Every so often unscrupulous individuals, under the guise of engaging a freelance writer for work, will contract but not pay for work-for-hire. This can result in the freelancer losing income and the time spent creating the work product. Such a problem persists in the industry and is a troublesome trend that should be addressed legislatively and socially.
There are some telltale signs that can let a freelancer know that the writing service may be less than reputable. As a freelancer you should take the time to look for these signs, as well as learn about ways to protect yourself and the integrity of your work.
Avoid Any Writing Group That Does not Stand Up to “Vetting”
Vetting is a process of investigating a person or organization’s background in order to better understand their background, experience and/or legitimacy. A sure sign that you may be facing a potential scam as a writer is when you are unable to find any information about the person hiring you for work even through a simple Google search.
If you have questions about the legitimacy of an organization looking to hire you for work, you should ask for a website or references that can provide you with more detailed information about the writing opportunity. If you are unable to be provided with a legitimate website or references, consider passing on this opportunity.
Be Leery of Craigslist Ads for Writers
Craigslist provides a great marketplace for just about anything you want or need. It is also a place for scammers and con artists to profit off of the misfortune of others. Although Craigslist can provide you with legitimate writing opportunities as a freelancer, you should be cautious when responding
Never Give Personal Information Away
“Wanted, freelance writers that are able to complete a large volume of work, daily. Must be motivated and dependable. Pay top rates. Please provide your Skype contact ID and email address for further information!”
You have read this ad before. You probably have responded to this type of freelance writing job ad in the past. You may want to consider not responding to these types of postings in the future, especially if they come in the form of a blind email solicitation or appear on any type of website other than a reputable freelance writing service. If a solicitation for a freelance gig, especially one you receive blindly, asks for personal information or looks to contact you for more information, chances are you are about to become the victim of a scam.
Ask for Payment Procedures
As a freelancer you enjoy the freedom and flexibility this type of work brings to your life. Whether you write for additional income or as a full-time job, one of the things that you need to understand is how you will be paid. Many services use payment processing services like PayPal or an established processor, such as ACH deposits, that can direct payments for work completed directly to your bank account. Make sure you understand what type of payment process is being used and are comfortable with providing either your PayPal ID or bank account information. Be sure that you verify the payment process and are on the same page as the contracting service. You do not want to place yourself in a situation where you submit several hundreds of dollars of work product only to find out that the agreement for your pay differs from your understanding, resulting in you losing both time and money.
Above all else if an offer for work sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This is known as the concept of caveat emptor (“Let the buyer beware”). Every offer for freelance work unfortunately is not a legitimate one. Protect yourself, your personal and financial information and your reputation by carefully reviewing any offer, vetting thoroughly the group, organization or person making the offer and do not accept a job you do not feel right about or may seem to be a scam. Do these things and your writing experience will be enjoyable and potentially profitable!