Freelancing might sometimes look hard, scammers even make it harder.
The bad news is that they are everywhere. On content mills, bidding sites, Craig lists and job boards. They have devised new ways to con away both your time and money. The question is–how do you tell that a client is a scammer and how do you avoid them?
Here are tips derived from anecdotes of expert freelancers who have had it rough with scammers:
The Content Mill Scammer
This type of scammer will want content from you at no fee. But they will not say so directly. No, they will post the job for any takers. The newbie that you are, you quickly delve into research and write a quality article on it –glad that you have finally made a breakthrough into online money making, eh? On submission though, they reject the article without room for revision. They use quotes like ‘This is not what we are looking for’, or ‘We already got what we were looking for’. A few days later, you find the very same article you wrote online on a blog. Verdict: the client has wasted your time and stolen your money.
To avoid this type of scam, work with clients who have a high rating. Most freelance sites have enforced a system where freelancers can review clients. If the client has a low review, avoid them like the plague they are.
The Free Sample guy
This one promises you of a long term working arrangement. Yes, they tell you that they want an experienced writer to write on their blog for a six months contract. They pay is awesome. But first, they want a sample essay written so that they can gauge your writing skills. And since the job will get about 1000 bidders, the scammer walks away with 1000 free unique articles. There was no job mate!
Ask the client to read the reviews written about you by past clients. If you are new on the site with no past clients, send them a link to your blog so that they can gauge your writing style.
The Please Contact Me on Skype/email Scammer
This one is common on bidding sites. The guy wants to work off-site saying that they know what you get from the bidding site is not what you really deserve –you deserve more. With this brush of ego, you contact them on the skype ID or email address that they have provided. Work starts and voila, they are going to pay you highly as compared to what you were getting on the bidding site! The catch is that they can only pay you weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.
After delivering high-quality content, payday comes and you are there grinning and promising your friends that dinner is on you. Oops, the client goes missing. Yes, never to be heard from again. They come back on the bidding site with a different profile and con more freelancers. Yes, welcome to the underworld of online writing.
Don’t be greedy. Don’t be gullible. If the client is not ready to pay through the escrow system on-site, tell them to pay upfront. If not, ignore them and look for other clients.
Every day, scammers are devising new styles to con freelancers if they find out that their old strategies are not working. If you, therefore, smell a rat about a client, trust your intuition and cancel your working arrangements.