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Signs of a Typical Scam. Guide for Newbies

Discussion in 'Copywriting' started by Vlasic, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. #1
    Writers, please, share your experience about your customer relations management. Scam filtering, in particular. I believe this would benefit goofies like myself at the stage of acquiring first bumps, or better, loyal clientele.
    Scheme:
    • request for a test article of 500-600 words on given keywords asap
    • high prospective rates
    • 0 employer reputation
    The employer then becomes terminally unavailable and you can cry wolf as much as you like.
    Solution: Charge a small amount for the test article. Scammers will stop communication abruptly. Serious clients will consider or at least bargain.
    What is your rule of thumb when it comes to tests?
    I see multiple identical copy-paste job offers from accounts with different names and countries. They never actually hire anyone on freelance, elance, odesk, etc. My solution is to keep an eye on "deja vu" and stay away from it.
    When a 50 cent client refuses to pay transfer fee and requests location and identity verification via phone... [​IMG]:confused: Does it imply a ridiculously high standard or a non-stop headache? or a potential identity theft, maybe??
    Common sense and experience dictate that when a client communicates clearly, professionally and treats you with respect, he is likely to pay your aspired price promptly via escrow, and appreciate your work.
    Share your experience, please. What do you do when a sort-of-loyal client misses on a payment and goes mute? How much private information do you disclose (or is it reasonable to disclose) to your prospective clients? Do you request any employer data? What are the right questions that help you identify fraud?
    This may seem too naive for the gurus, but may save someone a month of unnecessary “seasoning”.
    Thank you!
    Solved! View solution.
    Vlasic, Aug 22, 2013 IP
  2. lukeit

    lukeit Active Member

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    #2
    if you searching an english writer, be careful outside usa and uk. just this. and also stay away from nerd children.
    lukeit, Aug 23, 2013 IP
  3. Angelpie

    Angelpie Greenhorn

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    #3
    Thanks for this. I've never been scammed, but I did send in my SS# to a site that went belly-up after a month. I got paid for my work, but I think it was just a scam to harvest personal info. My credit is shot, though, so I'm not worried about them stealing my ID. Nobody would want it. LOL
    Angelpie, Aug 23, 2013 IP
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  4. Vlasic

    Vlasic Active Member

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    #4
    USA or UK residence is no indication that a writer/or employer is a native speaker. Besides, a non-native with a degree in languages may have a better understanding of English than an average native speaker. Talent and education are universal. Some writers here on DP are top-notch and non-natives with a witty and sophisticated vocabulary a native can only envy.

    Another sort of utter scam is the so-called agencies, or re-sellers. They claim to be native writers (or a 'team') when dealing with clients, and claim to be clients when dealing with native writers. This sort always demand high standards and pay peanuts. That is abuse. can't think of a different word for it.
    Vlasic, Aug 23, 2013 IP
  5. #5
    Monthly payment. - Be wary of job offers that state a writer will be paid once per month but require a certain amount of articles, blog posting, or misc tasks be completed each day. No matter what the public credentials are of the employer, what someone stated in a PM, IM, email, or on a public forum, there is always the risk you will not receive payment for your work. Proceed with caution. Contact the employer and ask them to work out payment terms you are both satisfied with. If the employer delays come time for you to be paid or disappears, worse case scenario is you're out a couple of days to a weeks worth of work. Far better than working for a whole month and not getting paid.

    Bulk work - Proceed with caution. Many employers will state they have bulk work, can keep a writer busy for long-term and then use that claim to negotiate a much lower rate. What usually happens is the writer completes the first batch of articles, blog posts, or product descriptions and then the employer suddenly doesn't have as much work, if any, or it's a week or more before the employer sends more work to the writer. The employer benefits because they received the content at "bulk rate" instead of full price.

    Charge your regular rate for at least the first order. If things go smooth with payment and an additional order is placed for more content then the first order, then consider giving the employer a slight discount. Never sell yourself short on a promise of bulk work. The employer has to be able to back-up what they claim before quoting them a bulk rate.
    TextServices, Aug 23, 2013 IP
    hopeless4, Senobia, matt_62 and 3 others like this.
  6. Vlasic

    Vlasic Active Member

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    #6
    Thank you!
    This is exactly how I got ripped without even realizing it. I agreed to a low rate in exchange for a promise of "constant stream of orders". The first order was huge and I worked hard just to see that in two weeks the stream runs dry and the last payment may never reach me.
    I would add - if possible, keep an eye on client's activity. If he owes you money and has no work for you (for now) and recruits more writers, that could indicate another "scheme".
    Vlasic, Aug 23, 2013 IP
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  7. lukeit

    lukeit Active Member

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    #7
    ok
    i making a quiz. where are they from this agencies? i know already the reply. they starts with I.
    lukeit, Aug 24, 2013 IP
  8. Vlasic

    Vlasic Active Member

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    #8
    I wouldn't be so sure that nobody wants it. It's not just about stealing money from your card. Sometimes people find out there is a paypal/skrill or whatever account on their name laundering millions of dirty money. You don't get hold of money, but you do get a lot of headache proving you're paying your taxes and not hiding any drug trafficking income.:D
    Vlasic, Aug 25, 2013 IP
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  9. Angelpie

    Angelpie Greenhorn

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    #9
    Oh my! I never thought of that, but there has been no strange activity on my SS# so far. I get a yearly report from the SS administration, and haven't seen anything.
    Angelpie, Aug 25, 2013 IP
  10. dcristo

    dcristo Prominent Member

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    #10
    What a ridiculous suggestion.
    dcristo, Aug 25, 2013 IP
  11. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

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    #11
    I think you'd be pretty safe to include Canada and New Zealand in your list. Maybe the Aussies could tag along too?
    sarahk, Aug 25, 2013 IP
  12. matt_62

    matt_62 Well-Known Member

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    #12
    nah, we dont got good grammer. :p

    on a serious note. If someone is hiring on a forum, then they should not be asking for samples of your work as your forum posting becomes your work sample. So long as you make an effort when writing on the forums, or wherever and whichever platform you choose to write on, then that becomes a sample of your work.
    If people are continually asking for samples of your work, then you should not be giving out free samples, but rather, make a site or a blog, and write an article a week for yourself and when asked for a "free sample" you can show them your site, where they can clearly see the quality of writing that they can expect from you when you work on their projects.

    One thing that I look for when hiring a writer is that I want to hire the person that is doing the job, and this may be one of the reasons why people ask for free samples, not so much as to see your work but to verify that you are doing the work yourself. (This is flawed as people on odesk will sometimes do high quality to start with, then outsource the rest of the work)
    I have seen some writers here (on this forum) selling quality articles at $2 per 100, and at the same time having a thread where they are hiring writers at $1 per 100 words. While some partnerships work out well for both writers and buyers, typically someone that outsources, while providing no additional service for the sole purpose of taking a 50% slice, does damage to the industry as a whole.

    As there is really no reliable method for telling if a writer will do the work, or simply outsource it to someone for 1cent per word, and no way for writers to tell if the buyers is a fussy bastard or not, the best solution is that when a buyer or a writer start a project, they should do 1 paid article. No free samples just 1 paid article, and then each of them could decide if it is worth continuing the relationship. Buyers don't want to be stuck with someone that does shit work, and writers never want to be stuck with fussy pain in the arse clients.

    One thing to remember is this. You might be delivering acceptable content at a low rate. However, the people that buy from you might not be the ones that are using your content. With outsourcing being a bit of a plague at the moment, it is possible that they are passing off your work as their own. While your content might be acceptable quality for the rate you charge, the end user might be paying a ridiculous amount for it. What happens when the end buyer rejects the articles?

    I would like to ask if any writer has personally had clients that were passing off their work as their own? Were those clients generally worse to deal with compared to people that were paying for your content to use directly themselves?
    matt_62, Aug 25, 2013 IP
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  13. Vlasic

    Vlasic Active Member

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    #13
    This is exactly what I am going through right now (and why I've started this thread). Yes, these outsourcing "writers" are worse to deal with, because they are abusing you in the first place. In addition to low rates they will rip you off on transfer fees. They promise regular work and then are unable to back up their claims. They will try to intimidate you from the very beginning, so that you dare not speak up about higher rates. I'd definitely categorize them as scam. Or plague, as you said.
    In my modest opinion, any dehumanizing labor involves an employer who imposes it and an employee who allows it. An employee then suffers a major decrease in self-esteem and may degrade.

    Thank you for sharing your ideas!
    Vlasic, Aug 25, 2013 IP
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  14. Vlasic

    Vlasic Active Member

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    #14
    I may be unwise, but I invest equal amount of time into researching, drafting, writing, proofreading both $5 articles and $50 articles I write. Rejection was never an issue to me. Eliminating the middleman is.:mad:
    Vlasic, Aug 27, 2013 IP
  15. matt_62

    matt_62 Well-Known Member

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    #15
    I agree, seems both buyers AND writers hate the middleman. What I meant in the comment that I posted was that a middleman (or women) would be promoting themselves as being a native english writer, and possibly hiring people from non-english speaking backgrounds in order to fulfill his work orders as cheaply as possible, which of course may result in work that is not acceptable to the end user, simply as they might have paid a fortune for it to be written by a native english writer.
    My comments are not aimed you at exactly at your exact situation, bur rather were more of a general comment for others.

    Perhaps all writers need to refuse work that comes from these "middlemen"? Seeing as it is such a competitive niche as it is, middlemen that take a generous commission while adding no value to the service, make it worse for everyone involved.

    In regards to your other comment (2 comments up), what I meant was, is there any difference between an official proper established company that hires writers vs individuals that also write themselves and outsource only when they cant keep up with the work? Just the way that I see it, is that middlemen, could be split up into different catagories... unless of course they are all evil?

    Like for me, If I was to build a site for someone, I would hire writers to assist me, (as well as graphic artists etc etc). In this case, I am not reselling the article on its own, but rather adding value, turning a few articles into a complete website. I have even seen some graphic designers hire copywriters to help write sales pages. So I would place middlemen like this into a completely different category to those that simply resell the articles at a juicy markup.
    matt_62, Aug 27, 2013 IP
  16. Vlasic

    Vlasic Active Member

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    #16
    yup, I tend to take things personally, but I'm working on it:)

    Agree. I would categorize them (and you) as clients rather than middlemen, for the sake of simplicity. You outsource the writing part of your project to add value. Whereas, middleman WRITERS outsource to generate revenue by charging clients the market price, paying writers the below survival rate, and adding value to their own public profiles. Some are so blatant they use the same forum or freelance website to find AND outsource the same projects.

    I wonder what clients opting for middlemen think? The middleman says "I have a team of native English writers bla-bla and charge only $1 per 100 words bla-bla". Do clients imagine a friendly family of seven dwarfs in Union Jack style hats working hand in hand? or are they perfectly aware of how the scheme works and just don't mind?

    In a perfect world, if it is a team, a client must be able to communicate directly with the writer working on his order. If the middleman refuses to disclose his writers' contact information he's got things to hide. And who is to blame if the quality of a final product doesn't meet the client's expectations and rate? of course, clients are not always aware they're working with a middleman. I don't know of any solution other than trying out.
    Anyway, I am glad some clients would like to eliminate the third party, too.
    Vlasic, Aug 27, 2013 IP
  17. matt_62

    matt_62 Well-Known Member

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    #17
    rofl. When I see things like that, this is what I think of:
    matt_62, Aug 27, 2013 IP
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  18. mrgoe

    mrgoe Member

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    #18
    It`s very easy to get scamed online, a personal advice would be to be sure you won`t lose too much when dealing with someone for the first time :)
    mrgoe, Aug 27, 2013 IP
  19. Vlasic

    Vlasic Active Member

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    #19
    Right. However, it doesn't mean you don't get scammed the second or third time you work with someone who seemed decent at first.((
    Vlasic, Aug 27, 2013 IP
  20. mrgoe

    mrgoe Member

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    #20
    Always, and I mean ALWAYS, when it`s possible, of course, break any project into milestones.. so you only pay for a small part of it or for finished stuff better, if possible, I repeat.
    mrgoe, Aug 27, 2013 IP