Scammers. Why did it have to be scammers?

While I may be scatterbrained, I think I’m a pretty smart person. I mean, if I’m paying attention, look out! But even I might get pulled into the occasional scam.

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You never know who’s behind the username on websites.

Fortunately, my Spidey-senses tend to kick in pretty quickly, and I start looking for the tell-tale signs of someone being up to no good. For example, I was contacted by a client today through Upwork, a site that connects businesses and freelancers. I’ve been sending in proposals for projects for a couple weeks, so I thought someone had realized what a catch I am. But this person contacted me on his own. That should’ve been my first clue. How many people are scouring Upwork instead of waiting for people to come to them? (I don’t know the answer, so if you do, let me know.) Still, I thought, you never know.

The job was for data entry. That was the second clue. I’m in the system as a writer/editor/proofreader, but data entry would be easy work and a way to get some Upwork hours under my belt. I’m still working on getting my first gig, so I responded to him and told him I was interested. While I was doing that, I thought to myself, “He saw my hourly rate, didn’t he?” It’s not exactly data-entry level. But I figured that was his deal.

Next was the “interview.” Via the live messaging system through the site, he greeted me and said the next step was providing my “online mail on a timely response.” There it was. “Online mail” and poor grammar. Plus photo of  “Jake Landon” looked a stock photo you’d find if you searched for “stock photo of white business man.”

Instead of deleting the conversation, I sent him an “online mail” to see what would come next. I used a burner email account (maildrop.cc), so I didn’t give this scammer my real email. It’s two hours later, and he still hasn’t sent anything.

I was lucky. This particular scammer was low-key and only asked for my email instead of other personal information. There’s a reason why there’s a built-in messaging system on Upworks; it’s a protection for users. Don’t provide personal information to people you don’t know anywhere, not just on this site. From what I’ve seen on Upworks so far, it looks like a good site. But like with many good things, there are usually a few squirrels who get into the system to muck it up.

Takeaways:

  • Listen to the voices in your head (well, maybe not all of them) if they’re telling you to stop and evaluate the situation.
  • Use a burner email (there are a number of free ones) if you feel the need.
  • Hire me for your copywriting/editing/proofreading needs because I’m a real person. 🙂

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