When online writers first start looking for private clients or applying to jobs they find online for writing gigs, their main concern is often avoiding getting scammed.  And unfortunately, there is good reason for that.  Over and over again I hear about writers getting scammed, having their work stolen, not getting paid, and generally being taken advantage of. 

But writers, whether new or old, can avoid getting scammed by watching for the red flags – the signals that indicated that the client might not be on the up and up.  These signs may be subtle or obvious but if you are careful and examine the ad for these traits, you can avoid getting scammed by people who want to take advantage.

1. They Want Freebies

If they want you to send a unique article and they don't offer to pay for it they are likely going to use your work - this is how they get free content.  If they want a unique article as a sample because they want to see if you can follow directions, make sure there is a statement in there somewhere that says that if they use your article they will pay you for it.

2. They Promise Ridiculously High Rates of Pay

If they are offering to pay you an amount that you know is too high for the job they are asking for it is likely too good to be true.  Yes, writers do deserve to be paid a nice sum for their work, but if they are offering to pay you $100 for something you know darned well will only take you 15 minutes, they are likely just using it as a lure.

3. They Want You to Pay

Do doctors need to pay to get access to sick people? Of course not. You should not need to pay to get access to jobs either.  There are some place that ask for payment for certain things that some have found success with but do you need to pay out money to get good writing jobs?  No.  The majority of writers do not pay to find the clients that pay them on time.

4. They Don't Give Details

Anyone that hires writers knows that the more details they give the more likely they are to get qualified writers to apply. Without the details they get all sorts but they don't care because they are likely a rip off.

5. They Target Work at Home Moms

If they say the job is perfect for work at home moms (or retirees or college students) they are likely looking for cheap labor and think this is the best way to get it.  They think that work at home moms are not smart enough to get real jobs so they try to take advantage.