HomeBlogWeb Design RFP Scam?

Web Design Request for Proposal Scam?

Published January 26, 2010

McLoven Fake IDYesterday, I received a request for proposal (RFP). This RFP was fairly detailed, with the exception of having the person's contact information. The person who requested the proposal had a very common name, and didn't leave a phone number, address or company name. I found that a bit unusual, but it sometimes happens.

I then decided to ask for this information prior to working up a proposal. The person replied that they prefer not to give this information to me until after the proposal is done. So now, I am getting a little suspicious. I replied that in order for me to give to prepare a proposal, I hope in exchange, I can at least get contact information. Proposals don't take a minute to write up and I'd like to know whom to formally make it out to.

He finally replied with contact information but even that contact information looked strange. The company name was no where to be found on Google. The address did not match a real address on Google Maps. And I found no real matches for the phone number in a Google web search. I replied to this person as follows:

Not trying to be difficult, but is the address below correct or is there a typo?

So either I insulted the guy and he doesn't want my proposal or he is hiding something?

I tweeted this morning the question, "Why would someone send me a request for proposal and give me fake contact info for the proposal?" I received a handful of responses:

@fairminder @rustybrick saboteurs
@JJC13 @rustybrick Hey How you doing? Maybe they are testing your patience hahaha
@digi_planner @rustybrick Thats just weird
@DBSEO @rustybrick sounds like a phishing scam

Maybe I was wrong to be so persistent on asking for contact information, but something seemed out of place here. My thoughts on what it might have been? Possibly someone trying to get me to write a proposal they can use and pitch to their prospects? Possibly someone looking for my proposal templates? Possibly someone really looking for a proposal for themselves? Again, I'll likely never know.

Would you give a proposal to someone for a major project without knowing their true contact information?

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Barry Schwartz is the CEO of RustyBrick, a New York Web service firm specializing in customized online technology that helps companies decrease costs and increase sales. Barry is also the founder of the Search Engine Roundtable and the News Editor of Search Engine Land. He is well known & respected for his expertise in the search marketing industry. Barry graduated from the City University of New York and lives with his family in the NYC region.

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