A freelance career can bring out someone’s creative side, providing flexible job options and some amazing perks overall. It’s no wonder so many are moving into the freelance life. But, with multiple clients, sometimes getting paid can be a challenge.There’s always a chance of not getting paid just because some clients are forgetful, but this is especially true if you’re the target of a scam artist. We’ll show you how to spot some common scams that target freelancers so you don’t get played and just get paid instead.
When taking on a new freelance gig, some clues can help us spot a scam before the work starts. This prevents wasting valuable time and resources. Ask for references and money up front from a viable financial source. Investigate a new client if you feel uneasy. When in doubt about a client, connect with other freelancers for feedback. There are ways to avoid getting scammed. Follow these guidelines for a successful transaction.
Protect Your Work and Reputation by Instituting These Safeguards.
Only Accept Reputable Forms of Payment
Don’t accept payments in the form of personal checks or foreign credit cards. Use reputable online payment sources such as Google Pay, or PayPal. Sometimes, scammers send a check, then you deposit it, and even use some of the money, but then it later bounces or gets rejected and you’re out the funds. So make sure that you don’t accept cashier’s checks drawn on foreign banks and never accept checks as a form of payment.
Don’t Pay Referral Fees
Also, never fall for anyone asking you for a fee to work for them. That is clearly a scam, and the result could be disastrous. If a company asks you to pay a set-up fee, a referral fee, to buy something for which they will reimburse you or anything puts out serious bucks, really think again. This also goes for revealing your bank info. Ask yourself if a legitimate company really needs this information before surrendering personal info that could leave you in a bad situation.
Ask for a List of References
Just like a client has looked over your website or online portfolio, establishing a good working relationship starts with experience and trust. Because you are offering a service upfront, be sure to check their references, too. If you don’t recognize their name, ask for a couple of personal and professional references. If they refuse to offer this to you, steer clear. They may not be scammers, but who needs to work with a problem client?
Require a Significant Deposit
For brand new clients, it’s not unheard of to ask for a down payment. If it’s a big, time-consuming project like setting up an entire website or multiple pieces of content, don’t be afraid to ask for a certain percent down as well as a milestone payment midway through. A trustworthy client who likes your style and work will gladly pay you in advance.
Too Good to be True? Do Some Investigating
A new client you just decided to work with seems a little too good to be true. Doing a little investigating around the web may give you some insight into their background. Do they have a shady-looking website? Does a Google search bring up their name or a bunch of other similar aliases spelled a little differently? If so, they may be putting up websites fast to set up a shopping or service scam. Are there ratings services or comments that come up with dissatisfied freelancers? Steer clear of individuals who don’t have some sort of reputable business background to share with you.
Connect With Fellow Freelancers
One of the best ways to tell if a new client is reputable and trustworthy is to ask around. Maybe a fellow freelancer has seen the client’s name plastered on a scamming website or noticed similarities by a previous client who took their own work from them. Join a private freelance group on Facebook where they share their knowledge of known scammers.
Contact the Better Business Bureau if you’ve fallen victim to a scam artist. Whether they stole your ideas, time or money, holding them accountable will help others avoid the same situation. But, if you can, try to spot the signs of a scam in advance and then forget about it — you can look forward to a successful freelance career with reputable clients.