Signs of Freelancing Scams

As a freelancer, the biggest challenge is to detect and avoid scams.

I, myself have been scammed twice throughout my freelancing career.

Over the years, I have discovered that most scams have the same “modus operandi”.

With so many freelancing bidding sites on the internet, not all employers are serious and legitimate.

People are willing to do anything to gain a few bucks, illegally.

Look out for these signs to help you avoid scams.


1. Too good to be true.

Trust your instinct. If you believe the job ad is a scam, don’t apply!

2. Typos in the job ad.

Since their intention is to scam people, they don’t bother to spell check.

3. Advance payment

This is outrageous as you are not supposed to pay to land a job, unless if it is a scam. You pay for nothing.

4. Lack of information in the job ad.

Some job ads are very brief. Little details are revealed and usually this means trouble.

5. Sign up to apply for a freelance job.

You have already signed up on or Elance and now you have to sign up on another site to secure a job? Pass.

6. A link in the job ad.

Be cautious. Usually the link will redirect to another job bidding site, which requires you to sign up and/or pay.

7. Familiar ad (seen it somewhere else / seen it many times).

You know you have seen the same ad over and over again. This is bad news. Pass.

8. The ad claims that the job is suitable for “students” or “new writers”.

Usually this means you have to work for “free” to gain experience because you have no experience.

9. Request for a specific sample article.

It is undeniable that legitimate employers will ask for sample article. However, when employers request for a specific sample article such as “How to Dress like Kate Middleton” instead of “write an article of 500 words on Kate Middleton”, they might use the article without paying for it. Imagine if 10 job seekers submitted 10 different versions of the same title, they have 10 unique articles for free.

10. No escrow.

A clear indication that the employer might not be serious in hiring you or anyone.


Feel free to add more!

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