I was contacted via my cell phone (private number, unlisted yet on my professional profile on Houzz). We moved the conversations to email. She needed to relocate to San Diego from London. She has 2 young children and is deaf and cannot speak on the phone directly. She also said eventually that one of her kids had cancer. She then answered none of my questions and gave me her scope of work which included a list of items being delivered. I gave her a fine tuned quote based on this strange list of items for her new home, both furnishings and hardwared fixtures and media, requiring special installation, although she recognized none of that and proceeded to tell me that she suddenly had installers for these items. And that I was only supposed to “decorate”. Well, that isn’t quite how this works. She also had a window drapery installer. She had no installation date except that she was to move in by 1/20/2018. She gave me an address (recently sold on Zillow). She had no keys to this address as she had given them to the mover (entirely bizarre). And no preliminary walk was necessary (entirely bizarre). No floorplan, no realtor, no vendor names – but items on this strange list were being “shipped in”. She was going to pay almost double my initial quote so that I can pay her delivery in “cash”. This also never happens.
As I explain that I need further clarification, I am ignored. And then she proceeds to tell me of her childs cancer diagnosis and that is why she is busy. (another red flag on answering who will hang a TV?) So I never find out when exactly these delivery trucks are arriving, who they are, when items are shipped, when do I have keys, etc. She tells me I’ll just get to “decorate”. This is not how this works at all. I get a check in the mail. By itself. No paperwork, no invoice copy that corresponds to it, no cover letter or note. Just a return address from Harvey Sinclair in Hudson Florida. The check is a printed signature, the bank is Stewart Title Company in Corpus Christi that has a misspelling in the address and no phone number. It states “Payment for cash” on the memo. No one operates like this in my field.
So, I did some searches on line. (I also did this prior to sending quotes and her name did not come up). However, if I search for Mrs. Lori Smith Interior Design scam, she comes up in several places right away with incidents spanning the country over a 2 year period of time. I am very thankful I did not cash this check as I would be responsible for the funds should the fraudulent check is confirmed by my bank. And my crew would have wasted precious time. I will report these people to Houzz and the FTC. Do not answer their requests at all.