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Which Writing Ads On craigslist Are Real?

writing job scamsAnne,

Have you received complaints about people applying to writing jobs on craigslist?

I just got a reply about a web content writer posting and they asked me to click a link in order to go to the site they wanted me to review and that site was a mortgage loan scam page asking for personal info.

Now, I’m sure I’ll get a lot more spam!

Do you have any tips for discerning whether or not a craigslist job listing is REAL? This concerns me since there is a lot of personal info on a resume – do you think name, address and telephone number should be omitted from resumes?


Concerned about craigslist



Yes, I occasionally receive complaints about ads I find on craigslist. And yes, I’m concerned, so is craigslist.

They publish an extensive page on avoiding scams at http://www.craigslist.org/about/scams. Most of the info there is aimed at how not to get scammed when buying stuff, but it’s worth looking over and getting familiar with it for writing, editing, translation, etc. gigs.  

The second paragraph there tells you who and how you can report scams too. It’s worth doing and doesn’t take much time. If everyone would report the scams there we’d see fewer of them.

I try to avoid the obvious scams but it’s impossible. The scammers are great at changing their ads and their web addresses so there’s no real way to tell what’s real and what isn’t. It’s often only when you apply, as you did, that you recognize the problem.

That said, set some standards for yourself. Don’t apply to anything that sounds too good to be true. Don’t apply if the description isn’t something you want to do. And don’t ever pay a site that promises to get you writing or other gigs.

In terms of information to include on a resume, I include my phone number and my email address only. Because I have a presence on the web those are easily discovered anyway and I’ve developed ways to deal with any problems.

Some people use an email address just for replying for jobs. Gmail has a reputation of getting rid of much spam, so you might consider something like yourname.writinggigs@gmail there.

Obviously you’ve got to give the legitimate prospective employer some way to get in touch with you. Equally obviously, you don’t need to include an address and never put your social security number on your resume.

Be sure too you’re using a good anti-virus program. I know there are free ones available, but it’s worth spending a bit to protect yourself. I use ESET NOD32 Antivirus System. Download Now! which has a free trail and the best reputation in the industry.

You might find Craigslist Writing Jobs – How To Reply helpful too.

How do you spot ad scams?

Anne Wayman Writing Coach

Let Anne coach you.

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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • jorgekafkazar

    Having placed ads for actual positions on Craigs List, I’d have to say they’re a legitimate source, but not always for the best jobs. Be leery of ads that look a little off or that raise a flag with their grammar and syntax. Read the ads slowly several times to give yourself a chance to fully understand what they’re saying and sense anything odd.

  • I’m with Linda — scammy companies can be everywhere. Have to trust your gut about prospects when you’re looking at online job ads. But problems happen. Yesterday I was out speaking at a Society of Professional Journalists conference, where another presenter regaled us with his tale of being stiffed for thousands by a well-funded, highly regarded international travel magazine! He said he’d seen a study where journalists said the average amount they’d been stiffed for was $12,000!!! Which made me feel fortunate, because in five years I’ve only been out $1,000, and that was for time set aside — I had the sense at least not to do the work for this flakey client, which I DID find on Craigslist (coincidence?).

    I had a similar experience to Linda — I got an ongoing contract with a very legit, major company through a Craigslist ad about a year ago that turned out to be very dysfunctional.

    We worked 3 months and I was always have to nag them about everything — hey, your experts aren’t answering my calls in time for deadline…hey, your check’s late. When we got to year end, they said they wanted to renew the contract…but then the renewal never came, even though they told me we were a “go.” I lost about $1,000 of time I set aside for them before I sent them a letter and let them know I was moving on and best of luck.

    Was kind of pleased to see they were bought out by a competitor recently… 🙂
    Carol Tice recently posted..The 7 Most Important Tasks for FreelancersMy Profile

  • Linda Moore

    I have a question…

    I used to belong to a national professional organization that considered it to be “politically incorrrect” to publicly name people and companies who did not pay. Because of that, I’ve avoided naming such people and companies, although I don’t agree with the organization’s position.

    What’s the general consensus out there? Should we name them, or not?

  • Linda Moore

    Sometimes even the real jobs are problematic. I (along with several other people) was recruited to write e-learning for a major company. (I was recruited via craigslist; other writers were recruited from a variety of sources including monster.com.) Without going into the whole story, the woman who recruited us screwed eight people across seven states out of their money. Because the end client was a well-known company, we had no reason to question the assignment, and the job WAS real. The woman who recruited us turned out to have a felony record (I often wonder how she passed her background check).

    I guess the moral is…the bad eggs are everywhere, not just on craigslist.

    • Linda Moore

      One more thing….

      We used the “ripoff” sites (like ripoffreport.com) to make sure the woman who recruited us would never be able to do the same thing to anyone else.

      When you google her name now, you find us.

  • This doesn’t always work, but if you have a name of the business/website/whatever, try putting it in Google and the word “scam” and/or “complaints.” If there have been complaints about them, it will pop up.

    Unfortunately, scammers are masters of disguise, and like you said, Anne, change names and addresses. It’s like my days of working health care claims and the scams on that. Almost impossible to catch them to shut them down.
    Cathy Miller recently posted..Is Your Business Writing Figuratively SpeakingMy Profile

    • That’s right, I’ve done that too… thanks for the reminder.

    • Linda

      Update from Linda:

      The woman who didn’t pay us has recently tried (with little success) to use a former married name online.

      I would suspect she’s been having trouble finding a job.


      • Thanks for keeping us posted. Is she still posting jobs or looking for herself?

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