[ad#250 Image]If you are a freelancer I’m almost certain that you are one hardworking person who surely deserves every cent of what you earn. Those sleepless nights and missed important occasions are just proof that you are a dedicated working machine. But there are also scammers who are working as hard as you do to victimize the naive, careless, and uninformed job seekers. I must admit, I have had my own taste of scam which could have been avoided had it been that I have done my part in ensuring the legitimacy of the job offer. It was indeed a costly lesson and a disappointing experience. So for those who have not yet experienced being scammed this is a free lesson to keep your freelancing scam proof.
Too Good to be True?
Who doesn’t want to earn big? I’m sure everyone of us are looking into some big break in our career. But beware, promises that are too good to be true has almost always been a sign of scam. A job that’s too easy with a pay rate that’s too high is 99% scam. Alison Doyle suggests, “Avoid listings that guarantee you wealth, financial success, or that will help you get rich fast. Stay clear of listings that offer you high income for part-time hours. They will do none of the above.”
Paying and Disclosing Financial Information
Some websites would require payment for membership but still offers you an opportunity to apply. Elance, Guru, LimeExchange, GetAfreelancer provide upgrades to their members but they are not obliged to upgrade. If you get on a website that makes you pay first before even getting a job, this should be a source of caution. It is but practical at least that as a job seeker that you pay once you already have an ongoing project than paying even before you start work. Real employers don’t charge to hire you or to get you started. And most of all, they won’t ask for your bank account number or other personal and sensitive financial information.
It’s good to be enthusiastic to work. But don’t work if you have not yet secured an agreement which you have both double checked. Beware of Non-Disclosure Agreement wordings. Make sure that you read it, and have understood it clearly. If you think you need to clarify, don’t hesitate to do so. To pretend that you have understood when there is doubt at the back of your mind simply means it’s not clear. Communicate your thoughts. Voice out your objections and suggest a way that is amenable to both parties.
Many freelance sites have built a good reputation over the years first of all because they provide payment guarantees on hourly work. This is probably one of the safest way to keep scammers from your doorstep. Fixed rate jobs are rather risky and is one way many scammers are using to exploit job seekers. Unless you have had previous experience with the employer, I suggest that you keep yourself from fixed rate works and stick with hourly jobs.
“If you’re out of work or just looking for a way to make some extra cash on the side, you should be very careful about the jobs posted on online sites like Craigslist, because there are scammers lurking there as well. ” From Lifehacker
I have strongly emphasized the importance of researching when I delivered a lecture last week, and I will emphasize it here again. Researching will give you a lot of new knowledge that will help you in keeping yourself from being a victim of scams. It’s not just about doing a simple Google but it entails double checking the sources, sifting through the results then doing another search. That’s why it’s re-search. A simple background check on employer profiles in different social media and review sites is also a good precautionary measure.
Word of mouth is a good way of gauging whether a certain person or freelance site is worth dealing with. And there is no better way of getting a reliable feedback than sourcing it from fellow freelancers. I’m sure it may not be as objective but getting a glimpse of what you may expect can cushion you from total disappointment when you take the risk of still pursuing to do business with the subject.
These suggestions may not give you a total immunity from scammers, but it will surely give you a second line of defense.
Do you have other ways of keeping yourself from scam?