If you’re new to freelance writing, not only can it be difficult to tell a legitimate job from a scam, it can be downright impossible. This is because online freelance writing jobs scams are evolving. Like all criminals, the scumbags behind them evolve as more and more people become hip to their methods. So, how can you protect yourself? How can you avoid being taken advantage of? Following are three ways to do so.
1. Look for Contact Information: Not only should you look for it, but try contacting the company via the methods they provide.
While many companies post anonymously on sites like Craigslist to avoid being bombarded by job seekers, sometimes a legitimate company will get back to you to at least acknowledge receipt of your materials if you apply.
Scam companies, on the other hand, may contact you with “offers,” eg, sign up for our membership site for only $2.95/month; subscribe to get job leads delivered directly to your inbox for only $1.95/month. Once they have access to your account, they’ll usually debit your account for anywhere from $40 to $97 per month or more – every month.
2. Look for Details: Speaking of presenting materials, scam companies operate at both ends of the spectrum – either they’ll ask you for specific things up front, or they’ll ask you for very little. It all depends on what their scam is.
Some want free content, so they may request “original” writing samples; others want money, so they’ll just ask you to send in specific (sparse) info so they can get your contact info and spam you later with their fraudulent offers.
3. Bulk Content Requests: If a company contacts you with a large content order, and won’t pay a certain percentage up front, they’re probably a scam. Their game is to get free content.
I’m an SEO writer. One day, I received an email from a company wanting 40 articles. I don’t remember what it was on. They provided me with a keyword list and asked when I could complete the order. I said within 3 days and that we require a 50 percent deposit to get started. They balked; I walked.
Many times, companies will say that they’ll pay you after you’ve completed a certain number of articles. Only, you never hear from them after you’ve delivered the initial content.
There are more ways to spot online freelance writing jobs scams, eg, if they ask for money for job leads, or if they ask you to submit “original samples” for no pay, etc. Just do your due diligence and if it doesn’t sit right with you – for whatever reason – go with that. Don’t talk yourself into something. Your subconscious is at work here. Listen to it.