I recently received an email from a David Stobart asking if I was available to build him a new website, obviously I replied “yes, of course” and asked a few questions on what he was looking for and if it was a brand new site or updates to an existing one.

Now, there’s nothing better than receiving an email from a prospective new client especially when you’ve not had to do anything to get it, no phone calls, no door knocking, no meetings NOTHING!!!

I should have realised then.

This is how the scam works

They’re called the Third Party Payout Scam, the Payment Reversal Scam, the Advanced Fee Scam or the Overpayment Scam.

You will normally be told a budget up front and it’s normally in the thousands of pounds/dollars mine was between £1000 and £5000, once you’ve given your quotation and are arranging payment, they will inform you of the private consultant who does not take credit card payments so they are going to pay you X amount (again normally in the thousands) on top of what you asked for and ask that you transfer that extra into there bank account (they may even pay a little bit more to yourself as a thank you for your help). Unfortunately the card that’s used to pay the money into your bank will more than likely be stolen and once the owner of the stolen card realises, the payment is cancelled and refunded from your account… BUT you’ve already transferred that extra money into another account, thats where the scam really works, the business that accepts the payment is responsible for paying the full amount back to the card holder.

I know being a small business I wouldn’t be able to survive a hit like that and I’m not sure many small business’s would.

So, David Stobart replied to my email and this is where things started to feel a bit funny…

The first thing that I noticed was the spelling and grammar, now I’m not the greatest with words (as you’ll find out if you continue reading) but still I picked up on a few instances that felt off. The way he used cell number instead of mobile number, the fact that he gave me a domain name that didnt read right and also the description of his company and what he sold was very sloppy. The next thing I noticed was how happy he was to tell me about his budget which never happens especially since I never asked and we were also still onto only our second email.

The red flag though was the mention of a private project consultant, I remember a while back reading a story about new work and private consultants, so I hopped onto Google and tried to find a David Stobart a Stobart Sportswear anything to try and make this a legiate enquiry – nothing!

Although I found nothing for a David Stobart online I did have all the information required to create a quote, so I created the quote and sent it off, a few hours passed when I received his reply:


How are you doing today?. I have checked the quote everything sounds good and I’m ready to move forward. 

Looking forward to hear back from you.


David Stobart

At this point I knew it was too good to be true, no customer I have ever dealt with is fine to just accept the quote and pay thousands of pounds up front without at least speaking to me first or checking my portfolio.

I had a look online and found a few people in the design community have had this same email scam. If your unsure if you could be being scammed, take a look online, ask lots of questions and also contact your payment processer as they may have already been made aware of a similar scam and they all have pretty much the same sort of wording.

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