Oh you silly scammers.

Yesterday I received a text message from someone inquiring about my web design services. YAY! Right?  Well.

No.

First I thought it odd that he contacted me via text.  It’s not unheard of, but odd for an initial contact as there’s no way of knowing if that number can even receive texts.  Second, he then asked for my email address.  Hmm.  If you found my number, the email should be easy to find too. I did a reverse number search and found the number was based in West Virginia. Another alarm bell – why would he hire someone clear across the country? I wouldn’t turn someone on the east coast down necessarily, but my main focus is local businesses. I looked closer at the email address, it looked like a person’s name, but it was not the same name as the person inquiring. Also it was a gmail addy, not a company one. Again, he’s looking to expand his business (supposedly) so while a red flag, it’s not yet a deal breaker.  But the red flags ARE starting to pile up.

Next he sends me an email with a scope of work as follows:

Hello,
Thanks for the respond, I have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now, 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 ?. so i need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible .http://www.♠♠♠.com…. 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 ♠♠♠.com
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 $4000 to $8000
Kindly get back to me with:
(1) AN ESTIMATE
(2)FULL NAME ..
(3)ADDRESS ..
(4)CELL PHONE ..

It’s an odd email – Most companies don’t provide an upfront budget, and to say he wanted something just like another site is unusual. But he explained the images and text would not be copies. To be in such a rush with a firm deadline is unusual for a small company looking to expand. He’s asking for info he already has, but I can understand if he has a standard response he’s sending to several web designers. Again, individually not deal breakers, but the alarm bells continue to pile up.

So I sent Mr. Gacillia a quote.

And he responded with:

Thanks for your response, i am okay with the estimate and i wanna proceed so i will be depositing $2,300 using credit card so work can commence ASAP, i understand the content for this site would be needed so as for the job to commence so regarding the content i will need a Lil favor from you and the reason i need this favor from you is because the consultant does not have the facility to charge credit cards and i also am presently in the hospital for surgery so i will be glad if you can help me out with this favor,The favor i need from you is. i would give you my card info’s to charge for $6,400 so $2,300 would be a deposit payment for my website design and the remaining $4,000 you would help me send it to the project consultant that has the text content and the logo for my website so once he has the $4,000 he would send the text content and logo needed for my website to you also the funds would be sent to him via cash deposit into his account, sending of funds would be after funds clear into your own account and also $100 tip for your stress.

“i will need a Lil favor from you and the reason i need this favor from you is because the consultant does not have the facility to charge credit cards and i also am presently in the hospital for surgery”

NOW we have a deal breaker Mr. Gacillia.  The alarm bells were deafening at this point.  I did a bit of searching and “Gacillia Nut” turns up nothing but post after post of scams such as this one. One amusing exception was the spelling of Gracilia which the Urban Dictionary defines as a 1700s slang term for a person who sucks the life out of cows. This definitely rules Mr. Gacillia out.

After checking out a few blogs, it seems this scam has few variations despite going on for at least 2 years. A few people even mentioned minor changes to target other industries. So beware of Gacillias!!! #SAVETHECOWS !!

Please share – the only way to stop scammers is to shed a bright bright light on their cold, dark souls.

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