New freelancers looking for job opportunities and clients may not think too clearly at times, as they are quite eager to start working — and many scammers count on that precisely. That is why they need to be extremely careful when looking for clients on freelance platforms. Regardless of their industry, freelancers should take all precautions to avoid getting scammed.
This article might help you notice red flags when looking for job opportunities if you’re new to the world of freelancing. So, let’s dive right in.
How and Where to Start
Many freelancers start their journey on freelancing online platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr. These platforms are good enough for beginners, especially because they allow both employers and freelancers to find each other.
However, these platforms also represent the perfect nesting locations for scammers. Thankfully, with a bit of work, you can recognize what’s real and what’s not.
Preparing a freelance contract sample for future clients is important and plays a vital role in securing your freelancing position. Such contracts will surely provide you with the much-needed protection, both when dealing with honest clients and when working with potential scammers.
Red Flags on Freelance Platforms
As we’ve mentioned, you can take some time to learn how to recognize honest clients from scammers. Before you get too excited about finding a potential client, note the following red flags:
Sounds Too Good to be True
When looking for a job, one of the biggest red flags is when it sounds too good to be true. One such instance would be a high rate for an easy job. Most reputable companies would have no trouble finding someone to perform an easy task at a reasonable rate. So, why would they pay more for it?
By offering an unusually high rate, scammers hope to make you feel special and excited. This way, you will be more likely to fall for it. Before you make any moves, make sure you dig deep into their profile.
Negative Reviews and Empty Profiles
This might sound like an obvious red flag, but some new freelancers forget this step entirely. An honest employer will have a clear online presence with a linked website and social media platforms. If you notice only a name without a website or an address, it’s probably a scam.
Similarly, if you find negative comments and reviews from other freelancers, it might be best to skip this job offer. You don’t need to get involved with an employer who does not respect other freelancers.
However, sometimes, you won’t find any reviews because the employer is new. If that’s the case, look them up online and double-check.
Refusing a Contract
Another red flag you might come across is when an employer refuses to sign a contract or agreement. Avoid working with people who do not want to accept simple operating terms. Of course, you may want to make an exception for some employers, but only if they’re well-known and trustworthy.
If you run out of options, you can also ask other freelancers who have worked with the employer in question about their experience.
Communicating Outside of the Original Platform
You would be surprised how many scammers take advantage of those freelancers who accept to communicate outside of the original freelance platform they’ve connected on. This is a huge red flag because once the scam is over, the scammer can simply delete the account, thus leaving the freelancer without too many options.
Always communicate inside the original platform so that all messages are recorded.
Asking for Money
Last but not least, one of the biggest red flags is when a potential employer asks you for money. Scammers use these methods to extract money from freelancers. Typically, they will tell you that you need to purchase a tool or a program to get the job done.
Other scams might include fees or contests designed to make you pay but giving you little chance of actually getting the job. If anyone asks you for money beforehand, we advise you to steer clear of them.