Thumbtack Scam

I replied to a request for proposal on Thumbtack.Com and got this response:

Thank you. I have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business. 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. i need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible .… 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 only 12 numbers 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 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 $2000 to $4000 Kindly get back to me with: (1) an estimate (2) And will like to know if you are the owner ??

I went to report it but it was already redacted (or deleted). Why was I going to report it, you say? BEcause I’ve sen it before and have been down that path.

These scammers follow the following pattern (for now):

  1. They want you to check out the site and have a domain in mind (that may or may not be taken);
  2. They repeat their budget, $2K-$4K, which is a bit high for such a project;
  3. They want an estimate (after you already gave them one);
  4.  They want to know if you are the owner.

This last one is important, because they want to be sure you can make the decisions necessary to be scammed by them. Once you’ve committed to giving them a proposal (twice), they will insist on paying you $4,000 even if you quoted less. Here’s the catch:

Their “graphic artist” needs to be paid RIGHT AWAY and doesn’t take PayPal and they can’t pay them any other way for some reason. They need YOU to pay them out of the money they give you — a check that clearly won’t be worth the paper it’s printed on.

This is not unlike the “you’ve won the lottery” or “you will get paid out of the money we need you to traffic for a Nigerian prince”, where the catch is paying out money before you get paid … and then that never happens.

Well, there it is. If you pay credits on Thumbtack to quote anyone with this MO, report it and request a refund for those credits if the gig isn’t already cancelled.