Home » Applications » Requested Quote for Custom Icons – Real or Scam?

Requested Quote for Custom Icons – Real or Scam?

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In my e-mail inbox this morning I was surprised to find a letter from a fairly large company in the United Arab Emirate’s state of Dubai expressing interest, based upon the examples they have seen on this blog, in having me provide them with a quote for custom designing a set of icons for one of their software applications. Considering the fact that I have not overtly advertised my availability for providing custom design services (as opposed to numerous other websites and blogs which do actively solicit commercial business) I felt very flattered and pleased. They had sent me a .pdf with approximately 15 different screen shots showing a mocked-up layout with generic icons to give me a rough idea of what they’re looking for as far as the interface, functions & quantity that they’re looking for. I did a little bit of preliminary research on the company itself (just to verify that they actually exist, their services, size, length of existence, locations, and also to get a flavor of their existing style and level of sophistication and professionalism as far as their web presence goes.) The company appears to be fairly large (including numerous locations, with a wide range of services they provide, well-established, and with a very professionally designed website that appears to be striving for a non-stock look to it. Since my research suggested this was indeed a legit request, I spent a good deal of time doing a preliminary analysis of their needs and generating an intake form for them to complete with additional specifications I need from them in order to put together an accurate quote. That done, I attached the form to a cover letter and e-mailed it all to the individual who wrote me using the “reply” button. Thinking I was done with that for a while, I returned my attention to another project I was already working on.

Minutes later, I received one of those aggravating “Postmaster” messages indicating to me that delivery of that e-mail had failed. Normally, such messages include a bit of an explanation such as: “Recipient’s Mailbox is Full” or “Network is down” or “ISP is currently unavailable”. There was no such explanation (nor any other explanation) included in this message though. So I tried to resend it. Again, it was returned as undeliverable. Next, I deleted the attachments which had been included in the original e-mail (from the company) while leaving in my own attachment and attempted to resend it. Once more, it was returned as undeliverable. So I went back to the company’s website to verify the company contact information and did a test by clicking on their generic “Contact Us” link (which had the same ISP as I had been using but was addressed merely to “Info@” rather than to the specific party. That appeared to go through fine when sent directly from their website. So then I tried sending another test message to the info@ address but this time from my desktop e-mail application. That one too went through fine without any delivery problems. I tried one more time to send my response to the specific person – but this time, rather than clicking “Reply” from within the original request, I created a clean new message. And once again, I received the dreaded “Undeliverable” message.


So now I’m wondering whether the person who sent me the request simply formatted her personal e-mail address incorrectly or whether some hacker had simply lifted the company’s logo and letterhead, made up a name for an imaginary employee, embedded some kind of either virus or spyware in the .gif file for the company’s logo and sent it to me (and perhaps other graphic designers) for some nefarious purpose. Am I being overly paranoid here? Or have any of you either experienced or heard of some similar scam going around?

For tonight’s freebies, I’m posting Part 2 of my latest series “Neue Melamine”. (With still more to be posted in the coming days) Enjoy!

Free Icons of the Day

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4 thoughts on “Requested Quote for Custom Icons – Real or Scam?

  1. Hello Leslie,

    We are a SMALL company based out of Dubai, trying to raise the bar when it comes to touch panel design and user interfaced. The web allows us to present ourselves in a way that possibly makes people think that we are larger than we really are.

    The website was put together in about 2 hours one night by yours truly and definitely could be improved.

    I found your site looking for art deco icons – you can thank google for that :).I liked your work and therefore the e-mail.

    It would be great if you could send me the non delivery reciepts and I will take it up with our provider.

    I have replied to your e-mail with the information requested and the opportunity is real, but the end client needs to approve the costs.

    All the best,


    • Hi Sunil,
      Thanks for posting the comment and clarifying the situation for me! (I guess my final attempted e-mail did get through. I’ll send you the non-delivery receipts as requested.) I’m glad you did not take offense at my questioning the legitimacy of your initial e-mail. Unfortunately, with the situation that Google encountered in China recently and other hacker activity, I’ve become more security-minded and cautious.

      As to your request, I received the clarifications. Thank You. Because of your desire for some rough mock-ups, it will probably take me an extra day or two, so you should expect to have it in your hands by the end of the business day (Eastern Standard Time) on Monday.

      By the way, for only taking 2 hours, you did a great job on your site! I can see where you’re trying to go with it and it definitely is a step-above the norm.

      Best Regards,

  2. Leslie: did you email to the info address telling them you had received such email with the request?
    if that was a scam, the company will tell you straight away…

    you can also look it up at snoopes.com
    I always do when getting suspicious stuff or something too good to be true…

    Hope this is legit, you deserve it!!!


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