How to Identify Scams When Searching for Writing Jobs Online
Searching for writing jobs online can be overwhelming if you don’t know how to effectively weed out the scams from the legitimate writing opportunities. There are great freelance writing jobs and projects that you can find online. Before starting your online search, consider the following information on how you can identify scams and protect yourself from scammers while finding the ideal writing projects for your current situation.
Tips on Identifying Online Scams
Many online job search sites like Indeed, Career Builder, and Monster implemented strict guidelines for job posters regarding posting legitimate versus illegitimate job postings. So, you can have confidence when searching those sites for writing opportunities. However, when searching online on websites like Craigslist, you can find some legitimate opportunities as well as illegitimate ones. The following tips can help you identify online scams.
- Sloppy Content – Spelling mistakes in the advertisement or email from the job poster are a huge red flag that the opportunity could be a scam. One mistake could be expected as acceptable human error, but more than that should give you pause to reconsider contacting them or responding to their email.
- Shoddy Job Advertising Design – If you see an add that doesn’t look professional and has statements like “Looking to fill 15 spots, make $100-$500 per day or more”, it could be a scam. Don’t fall for opportunities that sound too good to be true.
- No Online Hub – It’s important to search for the company online – especially if you see some of these red flags that they could be a scam. Check for a current website and social media accounts on popular platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
- Immediate Job Offering– If you get offered a “job” immediately via email without any interview, any request that you provide writing samples or take a content writing test, or that you go through an onboarding / training process, that’s another red flag that this opportunity could be a scam.
- Outrageous Compensation – If a company promises you an inordinately high pay per article or per hour, be careful and investigate the company further. For legitimate writing opportunities, compensation will be proportionate to your skillset and writing expertise.
- Asking for Payment– If a company or job poster asks you for money to invest in their “opportunity” before you even make any money from any writing projects, that’s another red flag. Only accept writing jobs where you will be sufficiently paid for your content, and only sign up for content creation companies that don’t ask you to pay an upfront fee. Yes, for some content creation companies, a percentage will come off your earnings as an administrative fee for the company. However, don’t fall for scams where you’re asked to invest money and are promised the world.
Protect Yourself from Scams
Diligently research all writing job opportunities that you receive so you can make sure you’re not getting scammed. Never give your personal information such as social security number to any employers through email communication. If the company or writing project is legitimate, you will be asked to provide that information by completing a W-9 form and faxing it or completing it online through their secure web portal.
If you need to complete a writer profile or provide personal information, make sure that their website shows the lock symbol to identify that their site certificate is valid. Their connection is also secure so that your passwords, social security number, PayPal information, and bank account details are kept private when sent to this site.
Only invest money in an opportunity if it is legitimate, like a content writing company that may request a monthly or yearly fee to gain access to their job listings. This may not be something you’d like to do when you’re first venturing into the freelance writing field. However, make sure you research the company and never fall for a scam where someone emails you and requests money to start working for them.
Check with the Better Business Bureau or the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs for the government in your country to check the legitimacy of the company you’re applying for. You can identify any legitimate reviews and ascertain if any consumers have filed complaints against them. Do an internet search with the name of the company and keyword ‘scam’ in the search bar to read any articles or reviews that show up. One of our recommendation is WriterAccess. You can read the reviews about it HERE. You may check their website as well. Click here.
You need to be your own best advocate when it comes to researching online writing opportunities. Even if you’re desperate to find work, don’t rush into anything without completing diligent research. Following the tips shared in this article can help you identify red flags and prepare yourself for your online writing job research action plan.