We receive an amazing number of requests to post “warnings” regarding possibly sketchy freelance writing jobs. Since this is a blog geared towards freelance writing jobs, it only makes sense to warn against unsavory types, right?
I don’t post warnings because if I’m going to point fingers and make serious allegations on a blog visited by 5,000 people each day (plus 9100+ subscribers), I darn well better be sure I have my facts straight. While there are plenty of people who need to be exposed, I also don’t want to expose FWJ to a lawsuit. I’ll allow discussions of each job in comments at our Freelance Writing Jobs leads blog, but I don’t publicly call someone out unless I’m sure they’re a scam or ripoff. I don’t have time to thoroughly investigate every scam request.
There are also situations where writers feel they have been slighted but it’s either an oversight on the client’s part or the writer isn’t telling all sides of the story. I’ve noticed in many situations there are, indeed, two sides to each story. While I do want to steer you away from scammers, I want to be sure they’re really scammers and not just the victim of a disgruntled writer.
A terrific blog to visit to research and report writing scams is Writer’s Beware. If you’re not feeling a particular client, do a search there and see what you come up with. Also, visit our writing leads blog and ask questions to the regulars, they’re terrific about sniffing out scams and dealing with unsavory types.
Later on, we’ll discuss scams and the various ways to spot them.
Great post. One of the reasons I stopped reading another writing website was that the owner of the site seemed to be on a ‘crusade’ to out as many ‘scams’ as possible. I didn’t always agree with her crusades, however, and in fact I’d often had a positive experience with the sites or people she decried. I think buyer beware, or in this case, writer beware, is a smart move.
Deb Ng says
If we’re talking about the same website, I realized that writer was only posting half the story after she posted very negative things about me in one of her investigations. Knowing she only published half the information, I stopped believing her warnings.
Lucy Smith says
I don’t really see why people expect you to take responsibility for scam busting.
Any writer learns to pick them very quickly, and the truth is that you learn faster by doing. I have applied to two jobs that turned out to be scams when I was brand new – one wanted me to download some special software to make conference calls that required my credit card details (but I have Skype! I cried), and the other wanted ‘a small fee’ to make sure I was serious. In hindsight, both bore scam hallmarks, but I was green and desperate for work.
99 percent of scams have very clear warning signs that people just need to learn to spot themselves. Yeah, it’s frustrating to find that an awesome-sounding job is a scam, but chalk it up to experience, and learn to always tread with caution.
.-= Lucy Smith´s last blog ..Passion, what is that? =-.
Deb Ng says
You’re right, Lucy. I don’t mind disucssing scams and posting warning signs, but I’m not going to point fingers. What if I’m wrong?
It’s up to all writers to practice due diligence.
I hear a lot of the whispers too, from people writing me at About.com. I will admit straight out that others’ lawsuits in past years have scared me off.
.-= allena´s last blog ..2010 Then? Accidental Freelancing and the 1099 =-.
Deb Ng says
Darn straight. I’d rather not open myself up to that sort of thing.