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Possible scams or legit clients how can you tell?

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  • Possible scams or legit clients how can you tell?

    Hello, I am pretty new to freelancing I worked for a firm for 20 years but I never dealt with the payment part of it and we had people that ran credit checks with the clients and were all verified businesses. but this was years ago and things have changed.

    With a website in this digital age its not uncommon to get a request from someone across the country. I recently received a request for a website from someone across the country. He had a good size budget and wanted a site built and wanted a maintenance plan and was eager to pay for the whole package and a year of hosting with Squarespace. Something about the responses were a little fishy he had an avatar to his email account of an older white male. I looked up the name and it did come up with the image but there were no contact details.

    He had asked for all my info like phone number and I gave it to him and I asked for his he gave me a number and time to call which was early in the AM I could not make that call but called him later and got a google message so it was a google phone number, not an actual phone number. Not really a big deal but I asked for him to call me and he did he had a strong foreign accent I almost could not understand him. Very unlikely the person in the avatar photo.

    That's really odd, right? I told him I was just a small freelancer and could not handle being responsible for that amount of money which was the truth.

    Now I got another client emailing me wanting some artwork done for a logo and flyer he is currently out of the country but he wants to have 5000 of them printed again. The way the email is written is similar with urgency and he wants to pay by credit card for the whole project. I don't mind eating the cost of the artwork if something goes south as I can just add it to my portfolio but I can't afford to eat 5000 brochures if this is not legit.

    Thoughts? Suggestions?

  • #2
    Companies with no internet history always seem a bit fishy. Lack of an easily found phone number is also a warning sign. Details that don't add up are reason for suspicion. No Better Business Bureau record is a indication to beware. Unusual calls and emails that come from out of the blue without a logical origin, throw up all kinds of red flags. Google Street Views can be useful in checking out addresses.

    When things don't seem quite right, I'll always dig deeper until I find the reason for it -- even when it involves confronting the client about my misgivings. If I can't find a suitable explanation that calms my warning triggers, I'll typically turn down the job. Even if I'm reasonably sure a new client is legitimate, I'll require 50 percent in advance, and I definitely won't spend my own money on the job with the expectation of being paid later on. Any payment to a printer, would be handled directly from the client to the printer -- I never put myself in a position of being responsible for payments to printers or anyone else.

    Not all that long ago (two or three years, maybe), I got a call from out of the blue that really just didn't seem right, but he offering me a well-paying freelance job involving all kinds of odd overseas connections. After the call, I did a few Internet searches and found this guy had just been paroled from prison. He had been part of a big Internet gambling operation run out of Central America. On the next call, I casually mentioned that I always check into clients before doing business with them and mentioned that I had found that he had been through an interesting past several years. He eagerly told me the whole story leading up to his arrest by the FBI and how he had been extradited from Costa Rica in handcuffs. He mentioned the lessons he had learned, and volunteered to pay me 100 percent in advance as a show of good faith. He turned out to be an excellent client.


    • #3
      Sounds like you got one of these:

      The ones we get are always for a church.






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