Scammers targeting freelancers

I am writing to figure out the best way to get the word out to be aware of potential clients trying to scam freelancers. I have had two different interactions with potential clients who ask for estimates on certain projects, and then once they are to sign the estimate and give a downpayment, it suddenly gets complicated in a number of ways:

  1. They want someone who owes them money to send me my downpayment, and the money they owe my client, and then I am to send the money from this other person to the client


  1. They want to give me a credit card for me to charge my downpayment and an amount they owe another “creative” or “project manager”, and then I am to send the rest of that money on to the other person


  1. They want me to sign up for a certain payment system with in an application so they can pay me that way

(Even though I have given them several secure options for payment to me).

I have not succombed and refused these odd requests. My husband is an attorney which helps, because I learn through osmosis from him talking about the law business.

I do not want other freelancers to be targeted, and I already know of one person in my community who has also had these fishy interactions happen.

Thank you. This is all good advice.

For me, any of these kinds of oddball payment requests would be an immediate indication of a serious issue. My response would be to tell them that I would need a cleared, upfront deposit before any work would begin and that final payment must be made before delivery. Any normal, reputable client will have equally normal and reputable payment procedures. Those who don’t are almost always people to avoid.


I totally agree with Just-B. Anyone that can’t pay using regular payment methods is likely nefarious.

When I worked in a printing company there were similar printing scams. We didn’t deal with people that couldn’t pay by regular means. I’m pretty sure these sorts of scams have infiltrated every industry under the sun.

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We had a guy do this to us, so we geolocated him and sent him a picture of his house from Google Earth. Haven’t heard back since.

Probably some innocent guy’s house unless the scammer was really stupid. Most scammers are not stupid enough to show their real IP addresses.

No it was him. He lives in Bermuda lol.

The thing is, I find most scammers are stupid. But they do catch and release. They cast their nets wide but prey on the lowest common denominator among us. Any chance of getting caught and they disappear. That guy saw his house instead of the other several addresses he’d used previously and Noped on out.

Well, the plot thickens. I received a check in the mail. I checked the business address and went to the website and there is a big warning on the site that anyone receiving a check from this business operating account should not cash the check and the FBI, the Florida Attorney Generals office, etc. is investigating. So I put in a report to the FBI. The business check came from Vista Plantation Realty.

Thank you for the information Katie.

Thanks for the information. It’d be really nice if people would stop trying to one-up creatives (or anyone, really)…

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