Writing jobs online scams

Life as a freelancer is not just freedom and working from home, as many imagine. You are more exposed to online scams and nasty clients who look for cheap work and ask you to deliver high quality with tight deadlines. It’s a tough job for beginners but if you stick with it long enough it teaches you all you need to know about being on your own.


As an employee you are used to ask someone else to solve your problems. The employer takes care of your taxes, health insurance and so on. As a freelancer you have to learn your way around every financial and economical aspect.

I learned all of these and I am still learning that life as a freelancer has its ups and downs.

Benefits of living as a freelancer:

  • You work from home and no one bothers you or looks over your shoulder
  • You establish your working hours and you are the manager of your time
  • If you have projects you can earn a lot more than you would on a fixed salary job
  • You do not depend on your location. You can travel and work from anywhere
  • You don’t have to go to work every morning and you can sleep until late for as long as you want

Downs of living as a freelancer

  •  You don’t have just one boss you have to put out with, you have a boss for each project you get
  • You need to work after the client’s working time
  • You can go weeks or even months without projects, it’s not a steady income job
  • There are always clients trying to get high quality work from you at very low costs
  • You are exposed to all sorts of scams

 Writing jobs online scams

I work as a writer on odesk.com and I had both good and bad experiences. The platform is totally legit and you can make a nice income from the jobs you find there. I like it more than elance.com of freelancer.com because you don’t have to pay for tests or to change a thing in your profile. It’s pretty free and flexible and you can find some good clients here.

Most common writing jobs online scams on odesk.com

  • Asking for a test – a very common scam. Let’s say that the employer needs 15 articles written on various topics. He or she posts the job and waits for freelancers to bid. Then, they send messages to 15 or 20 bidders and ask for a test consisting of 1 article on a certain topic. This way, they get their articles free and you waste your time and talent for them.

How to avoid this scam: always take a look at the number of people being interviewed for the job. If they are interviewing more than 5 then you should get suspicious.

  • Payment method not verified – it’s a common trick and you should ask the client to get verified before starting a contract. If they refuse, it’s time to run as fast as possible from them
  • Changing the work during contract – it’s another very common scam. The client asked for one thing when you closed the deal and now they want something completely different.

How to avoid this scam – read the comments other freelancers left. Freelancers are asked to assess their clients after the job is done. Check their Odesk reputation and if there are more than 2 freelancers that had problems, it’s time to run. Also pay attention at the tone used in creating the job post. Terms like “indefinite reviews”, “no payment if”, “my last freelancer was bad”, capitalization and so on should raise a big question mark.

  • Working outside Odesk – it’s normal to talk to your client on Skype or via e-mail but always ask for a contract. Never accept to get paid outside Odesk!

 My writing jobs online scams

As a beginner freelancer I fell on the “test” scam but this is not the biggest one. My biggest scam was on working outside Odesk.

The story is simple: I applied on a writing job and was contacted pretty fast by the employer (with no verified payment method and no other hires on Odesk.com). I moved passed the obvious flaws and I started writing for him. He informed me that the payment will be made on two weeks since I first started. I thought the work load is not going to be that big and that this is a risk I was willing to take.

Well, the work load got extremely big, very fast and my record was 12.000 words written in one single day. He even asked me to keep a good track of everything I write in an excel file.

The short story is that I worked for 2 weeks like a slave and I reached a total amount of $1000 in written articles. What do you think it happened on payment day? He asked me for 48 to 72 hours to review my articles and release the payment.

This raised the final flag and I refused to submit any more work before I got paid. He started with “Don’t worry, you’ll get paid” messages and he even convinced me to work for one more day. Of course that after that he vanished and as a result I started this blog.

I will publish all the articles I did for him and now I’m telling you the story. Don’t be as naive as I was! Take all your safety measures before accepting a job. If there is something fishy then don’t take the job.