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Cautions & Concerns About Freelance Home Writers

caution for writersI recieved the following email from Scott Rose who gave me permission to reprint it here:

Dear Anne:
Over the past few months, I have been repeatedly duped by misleading ads placed by www.FreelanceHomeWriters.Com”
Many of the ads that duped me, I found in your newsletter.
One person connected with the company is cc-d in this message. The company is some sort of paid subscription service. It attracts people to its sign-up-and-pay page by posting varying help-wanted ads for writers.
The texts of the help-wanted ads keep changing… sometimes it might be “Article writers needed, $300,” another time “Professional writer needed,” et cetera.
But the posts never state that what is being advertised is a paid subscription service of some sort, not a job and still less a writing job.
For your reference, the scammers’ company’s home page is here: http://www.freelancehomewriters.com/
I have wasted hours and hours and hours of time, crafting application/responses to this company’s help-wanted ads, only to receive in response the link to their commercial sign-up–and-pay-page.
Obviously, I am not the only victim.
Today, I complained to Craig Newmark of Craigslist about this company.  I let the poster cc’d in this e-mail know I was angry over having been victimized in this manner.
Obviously, henceforth if I respond to one of their misleading ads, as they know who I am, they will no longer respond to me.
So, for the sake of the other recipients of your “Jobs” newsletter, I am requesting that you consider letting those other recipients know of this situation, and encourage them to report the company to Craigslist if and when it makes fraudulent posts in the future.
“Charlie” at the cc’d address sent me messages stating he never intended to deceive anybody, blah blah blah.  Funny, that when I told him I wanted an e-mail message from him committing to never again posting a misleading ad, I received no answer.  It is not correct to continue to let this company place misleading ads.  If they want to post for their pay-to-join service, they should post clearly stating that the “opportunity” involves paying to join the service.  The freelance community should join to stop these unethical people from wasting freelancers’ time.
Sincerely,
Scott Rose

Dear Anne:

Over the past few months, I have been repeatedly duped by misleading ads placed by www.FreelanceHomeWriters.Com”

Many of the ads that duped me, I found in your newsletter.

One person connected with the company is cc-d in this message. The company is some sort of paid subscription service. It attracts people to its sign-up-and-pay page by posting varying help-wanted ads for writers.

The texts of the help-wanted ads keep changing… sometimes it might be “Article writers needed, $300,” another time “Professional writer needed,” et cetera. But the posts never state that what is being advertised is a paid subscription service of some sort, not a job and still less a writing job. For your reference, the scammers’ company’s home page is here:

http://www.freelancehomewriters.com/

I have wasted hours and hours and hours of time, crafting application/responses to this company’s help-wanted ads, only to receive in response the link to their commercial sign-up–and-pay-page.

Obviously, I am not the only victim. Today, I complained to Craig Newmark of Craigslist about this company.  I let the poster cc’d in this e-mail know I was angry over having been victimized in this manner. Obviously, henceforth if I respond to one of their misleading ads, as they know who I am, they will no longer respond to me.

So, for the sake of the other recipients of your “Jobs” newsletter, I am requesting that you consider letting those other recipients know of this situation, and encourage them to report the company to Craigslist if and when it makes fraudulent posts in the future.

“Charlie” at the cc’d address sent me messages stating he never intended to deceive anybody, blah blah blah.  Funny, that when I told him I wanted an e-mail message from him committing to never again posting a misleading ad, I received no answer.  It is not correct to continue to let this company place misleading ads.  If they want to post for their pay-to-join service, they should post clearly stating that the “opportunity” involves paying to join the service.

The freelance community should join to stop these unethical people from wasting freelancers’ time.

Sincerely, Scott Rose

Like Scott, I’ve replied to these ads and been pissed off to discover its Freelance Home Writers trying to pry some money out of me. Lord knows I don’t object to people charging for information. I’ve thought often about charging a small fee for the jobs I post here. But I do obejct to what I consider deceptive advertising – and advertising for a writer without including the fact that the goal is to get the writer to pay for the job info frosts me too.

So I did a little research and found a few complaints:


This morning I went to the Freelance Home Writers website and had this dialog as a result of clicking on their live help:

Thanks for contacting us. Please hold a moment while we route your chat to a specialist who will help you with your question: ‘Why don’t you put something that indicates you cha…’
aaron has received your message and will be right with you.
Please wait, connecting to server…
Connected!
aaron joined the room.
Anne Wayman says: 08:24:07 AM
Hi Aaron
aaron says: 08:24:34 AM
Hello Anne, how can I help you today?
Anne Wayman says: 08:24:52 AM
Why don’t you put something that indicates you charge a fee in your ads?
aaron says: 08:25:58 AM
I’m not sure why that’s the case.  There is a $2.95 charge for a seven day trail and then on the 8th day, their is a $47 monthly charge
Anne Wayman says: 08:26:40 AM
It’s so frustrating to respond to an ad only to receive info about how to pay you.
Anne Wayman says: 08:27:19 AM
who can I talk to about how you do your ads?
then we got disconnected and reconnected

aaron says: 08:29:15 AM
There is no one at our customer service office to speak to about changing any of our ads
Anne Wayman says: 08:29:58 AM
okay, your website has an address on it, who would I address a snail mail complaint to?
fyi, I’m Anne Wayman who does the AboutFreelanceWriting.com blog.
aaron left this room.
I’d advise avoiding these folks until their ads become more honest, and if you want to make a complaint I think you should.
What do you think?

[sig]
{ 24 comments… add one }
  • You know I don’t believe in any listing site that charges any sort of fee. There’s plenty of work listed out there that pays well and legitimately if you hustle. I’m against ALL those “services” on principle, be they subscription sites, bidding sites, whatever.

    To file a formal complaint, you find the information for the CEO/Executive office and CC the BBB in the executive office’s area, the Attorney General’s office in the executive office’s area, AND the Attorney General’s office in your home state. If you’ve actually paid money to these scammers, file a police report at your local precinct.

    If you can’t find the info on the CEO/executive office, then send formal letters to both the BBB in your area and the AG’s office in your home state. The AG offices tend to be very active in clamping down on these kinds of scams, and BBB complaints help protect others who bother to do a little research.

    It usually takes 4-6 weeks to get a positive result, but you get one. Adn it only takes 15 minutes to write a letter. 15 minutes is worth it to help stop these scumbags.
    .-= Devon Ellington´s last blog ..Monday, July 6, 2009 =-.

    • Anne

      Thanks Devon – helpful info as usual – you’re good!

  • No need to be sorry, Anne. I wasn’t blaming you. The sad fact is that these ads are like a rash, all over the web. The one I replied to didn’t make any wild claims. It just looked like an ad for a freelancer.
    I love this newsletter, by the way. Keep up the good work!

  • Anne, you are doing a great job. I love the leads I get here. Maybe the only way to avoid bad ads is to live and learn. If you find out a job is junk, don’t post it again.

    Somethings can be spotted. I think the $300 per article headline should have tipped us off in the first place. Buyers do not tell you what they will pay upfront in most cases. They usually don’t even discuss the pay in the ad.

    Your blog offers great leads and is one of the best sources I have found.
    .-= Jessica Bosari´s last blog ..Quality Content for your Website =-.

  • Thank you for posting Scott’s letter. I have been ticked off at these people for so long. If they were a legitimate company then they would give you more then just a 7 day trial. I mean, what can you really do in just 7 days. I need at least 2 – 4 weeks to tell if something is going to work or not. They would also make it clear that the 2.95 was a trial. When I joined it wasn’t clearly stated that I would have to pay $47 after 7 days. I didn’t know until after they took my money and of course refused to give it back. The fine print was too fine to see, it was not clear and I have great eyesight.

  • Scott Rose

    Spam e-mail can be forwarded to the FTC at spam@uce.gov

    They don’t use it to resolve individual complaints but they do use it to gather info for investigations and prosecutions.

    Anybody receiving spam from http://www.freelancehomewriters.com should forward it to spam@uce.gov

  • I responded to one of these ads, months ago. I had to go through the entire application process before they tried to hit me up fore money. I still get spam from these guys. Thanks for putting out the word!

    Rob

    • Anne

      I’m sorry Rob… we’ve tightened our criteria but since they don’t say up front they are fee charging, it’s really difficult to tell as you know.

  • I love the resources at this blog and find many leads here. I too was duped by this ad, but was lucky enough to recognize the landing page for the scam it is from my work in a “make money online” blog.

    Take heart all. The FTC has taken up our cause with “Operation Shortchange” directly targeted at employment scams. It will be nice to see this sort of thing attacked at a federal level. People like us have been complaining for years, with no change. Maybe the FTC will be able to scare these people into backing off on us!

    • Anne

      Glad you’ve found leads. I’m trying to figure out how to filter out the bad ads without spending way more time than we already do… any ideas?

    • Anne

      It’s a good thought, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

  • Joyce

    I haven’t applied for anything they’ve posted, but I’ve decided to stop applying to most Craig’s list ads. Almost every time I apply for something posted there, I get hit with a lot of spam. I’ve also picked up a few Trojan horses from some of them. I know I’ll miss out on a few legitimate opportunities, but I just spent two full days cleaning viruses and trojans off my computer. I don’t want to have to do it again!

    • Anne

      I’ve had better luck than you. I also use NOD antivirus – by ESET.com – got that recomendation from Leo Laporte, the tech guy on the radio whom I trust and I’d been unhappy with the bloat of the better known products. I’ve been very pleased with the switch.

  • SMD

    I’ve been scammed by them too. Thought I was responding to a promising freelance job, then found out I had to pay them to do it. Luckily I’m not dumb enough to pay people for a job. I might have been that dumb 10 years ago, but not anymore. Sorry, the way I see it, a writer/freelancer should be paid for their work, not the other way around…

    But this is the Internet, so it’s not really unusual to see these sorts of scams spring up. There’s a scam for everything these days…you just have to realize that unless you’re intentionally paying for a service (such as buying a book or paying someone to keep track of your finances or whatever), you shouldn’t have to pay for anything (such as paying to get a job).
    .-= SMD´s last blog ..Reader Question: Dialogue Tags (Friend or Foe?) =-.

  • Yeah I have replied to these ads a few times, and they keep emailing me as a result. Their email always ends up in my spam filter though, so even Outlook knows it’s a scam. I have learned to recognize their postings, especially when I see them repeatedly in every city category on Craigslist. Yeah, they change maybe once a month, but I know their MO enough now not to respond. Instead, I report them to Craigslist.
    .-= Autumn´s last blog ..Find Out Why Quality Content Is Important To Your Site =-.

    • Anne

      I’ve got em marked as spam so I don’t see them… no clue how many.

  • “don’t pay for leads (unless I decide to charge of course)” – that’d be valuable, useful information (with solid history to back it), Anne. A very different matter! 😉
    .-= SpikeTheLobster´s last blog ..Earnings Updated =-.

  • Scott Rose

    An additional comment regarding the legality of http://www.freelancehomewriters.com‘s activities.

    It most certainly is illegal to publish a help-wanted ad to attract customers to a paid subscription site when no job is on offer from the company having the help-wanted ad published.

    I have not gotten involved with giving this company bank card information. However, online victim testimony makes it appear the company is additional guilty of credit and bank card fraud, which of course is illegal.

  • Tracey

    I’d advise reporting them to AuthorBeware.

  • I was introduced to this site yesterday, after being sent a response to an email I sent inquiring about a gig. I was really angry they had wasted my time…and gotten my email address so they can spam me and send it out to their buddies, I presume. In Nigeria. Anyway, the only answer to these SCAMS (I call them that because I consider it to be false advertising) is for everyone to spread the word as quickly as possible, so no one will go to their site. They will simply close up shop, and go on to another name and another town, so to speak, but that’s just the way it is, I suppose. I’ve pretty much gotten to the point of saying to myself, you win some, you lose some. So, everyone who reads Anne’s blog now knows not to go there…and you have how many readers, Anne? Beside that, I cackled when I read the transcript from your talk with their respresentative. All I can say is: you go girl. If nothing else you can say it must feel pretty good to be a name that sends people running for cover!

  • Misleading ads are a fact of life, I’m afraid. Switch on a TV and you’ll get them non-stop. It’s “marketing” – which is why I don’t like that business and consider it a job of deceit and lies – and the people who do it beneath contempt (with some rare exceptions, obviously!).

    I’m afraid I subscribe to the non-subscriber mentality. I see absolutely NO reason to pay anyone for the opportunity to work: they should be paying me. The only exception to this is if there’s a limited free version (such as on the bidding sites) and I find I regularly need the paying option, but am making enough to warrant the cost.

    My first piece of advice to anyone doing any kind of earning online is NEVER to pay anyone for anything unless you are 100% sure of what you get in return. Useful information is valuable, a membership with a vague promise of possible work is not.
    .-= SpikeTheLobster´s last blog ..Earnings Updated =-.

    • Anne

      Yes, misleading ads are a fact of life and we can fight back a bit with stuff like I posted I think. And I totally agree – don’t pay for leads (unless I decide to charge of course). I’ve learned to live with my own inconsistencies 😉

  • I also replied to one of their ads yesterday. Apparently this scam has been going on for some time. Thanks for making the cautionary warning so publicly.

    • Anne

      We really try not to post their ads but it’s impossible to tell often, and I’m not willing to take the time to research each ad… suspect if everyone who runs into them comments here and maybe on freelancewritinggigs.com we’d at least slow their response rate down some. I don’t think what they’re doing is illegal, just damn annoying.

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