[Tip : Don’t feel like reading ? There’s a video at the end, scroll down ;)]
When searching for new clients, Facebook groups dedicated to freelance jobs, or remote jobs, or focused on your niche might be very useful. They represent a real opportunity and you don’t want to miss your chance ! The problem ? Most of the posts you see won’t get you anywhere, these groups are full of scams. So how do you make the difference between a potential client and a scam ? Today I’m sharing with you 7 tips to help you, based on my own experience and mistakes.
Tip 1 : Make sure that the post is detailed enough. A company that is truly looking for a freelance to help them with a real job, will make the effort to write a job description, and give details, because they want to find the right person for what they need. The other ones are either a scam or the kind of client you don’t really want to work with. You know, the kind who’s going to negotiate a lot and wonder why you’re not working for free. I know that some will ask to be sent an email or message in order to have more details about the job… well from what I’ve seen, the ones who do that are scams, too.
Tip 2 : Check that the person who posted the job offer is a real person. Check their Facebook profile, whether it’s new or not, if it’s brand new and has nothing on it, it’s not a good sign at all. Try to find them on Linkedin too, every professional has a Linkedin profile nowadays, so it’s quite reassuring if you can find them there and see their background etc.
Tip 3 : Assess whether their selection process is coherent or not. No weird app to download or asking for your bank info right away, no silly and easy test where oh wow you’re the only one selected 5 minutes after you sent them the fulfilled test. Please be careful about this, and be sure not to share bank account information, never. If a client wants to pay you by bank transfer, they will ask for the info after signing a contract with you. Also never pay for anything, you’re the one providing a service, there’s absolutely no reason for you to pay for anything – some scams will offer you equipment for work and then ask you to pay a fictional custom clearance. Never fall for that.
Tip 4 : Check that the person you’re in contact with has a professional signature at the end of their emails, with contact info etc. Type their email address and phone number on Google to see if it’s a famous scam, check the company, whether they have a Linkedin page, a website etc. Read carefully the website, because some are fake, so make sure that what is written on the website make sense. If there’s a team page, check that there are pictures of them, and that you can find them on Linkedin for example.
Tip 5 : Look out for spelling mistakes. I can’t really explain why, but just like regular email spams, job scams tend to make spelling mistakes, so it can be a sign this is a scam. They’re getting better and better so this doesn’t work all the time, but if there are spelling mistakes, be extra careful.
Tip 6 : No contract, no work. This can apply to any situation of your freelance life, not only Facebook. If the client doesn’t want to sign a contract beforehand, then you’re not working for them, full stop. This is not negotiable. A contract is the only thing that can support you in case of a scam, or if they decide they want to pay, etc.
Tip 7 : If they provide you with a contract, make sure it’s a good one. As a freelancer, you must know which elements need to be in a contract, it’s the basics. If you receive a contract and some pieces of information are missing, don’t be shy and ask them if they can be added. Better be annoying now, than ruined later. You’re the one taking the risk in this situation, don’t forget that. And if they don’t want to add key elements ? Then it’s probably a scam. Don’t sign it.
If you’re still not sure, or if you see some of these signs but still wonder whether it’s a scam or not, just ask them for more info. If they serve you bullshit like “oh yeah we took down our social media because of a breach of security” or “we’re having an audit so we can’t do that for now”, ladies and gentlemen, it’s a scam.
With time, we just get used to it, like all kinds of scams, but I know it can be confusing when you first get into contact with this kind of people. Good luck !
I hope this was useful to you ! Please let me know if you have questions about it, I’m always happy to help.
Have a lovely week, and see you next Wednesday !