We got hit with a fairly well-known scam, but I followed it through (for a while) to get some fodder for the blog so that hopefully this post will come up if people get a similar email and wonder if it’s a scam or not.
Emails like this are a scam 100% of the time. Let’s start with my first email from “Josh”:
Good Morning, My name is Josh Johnson, I’m hearing impaired, I wanna know if you can handle website design for a new company and also if you do you accept credit cards ?? kindly get back to me ASAP so i can send you the job details.
Word-for-word scam. I didn’t think he’d write back, but I went for it and he did! Over the course of a few days, here’s how the scam unfolded (my words in bold, Josh in italics).
Sure! What do you have going on?
Thanks for your swift response
Here is the job details
i have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in GA and the company is based on importing and exporting of Office Equipment such as Printer , Scanners,Laminating Machines and Dictation Machinesso 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 thisif its possible .govliquidation.com.. . the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate. And i will need you to understand that i wont be able to pay with Paypal and Square ,my account was compromised with those two merchants and my money got stolen ..
I want the same number of pages with the example site i gave you tocheck 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 $4000 to $8000
If this was a real request for a proposal, we’d have a lot more questions. In the interest of stringing him along, but still sounding interested, I kept it pretty simple:
That site you sent (govliquidation.com) has a LOT of pages on it. Will you be wanting that many pages on your site? Will you be writing them all?
Your budget and timeline are tight, but we might be able to make it happen.
Yes,so can i have the total estimate now
Of course not (we need to know much more), but let’s go with it. I know his “budget”, so I’ll pick a number near the high end of it:
Cool. If you can do all of that, the total would be $6800.
Thanks for your response, i am okay with the estimate and i wanna proceed so i will be depositing $3000 using credit card so work can commence ASAP,i understand the content for this site would be needed as for the job to commence so regarding the content i will need a little favor from you.
Wow, that was the easiest sale ever! However, here comes the “favor” he’ll need. I wonder what it might be…
What kind of favor will you need?
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 $7000,so $3000 would be a deposit payment for my website design and the remaining $4000 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 $4000 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 clears into your account ,So i will be looking forward to read back from you.
This is the core of the scam. The scammer typically has a stolen credit card. They’ll send me the $7000, then I’ll send off the $4000 to the “project consultant”. Not long after, the charge will be disputed and I’ll lose the $7000, but I’ll be out the $4000 that I sent.
So I played dumb. Why not just set up the consultant with a way to accept the payment directly from Josh?
No worries. I can help him set up a Stripe account so he can take the payment directly. What’s his email address?
Good morning,he only accept cash so can i have the grand total cost together now.
Ahh, cash only. It won’t really be cash, but a form of payment that I can never get back. Josh initially said he was in Georgia (like us), so I’ll play like I need to meet the guy to give him the cash.
Does he live in Georgia? Where?
I need to know if he’ll be coming to me to get the cash, or if I need to drive somewhere to meet him.
The total to start will be $7000.
No,he lived in New York,you charge my credit card thru and wait till funds cleared into your bank account,you will send him the funds too him via CASH DEPOSIT.Are you ready for my card info
Also,can i have your cell phone number now
That’s weird. Why can’t you just CASH DEPOSIT directly to him?
That scared Josh off, and he disappeared for a day. I had to get him back:
Josh – Just checking in again. Is there any way to deposit to him, or does it need to go through us?
It`s greatly appreciated if you can handle everything for me. Much as i would have really loved to speak with you directly, i can`t for now as am in the hospital undergoing tests for my forthcoming surgeries that will be coming up in the next few days to correct my hearing problem and replace my knee cap just as i informed you in my previous text,so i want you too handle everything for me.
His hospital visit sounds serious. Needs to fix his hearing problem and a kneecap…
Yes,you get funds send too me via Cash Deposit or Wire Transfer so what is the name of your credit card processor or the name of you credit card merchant (Clover or FirstData),what is the name..
Do you need my password?
What hospital are you in? In Atlanta somewhere?
We usually use Stripe, but Clover sounds good. I also offered to send him my password, just to see what he’d say. He ignored it.
Okay,am in intensive care and are you ready for my info too charge it for $7000 now and how many days will the funds will be available in your bank account if you charge my card thru now.
Related: How to get obtaining long term disability benefits with Ortiz Law Firm?—–
They’re letting you use a computer while you’re in intensive care?
He eventually responded and wanted to move the conversation to text message. I went there with him, and we traded text messages for a while. He ultimately gave me two different credit card numbers to try (after I told him the first was declined) and we eventually admitted we knew what was up.
As he mentioned early on, he wanted to use mayannaofficeequipment.com. So, we purchased that domain and it redirects back to this very post!
Here’s a screenshot of our full text conversation if you’d like to see it.
This scam often appears word-for-word as you saw in the initial email, but can vary from time to time. The hearing impaired angle is likely a two-fold approach; partly to gain some sympathy, but also so they can avoid talking on the phone.
If you ever feel like something seems suspicious (or too good to be true), it probably is. A quick Google search will typically reveal that it is within seconds.
Has anyone ever tried to pull a scam like this on you?
I think I have something very similar going on right now. It is asking for architectural services…but something made me google “Hearing Impaired Scam” and led me to you. I am proceeding with the the conversation with him for now, but well informed. Thanks!
Interesting. Let us know how it works out!
Simon Browning says
Nice job. I wondered what the eventual scam was.
I’ve been getting these emails about once a month for a couple of years now. Almost word for word. Sometimes the person is in the navy and on a ship so can’t speak by phone. Went a few emails deep the first time, now we just tell them to f off when we get them.
Erica T. says
We have a small venue/business and we just experienced the same issue, see email below:
First email from “Laura”
How are you doing? I will like to book my Son birthday Lunch/Dinner party in your place for my family and please can you send me the meals list. Also do you accept credit card payment too. I will be expecting your reply back asap,thanks.”
Another email from “Laura”
“Thanks for your swift response. I am hearing impaired and am scheduled for surgery soon, i would like us to communicate via email. I am booking your place for my Son birthday party on the 10th August by 1pm for 10 Guests.
Son Name: Mark Johnson
Age: 22yrs Old
Date: 10th August
I will like to make the full payment now for the Wines & appetizers for all the guests and they can decide all they want from your menu list on the day.
Please can you give me your Name, address and phone number for the Charter bus to locate your place on the day.”
Last email from “Laura” before I stopped responding:
“Fine and please can you give me your mobile phone number to easily text you my credit card to charge the payment to secure down the date for my family in your place because am booking that as a surprise for the family members. Also i want you to do me a favor too.”
Crazy world. I was speaking with my Aunt about this scam and she stated that they have stolen CC information and they are just awaiting someone to used the CC info so the can intercept the payment in some form or fashion.
At her last job they actually fell for it and shipped out product .. and never received payment.
Thanks for posting this! Others need to be aware of this issue!
I have had this exact problem. I have been given credit card details to charge the client and then pass money on to the removalist that will give me the keys to a property that my client wants renovated.
They have supplied me with a home address which makes it pretty convincing.
Is the scam to get me to charge the credit card and transfer the money to another bank account?
I’ve had someone try this scan on me. I played along all the way to the credit card details collection for a payment so I could report it to the local police in North Brunswick NJ. I was astounded by their response. The officer asked how I knew the card was stolen after telling then the whole story and explaining the scam to them. They still insisted I couldn’t know the card was stolen and they couldn’t do anything about it. When you hear about his scams like this effect people lives and are potentially ran by terrorist organizations I find it crazy that the police refused to even take my details, the card number and write a report. I had to take it upon myself to call the credit card company and explain it to them so they could deal with it.
Erick Mikiten says
I’m an architect, and have gotten essentially the same scam. The “client” had a deeper story about the new house he wanted to build each time I contacted him, but his responses were always very odd and incomplete. I wear hearing aids myself and use a wheelchair, so I figured this was a fellow who wanted an accessible house of some sort…so I was his perfect target. He actually wound up sending a site plan and address of the land he bought.
As it got weirder and I asked more pressing questions, I realized something was not right, and ended the convo. No money changed hands.
Since then i’ve Been contacted several more times with almost the same text, but different names.
What made it seems more legit is that they contacted through my website form rather than a regular email,
We are an electrical contractor and had this scam target us 3 times, 2017, 2018 and just today. First two times used the same name and a new one this time. All the addresses are recently sold homes. Seemed like a scam from the start so never fell for it.
Happened to me, this hearing impaired scam. Fortunately for me I’ve purchased timeshares thru brokers, so when I got an offer of purchase of my timeshare on eBay I was “walking slowly” thru the emails I received. “Marilyn Travis” whose hearing impaired and using a broker thru American Title. I knew about the brokerage and it was legit. I accepted the offer to buy, and expected to be in contact with her broker on the next email. Nope, she wanted to mail my an earnest deposit of $500 and needed my personnel information, Name, address, phone number and email. (even though she had my email). I know dealing with brokers and title companies, nothing is exchanged thru the buyer and seller. So she has my email info and she wants to send me money…..red flag. I did a search on scams and found your site. I responded back to her, no need for earnest money or my personnel information, just send you broker my email and if legit transaction, we will proceed. I haven’t heard anything yet. If I do get a reply, I will probably advance to a more demanding email to her and her scam technique. I found out the scam involves them sending you a “fake” check over the amount agreed on and you send back to them the difference. I always remember “if its sounds too good to be true” check, check, check!
I think I’m facing this scam right now, but there is a difference that I’m confused about. I am an independent consultant with Thirty-One Gifts, and the lady emailed saying she found my name on the website. This can happen if someone doesn’t have their own consultant and they just get a random one assigned to them while searching online. The lady says she wants to buy things for her daughter’s wedding, and she gives me a list of what she wants from the site. The catch is that she doesn’t have a credit or debit card, so she’ll mail me a certified cashier’s check to pay for the items (meaning I would have to put the order on my card). I’m curious how she would benefit from this scam if I insisted on receiving and cashing the check before placing the order. Could the check be reversed or something? Something definitely seems off about this email, so I’m playing it safe. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for posting this!
That’s a tricky one. It could be legit, but certainly sounds fishy. I would certainly insist on getting the check first, and then I’d take to to the bank and ask them a lot of questions about it (can it be reversed, etc).
Brendan (@VeryOnBrend) says
I am currently in conversation with someone doing exactly this.
So far it’s pretty fun.
Ben Langlinais says
I was hit with this scam in the last couple of weeks. The perpetrator was attempting to get us to do a land survey for him and to send some of the money he sends us to his architect who is not equipped to run a credit card.
I actually went to the site he wanted surveyed and was told by the owner the land was not for sale, then I googled “hearing impaired scam” which led to this article.
Thank you for posting it! The details of this scammer are VERY similar.
Ben Langlinais says
I should add the initial contact came via our web site and the email on it.
Just received the following:
I’M MARK I WILL LIKE TO CALL BUT AM HEARING IMPAIRED . I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF YOU ARE AVAILABLE TO DO LAND SURVEY AND WHAT TYPE OF CREDIT CARD DO YOU ACCEPT
Ha! I just received an email from this same person asking to pick up a catering order for 70ppl. About 2 months ago I got an email from a woman that gave me a local address and said she’s out of state right now. Wanting catering for a family reunion 80 ppl. That’s when all the covid-19 took off and I close my café for daily opening. But I’m doing meals and catering. Anyway, same thing.. Hearing impaired wanted my cell to text. Very pushy for final quote. I’ve been holding off because of the limits of people etc. But she wanted the same thing to pay the rental people $4000 but needed me to pay them via credit card.
I am seriously sick of it all. The time wasted dealing with people like this and there’s nothing that can be done. Her number is from CA too. I’m in NH. I just received the one from this same guy and decided to do a search.. Glad I did.
Dr. Steph says
Email 1 from to: Ruby Jason
Hello,how are you doing today and family with business?
I will like to know if you offer (Chiropractic service) let me know how much you charge for first visit and follow up visits. Also do you take credit card payment too. I will be expecting your reply back,thanks and God bless.
My reply:Hello, Ruby.
I do provide chiropractic service. What is it that I can help you with?
Email #2: Thanks for your response. I am hearing impaired and am scheduled for surgery soon, i would like us to communicate via email. I am booking this appointment on behalf of my family.
I will like to book the full Initial consultation and examination, Treatment service of Neck Pain,Headaches, Shoulder Pain etc while you can treat each person one after the other too. And can you get back to me with the total estimate for 5 people coming once a week for 5 weeks starting on 27th July 2020, also want you to know that they will be coming with a private charter bus to your clinic for the service.
I will be expecting your reply back with the total cost then your full name, address with mobile phone number for the private charter bus to locate your place when they are coming for the treatment.
This is where I googled and found you. Thanks for saving me some time!
Dr. Kris says
I got this EXACT email today, also a chiropractor.
Thank you!! I just got someone like this and I almost fell for this!!!!!
Heh now I got one (still “on the line”)
Am Mark Weiss I am hearing impaired, so i communicate better by text messages or e-mail ( preferably ) . I wanna know if you can handle website design for a new company and also if you do you accept credit cards via Clover and PayU merchants ? If you do, please kindly get back to me ASAP so i can send you the job details.
Stay safe and blessed,
561) 462-9841 ( text only ) “
I got one from Mark Weiss today as below. It is indeed a scam.
Hello, Am Mark Weiss I am hearing impaired, so i communicate better by text messages or e-mail ( preferably ) . I wanna know if you can handle website design for a new company and also if you do you accept credit cards via Clover, SumUp and PayU merchants ? If you do, please kindly get back to me ASAP so i can send you the job details. Stay safe and blessed, Mark Weiss 561) 462-9841 ( text only )
Heads up, This guy is starting to Scam unemployment Insurance. Trying collect.
Ms. Kaur says
I just received exactly the same email, word to word with the same phone number. It sounded fishy so I did a quick look up and here we are, shall I proceed to have some fun with him?
We’re in Australia – just found this post by googling Hearing Impaired scam 🙂 a guy wanting a large order of t shirts from my graphic designer / screen printer partner. It was really well done, husband has just been around the block a few times and he knew it couldn’t be legit so started searching online.
Have you heard of James Veitch? He’s an absolute legend. If you haven’t heard of him, have a look at his youtubes. He rises to every bait but within a day or two all the scammers he engages with are sobbing wrecks 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=James+Veitch+scamalot
Mar 29, 2021, 9:26 AM (1 day ago)
Hi,This is Mrs Brenda Lynn am hearing impaired that why am using via mail message to contact you now…i want to make an appointment for Painting Lessons for my children do you accept credit card for payment?
My wife owns a gallery in Grant Park in Atlanta. She has been talking back and forth to Brenda for the few weeks. She supposedly is hearing impaired, in ICU due to lung cancer. She want to sign her 4 children up for art classes. She just asked my wife to do a charge of almost twice as much. Supposedly to pay her driver. When I did an email search this site popped up. Not today Brenda.
What did your email say? I get this one!
I just had someone reach out to me for Paparazzi for a wedding as well who wants to send me a certified check. I of course am not going to mail product without payment. It will be interesting to see how this one turns out.
it’s 2022 and I can tell you this is still going on.
Just got this today
Am sorry for the late response,Due to my hearing impaired problem i can only be reach via email and text.. i have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in CA and the company is based on importing and exporting of crude Oil such as petroleum, gasoline, oil and gas so i need best of the best layout design for it. Kindly get back to me so we can set things in motion and get the ball rolling..
Christina Crosby says
I got this one…
I got your information on RODAN + FIELD website and i was told I could order RODAN + FIELD products for a gift through a representative and make my payment with Cashier check. I would prefer to send you my check first once it clears you can proceed with my order,Kindly let me know if that is okay by you.Please if this is possible,Kindly get back to me so that I can send you my list of items i would love to order because I do not have credit card. I would love to order the products as a surprise gift to my daughter that will be getting married soon,Once again i would prefer to send you my check first and once it clears you can proceed with my order…. I’m new so i just need someone who can help me get everything done..I will be waiting to hear from you as soon as possible….Thank you and God bless… Jennie”
Christina Crosby says
The hearing impaired part came in this second email:
“ Hi Christina
Thank you for your response, Sorry I have to get back a little bit late,I’m a Deaf mother of two lovely daughters in at which one is getting married soon…I will like to get her some product for her wedding that is coming up soon…I just pick out some lovely items and here is a list of the products I want to order kindly review the price and send me the total price along with your full name, your address and phone number to make out check to you ASAP…
Here are the list of products below;
1. Item is: ESSENTIALS INSTANT MAKEUP REMOVER WIPES – Item Number ESMRW01
2. Item is: SPOTLESS REGIMEN – Item Number UNRS001
3. Item is: REDEFINE LIP RENEWING SERUM – Item Number AALS060
4. Item is: ESSENTIALS DAILY BODY MOISTURIZER – Item Number ESBL200
Below is the address where the Items will be shipped to:
Jennie Jacob Kensinger
21074 E Barbara Blvd,
Claremore, OK 74019,
Kindly get back to me as soon as possible..Thanks and God bless….. ”
We got this one. It was for drum lessons for 4 children. We thought it was too good to be true, but we treated them like a customer and sent them an invoice through Square. Nothing happened and we weren’t sure what the point was. They got our email, address, and phone number. Not sure where the scam was going as all that information is on our website and we didn’t hear from them for a month. Now they are starting again at the beginning so we just marked it as spam.
I just received the same email from a hearing impaired person who wants 90 pieces of jewelry for daughter’s wedding. Says she will send a certified cashier’s check first. How did your situation turn out?
Laura W says
We’re in the middle of this one at my arts school. Four kids – Painting Lessons two days a week. Art “training” – I thought it was weird from the first, but we followed it through until today…”Ok Good I will like them to come and start on the 6th of September Tuesdays at 6:45pm or when can you be available for them?….. but i will like you to do the booking for me because am currently I am presently recuperating from the diagnosis of lung cancer and I will undergo surgery in a couple of days so am in the hospital receiving intensive Care. I won’t be meeting you at this time and I am sure you have enough time to finish the lessons ?”
Um, nope, we’re done here. Did a couple of searches and found this site.
Whatever happened with this? I am with rodan and fields and have the same thing happeneing right now.