Getting a writing gig can be challenging but now you also have to worry about fraudulent clients. Client fraud occurs in a few ways and it’s important to recognize it to avoid wasting your time and to protect your privacy. There are several reasons why client fraud occurs from theft of content to data phishing. Here’s how these suspect characters find their victims and how to counter their tricks.

The Content Thief

This vile creature attempts to gain content with no intention of ever paying you. Some of the tactics include asking for free samples, avoid deposit payments and outright plagiarism of your content. 

This sneaky “client” will ask you to create content for their site as confirmation that you can write. Not only offensive, but totally unnecessary. As I have mentioned in previous articles, there is no reason to provide free writing samples. A smart tactic is to provide a link to your portfolio. A legitimate client will accept this and be able to determine if you are a good fit for their copywriting needs. 

Another tactic used by fraudulent clients is to request content with the promise to pay if they use your content. The truth is that once you submit your work, you will have no control to how your content will be used. And sadly, you probably will never see a dime for your efforts. Always ask for a deposit. If they do not pay, do not work. It really is as simple as that.

Plagiarism is tough to combat. But you can watermark your content to make it more challenging. It also does not hurt to put your content through Copyscape (or similar software) and see what comes up. You should only see your work come up. A little more time consuming but in the end, it is up to you to protect your work.

The Identity Thieving Client

This client pretends to be interested in hiring you for a permanent role or a temp gig. But in reality, their goal is to access your private information such as birthdate, social security and other secure information. Once they have this information, they can open accounts in your name to purchase items, get cash and damage your credit profile.

A legitimate client will not ask for this information. I worked in human resources for over 15 years and we only ask for that information after you are hired. If it sounds like you are filling out a credit application, ditch the client no matter how much they promise to pay you.

If the information requested sounds like you are applying for credit, do not give it and terminate contact. You should also verify that the client is legitimate by asking to see a company website with contact information. Research the organization and make sure you are dealing with a legitimate employee before discussing private information.

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