The recent increase in demand in the Gig Economy has proved that freelancing could be a vital part of the new normal when we talk about the labour market post-covid. It is evident that COVID-19 has broadened and increased freelance opportunities for companies that opted to hire freelancers for cost-effectiveness and to supplement critical skill sets.
Individuals with little knowledge about the Gig Economy are often targets or victims of scammers and it is sad because effort is not exerted to be wasted. It is a huge waste of time to interact with scammers, it is even worse when you get viruses or malware on your computers, put there by a scam. In times of struggle, there are some desperate people, and there are other people who try to take advantage of people. There are some key things to look out for that are tell-tale signs of a scam.
In this article, we will give you some of the golden rules of how to avoid scams.
- Never send any ID- identity thieves are lurking online 24/7 and often disguise themselves as clients to lure people in need of jobs BUT government IDs with sensitive information is NOT a requirement for application. Your online profile should be enough proof of your identity and skills. No legit client will ever ask for anything more.
- Never pay for anything to get a job – you are the one who should be paid for the job! If a task requires you to pay a certain amount for security deposits, training bond, or any kind of payment, STAY AWAY!
- Never do any sample work for free – this is one of the most common practices of thieves to get your services for free! There are instances where freelancers do sample works for potential clients, only to be told that their work wasn’t good (even though the clients could still use the output). Your portfolio should be enough for them to critique your works if you are fitted for the job.
- When Employers refuse to accept an agreement or contract – the very basics of accepting a deal is drafting a contract and having it signed by both parties. A contract or agreement is your protection if any unwanted circumstances occur while working on the project.
- Empty profiles or Negative Reviews – this raises the red flag that a job post is probably fake. If you check the Employer’s profile there should be a clear online presence such as social media profiles and websites. Moreover, freelancers can give employers a review that can be seen publicly. Bad reviews are often an indication of a client who is difficult to work with but that might be indicated in the reviews, so bad reviews doesn’t necessarily mean the client is a scammer.
- If it feels too good to be true, it is probably fake – Some jobs offer the moon and the stars, they do this to get contact details, emails, mobile numbers and to fill up their databases with people looking for work. Your data has a price, so they will then sell this data to recruiters, or to other marketing companies. If you fill it out, you can expect your spam box to fill up quickly and your phone to start receiving calls and SMS’s at the very least.
- Chat to other freelancers – there are online chat rooms and groups where reputable companies advertise and experienced freelancers meet to chat and offer advice and support. Join them and learn from people in the industry.