It all started when I responded to what seemed like a simple request for services quote on a well known site (not Craigslist if that’s what you were thinking). I reached out to the client and after a few days I received a text message directly from them.
In the text the client requested my email address to send the details to. Initially the email came to my gmail spam box which I thought was weird, but I figured that things happen.
He sent me the details for the project via email and everything looked well researched. I was actually pretty excited about the project and had already started doing keyword searches for the SEO aspect of the project. My job was to do the Web Design, SEO, and Layout for an Agriculture website of 11-20 pages. It was supposed to be an ongoing job with monthly maintenance.
I gave him an estimate and he advised it was fine, so I drew up the contract. I worked on the contract that night and some of the next morning. I sent him the final contract by 11am the next morning as I had advised him I would.
Here’s where things started getting weird. Now that he had the contract he was more focused on paying me than signing the contract. I advised that I couldn’t move forward with payment or work unless he signed the contract. He said he understood but was more focused on giving me all of the money upfront so he could reach the deadline for his site launch.
My second and final red flag was when he wanted to pay me via a credit card and funnel money through my bank account for another contractor. The other contractor was supposed to be responsible for the Logo and web content.
All of the sudden he had a cancer diagnosis, was in intensive care, with a collapsed lung (yet he was still contacting me). He needed a “little favor” from me (a stranger) and advised he would give me an additional $100.00 for my stress. I was the gatekeeper to help get his very important agricultural website up and running.
I ended the conversation with telling him I could not start work without a signed contract and ethically I could not accept funds for any business other than my own.