We’ve all seen it before!
An amazing job description that gives you the chills for many reasons. First, it looks like it walked right out of your dreams. All you need to do is send an application and everything should fall into place. Sadly, freelance writing job descriptions are not always what they seem to be. While there are those that are genuinely looking for contractors, some are simply scams. If it seems too good to be true, well, you know…
Getting scammed is a painful experience that can take a toll on your finances, your stress level, and even your confidence. To avoid falling into one of these traps, it’s important to identify writing scams when you come across them.
Here are 5 writing scams that prey on desperate freelancers:
Scam #1: “Wonderful” work from home opportunities
This is one of the most common scams that target freelance writers. Wonderful work from home opportunities often involve a questionable company, and interviews via Google Hangouts. Imposters often promise massive earning potential. They advertise viable writing opportunities inclusive of resumes, academic papers, product descriptions, Amazon reviews, and SEO-stuffed blog posts. To avoid falling into this kind of scam, do your homework, and investigate the company to determine how legitimate the opportunity is. If they have ripped off writers before, you can probably find complaints about them online.
Scam #2: Fake writing platforms
There are platforms that advertise themselves to offer cheap and timely writing services. They go on to tell their freelancers that they should go through the vigorous training that they offer. However, the catch is that they may charge writers for that training. This in itself is a scam. Worse, they are probably turning around and selling the articles those “writers in training” are producing. Beware of platforms that have no certifications or experience, or hide data about their writers.
Scam #3: Dirty link-building opportunities or pay-to-link
This happens when scammers approach you so that they can build their audience. The scam usually involves them asking you to post a link to their website(s) on articles you have already published. They then offer to link back to you. This rarely has any value for the writer or his/her website. A worse version of this scam is asking professional writers to include the scammer’s link (for a price) in future articles that writer will publish in popular magazines. While getting paid for links sounds easy and appealing, it could ruin your online reputation for a long time.
Scam #4: Free or low-paid writing samples
This is a scam that hits new freelance writers the hardest. The offer often sounds like this: “Write a free sample and, if your sample is accepted, you’ll join our team of writers.” The problem is that you will be spending time and energy on something that a scammer will use for free. If the scammer gets over 100 free samples, and either posts those on ad-sponsored pages, or sells them, the writers get nothing. The scam is obvious here. Remember, any serious client will view your portfolio samples or offer a decent one-off fee for a sample. If they are unwilling to do this, they are not worth your time.
Scam #5: Fake job posts
There are hundreds of job boards in existence. Unfortunately, there are those that do not offer any freelancer protection, making them the best place for scammers. Only seek work through verified platforms and, take work from employers that have a verified work history.
When you know which red flags to look for, then your freelance writing career will move in the right direction. When in doubt, check it out. Only focus on finding legit work and kick scammers to the curb.
Louisa Eunice is a freelance writer who has experience writing B2B and B2C content for a variety of audiences and publications. She also writes short-form marketing content for an array of unique brands. Some past organizations Louisa has worked with include TapDesk, Captive Network, Reviewed, and many more.
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Great post Louisa! Thanks for the heads up.