Every now and again someone posts that one or another of the freelance jobs we post here are scams. I’m always glad to hear about them, but sometimes I wonder how accurate those perceptions are.
There are, of course, some things that make me want to scream scam right away, including:
- Paying up front for the job – absolutely not necessary in the freelance writing world. This also includes paying for jobs lists, even though I’m tempted to charge for mine.
- Requests for significant work as a “sample,” and yes, an article is significant work. Avoid these unless you get a contract and some payment up front.
There are at least a couple of other things you can do as well, if you suspect a job posting is bogus.
- If there is a domain name, including what follows the @ sign, you can always check it out at whois.net. That may tell you something useful.
- You can google asking if XXXX is a scam. The XXXX might be a domain name, or it might be the title of the job if it’s distinctive, or the email address if it’s in the ad. It always surprises me how often information about scams is posted if I look for them.
- Some people use throwaway emails like hotmail to avoid spam and to avoid giving their real email to scammers. I’m not sure how effective that actually is.
Of course, your best defense is your own good judgement. Seriously. As you read the ad ask yourself if it makes sense and feels legitimate. Do they promise more than they can deliver? Is it too vague? Does a link lead you somewhere you don’t want to go?
Your instincts are better than you know. Follow them.
There are lots of decent writing jobs out there, many never advertised right in your own location.
Remember you really are the expert on your own life.
You may also want to read I Don’t Want These Clients!
How do you protect yourself against writing scams?
Image from http://www.sxc.hu