Freelancing Scams – Equipped Yourself With These Tips

When you start out as a freelancer, there are many unexpected things that would happen but if you read this, I am sure you can avoid some of the bumps (specifically freelancing scams) along the way and have a smooth ride in freelancing.

This is based on my experience so I would be able to tell you what happened to me along the way but if you encountered something new, feel free to share with us.


I had registered as a member at GAF (GetAFreelancer, edit: now known as and it was time to place some bids on the projects suitable with my abilities.

I got 15 bids a month and if I needed more bids, I would have to upgrade my account ($12 a month). However, it was my first time looking for jobs through GAF so I didn’t upgrade.

I placed a few bids in a day hoping that someone would actually hire me but I waited and waited for days, weeks and finally one day someone did answered me.

It was a content writing task for a website but the pay would be $24 for the whole project.

Still, this was the very first project I got. Hoping for better projects to come along later, I accepted the task and completed it within 2 days. Then, happily I got payment from my first client.

Feeling good about myself and my performance, I continued to bid for more projects and definitely high pay projects.

My second project came along but it wasn’t as lucky as the first project. This was a scam.

At first, I didn’t noticed the signs. I had no experience, what would I expect?

Here are a few guidelines on how to detect scams in the first place… so that you can avoid.

1. The buyer always insist on paying through PayPal or other payment methods but never use Escrow. While this doesn’t seems like a problem, actually this is also the biggest problem. Before you get to know your buyer, request for Escrow to ensure that you get paid when you have completed the work. Many scam cases are buyers refuse to pay when the freelancers have completed the work. There is no way to ‘force’ the buyers to pay except through Escrow because only freelancers have the right to deny a payment when the payment is in Escrow.

2. The job description is brief. You should get more details before you bid on any projects (no matter which sites you are using).

3. The buyer will ask for samples. Usually when a buyer request for a sample or two, the buyer will give a few topics and request you (the provider) to complete all the topics (or maybe one – depending on the buyer). This is also a sign of scam. You write the sample and hand it in to the buyer. The buyer gets the article for free and you are not being hired for the job. The buyer wins and you lose.

4. Follow your heart. If you are suspecting something is not right, don’t bid on that project.

5. Check out forums like for information on scams especially the list of scammers to prevent falling into traps. This forum is specially created to raise awareness about the scams happening in most freelancing sites.

6. Con man usually offers rates that are too good to be true. Something similar as in work less, earn more. In reality, money doesn’t fall from the sky.  Don’t be a fool!


While these are guidelines on identifying freelancing scams, they are not necessary true for all projects. As a prevention, you need to be cautious all the time. Otherwise, you will end up doing work without getting paid.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

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