Walter 

Since I've already seen this scam numerous times in the past, I know not to waste my time and energy putting together a legitmate response to this email. Instead, for the purposes of this article, I respond so that I could get a response detailing next step in their scam. Note that this particular genius isn't even aware enough to settle on one alias, so in the message above he uses two different names in his contact email and the body of the text. I responded as follows:


From: Digital Rose Inc. 
Sent: December 3, 2022 7:30 AM
To: 'Dan Phelps' <>
Subject: RE: Web design needed

Hi Dan and Bill,

Yes, I do handle web design for new companies, and have been hearing a lot about Agriculture products such as Kola Nut, Gacillia Nut and Cocoa these days, so I’m sure your business will be a roaring success.

If you provide more details about your project, I can put together a quote for you.

Take care.

Clearly not understanding sarcasm, the scammer replies with the following:


From: Dan Phelps <>
Sent: December 3, 2022 8:00 AM
To: Digital Rose Inc. 
Subject: Re: Web design needed

Thanks so much for the time and understanding God bless i need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible...

The site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate based on the site i gave you to check out the estimate should include hosting and i want the same page as the site i gave you to check out and i have a private project consultant, he has the text content and the logos for the site. Note:

1. I want the same number of pages with the example site i gave you to check excluding videos and blogs.
2. I want only English language
3. I don't have a domain yet but i want the domain name as
4. you will be updating the site for me.
5. i will be proving the images,logos and content for the site.
6. i want the site up and running before ending of next month.
7. My budget is $5000 to $10,000

Kindly get back to me with:
(1)An estimate
(2)Cell phone number/ whatapp number
(3)What your full name please?
(4)And will like to know if you are the owner?

Here, the scammer has responded with a lot of details designed to add legitmacy to their project, like what they want for their version of the site (#1 and 2), the domain name they want (#3), a promise of ongoing work (#4), key details (#5 and 6), and ends with the kicker (#7) - a healthy budget. And then they ask for a bunch of contact information. So I responded.


From: Digital Rose Inc. 
Sent: December 3, 2022 8:09 AM
To: 'Dan Phelps' <>
Subject: RE: Web design needed


A site of that size, with multi-language capability, would be $7800.

And good news – that domain name is available for registration!

Lisbeth Salander
(780) 867-5309

I responded with just enough information to elicit their final response - to show how their scam works - and they responded. Again, they completely missed the sarcastic nature of the fake name and phone number that I provided.


From: Dan Phelps <>
Sent: December 3, 2022 8:28 AM
To: Digital Rose Inc.
Subject: Re: Web design needed

I'm very much satisfied with the total estimate, quite affordable . Here's an exclusive just to show some seriousness and dedication . 

I am willing to pay up the sum of $5000 as down payment so that you can secure the logo for the web design for me. I have my cashier check available for the payment but first I want you to pay attention to this. 

I have been advised to take a long rest for an easy and fast recovery, hence the reason why I need your favor. I haven't paid the  project consultant that has the text content and the logo for my website so once he has the $7,000 he would send the text content and logo needed for my website , he's in south asia he won't be available to cash the cashier check that why am asking for the favor. Regarding this fact, I will be sending you the cashier check for the total of $12,100. Once the funds clears to your account $5000 will be deducted as down payment for the web design  service, $100 for yourself as tip and the remaining $7000 will be sent to the project will be sending the fund to the project consultant via BTC. Below is the final break down of the total charges I will be authorizing you to charge on my credit card.hope you understand me.

web design service : $5000
project consultant : $7000
Tips & Gratitude : $100  

send me your full name to be on the check.

So this is where they hope to get you.  In different versions of the scam, they target different payment methods, but the long and short of it is they hope to send you an initial amount - usually an overpayment - which you then turn around and send the majority to a third person who, "because of" location, amount restrictions or other excuses, the "client" can't pay directly themselves and you will be "helping them out" by acting as the intermediary. The trick is that the first amount is fake, so you end up losing whatever amount you then transfer to the third party - which is also the scammer - AND depending on how they get you to transfer that money, they may then also have access to your banking information.  

Years ago, the first time I received this message, I took the time to answer the first email, because it seemed like a pretty standard inquiry. The second message raised a couple of flags, but I responded nonetheless. The third message was raining red flags and stops signs, so I Googled some key phrases and found a plethora of blog postings detailing the scam, which has been around for many, many years. They do seem to change some of the wording once in a while, but at heart, the scam is always the same.


Scams and phishing schemes target individuals and businesses alike, so these days, it is best to always be wary and do your research. Double check and verify. Hover over links and see if they go to the legitimate domains of the business that claims to be contacting you -- not a URL that includes the business name somewhere, but the actual exact domain name that you visit when you legitmately log in to your account. Or better still, never click on links in emails - go directly to the website itself instead. And never agree to re-route funds to a third party. 

And, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is, so don't fall for it. Maybe, if we all get better at recognizing scams and phishing schemes, these people will stop wasting our time and get a real job.