Like all things, freelancing has its advantages and disadvantages. The benefits are that you get to work wherever and whenever you want and in the long run you might make more money. One of the biggest disadvantages is the risk involved in freelancing. It is very sad to say that scammers exist in freelancing at every point. Some take money from you but do not deliver the work while others refuse to pay after you have done the work – both these aspects are part and parcel of the freelancing world.
However, in some ways, you can recognize a scam right at the beginning when you do not have too much of a risk. Here are some pointers that you should keep in mind:
Too much work, too soon: If the person has given you too much of work at the get go, and not paid you even a token amount up front then there’s a chance that the person might just fly away with your work.
Paid for Working: Would you pay to work in a company in real life? If not, then why pay to work online? Of course, several websites ask for an optional subscription, but then, you will rarely find a good work opportunity wanting you to pay money to work with them.
Payments: Payments are quite complicated in the freelancing world. If you are just beginning to work, you will just have to trust the person that they will pay you. However, once you have a good profile, you can always ask for a percentage of the agreed amount upfront.
Never “Write for Free”: One of the most common online freelance writing jobs scam is the “writing sample” scam. The way this works is, a company will request that you write and original piece of content for them to “judge your writing ability.” Don’t fall for it. Legitimate companies would never expect you to write for free, or write on spec as it’s called in the industry. If they want you to write an original sample for them, they fully expect to pay for it. So if a company expects content for free, even if it is “just a sample to judge your writing ability,” say “No thanks” and move on.
Never Pay for Job Leads: Another common online freelance writing jobs scam is the paying for job leads scam. Usually, you’re asked to pay membership or subscription fee to join a site and be able to get job leads. This is a red flag, red flag, red flag!
If you don’t cancel your account, you run the risk of having your card charged month after month before you can get it stopped. And, the reason is, when you sign up for what you think is the low-cost of 3, 5 or 7-day trial, in the fine print is “trickerous” language that gives the thieves the right to bill you on a recurrent basis.
Just don’t ever pay for online freelance job leads – ever – and you’ll avoid this problem altogether.
In conclusion, the Internet is your best friend when researching freelance opportunities online. Before investing in any opportunity – free or low-cost – do your homework.