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HOW SCAMS HAVE INFILTRATED THE FREELANCE WRITING INDUSTRY

Discussion in 'Copywriting' started by mr.sidney, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. #1
    Hi everyone, on February 19th 2014, I applied for a job post at odesk, and I was glad when the client replied to my application and invited me for an interview. She sent me an email, and told me it was her personal email address and I was to contact her for an interview. I reached via the email she gave me, and the terms of the job were $1 per 100 words which was quite fair, compared to ridiculous rates that the people from the south-east part of Asia have introduced in the freelancing industry. The payment schedule would be 2 weeks after the project had kicked off.

    The project commenced off course, and I diligently worked for her, despite the outrageous deadlines she put on all the assignments and in less than 10 days she owed me a total of $352. When payday came, I sent her my invoice, and the only reply I got was that her PayPal account had some issues, which would be resolved within 5 days. She wanted me to continue working during those 5 days, while waiting for her PayPal account to be rectified. It is then that I smelled that something was fishy, and I did a little digging. I hacked into her Google circles, and contacted some of the people who also seemed to be on her writing team. I was lucky to find someone from my country and the best thing is that he had left a phone number on his Google hangouts. I gave him a call, and that is when I realized that I might as well have been ripped off. The person I contacted told me that he had also done a lot of work for the client, but when payday came, she started giving all sorts of excuses and later on she sort of vanished.

    My decision was to immediately stop working for her, until she had made all the pending payments, within the 5-day grace period she had requested. The most surprising thing is that she would constantly beg me to take up some assignments, during that 5-day period, which I definitely refused. I contacted her on the agreed payment date, and I asked her whether the payment was ready, and her reply was that she was now able to make the payments. She asked for my invoice again, and that was the last I heard from her.

    It was really frustrating, because I did not know the best cause of action. I also saw another person had filed a warning online about the client in question, and that is when I realized that I was part of an ongoing series of online freelance scams. I have always been cautious in my entire tenure as a freelance writer, but it seems that my fate was finally sealed.

    I checked most of the articles with copyscape, and there was no duplicate content, but that was a week ago. What would you advise me to do? Is it advisable for me to publish all the articles, so that when she publishes they will be of no help to her?

    My advice to fellow freelancers is that trust will cost you a lot of valuable time and money in this freelance business. Always ask for a deposit before you start working on any project, and it is very important to do a background check before you start working with any client. I have learnt this the hard way, but this does not always have to be the case for everyone.
     
    mr.sidney, Mar 20, 2014 IP
  2. Rebecca

    Rebecca Notable Member

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    #2
    That's awful! Did you contact ODesk support to see if they can help?
     
    Rebecca, Mar 20, 2014 IP
  3. mr.sidney

    mr.sidney Greenhorn

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    #3
    Yes, I contacted Odesk but there is nothing they could do for me.It is very easy for scammers to use the site, because they do not have a strict client policy, leaving the writers unprotected.
     
    mr.sidney, Mar 20, 2014 IP
  4. Eddie Phillips

    Eddie Phillips Member

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    #4
    I've been thinking about doing some freelancing. Thanks to your post I probably won't be using Odesk.

    Hope you have some kind of resolution to this bad situation. At the very least, it has been educational.

    Take care...
     
    Eddie Phillips, Mar 20, 2014 IP
  5. mr.sidney

    mr.sidney Greenhorn

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    #5
    Hi, the post should not discourage you from using odesk, it is actually a site where you can find loyal and long-term clients.However you should be very cautious especially on clients who invite you to transact outside the site, because your chances of getting paid are 50/50.There are some clients who will invite you for business outside the site, but they are very professional and more rewarding because there will be no 10% cut on your payment which is the normal odesk fee.
    If you decide to join the site, always check out the clients previous reviews, and whether their payment method is verified or not.It you smell something fishy, do not hesitate to ignore the job post.
     
    mr.sidney, Mar 20, 2014 IP
  6. YMC

    YMC Well-Known Member

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    #6
    When she posts the content you could send a DMCA to her web host stating that the content has not been paid for and therefore you still own the copyrights. Several other DP members have reported that has worked for them. It just depends upon the web host.
     
    YMC, Mar 20, 2014 IP
  7. mr.sidney

    mr.sidney Greenhorn

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    #7
    Wow thank you, I did not know that such a thing existed.
     
    mr.sidney, Mar 20, 2014 IP
  8. Vlasic

    Vlasic Active Member

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    #8
    This was posted more than 6 months ago, but may be useful to newcomers.
    https://forums.digitalpoint.com/threads/signs-of-a-typical-scam-guide-for-newbies.2676738/
    Requesting upfront payment may not work at all since scam is abundant on both ends, and clients are equally suspicious, but requesting payment for small batches of, say, 2 articles is a good start with new clients.
    Before you apply, try researching on the client's history. Is there a reputation as such? Does he post jobs and reward them to no one?
    In a way, you have made yourself a bad favor by dealing "under the table" with a new client because Odesk can do nothing to help you since you have violated their terms.
    It might be a good idea to work on your Portfolio instead of wasting time on scam clients. Several quality items in your portfolio may translate into a decent one-time (or long-term) deal that would give you some reputation and a taste of better working conditions.
    Consider scam as humiliation, and nothing works as powerful against your productivity as humiliation. Pay attention to how the client communicates - does he treat you as if you were an inferior creature, a typing monkey? If yes, spare yourself the nerves and continue searching for decent clients.
    Cheer up and good luck!
     
    Vlasic, Mar 22, 2014 IP
  9. mr.sidney

    mr.sidney Greenhorn

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    #9
    Thank you Vlasic, Indeed I had to learn the hard way but now I am cautious when it comes to dealing with clients.Trust will not help in the freelance Industry.

    Your link was very resourceful Vlasic; it has really opened up my eyes.I wish I had read it before I started working with such a client.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2014
    mr.sidney, Mar 22, 2014 IP
    Vlasic likes this.
  10. enhu

    enhu Well-Known Member

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    #10
    this had also happened to me lately, this is why I always check the ratings of the employer to make it safer.
    odesk seem not working well for these people, I have to chat their support to remind my employer about the payment but other than that they can't do anything else.
     
    enhu, Mar 23, 2014 IP
  11. mr.sidney

    mr.sidney Greenhorn

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    #11
    Since the incident, I am very cautious of whoever I am working with.I always thought that I would never get ripped off, till it happened.At least now I am able to spot a scam just from how the job post is written.
     
    mr.sidney, Mar 23, 2014 IP
  12. serellived

    serellived Member

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    #12
    That's the problem with fixed-rate contract. That is why I never applied to jobs with fixed rate, only hourly. But, even if it's hourly, there's always a scammer.

    I have also been scammed once on odesk. But mine involves a bogus employer's account. I was hired for an hourly rate. I worked for 2 weeks. But on the 3rd week, I was shocked that my account was suspended for working with someone who was using a different payment account. So, yeah, I got really disappointed.
     
    serellived, Mar 23, 2014 IP
  13. Vlasic

    Vlasic Active Member

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    #13
    Could you dwell on your experience with the bogus account in more detail, please? what does a 'different payment account' mean? It is always good to know how they work.
     
    Vlasic, Mar 23, 2014 IP
  14. CobaltBlue87

    CobaltBlue87 Member

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    #14
    I am currently experiencing the same problem. Agreed to receive payment on Friday and still haven't. I've written 40 articles so far none of which have been posted online. I plan on keeping them and selling them if I do not receive payment. By the way, I have been using freelancer so both sites seem to crawling with potential scammers.

    If I do not receive payment, I also intend to research the individual and expose them so they cannot scam others. Hopefully I can figure something out. Sorry mr.sidney. hope you find a solution.
     
    CobaltBlue87, May 10, 2014 IP
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  15. mr.sidney

    mr.sidney Greenhorn

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    #15
    Hi CobaltBlue87, thanks for sharing your experience your experience, hopefully more people will learn our experiences and avoid getting ripped off.I also found out that the best way to sell pre-written content is through asking some of your regular clients if they might interested in articles in a particular topic.You can then offer them a discount if they are willing to buy a huge batch.I tried selling some of them through content selling websites such as Topic Bay, seoclerks and articles for sale but I think it was just a waste of time.
    For others, you may never find a willing buyer so the best thing is to publish them on your blog, or upload them on article directories such as ArticleBase and Ezine.This is the best way to promote your services as an author and you might end up getting high paying clients.That`s been my experience so far.Good luck, and make sure you expose the scammer.
     
    mr.sidney, May 10, 2014 IP
  16. CobaltBlue87

    CobaltBlue87 Member

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    #16
    Yeah, it is a sad shame. I have discovered more about my scammer and it seems she has done it before to others. Wish I had taken the time to find this out before hand. She is still active on freelancer and odes. If you want to avoid this individual please pm me and I'll give you her usernames. (Don't know the rules and don't want to get banned here.)

    Will have to try selling my content cause I don't think she is going to pay.
     
    CobaltBlue87, May 10, 2014 IP
  17. Sungnani

    Sungnani Greenhorn

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    #17
    I think it is better not not converse with anyone on odesk or other sites outside the platform. At least then you have evidence of what happened for odesk to look into (if that feature exists).
     
    Sungnani, May 10, 2014 IP
  18. SCookAAM

    SCookAAM Active Member

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    #18
    The truth of the matter is that sooner or later, everyone runs into this. one of the benefits of using a site like ODesk is that there are some protections in there for you. If you're negotiating a deal on ODesk, or any other freelance site, stay within that site. $1 for 100 words is the kind of low rate wherein writers get prayed upon. Always get an up front on fixed rate jobs so that at least the client has some vested interest. If you have a lot of deliverables, set milestones.
    i.e. 40 articles, which makes $250 at your $1. Get $100 up front and deliver a batch of 20, just to show good faith. Then have them pay another $100 for the next 16, then the final $50 for the remainder. Don't ever write for free.
     
    SCookAAM, May 10, 2014 IP
  19. mr.sidney

    mr.sidney Greenhorn

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    #19
    Beware of clients who have no feedback or a verified payment method.Additionally, they want to contract outside the site and will give you a bulk project with the payment terms being after completion and delivery of the project.The moment you deliver the project, that`s the last you`ll ever hear from them, and there`s little you can do about it.With a bogus email and a phony alias, it`s easier for them to get away with it.They`ll probably use a new email and another alias, and continue with getting `free` services from hardworking writers.
    Always insist on daily pay, and you`ll be on the safer side.
     
    mr.sidney, May 10, 2014 IP
  20. mr.sidney

    mr.sidney Greenhorn

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    #20
    The sad reality is that when you`re a new writer, you don`t have such privileges.Few people if any, are willing to make upfront payment to a new writer.Additionally, i you may have a fixed rate, but that doesn`t stop the client from taking off once you`ve delivered the articles.After all, odesk does not offer a guarantee of payment on fixed contracts.
    The best thing is therefore being cautious about the kind of people you get into contract with.Do a background check, check out the client`s feedback and ratings.Regular clients always stick to the contract`s terms, since they desire to continue getting services from the site and they therefore want to build a good image on the site.
     
    mr.sidney, May 10, 2014 IP