When searching for work on online platforms, freelancers must know how to avoid getting scammed.

Making the decision to become a freelancer could change your life forever. When you start out as a freelancer, you might take on jobs that are not the most suitable for you. There have been many freelancers in this position, and unfortunately, many of them have fallen victim to scams.

It is for this reason that freelancers in all industries have to be prepared. Understanding red flags are critical when it comes to taking on new jobs through online platforms and social media. Being unprepared to defend your profession is one of the most significant freelance errors.

A true story of a content writer who was scammed on LinkedIn

A freelance content writer named Mudit Sharma stumbled across a post on Linkedin about a job posting that was looking for a content writer. It was posted by a man named Sid. 

Upon contacting Sid, he learned that they urgently needed someone to write a 1000-word article for their product. Mudit provided Sid with some samples of his previous work as well as his contact information.

When Mudit discussed the project over the phone, he agreed to take on the project and started writing for them. He was told the payment would be made on November 10. In addition, Sid asked Mudit for his payment details and informed him that he would be doing a Rs 10 transaction first for a trial run.

Following Mudit's completion of the task and the delivery of the article, Sid totally blocked him on LinkedIn and WhatsApp. Mudit wrote around 18000 words for them and ended up working for free.

Also Check: How to stay inspired and creative as a freelancer?

Freelance platforms: red flags to look out for

As a new freelancer, recognizing red flags is important so that you don't get scammed. As a new freelancer, being offered work can be quite exciting. Often, we forget to keep an eye out for things like empty profiles and bad reviews.

There are a few red flags you need to watch for.

When a deal seems too good to be true

The biggest red flag to watch out for when searching for freelance work is if the work sounds too good to be true. For example, if the employer offers you simple work for a high wage. There is no reason why a company would pay a high rate for simple work when they can find it for a low price.

It's a way of making you feel special and excited that you've found such an easy job. If you examine the employer profile in greater depth, you will surely discover more red flags.

Having an empty profile and negative reviews

A candidate should first check the profile of the employer after he or she is offered a job or finds a job on one of these platforms. It's important to have a strong online presence, including a website and social media profiles that can be clicked on. Having only a company name and no website or even a legal address raises red flags.

Freelancers give reviews to employers, and these reviews can be viewed by anyone. You should review these to determine whether there are negative reviews and comments. A large number of negative reviews is a red flag. An absence of reviews is also concerning.

There may not be any reviews for a new employer or if it is a new company. Look up the employer online if it seems legit and there are no reviews.

Employers Who Ask For Money First

Any payment requested by the employer before the freelancer receives the work should raise a red flag. For instance;

1. The employer insists that the freelancer purchase a specific program or tool from them in order to do the work.

2. To be considered for the job, the freelancer must pay a fee.

3. Contests that charge high fees for applying but have little chance of receiving the work.

How to take on a project stress-free

Freelancers benefit from being paid upfront as it helps keep their cash flow stable and avoid situations where clients do not pay them after the project is completed. This gives you a sense of security, which can help you focus on the project (rather than worrying about whether you'll get paid). Unfortunately, clients won't always want to pay upfront.

It's also possible to ask your clients to make the payment through a digital escrow company if they don't want to pay upfront.

Escrow requires that the client pay the amount before you begin on the project. Third parties hold a client's payment and release it to you once they have been satisfied. Your clients will feel more comfortable paying you upfront if you use an escrow service. This allows you to focus on your work knowing that payment is on its way.

Digital Escrow Service In India.

Digital escrow services are offered by many companies in India. Among the most trusted is Vouch

Vouch’s Digital Escrow service is a transparent way for buyers and sellers to build trust and secure a clean transfer of product and payment. Sellers can feel assured that they will be fairly compensated promptly, and buyers will feel confident that their order will be delivered as expected and on schedule. Vouch Digital Escrow keeps you updated and informed at every step of the transaction process till the end. Vouch’s professionals are always available to assist you with all queries that you may have during the entire transaction process. 

There is no scope for deceit or fraud since the payments, shipping, delivery, and execution are carried out under the honest and watchful eyes of the Vouch’s professionals. With Vouch, any business transaction becomes transparent, uncomplicated, and hassle-free. If you ever come across a fraudster asking for OTP, asking you to scan a QR code, or asking you to click on phishing links, you can simply refuse and ask him/her to proceed with the transaction through Vouch.

Check back here to learn more about Escrow and how to protect yourself from fraud.

Safety is not just about protecting your credit, debit card number, and UPI accounts. It's about having control of your money till you've received the product or service you bought online!

Let's get your transactions secure on Vouch. It's just a click away.