When I first launched my business last year I received a few emails within the first few days of publishing my website and I thought that was very weird but figured what the heck maybe I just got really lucky. The first one had grammar and usage issues that seemed odd but I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt because (1) my grammar is not perfect and (2) English might be their second language and they are still learning. So I responded with some basic questions and what they wrote back really didn’t make a lot of sense, I felt that it was a scam and so I simply did not engage with them further. Thankfully I didn’t put a lot of time into trying to win that business but I was annoyed and a bit frustrated and then let it go to move forward to better things because there was nothing I could do and seething would just give me an ulcer.
So now it is almost a year later and I receive another email, it is very vague in nature but I figured it was worth a reply to learn more information about what the prospective client required, so I sent a simple email back with a list of questions to better identify what they had in mind and to find out what type of business they had. This was the text of their reply:
Again the grammar was a bit off but their budget was nice, so I started to think something doesn’t quite seem to be adding up. And I wondered what is a ‘Gacillia Nut’ was it the newest super food or something? Naturally, I went to my trusty search engine and did a search for ‘Gacillia Nut and Cocoa’ and wow was I glad that I did, this is what I found:
Wow, the results were not what I expected, I was hoping to see something like a Wiki article so I could find out what a ‘Gacillia Nut’ was but oh no that is not what I found. Instead, I found articles from 2015 here and here, 2016, 2017 in the US and in the UK, and 2018 about this scam. It was amazing that the text of the emails quoted in those articles was almost the same as what I received, so at least they were tweaking a little bit but still, this is clearly not a prospect that is on the up and up.
As I read over the various articles posted about the scam I did wonder what do I do with this, should I simply stop responding or should I do something more? And if I did more what would I do? This is from the 2016 bebizzy article.
I reported this to the North Dakota Attorney General’s office and was basically told to cut off contact with “James.” Since it’s most likely international and been going on for several years, the likelihood of stopping this from happening again is slim. There is a website run by the federal government to report items like this, so I was given IC3.GOV to file a report
Sadly the world is full of scams so be on alert while you vet prospective clients. The IC3 is the reporting mechanism for proving information to the FBI about suspected Internet-facilitated criminal activity.
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DISCLAIMER: This advice is general in nature and not to be taken as personal professional advice. This blog does not provide legal advice if you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.