Ever come across a job ad, membership site, or business opportunity for freelance writers when you’re hungry for work?
Click here. Pay now. Limited-time offer. Get exclusive access. You probably already know the buzzwords.
Some of these might be legit opportunities for freelance writers, but many aren’t.
In fact, there’s an entire underworld of scammers out there preying on broke and desperate freelance writers.
Ever been scammed by a client or fell for a get-rich-quick writing opportunity?
It’s a painful experience that can take a toll on your bank account, creative energy, and self-confidence as a freelance writer.
And it doesn’t have to be that way, says Federal Trade Commission Consumer Education Specialist Lisa Lake.
“Nobody can guarantee that you’ll make money,” says Lake. “Promises to make quick and easy money are always lies. Stop whenever someone pressures you to buy. That’s a very strong sign of a scam.”
So what are the top scams targeting freelance writers in 2020? Here’s what to watch for:
Have you ever wondered whether you could achieve your freelance dreams a lot faster if you hired a writing coach?
Spoiler: You definitely could. I know because I’ve been coaching freelance writers for about 5 years now.
There are a ton of people on the interwebs today, offering to coach you to freelance success. How do you know if a particular coach could help you, or if you’d be wasting your money?
Remember, there is no official freelance-writing coach school. Anybody can hang out a shingle.
Since a key part of my mission is helping writers avoid ripoffs and scams, I offer this guide to vetting a writing coach. It’s derived from my experiences on both sides of the table, as I’m not just a coach myself but have also productively invested about $20,000+ hiring coaches during my career.
Yes, I know this list means you may ask me tougher questions before you hire me as a coach. I say: Bring it on.
What do you need to know before you hire a writing coach? Here are 11 key question to ask:
Want to make money from home as a freelance writer?
That the goal, right? Work in your pajamas. Be your own boss. Make your own schedule.
Being a freelance writer is a great career and lifestyle, but it’s also hard work. And scammers know it.
If you’ve got a writer website or social presence as a freelance writer, prospects aren’t the only people checking you out. Scammers are sifting through the same information in search of writers who are looking for work.
You might think you’re too savvy to fall for the cash-this-fake-check and bankwire-transfer scam, but at least one scammer has developed a clever way to lure writers in with big promises, drain bank accounts and disappear.
Think it couldn’t happen to you? Don’t be too sure. I thought I was pretty immune to “make money from home” scams, but I almost fell for this one. Here’s what happened:
How do you know if an online writer platform is legit? Since new sites are born every week — promising ample assignments and fat paychecks for beginning writers! — I can’t do investigations on each and every possible writing scam (though I’ve certainly looked into some that turned out to be outright ripoffs).
I can’t be everywhere. And this blog has other topics to cover, like finding courage to put your writing out there, self-publishing, blogging best practices, and finding great freelance clients. So it’s important to know how to do your own research.
This post takes you through easy, quick steps you can take online to gather information about websites you’re thinking of paying for access to resources, job boards, or publishing opportunities.
I’m going to use a site I learned about recently as an example: Master Writing Jobs (no, I’m not going to link to them in this story and give them a backlink that might drive more traffic to their site. You can Google them if you want.)
I spent perhaps 30 minutes tops, researching this site to see what I could learn. And it wasn’t tough to see they weren’t a good value, even at their current ‘sale’ price of $34 for lifetime access.
If you’d like to avoid writing scams and learn how to verify online offers, read on:
Have you ever wondered who you’re really writing for, when you get a gig on a place like Elance?
Recently, my eyes were opened to a racket that’s going on at many of these online platforms, that writers should beware of.
First, there was the situation where I discovered an imposter was posing as me on Elance, hiring writers, and then stiffing them.
But I recently learned this was not a one-off, fluke situation, that one scammer took a bunch of Elance assignments and then subbed the work out to other writers, instead of writing the pieces themselves.
It turns out that middlemen are increasingly common on content mills and bid sites. I learned about this scene when I got an email from a man who said he had a business proposal for me.