Freelance Sites - Scams (Stay safe on these sites)
December 16, 2014
So here I am, six months into my new business venture working as a Virtual Assistant & Social Media Manager supporting SME's with a wide range of skills, saving them significant time & £££'s and thoroughly enjoying it - But I have a word of caution for both freelancer and employers using Freelance sourcing websites.
This week I would like to concentrate more on the freelancer looking for work and the relevant scams to look out for.
Before starting my business I considered myself all round admin expert, that's really what gave me the confidence to go it alone and although I have excellent skills in so many areas and a bagfull of common sense, I was in no way prepared for the disturbing fact that there are numerous individuals and organisations that lurk on freelancing web sites, ready to pounce upon the unsuspecting.
I, like most, consider myself "switched on" when it comes to scams and what not to do if faced with one. Most of us know how to keep safe from the scammer in our inbox, often ably assisted by the lovely Google and their spam filters and we all know never to click on an email and enter username and password. But these last few months have been a real eye opener.
I often use a handful of Freelance web sites to enhance my working hours. I have some amazing clients but I do have spare hours in my day, which I try to fill by bidding on work on these sites.
Recently I was contacted by a Private Detective who is now retired but monitors a couple of these web sites, warning the unsuspecting freelancer when they inadvertently send a proposal in response to one of these scams.
I had already been contacted by three separate individuals asking me if I would list their diggers on eBay for them. Easy money you say, and yes it would have been very tempting at £400 per sale as I used to own an eBay and an Amazon shop and made a very tidy profit - but these guys wanted me to list THEIR diggers on MY eBay account. Immediately alarm bells are ringing. The reason they want me to list these on my account is that their account is new and eBay won't let them list more than £4000 of goods in a single month until they have established good feedback.
Of course the buyer will never see the digger and I would never get the fee promised for the sale and would end up with an invoice from eBay for the commission, bad feedback and a visit from the local bobbies.
When the Private Investigator contacted me - I told him about the eBay scam thinking I was ahead of the game, what I hadn't realised was that there were many more scams than that and that I had bid on a couple of them.
One is where you are asked to buy goods with credit card, you then have the goods delivered to your address and the advertiser then contacts you with an address to forward the packages to. Around a month later, the companies you have been buying from realise that they have not been paid because the credit card is a forgery and call the police - you then get a knock at the door and are arrested and your PC/Laptop is seized as evidence.
What fool would fall for this I hear you say - and you are right to think this way, but the ad does not state this (obviously) it often asks for a Virtual Assistant who has some purchasing experience and lists buying as one of many tasks they want you to carry out. The truth is that buying is the only thing they want you to do - with a forged credit card, spending like mad until caught. They vanish and you are in a lot of trouble!
I have more to tell you with regard to these scams and will update my blog next month with more scam stories to help you keep safe.