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Website Updates & Scammers

There are SO many scams out there. Unfortunately I was just a target of one as a Designer.

I was contacted through my website's contact form to design a logo & branding for a Barber Shop in New Jersey. (Super awesome logo above) The "client" aka Luis Johnson, had specific design requests: A logo with clippers, brush and hairstyle/beard image. He even had a rough business plan description and I was able to find the shop location on Google Maps (where I usually screenshot an image of the location to later photoshop the branded material on the actual building)...I put quite a bit of work into my projects. I want to be thorough... and I LOVE branding + logo jobs, so I dove right in.

I have never charged an initial start up fee. Honestly, because I'm usually so excited and a little desperate to get going on the creative aspects. I also get concerned it may detour potential clients. So, here I am designing away with a requested 3 week turn around time. I do pages of sketches, build 4 rough logo designs and present them. He sends revisions. We move on to business card designs.

I always have a ton of fun designing, so here I am creating extra sticker designs and giving pointers for developing a website if needed, trying to up-sell myself. Then, 3 weeks later the project is done and I bill the client. I request all payments go through venmo or paypal... but our friend Luis can ONLY PAY with a good old-fashioned check...hmmm. You see...Luis's "uncle" is funding the project and can only pay with a check. OH WAIT, his uncle wrote the check for too much and wants me to cash it then send funds to some "delivery driver" and there's nothing he can do because his "uncle" just reminded him last night that he left the country...oh boy.

So...yeah. Here I am now feeling like a fool. I've done the work for a $1,200 branding job that I had really been relying on financially to come through. I had multiple jobs to juggle this month, was a bit stressful but totally worth it, as that $1,200 could have covered our mortgage payment alone. Hind site is 20/20 they say. I looked at my website analytics and there I could see my traffic had been slow and only two locations showed up as viewing my site, 1 in Mexico and 1 in Nigeria... What I don't get a Nigerian Prince anymore with scams these days?...shoot.

Although embarrassing to admit, I wanted to share my story. I'd love some constructive feedback. How do you navigate the scammers? What is the trick around having a Contact Form on your website? If you are a Designer, how do you find your freelance work? Also, are you hiring? haha...if so, please don't be a scam.

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