A few months ago, my buddy Brett Abbott—President of Pool Builder Marketing—emailed his subscriber list about how to spot scam emails that say they can “fix” your website.
You probably know the emails I’m talking about. Some random person (usually with awful grammar) messages you out of the blue saying, “I’ve found some urgent problems with your website.” And—naturally—this complete stranger is the only person in the known universe who can fix the problems.
If you don’t know what to watch out for, these emails can sound authentic.
They’re often just personalized enough to be believable. They list specific supposed “problems” with your specific website. And they typically contain technical jargon that sounds like the sender knows what he or she is talking about.
Recently, a few of our clients received one of these emails. Our clients then contacted us to see if it was legitimate.
Below, I’ve included the email our clients received. In the message, I’ve numbered the telltale signs that it’s a scam. Below the text, you’ll find the corresponding numbers and explanations.
Here is the email…
How are you? Hope you are fine.1
I have been checking your website quite often.2It has seen that the main keywords are still not in top 10 ranks. You know things of working; I mean the procedure of working has changed a lot.
So I would like to have opportunity to work for you and this time we will bring the keywords to the top 10 spot with guaranteed period.
There is no wondering that it is possible now cause, I have found out that there are few things need to be done for better performances (Some we Discuss, in this email). Let me tell you some of them –
[A bunch of technical stuff that is supposedly wrong with the company’s SEO.]3
Lots are pending……………..
You can see these are the things that need to be done properly to make the keywords others to get into the top 10 spot in Google Search & your sales Increase.4
Sir/Madam5, please give us a chance to fix these errors and we will give you rank on these keywords.
Please let me know if you encounter any problems or if there is anything you need. If this email has reached you by mistake or if you do not wish to take advantage of this free advertising opportunity, please accept my apology for any inconvenience caused and rest assured that you will not be contacted again.
Here’s how you know this is a scam:
- It’s unsolicited. What kind of professional just straight up contacts someone and tells them their website/SEO/whatever sucks?
- The person says they’ve “inspected” the site. These types of solicitors always say they have analyzed your website. My question: Why would a busy professional take the time to do such a thing—for free—for a random stranger who has expressed no prior interest in their services?
- It lists “problems” with the website. This is a scare tactic to get you to reply. The solicitor thinks you’ll read the list of problems and think, “Oh no, I have excessive 301 redirects? That sounds bad! I better respond!” Don’t take the bait.
- The message is poorly written. There are grammatical mistakes galore. I could’ve inserted a “4” after literally almost every sentence.
- The message is vague. Go back and read it again. There is zero mention about our client’s business. And it’s addressed as “Sir/Madam.” This is a dead giveaway that the solicitor sent this exact same email to a hundred different companies.
- It’s from a Gmail account. I didn’t include this, but the solicitor sent the email from a Gmail account. Professionals use business domains for their email addresses (example: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Bottom line: Ignore these types of emails.
It might be tempting to believe them. After all… who WOULDN’T freak out when an “expert” emails them saying their website has 8,042 problems?
But fear is exactly what the scammer wants you to feel—it’s one of strongest emotions to get us to take action.
If you ever get a message like this and start to panic about your website, take a step back. Remember to look for ANY of the telltale signs I mentioned above…
- The email is unsolicited.
- It’s poorly written and vague.
- It contains a bunch of (purposely) confusing technical jargon.
- It’s sent from a non-professional email address (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.).
If the email fails the “spam” test, report it to your email service and block the address. Then toss the message in your trash folder and wipe your hands clean of it.
Want To Know If Your Website ACTUALLY Has Problems?
If you want to know if your website/SEO/lead-generation genuinely has issues, consider a Lead Generation Audit from MYM.
We’ll actually take the time to dig deep into your internet marketing efforts to see what’s working and what needs improvement. We’ll then personally review the results with you and give our honest expert feedback on how to fix the issues.
We can always find ways to improve a company’s marketing. But unlike the shyster I put on blast in this email, we won’t make up a bunch of problems to scare you into using our services. If your website and internet marketing efforts are awesome, we’ll tell you. Then we’ll suggest ways you can make it even awesome-r. You can choose to take action on our findings… or not.
Inquire about a Lead Generation Audit here. It’s completely free, requires ZERO obligation, and provides you with true insight into your marketing.
© 2018, Rich Harshaw. All rights reserved.