Every time I start talking with someone about becoming a freelance writer, or someone who is a freelance writer looking for some new ideas or other help, I find myself nervous that I will accidentally send them into the hands of a shark who will somehow scam them out of their money or identity.
So, it was with some relief that I came upon this site. This is technically at a science-fiction writing site, but it is good advice for everyone. It is a Writer Beware page that lists some of the more common scams. This list is by no means complete, but at least you get a heads up on some of the common tricks.
Other Safety Tips
- Never ever give out your Social Security Number. (Give out your EIN on a W9 Form)
- Only give out your name and other info AFTER you have been given the job (more important online than offline)
- Never “just sign up” for a website in order to APPLY for a job. (You may have to sign up to AFTER you get the job, but a legitimate employer will give you a username or way to do it for free.)
- Don’t leave money in your Paypal account. (It is way harder for them to get money from your bank than from paypal.)
- Never give out your banking information, even for direct deposit unless it is a real world, real building, real offices that you have been inside company. Otherwise, give them a Paypal account or an online banking account. And, do not leave money in either one.
- Get a business phone number (use GrandCentral or other service so you don’t need another phone line)
- Use *67 to block caller id any time you call a business contact, especially if you are calling from your cell phone. (Otherwise, expect plenty of calls at 11:00 PM).
It isn’t that bad out there, but where the scams are, they are mean. So, keep you head on straight and go for it. Just don’t get so excited you forget your basic safety rules.