Many freelance writers have some freelance writing scam story.
Some freelance writers have worked without getting paid.
While some others get defrauded at the point of trying to convert money earned (from their writing) into their local currency(this is not the topic of discussion today).
Trust is a big challenge in today’s world. And therefore, sealing a business with word-of-mouth even if it’s with a friend is discouraged.
Now, imagine dealing with a stranger on the internet. Someone you have never met and may never meet in real-life.
These are some aspects of the job that makes freelance writing difficult.
Today, I want to shed some light on how you can decipher red flags and avoid clients who are out to rip you off.
Getting defrauded by freelance writing clients.
However, let’s imagine this.
Picture working on a freelance assignment, giving it your energy and resources hoping to receive your reward (payment).
Then, the client ghosts you without paying a dime.
That’s freelance writing scam or writing job scam.
Very hurtful you’ll agree.
The depressing thing is you cannot do anything about it once the client ghosts you.
Most of our writing clients are people we may never meet physically, as communication is usually online.
And worst still, he or she benefits from your hard work.
But, how can you fathom that a client will be bad market?
Your intuitiveness and attentiveness should come to play here.
There’s no hard-and-fast rule to ascertain if a client is fraudulent or not.
Nonetheless, a freelancer should be able to spot the red flags and early warning signs of these projects that are likely to cause heartache.
The key points below will help you detect fraudulent clients and avoid freelance writing scam.
Freelance writing scam and red flags
1. Look out for red flags
It could be a refusal to pay an upfront fee or refusal to pay part until all work is completed.
A red flag maybe the client’s avoidance of discussing payment.
Some other client may ask for lots of free samples.
Other red flags to look out for is when the pay is too good to be true, or when you are asked to pay to work with them or asking you for personal documents like ID card etc.
2. Organize your social media account
Being organized could be beneficial in warding off fraudulent clients and freelance writing scam.
This is because when they see how put together you and your business operate, there will be a fear being found out or they may think you will be a hard nut to crack.
Also Read: Is it hard to be a freelance writer?
3. Charge upfront even for samples
Some freelance writing clients will ask for samples to test your knowledge on a topic.
They may also request for samples to get a feel of your tone and style of writing. Instead of outrightly declining to write samples, ask the client to pay for the sample(s).
You could opt to write a 500-word paid sample for your client. This way, you ensure you don’t get ripped-off by clients who are seeking free work from unsuspecting writers.
Then, for all assignments charge an upfront fee. Also, categorically state in your contract when the rest of the payment will be completed.
Being on a freelance platform, means all these are already covered through their escrow model.
4. Learn the rules of the game
Like any other business, unacquaintance with the rules of the trade leaves you vulnerable to fraudulent customers and therefore susceptible to freelance writing scam.
5. Get legit jobs
Seek out legit projects by vetting your clients better. If your instinct tells you something fishy is going on, then most likely be at alert.
How to mitigate the risk of freelance writing scam
- Reliable Freelance website: Work within reliable freelance platforms that has protections for payment and fishing scammer. For example, Upwork.
- Contract: Create a written contract for work if working outside a freelance network
- Escrow service: Use an escrow service if are working outside a freelance website.
There are so many of these available that you can use, but Upwork has one.
- Vet your clients: Legitimate clients or businesses rarely disappear after getting work from freelancer writers.
Can you totally eliminate freelance writing scam?
Finally, you may not totally eliminate experiencing a case of freelance writing scam in all your career no matter how hard you try.
Regardless of how much you try to block off fraud, some will definitely slip through the cracks.
Nonetheless, with applying the precautions mentioned in this article along with being alert for clients that raise red flags, you’ll surely be on your way to scam free projects and a blissful freelance writing experience.