A Quick Story Time with Me

Okay, this post is a bit late as some things came up and took out the original time I had blocked off for this post. That also means I have to go a little outside of my original post idea, but that’s okay as this is probably something I would’ve posted about at some point anyway. Today we are going to discuss the time when someone tried to scam my brand new business out of $5,000.00.

It all started on June 10, 2020, when I got a nice text message from someone saying, “Hi, how are you doing? I’d like to know if you offer graphic design services?” I want to mention early on that my business was filed in March of 2019, meaning I was about 15 months into business by this point and really didn’t have many clients. I thought this could have been my lucky break, so of course, I continued the conversation.

They told me a little bit about the project they had in mind and asked me for my email, which I promptly provided for them. I got a somewhat official-looking email containing plenty of information and was requested to provide them with a quote. I actually found the original email, you can see it below;

Sensitive information like contact details and names (people and businesses) have been censored to protect any real businesses or people with the same names.

With this, I got to work on making a quote for this seemingly legitimate person. I had no reason to believe this was fake, but as this would have been one of the first clients who found me first, I was naturally skeptical. It was all new and unnatural to me.

It was about 3 hours later, around 9 PM, that I sent over the quote. At some point around now is where I started poking around for some additional answers. The phone number was a California area code making me ask where he was from, and I was told Boston, MA. This made me slightly start questioning things in my head, but I sent over the estimate, which came out to around $3,000 for his request. Around 9:30 PM was when he sent me a message saying he looked over the estimate and liked what he saw. He informed me that he was currently in Delaware for medical purposes and would be paying via credit card.

This raised the first major red flag for me. Why would someone based in Boston, MA, drive all the way to Delaware for medical purposes. Now I’m aware that there are some great hospitals in Delaware, and there are some great specialty hospitals in Delaware that someone may need to go to for some reason or another, but it definitely did strike me as odd. But I continued on regardless and informed him that to pay via credit card, I would send him a PayPal link, and he’d have to pay an extra 5% fee to cover the fees I’d be charged.

I was also insisting throughout this whole process that we had a phone call to discuss this topic in further detail, and he kept refusing. Another red flag… After he received my text about PayPal, he started to push other services on me, such as the QuickBooks free trial. By this point, I was now at work and highly suspicious. It took 20 minutes for him to get impatient and start to text me more and more asking for updates. I finally told him that we didn’t have the capacity for the project at that time, and I appreciated the consideration. It was right before that last message I sent that I learned about the QuickBooks scam.

This scam works by getting a business to sign up for the free QuickBooks account, one that does not come with Fraud Protection. Once they sign up, the scammer would send X amount of dollars (which seemed to commonly be $5,000) and then ask the business to keep what you needed and forward the rest to their project manager. However, the $5,000 that they sent you would have been stolen in some way, and once QuickBooks was alerted, they’d see the stolen cash was deposited into your account. So, if this scam had worked, the scammers would’ve gone off with about $2,000 over the course of 14 and 37 minutes and left me with a business already struggling to make ends meet, now losing the $2,000 as there would be no way for QuickBooks to associate what I paid to have anything to do with the scam.

I wanted to talk about this to give further awareness about these scams and let people know that anyone can fall for them. Part of my job is to detect and eliminate scams, and I came moments away from being scammed myself. Unfortunately, I can’t find any other articles about this scam anymore as it appears a newer QuickBooks related scam is present. Stay safe out there on the web, and thank you very much for reading. I hope to see you all again tomorrow!

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