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As freelancing in the digital world continues to progress, people who try to take advantage of both employers and freelancers also arise. 

As an employer, it could be detrimental to the business if we fall victim to freelance frauds and scams. Imagine trusting a freelancer to do the job but ended up not providing output and much worse, making a run for your money. 

You wouldn’t just lose money, you’d also be late on the plans and schedule you’ve already plotted for the month. Moreover, you’d be back on looking for a new freelancer that would fill in where the scammer has left off.

What a way to mess a business, eh?

To prevent this from happening, it’s important to know how to determine frauds and scams. Check out the following warning signs and red flags that aim to trap employers.

Scam#1: Your freelancer submits copyrighted materials

When looking for a freelancer to work with, it’s best to check some samples made by him and verify if it’s an original. Moreover, you should also randomly check their output throughout the duration of the project just to make sure their output continues to be correct.

If you find out that your freelancer included copyrighted material, you should give him a heads up and see how you can work this through. After all, he might just not know that a material he included in his output is copyrighted. 

By discussing with your freelancer, you can come up with a resolution together. You can continue working with him and provide him insights about copyrighted material, or you can also make an agreement that if he does the same violation again, would require him to modify his output.  

If you find that he is stubborn about it, continuing to do the same thing even after the discussion, you can provide negative feedback on the freelancing site where you found him or stop working with him completely.

Scam#2: A potential freelancer asks for a project fee even before accepting the project

When providing a rate to offer to a freelancer, always keep in mind that it should include a project fee (the amount that would compensate for the skills and effort that would be used) as well as additional costs if there are any. 

However, you shouldn’t release any payment, not until the potential freelancer has officially accepted the project.

What you can do is agree on a partial payment whenever your freelancer provides a part of the project’s output. An example would be providing half of the total agreed payment when your freelancer has made significant progress with the project at hand.

Scam#3: Your freelancer asked for a raise after accepting the agreed rate

Sure, it isn’t exactly wrong when a freelancer asks for a raise especially when the project given to him starts to become mentally challenging or requiring more skills as compared to before. 

So when will you start thinking that your freelancer is a fraud?

It’s when he starts demanding more money or else he wouldn’t provide the needed output which would mean a delay to the progress of the project. When a newly contracted freelancer does this, you should discuss their reason behind it. 

If he cannot provide for the reason they have provided or couldn’t provide a reason at all, it’s most likely a scam and a breach to your agreed contract.

Scam#4: Your freelancer asks for payment even if any assigned work is completed yet

One of the most common scams out in the online freelancing world is when a freelancer asks for full payment even without a work done. 

Some may attempt to get your soft spot by making you feel sorry for them. One scenario would be asking for a salary in advance because they need it for an emergency – a family member would have gotten sick or were in an accident that requires expensive treatment.

It is, however, possible that your freelancer is really telling the truth and badly needed your help. So it’s still on your discretion if he can be trusted or not. 

If you notice that your freelancer often asks for his payment before finishing his output, you can release some of the agreed amounts until it is done and you’re satisfied with the provided output. In this way, you’d both be getting what you need a little at a time until the project is finished.

Scam#5: Your freelancer requests for personal and private documents for verification

May it is business or personal, you should never share your information with anyone online.

You should start raising a red flag if a freelancer asks for your IDs, some important documents and even a username or password for verification. 

Scammers usually use this and oftentimes succeed on it, as employers would really want to prove they aren’t a scam themselves. It’s best to avoid starting a project with someone who requests these as they are more than likely a fraud. 

Freelancing sites often have a feature on which freelancers and employers can verify their account and check others if they are verified too. This feature helps in keeping away frauds and would make the manual verification unnecessary. 

If you suspect someone is trying to scam you using this method, you can always report the user on the freelancing site on which you’ve met him. 

Scam#6: Your freelancer asks you to send his payment off-site

Unless you really trust the person or have known your freelancer for a really long time, it’s best to have all money transactions completed before using a freelancing platform. 

You shouldn’t agree to send money off-site such as by the use of Paypal, Bitcoin, and Skrill. Scammers may tell you they haven’t received the payment even if they did, which would make you spend twice.

Using a freelancing platform makes things more organized when sending and/or receiving payments especially when both accounts are validated. Moreover, some freelancing sites provide a mode of guaranteed payment, in which the freelancing site already have the employer’s payment held, and is only waiting for the freelancer to submit his output. 

This will be released when the employer is satisfied with the output, providing the requirements are met. 

It sure would hurt the business when we fall to these freelancing scams roaming across the internet.

May it be a small or large amount, it would still be a loss. After all, efforts and time have been wasted in recruiting the freelancer. And the time that should’ve been used for creating outputs will again be used for looking for a new one.

Keep in mind the warning signs when working with a freelancer or maybe even before hiring them. When you can easily spot these signs, you’re less likely to fall victim in these scams and frauds. 

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