Over the years I have received several solicitations that reeked of scam juice. These range from people wanted to know if I take credit cards to those offering a jobs. Being a freelancer for over thirty years I’ve seen my share. There’s a few red flags to watch out for.
- Do you take credit cards scam? This is a flag, I’m not even sure what the scam is – there just something that says I want into your bank account. Of course I take credit cards, but only after the client has sent a check though US Mail as a down payment. The last scam of this sort I googled their name and a jail in NJ came up along with another post about a person with the same name who was a scam artist. These people go on to say the have a budget of $4,000 – $6,000 and they want that special designer, not just anyone.
In the past, I never needed a down payment, but these days I never invest more than a 20 consult before I request a payment. You can eliminate the web developer scam but requiring a deposit, by check, sent though US MAIL. If they have a legitimate business they should have no trouble sending in a check. You want an actual client, a person who is not in jail (or will soon end up there), you should do a little research on them. Aside, who ever contacts you has done their research too.
- We want you to join our talent pool scam. They will say they have lots of jobs open with important customers. They then proceed to lead you step-by-step to offer-up your personal information. Deloitte Open Talent Community wanted me to pay for my own background check though their chosen background checkers at $114. This smelled like a scam, not saying it is a scam, but stunk of one. They went on to say I could find someone else to do a background check, then upload the results. (weird enough) They also wanted liability insurance, another $1,500. I responded with something like: “I’ll need a retainer to cover costs”. After about a week, I get a note back that they’re going to waive the background check and liability insurance. (imagine that). Then they had me fill out a “contractor form” that I download and upload though an online app, with cute little checks as I proceeded though the application process. I don’t mind giving out public info, but then they wanted a copy of my auto insurance policy. My immediate thoughts were “why do these people want to know what kind of car I drive”? So I asked them why they needed a copy of my auto insurance policy. Their reply was:
Deloitte wants to be sure that there is coverage if you ran out to make some copies at Kinkos related to your work at Deloitte and got into an accident, for example – just want to be sure that everyone is personally covered. You can just upload your insurance card – or policy – something with effective dates.
I have to give them credit, their writing is like poetry, mesmerizing. Their application process goes on to try to get you to sign a consent form to not to use their name, or their client’s name, such as listing them on your resume. Other than “I worked for a large company in the oil industry”. I finally googled Deloitte open talent (which I should have done in the first place but they such a big name) and then found I should probably protect my personal info.
As a freelancer or business owner, there needs to be trust. We all want work. We want good work with honest people. But always google your lead, and leave the scammers to scam each other.