Monday, September 7, 2009

Found another scammer

It's easy to ferret out the scammers: Ask them how much they'll pay you for your writing. If they don't respond, they're a scammer.

Here's an example. Last week, I responded to a craigslist ad from someone who needed a writing coach to help him craft letters to his bosses, write reports and compose short speeches. It sounded fairly interesting, especially compared to some of the dry-as-dirt content writing I've been doing lately.

I responded, and I heard back from the ad poster within an hour. He wanted to know if I could write a sample letter for him. He wanted a raise, and he wanted me to write the e-mail message that he would give to his boss asking for one.

I'm not that smart. But I knew this was fishy. I'd already given him samples of my writing. He didn't need additional ones, then, to figure out my writing style. I e-mailed the poster back, anyway, asking him what he'd pay for such a sample. Of course, I didn't expect a response, and I didn't get one.

Here's my advice: Never, ever write a fresh sample for a potential employer, especially if you hooked up with this employer through craigslist. The odds are, that the poster is going to use your sample without paying for it. Only send job posters samples of your previously published writing. And make it absolutely clear that the samples you are sending have been published already.

Web site owners laugh at writers who are stupid enough to send them fresh samples. It's a great way for these scammers to fill their Web sites with unique, free content. Don't fall for this trick.


  1. I've heard about this scam ... very sad that not only are individual jerks doing it, but actual business owners as well.

  2. Hi, Eve:

    This scam is very popular on craigslist. It's too bad. But with content being so important, it's not much of a surprise that people are willing to cheat to get it.