Freelancers in Peril: Scams in the Freelancing Community
Freelancing is becoming more and more widespread as companies, large and small, continue to shift towards virtual ways of working. It might be a positive change to start working as a freelancer with its flexible nature, as job opportunities are harder to find and require more intense work.
However, working as a freelancer isn’t a job without risks, various scams are present almost everywhere. If you are currently working or planning to work as a freelancer, you might want to learn more about the risk of fraud and what to do if you have been scammed in the freelancing world.
How to Avoid Scams on Freelancer Platforms:
Freelancers need jobs to earn money, however, it doesn’t mean that one should accept any work offered by any client. To avoid scams, here are some of the ways a freelancer can avoid being scammed on freelancer platforms:
Carry out thorough research on your clients before accepting an offer.
Never do any work without a contract.
Ensure the reliability of payment procedures.
Always provide proof of your work.
Be alert of the warning signs and red flags on each job/client.
Warning Signs/Red Flags to be aware of:
#1: Clients are asking for money out of the freelancer platform or site.
Scammers typically ask for payment options outside the freelancing platforms and once the work is done, they escape without delivering their end of the deal. Thus, you must never fall for any of these traps to keep yourself out of risk.
#2: Asking for too many free samples.
Although it’s okay to demonstrate your abilities and skills, always stay alert! You might be giving away free work for scammers.
#3: Negative reviews about the client.
Researching about your clients is one of the best ways to avoid scams. If your potential client has too many poor comments and negative reviews, it often means trouble. You could visit websites like Indeed, Glassdoor, Kununu, etc. to carry out research on your client.
#4: Projects or proposals are too good to be true.
A big red flag when freelancing is scenarios that are too good to be true. For instance, if your employer pays you a high rate for a relatively easy task, you might want to think twice before accepting it. One of the reasons why clients seek freelancers is because of their cost-effective nature.
# 5: Refuse to sign a contract or agreement.
Never start working without an agreement or a contract to ensure the credibility and trustworthiness of the project or client.
Work from home Scams outside the official and legitimate freelancing platforms
Fake Job Postings
Asking for payment to start working
Requesting personal/account information unrelated to the work
Unusual Payment Methods and Direct Payment out of Freelancing Platform/Sites
Ghost Clients (e.g. You’ve spoken to a client and created a proposal but never hear back from them after a few days or weeks.)
“Test” Project Proposals
Actions to Take After Being Scammed
To prevent further frauds emerging in the freelancing world, you may report unusual or scam projects and clients on the website or platforms. You may also contact support groups such as Freelance to Freedom Project Community, Freelancer Hubs, Freelance Incubator, etc, ask for any help or assistance regarding freelancing.
The Bottom Line is
Freelancing has its pros and cons. Although it may cause a positive change, there are negative aspects that exploit the benefits given by the freelancing world. Whether as a freelancer or a client, one must observe proper work etiquette and moral compass to preserve the credibility of the freelancing community.