Red Flags

I started this blog as a way to help me go through my manuscript writing and editing process, and hopefully help others in as well along the way.  However, I also do some freelance writing and editing on the side.  I know many people who do both, you know you have to pay the bills (or try to) somehow while waiting for your novel to be discovered.

Everyone knows there are many scams out there from people who are trying to part you from your money or other illegal things that involve money.  It is something we all need to be careful about and warn each other when we find a new one.  Well I recently had one attempted on me.

I have myself listed on many sites as a freelance writer, some I frequent more than others.  I have received jobs from random strangers via email, referred to me by someone I have worked with.  However, I received one last week which was not.

Now they sent me the article they wanted rewritten and edited, I’ve seen that before so you know what to quote.  I looked it over and asked several questions before saying yes.  I made up a contract and sent it off expecting them to tell me my fee was too high.  In a way, it was but the article was in terrible shape and their English in the emails was just as bad so I knew it would be difficult to get right.  They agreed and sent the form back to me.  I told them in the contract that the project would start once I received half the money upfront (the balance would be due at the project completion).

Well a few days later, I receive an email telling me that the person in charge of the money sent me a money order for their entire project budget, $2000!  I received an apology in this email and three copies of identification.  I requested the return address so I could send the money order back and asked them to pay me my retainer only.  I was suspicious at this point that it was a scam but wanted full proof.

The reply was to cash the MO, keep my fee, and Western Union the rest back.  That confirmed that it was a scam and I stopped replying right then and there.  I contacted my location police requesting the email of the police department and I contacted the site where I was told they found my name.  Not surprising the site had never heard of these people but they thanked me nonetheless and said they would inform their people of the scam.  I emailed both the police and the site the entire email transcript.  If I receive an MO, I will also take that to the police.

Once I did all that, I informed the fraudulent company that I had reported them to both places and that the contract was void since they were scam artists.  I have not heard from them since and have told as many people as possible.  Some said I should have known from the beginning but others said it was new to them but those kinds of things have started showing up in areas they previously had not.

So be careful when you are approached for writing jobs.  If it raises a single red flag, it’s probably fake.

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About awritersprocess
I have been a writer longer than I can remember. It started with poems in grade school and evolved into the manuscripts, articles, and blogs that I currently write for. My desire to become an editor came later in life but I am no less passionate about that as I am about writing. I have a BA in English (with a minor in History) and have even taken a proofreading class through Editorial Freelancers Association. I am a writer for hire.

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