Copywriters – know thy clients

Red alert – scam report!

We’ve recently heard of a serious scam on freelancers’ websites. So if you use these sites to find work, listen up.

This scam has been directed at proofreaders.  But if our proofreading friends are fair game, no doubt copywriters and other freelancers are next in line.

The scam goes like this …

You get an email asking you to do a job.  You receive the brief and a bankers draft in payment.

When you query the banker’s draft, you get an email saying it was sent to you by mistake.  You are instructed to pay the banker’s draft into your bank account and send back the difference between your fee and the amount paid.

Needless to say, the banker’s draft won’t clear and if you’ve been daft enough to pay the refund, guess what?  The ‘name’ of the perpetrator is Rebeca Alonso.  But names mean nothing.  Be on red alert.

We haven’t heard of anyone actually parting with hard cash, although I’m sure some have.  We have heard of people doing the work, so they’ve still lost out.

For every benefit of the internet, there’s a downside.  Scammers are one of them.

So as a new copywriter, how do you avoid getting sucked into these scams?  Here are some tips:

  • Always get a new client’s name, address and phone number.
  • Check the address online.  It’s easy enough and worth the effort.
  • Get a phone number and check it – call them!
  • Google the person.  Try looking on LinkedIn – it’s a good research tool for prospective clients.
  • Get a signed agreement and ask for a deposit and DON’T start work until it’s in your bank account.  Remember the bouncing bankers’ draft!

Finally, use your savvy.  You know the old adage … if it sounds too good to be true …

Blog post by Joy McCarthy


Picture credit: 123RF

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