How To Prevent Fraud From Website Development


This article is a follow-up to the previous article, '3 Reasons why there are scammers in website development'. Please refer to this article for a detailed explanation of typical web development scams. Then, let's look into how to prevent fraud from creating websites.

1. Eat-and-run

'Eat-and-run' is a type of fraud in which you invest a small amount of money to set up a company and then take the customer's advance money and disappear. The easiest way to determine the reliability of your business is to do so. If you have a web development business in mind, try the following.
  1. Access the website.
  2. Check the company's address.
  3. Look up the business name search service on the county's homepage where the address belongs.
  4. Check the business name (ex.FBN, DBA, etc.) to see if it is registered correctly.
Did you find it? Congratulations. The company's probability of being an 'Eat-and-run' type has decreased significantly. But this alone is not conclusive. If you're a clever conman, you can even manipulate this. We need to look closely at other aspects as well.
The next step is to contact your old customer. Most web development websites have testimonials or reviews from previous customers. Select one of the cases and enter the website. Find the contact information and send them an inquiry about the service of the company you are investigating. The inquiry may consist of a short survey about the name of the company and the satisfaction level you received. The company's reliability will increase if you get a positive response.
FBN record in California Sacramento county homepage
The image above shows the business name search results in Sacramento County. You can see that the name of Webtamin is registered correctly.

2. 'He cries wine and sells vinegar'

The 'He cries wine and sells vinegar' is when an incompetent individual steals other people's work and deceives customers as if they were experts. How can you tell the authenticity of a portfolio in a web development company?
As mentioned earlier, you can contact your old customer directly. But there's no guarantee of a reply. Even if they do, you don't know how long it will take.
There is a more direct way to verify. It requires the web development company to prove the previous work.
Typically, web development businesses keep customers' previous work files. Because it is necessary for post-maintenance, these files consist primarily of source code.
Source code is simply a file that creates a website's internal structure. This allows you to load the website you requested on your personal computer. You can easily change what you see, such as the title, the body, and the color of the text.
Even if you don't understand this part well, there's no problem. It's enough to know that there's something like this. You can request the following from the company.
"We would like to inquire about the authenticity of your portfolio. Please record a short video of some source code modifications reflecting the changes on the website. I'd appreciate your sharing it using the Google Drive link."
You might wonder what this is all about. So, I've prepared the example below.
editing website portfolio
The right side of the image above is the portfolio website of Webtamin's customers. The dark notepad-like area on the left is part of the source code. If you look at the image, you can see the code is being changed to revise an existing bright wallpaper to black. This can prove that the company developed the website.

3. Rip-off

The rip-off is a type that charges excessively for essential services or requires unreasonable additional costs.
The first thing to do as a precaution is to do some legwork. We recommend that you request a quote from at least three companies. You can know the average market price if you ask about five companies. Quotations typically come with the proposals. It consists primarily of an overview of the service. Some places offer contracts more formally. It must contain a detailed description of the service in any format.
Is there a place that induces payment without a word of details? If so, quit that website without hesitation for a second.
Next, check whether there is a proposal or contract. What's important here is that you have to 'check.' Don't skim through as if it's like the terms and conditions of membership or something on any website. You should carefully read the project description, development period, cost, refund conditions, maintenance, etc. You have to take your time to examine whether all the provisions are reasonable, whether there are any ambiguities, and whether there are any questions. Ensure there are additional costs for design, functionality, page count, hosting, etc.
You should ask if there are any expenses you don't understand. If any sentence in the contract feels clueless, you must ask for a clear explanation. You should ask if there is something you are unsure about, even if it's trivial. If you find it annoying to go over the contract, it can cause a worse annoying situation in the future.
webtamin contract form
The screenshot above is part of Webtamin's actual customer contract. The customer's name is covered to protect the privacy. Webtamin writes contracts for the creation of all websites. After that, the project will be carried out after mutual signatures are obtained from the company and the client.

So far, we've looked at three typical scams in the web development industry. Let me sum up. To prevent fraud by requesting website development, please do the following.
  • Confirming Business Registration
  • Contact old customer
  • Ask businesses to authenticate their portfolios
  • Find out at least 3 different companies' estimates
  • Review proposals and contracts
Don't just easily believe everything you see. Make sure to examine the credibility of the information provided by the business.
Don't hesitate to contact me with questions or requests about the website design.