Freelancing is a booming industry that opens a lot of opportunities to the Filipino workforce. One of the things that we commonly do when looking for a job is to select the skills we want to showcase and finding job posts that suit us. Some are called lucky enough to receive job offers even before applying though it’s considered not to be luck alone, it’s mostly because of their vast knowledge in several platforms and skills. But even if you are being handed with a silver platter in a split second, you still have to stare and observe carefully if the silver platter is hiding an ugly and rusty platter beneath.
It is highly substantial to check if a job post is legitimate as well as the company or client that wants to hire you. The offer may wow you but being vigilant is still your best friend in saving yourself from scammers and losing profits such as the case with Ubicoins. Falling with the hands of scammers posing as clients is a traumatizing experience, and one of the things to keep this from happening to you is by having a background check on your potential employer or client. Here are the five reasons why you must investigate an employer or company before saying “yes” to a job.
- Checking out on your potential client or employer is a good thing as it can save you from divulging personal data which can be used for illegal practices without your permission. As they say, data is one of the most expensive things in the world today and losing yours to the hands of suspicious employers can cause severe implications.
- Knowing how your client works with co-freelancers is equally vital. Just like in offices, the environment within the partnership is important because you will be working hand in hand with the client and knowing how well they behave or treat employees (considering racial differences, if applicable) is a factor that can affect your daily work experience in the even you get hired.
- Running a background check with their websites, email addresses, and job posts can save you from losing time and profits. Because many scammers are inventing companies and jobs that are appealing to the online freelancing community, you have to utilize your FBI-like skills in researching their authenticity and business origin. Saying “yes” to a job offer immediately without running a background check can end up with you exerting the effort and not getting even a penny.
- Keen observation on a job post or job offer including the salary, company name, business ordeals, tools, location, email, job offer composition, job contract, and even their contact details can be a hint that you are dealing with scammers. Being an observant can save you from taking part in criminal acts such as money laundering, intellectual piracy, and data breach.
- Lastly, you can help others be aware of the scheme and help other online freelancers from being a victim of such scammer clients or dummy companies. Sharing is caring and it will also be a good opportunity for you to be a hustler in identifying illegal online jobs.
A Confused Virtual Assistant on a Job Offer
Facebook is the largest social media platform that is being used by modern day workers such as online freelancers to share their thoughts, hiring positions, experiences, inspiring stories, warning posts and even timeline posts that seek advice and tips about a job application, payment system, computer purchases, and even job tools. A virtual assistant recently posted a job offer she received which is obviously confusing. The VA is wondering whether the offer is legitimate or a scam.
The job offer summary is, the Virtual Assistant will process financial transactions using their selected tools and platform. The initial rate is $35 per hour while the training is $18 per hour. The email even welcomed her already as a part of the company which is unbelievable as she was not even screened for the post yet. The US-based company, as it claims, is asking the VA to set up her home office and buy equipment needed, from their own choice of vendors, to get started. They claim to pay for all the expenses of the proposed equipment, and all payments will be directed to the VA’s personal bank account or her Paypal account.
With the surreal rates, additional office set up and sending money where someone has to divulge their personal bank or Paypal details; the post garnered only one conclusion: IT IS DEFINITELY A SCAM. It is a good thing that the VA posted it first before moving forward with the application or job offer. As projected in her post, she might have a bit of interest in thinking it can be legitimate. Many are caught on scams because of the huge $$$ they see, but again, anything illegal will not help someone bring decent bread on the table.
How Come Some Freelancers are Still Victimized by Scams?
Not everyone who does freelance read all posts circulating online but it doesn’t mean they have to continue being a victim of criminals or scammers. Awareness is already spreading out and sharing it can mean a lot to someone who is still uninformed about the trend.
We cannot blame the victims as some just want to earn a living and scammers also evolved their schemes throughout the years. Upwork, which is a valid freelancing site to look for jobs is susceptible to such illegal clients or job posts. Some users and admins even created a forum about scams to help each other in raising awareness and producing resolutions to remove such employers and keep them from doing such acts. Scammers often use Upwork and other authentic and working company websites’ logo and signature to look legitimate and valid. Some of these scammers are also good in composing emails and hiring posts which can lure applicants to say yes and proceed with their application process.
What are the Red Flags to Watch Out for?
Though they may have improved with obtaining logos and signatures, scammers are still not that good in making themselves appear “legitimate”. There are still red flags you can count on and watch out for whenever you receive an offer from a client. Suspicious clients are most likely scammers. They say that several use Google Hangouts for interviews, but not all clients who use the platform are scammers. You can try and study the list of the red flags to observe in a job post:
Red Flags in Online Job Offers:
- Unprofessionally written contracts, job offers, and description.
- Companies or employers are asking for initial payment for training/equipment/contract.
- Employers are requiring you to lend them your personal bank accounts or Paypal/Transferwise for their own use.
- Job contracts that are supposed to be paid upon sending them several articles (this is for writing jobs mostly).
- Email construction of the employer is asking you for personal data, passwords, and sometimes even links that are asking you to click to verify your accounts. This is highly to be a phishing email.
- Huge amounts of money are involved in your transactions that are not properly documented is a red flag for money laundering.
- Astounding salary offer for simple tasks o skillset required in job advertisement/post.
- Their company website is either unavailable or non-existent.
- The company or client’s email address is doubtful or not a purchased email address domain for the company/business.
Be vigilant and smart enough to avoid scammers online and don’t forget to build awareness inside the community if you happen to encounter a new scheme.
By passion and profession, Eunice is a content writer, ESL teacher, and social media manager.
Eunice worked in Accenture and Nestlé Business Services where she gained experience in content moderation, process training, customer service, and eContent asset management. Her passion for English and marketing landed her part-time writing jobs while working in a corporate office.
She discovered ESL Teaching that same year she started content writing and soon realized that it’s also something she wanted to pursue. She left her corporate job to become a freelance writer and ESL teacher.
Eunice has grown a network of clients in her content writing and ESL teaching career. Eunice consistently widens her expertise in marketing by learning new skills. She just started her career as a social media manager for clients abroad and in the Philippines.
You may check some of Eunice’s works on howpo.info.