How to Spot a Scam in the World of Online Freelancing

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The world of freelancing is vast, and there are now millions of new possibilities and jobs available every day thanks to the Internet. Unfortunately, like all web pages, freelance websites have their fair share of problems with bad guys waiting to prey on innocent people. While websites usually do their best to block and remove these Internet scammers, it’s impossible to get all of them. That's why it’s important for you to protect yourself by learning how to spot them on your own.

Some jobs are obvious scams, stating right off the bat, "I need a hacker" or "Hiring freelancer to write 5000 reviews!" These are clearly illegal. If you consider bidding on illegal jobs and acting on them, you should probably just forget freelancing altogether because you're bound to get caught. On the other hand, if you’re driven to start your own freelancing business, be your own boss, and set your own schedule, then you need to learn how to navigate your way through the liars, cheaters, and scammers. Here’s how to correctly navigate through the world of Internet freelancing.

1)      The client who wants to work outside of the website:

If at any point anyone wants to drive you away from the job portal by asking you to work by email or on Skype, its most likely a bad job. Sometimes it is legitimate, but normally these people are trying to get your information to either scam you or to scam someone else by making you do work that is illegal. By staying on the job website, you and your money are better protected.

2)      The client who promises a 50,000 USD salary and steady work for "a long period of time":

Bidding and accepting these types of jobs is a waste of time and money. The description of the job is usually a perfectly formatted description and will go into great detail about the job. It may also promise lots of things that other jobs aren’t offering; benefits, salary, steady/daily work. Also, they usually require you to download software in order to complete the "job", but it's likely to contain malware.

3)      The “Give me a sample” clients:

This type of client is likely to be trying to rip you off. For example, a job title reads “Editing/rewriting English essay” so you bid on the job. A few moments later, you find yourself talking to the client, who wants you to provide a two-page sample of your editing skills. Since that sounds like a reasonable request, you complete it in record time and send it… but you may never hear from them again.

So what happened? What you thought was a two-page sample essay was the entire paper. Now you completed a job that you will never get paid for. The better way to handle the "sample people" is to provide your own sample of writing, or if they insist on you editing their paper as a sample tell them you will only provide two paragraphs (give or take) as a sample. If the client disagrees, then pass on the job.

4)      The sex scammers:

These people are dangerous and they lurk in every corner of the Internet. On freelancing websites, it could be anyone posting for any type of job, but the trend seems to be a client in need of a virtual assistant. At first you’re having a professional conversation and you're accepting the job, you work for a week... then they start to ask for your Skype account, email, address, phone number etc. (all for supposedly professional reasons). After a while, they start asking about your personal life and telling you how pretty/handsome you are on your Skype meetings – see where this is going? It’s important to remember not to give out personal information on the Internet. By using the website as it is designed, you can protect yourself and keep potential sexual predators away.

There are so many opportunities for freelancers on the Internet. If you take time to make sure that the payment source is verified and the client is legitimate, you can ensure that your efforts aren't wasted.


Posted 7 July, 2015


Blogger, Editor, Radio T.V. Broadcaster

After a brief stint in the medical field it became obvious to me that writing was more than just a passion of mine but a skill that I wanted to enhance and transform into a rewarding career. I enlisted in the U.S. Military as a T.V./ Radio Broadcast Journalist which gave me the discipline, hard work ethic and organizational skills I pride myself in today. After the military I enrolled at UCLA and ...

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