Online platforms offer a multitude of job and freelancing opportunities for stay-at-home moms/dads, senior citizens, and students. It is undeniable, they are easy to find and register. The hours are flexible without the hassles of commuting. But where ample opportunities are available, they also become a breeding ground for scammers.
One of the worst feelings of being let down is getting scammed. It leaves you behind with a feeling of embarrassment and helplessness. Being aware of the nuances of legitimate sites and educated about identifying scammers is the only way to protect yourself from these online predators.
Scammers can target you in several ways. emails, SMSs, enticing ad messages and in freelancing marketplaces. Once their mission is completed, they wind-up and disappear without a trace. The online platform does not offer face-to-face communication. Hence, it becomes impossible to trace the cheat, given that all the credentials listed by them are fake.
Here’s what you need to do to identify fake websites:
Study the job requirements carefully
Sites that offer unrealistic rewards for practically doing nothing are frauds. For example, many sites displaying lucrative ads say – ‘Earn $2000 per month for surfing the Internet’. How is that possible? There is a little catch. ‘Pay $100 for registration and online training’. Nothing is disclosed to you beyond that. Don’t fall prey to such offers. Typically, a good employer/client will disclose facts about their history, background, qualification required, a break-up of price per unit of work and finally the duration.
Scrutinize The Employer’s Profile
Carefully study the employer’s profile. Do a background check on the company to see if they genuinely exist in the market. If you’re joining an affiliate marketing program, check reviews. If you’re joining a paid survey portal, again, check reviews. Check their employer ratings. Make sure the company you chose to give your valuable input is rated high and bears good reviews from previous freelancers. Get in touch with them via email if possible, to verify the aforementioned facts.
Freelancing is an opportunity to work from home with flexible hours. Inspect the tone of the offer in the message in your email/offer. Any client who tries to push urgency is attempting to induce panic causing the innocent freelancer to fall prey to their tactics.
High Negative Rating On The Client
The client site has too many negative reviews. If the website is new or unheard of and is loaded with too many negative reviews, you may fall prey to these troubles yourself. Avoid them.
Asking For Personal And Financial Details
This is yet another tactic used to entice newbies. They offer unrealistic discounts or bonuses for registering and ask for a personal bank account or credit card details convincing the money needs to be transferred as soon as possible. Innocence accompanied by greed can make many newcomers fall for the trap.
Say No To Free Samples
Providing sample work is an acceptable norm in the industry to assess quality. Legitimate sites don’t accept free work or samples. Asking for free samples or work to assess is one of the ways of getting goods or work done at zero cost by scammers. The general protocol is paying for a sample piece or work if it is accepted and returned if denied. Don’t get beguiled into sending free stuff.
Online Security And Payment
Genuine freelancing companies choose only secured payment platforms. In exchange, you may have to pay a small percentage of your salary to protect your earnings. Bigger companies offer Escrow protection to prevent payment disputes. It would be a good idea to check for payment options provided by the employer. Be it hourly or per piece. Check the payment options and track your payments regularly.
Glaring Grammatical Errors Or Look-Alike Web Pages
You may find the websites you have been directed to with glaring grammatical mistakes or a copy-cat of another site. The email address may have a personal email address (eg:firstname.lastname@example.org). Take it you are going to get scammed. Cheats and frauds trying to make quick bucks and elope with your savings don’t focus on these details or are not qualified enough to identify writing errors.
Share Your Experience
Leave your comments behind on working with the client for the freelancing community. Report scams or if you find the client suspicious or unsafe, to help other freelancers take caution and avoid such encounters in the future.
What You Need To Know
You may have sent out several emails or registered at several placed for freelance writing. It’s not surprising after a point you lose track. Scammers can give leads to other scammers to get in touch with you. Look out for signs of legitimacy.
Genuine sites offering freelancing contracts will typically give you the following information:
- Contact details of the assigned manager
- Guidelines or quick tutorials on how to get started
- FAQs to clear your doubts and queries
- The contact address is genuine matches the reply address.
- Details of the contract and agreement.
- Payment terms based on hourly or per piece of work.
- Settlement terms, choice of bank or method of payment
- Checking for qualification or a quick test on your writing skills
If you see all of the above-mentioned points in your client’s profile, the offer is most likely genuine. If any of the above information is missing or illegitimate, you are probably dealing with a scammer.
Finally, Trust Your Gut Feeling
Many a time people tend to ignore their inner voice and gut feeling about something fishy in the anticipation of making easy money. Patience is a valuable virtue. Never begin anything new online without doing your share of extensive homework.
The web platform is a blind universe that can be difficult to trace in the event of falling prey to a scammer. Use caution, follow your gut feeling and tell-tale signs to spot frauds. Good luck!