Being scammed by a new client is one thing. But being referred by a client as a ‘scammer’ is another thing. You can find yourself in both situations as a freelancer.
In the past, I have found myself in both scenarios.
During the early years of my Freelancing Career, I practically defined the term ‘scam‘ my own way after falling a victim severally. In this blog post, I share with you three places Online where you can get scammed as a Freelancer.
I will also share with you various occasions where you never see a ‘scam’ coming your your way until .. the business transaction transitions to a scam.
SCAM DISCLAIMER: Most people think that ‘scam’ revolves around monetary transactions .. while this is true, in this day and age, scammers have gone high tech. The most devastating scammers now are ‘time’ scammers. The ones that wastes your time.
Back in the Days ..
It starts with one searching on Google the keyword ‘How to make money online.’ And before they know, they are signing up on various sites that promise to show them -for FREE- how to make $100 a day or more. To date, the keywords still works magic. You can tell by the number of video views they get on YouTube on how to make money online. In the year 2013 when I started freelancing, I was a victim. I fell into one that promised to show me how to make $3000 every month. I stumbled into it after I signed up with 10 other sites that promised to make me money online.
I was required to fill in different surveys on what I thought of different computer games. Each survey paid $10. In two weeks, I was done with 100 surveys. This was equal to $1,000. I was eligible to withdraw the money to paypal. Now, here is where the game started. I was required to pay $29 to withdraw the money. Out of desperation, I paid it and I was asked to wait for 2 days for my payment to be approved. A week later, the site had disappeared. I could not access it. And that is how I knew I have been scammed both my time and money. This was one among the many scams I fell into in my early years of freelancing.
Everyday someone is being scammed. One need to know that jobs requiring them to do simple tasks with no clear terms and promise to pay highly is in most occasions ‘all scams.’ With this in mind, I narrowed down my search. First, I identified the skills I had that I could monetize online. It turned out to be ‘video production’ and ‘writing.’
What followed next was identifying ways in which I could sell these skills. I had two sure options to do it. First, was building a website where people could buy my services.
Secondly, was searching for freelance jobs online. At the time, most freelancing sites- Upwork ( formerly Odesk and Elance), Freelancer, Fiverr – was coming up.
From these two marketplaces-website and Freelancing sites, I have seen scam bugs emerge and evolve. Scammers innovate ways to take away something from you everyday.
They have relative behaviors, so if you are keen enough, you will detect them early from the first mail they send you.
Typical Scams From a Business Website
- Website Traffic – The most common scam pitch I get from the website is ‘targeted website traffic.’ They use key words that many can easily fall into like cheap, get clients e.t.c. If you are a beginner, you will be tempted to try this. To me, I tried many of them in my early years of establishing my site and none of them brought me a client.
- ‘I have many videos that I need produced but you must do this one first for us to gauge your skills–don’t worry we will pay ‘- If a client contacts you directly from your website and tells you this, you will agree. I have fallen into this trap a couple of times. The clients pays for the first order in advance to buy your trust. What follows is him/her ordering in bunches. Owing to the trust and first impression the client gave you earlier, you complete the order hoping you will now be receiving payment in lump sum. After you deliver and the client is happy, he will ask for an invoice. And weeks later, he/she stops replying to your followup e-mails. That’s when you realize you have been scammed.
- We need over 1,000 videos – can you give us a bulk price per video? This one is really tricky. If you are not careful, you will loose 20-30% per video. In accumulation, you will have lost a lot of money. This trick works this way; after you have given them say 20% discount, the client ends up ordering only 10 videos. So to save yourself from this mystery, first, gauge if your prospect really wants 1,000 videos by asking them to order the first say 50 videos at the original price.
Scammers From Freelancing Platforms
Scammers from Freelancing sites vary. Freelancing platforms do not compromise with them either. So to keep up with the changes, they verify themselves as serious clients. And there and then, their show begins.
Now, if they catch you- you both suffer suspension from the site for failing to keep up with the platforms terms. So how do they scam you?
- They want you to do Free trials – If you have been freelancing for a while, you know that doing this is violating the terms of service and will get you suspended. But not withstanding your desperate need for the job, you agree to do a free sample to demonstrate your skills. At the end, the client hires someone else and you are left out. There are many reasons why it is not a good idea to offer free samples for video services. One common reason is that the client may be using it to pitch- then sub-contract the project to you. If his/her pitch is not accepted, you both loose.
- Additional Small Tasks in the Middle of the Project – Don’t dismiss small additional tasks that comes in as you accomplish a task assigned to you by a client. If you do, the client will take advantage of it. They will assume that this is part of the package. Don’t be scared that by asking for more pay, you will lose the job. You both know that it was not included in the package.
- They want you to take the conversation outside the site – This was ok 3 years ago because the video and voice call features had not been incorporated into the platforms. But now, it is. So why take your conversation outside when you can have it directly on the platform? Well, they know you will fall for it. This is where they will suggest that you work with them directly and save Freelancing Platform fees. This is risky. Don’t ever accept to work outside the Freelancing site that connected both of you.
These are few among the many techniques used by scammers to fleece freelancers. Do you know of any? Let me know in the comments below.
If you need help to create professional screen-cast video tutorials for your SaaS application or website, let me know here. You can send me an e-mail to email@example.com
Until next time, bye bye and take care.
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