10 common scams targeting freelancers (and how to avoid them)

10 common scams targeting freelancers (and how to avoid them)

If you’re part of the “gig economy”, you’re not alone. According to a 2020 survey from Upwork, 59 million freelance workers live in the US alone. Those numbers are growing year-over-year. The same survey found that 20 percent of current employees are considering doing freelance work. This would mean the freelance https://maxloan.org/title-loans-az/ workforce could increase by 10 million.

While freelance work can be incredibly empowering, it can also come at a significant cost if you’re not careful. That’s because many completely green freelancers far too often fall prey to scams intended to lure them into easy earnings, only to have them ripped away.

As a freelance writer myself, I’ve seen my fair share of scams targeting freelancers. From job postings that are clearly fraudulent, to someone who actually tried to convince me to share my Upwork account with him , I’ve had to navigate the sometimes risky world of freelancing in order to make a living in the gig economy.

Why do freelancers fall for scams?

If you’ve never fallen for a scam, you may wonder how and why freelancers are easy prey for con artists and criminals.

In many freelance industries, such as writing, those with more experience have a much easier time finding work. New freelancers often have to undersell themselves to get work, experience, and portfolio-worthy material. The lack of decent-paying work can lead to significantly lower income or gaps in income.

This struggle to claw one’s way out from the bottom can easily lead to understandable desperation. And when presented with opportunities to move up, many freelancers radars tuned down or turned off when presented with the prospect of easy, quick, and high-income work opportunities.

With that in mind, if you’re new to freelancing in any industry and looking to avoid some of the common scams targeting freelancers, here’s a useful list of 10 scams you may encounter on your journey to the top.

1. Work-from-home scams

Although freelance writing, editing, and graphic design are among the most well-known types of freelancing, “work-from-home” schemes have existed for decades and indeed fit within the category of the gig economy.

  • Upwork
  • Freelancer
  • Toptal
  • Guru

Many of these scams seem attractive because they generally do not require any specialized skill-sets, as opposed to most official and legitimate freelancing platforms.

Many work-from-home scams advertise themselves based on supposed high-earnings potential but don’t provide any details regarding what work will be performed until you’ve called their number, or entered into a digital communication exchange with the scam artists.

How to avoid work-from-home scams

The easiest way to avoid these types of scams is to utilize only legitimate freelance platforms. These sites artists working within them, but most have reporting and monitoring methods that reduce the number of scam jobs that might be posted.

You’ll also want to avoid clicking on any links or web ads similar to the one above. If the “work-from-home” advertisement fails to state what kind of work is being performed, it’s likely a scam, or at the least, overstating the earning potential.

If you’re not sure whether a site or service is legitimate, do a quick Google search, such as “[site name] reviews” or “is [site name] a scam?”. If a website has bad reviews or multiple sources state it’s a scam, look elsewhere for work opportunities.

2. Fake job postings

There are dozens of job boards out there, each with varying levels of content filtering to help remove scams from their systems.

Some offer better protections to freelancers than others. For example, if you’re using Craigslist’s “Gigs” section, there’s no real way to tell whether a job is the real deal or a scam in disguise. Because Craigslist has no features in place to rate the individuals posting work, you have no data to go on that will help you determine if the job poster is a legitimate company or someone hoping to scam you out of house and home.

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