Do you have any idea how disheartening it is the moment you realize that cold lead which came in through your barely affordable marketing efforts just turned out to be a scam? I'm here to tell you, for a single mompreneur who really wants her business to succeed, who truly wants to help other small business owners get up and running, it's heartbreaking.
So for my friends who own small businesses, and for my customers, beware the scam.
They come in many forms. The ones I have received recently have seemingly requested legitimate quotes from me. Quotes take time to prepare. They take time away from other things I need to do to grow my business. But, since I'm new to this game and don't won't to lose a potential sale, I bite.
They say, "I would like to have a website designed for my new business," or "I would like you to handle my printing."
I ask questions including, "Could you please provide your business and contact information?"
They respond avoiding the white elephant in the room.
"Alright, they must be very busy and distracted," I tell myself. So, I tally up the costs and provide a quote based on the very detailed information they provide.
The next e-mail I receive is the kicker, "I have a favor," they say. "My consultant cannot process credit cards. Could you process a larger payment and wire him the money I owe him so he can provide you with copy, stock photos and the logos you need to get started?"
"Well sure," I say. "But first you will have to provide me with a signed contract, your EIN, all of your business information, your consultant will have to complete a W4 and provide his information so he will, in essence, be my contractor. If you can do that, then I am happy to continue to help you."
Do you think I will ever hear from this person again? Absolutely not! In fact, I will be forwarding the e-mail to the FBI for their thorough investigation and hopefully arrest and prosecution of these people who apparently think I was born yesterday.
So dear friends, beware the scam. They can look pretty legit. And sometimes the requests are. But don't get caught up in fraud just because you want the business so badly you can't see the forest for the trees.
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