How To Beat The "Send Me A Sample" Scam
Beat The Criminal Thieves Of Your Work At Their Own Game!
I warned writers on my Hub on the Freelance Slave Market about avoid getting suckered into working for pennies an hour, but now a new and completely shameless scam has come to my attention. It sounds innocent enough: It's the sample.
Many of the people asking for bids on the various freelancer bidding sites (with accent on free) ask to see a sample of your work. That is quite acceptable as it is obvious that the person who is going to contract with you as a writer wants to make sure that you can spell, construct a sentence and have some sense of the English language. There is usually no problem with providing a sample, as long as it is of your previously web published work!
A sample that already exists on the Web and has been properly Googled is perfectly fine to send. It shows that you are already publishing on the internet and demonstrates that you possess all of the relevant skills.
It's not always that simple though... There have been some recent attempts at ripping off writers wholesale. Here's how it works.
The request for bids carries a substantial budget, significantly more than the pennies per hour average. When you read the description you learn that this is a long-term position, it is fairly easy, and with some good time management skills, could be pretty lucrative for you. Watch out for the coming zinger, though. At the very end of the post, there is a mention that a sample needs to be submitted for consideration, so every bidder will be given an unique subject and asked to write a 600 or so word essay.
Did you catch the scam yet? Well, here's how it works: Since the request for bids is significantly more lucrative than average, a flood of writers bid to win the contract, sometimes well over one hundred. Each one of them, regardless of bid amount, is asked to write a full essay on a particular different subject that must be completely original, pass copyscape, etc. etc. At the end of the process, the winner of the bid is always... the person's cousin!
No one gets the contract. However, the shrewd criminal has now accumulated over a hundred original articles on the exact subjects they needed, and they have paid absolutely nothing to anyone. Taking advantage of the fact that writers don't spend all day copyscaping their own sample essays, they will now be blissfully published and the criminal has saved themselves a thousand dollars of writers' fees or even much more. Imagine if the criminal has a blog that they want to fill. Innocent sucker writers have now provided them with six months of material for free!
The bottom line is to never ever ever send in an original sample. If you are absolutely desperate and think that this is the one opportunity you'll come across in your lifetime to pay off your mortgage, then adhere to this technique:
1) Write your essay.
2) Format it so that it all fits on your screen, as legibly as possible.
3) Press Print Screen.
4) Go into Photoshop or other image editor, crop out the borders and save as a .jpg.
Now you can send the image file with some tranquillity in the knowledge that if they are going to steal it, they will likely have to run OCR software, fix mistakes, etc. In the vast majority of the cases, your image file containing your text will simply be discarded and the criminal will go off to prey on the suckers who have sent him easily liftable text formats like .doc, .rtf, .txt, etc.
Beware of the criminal scammers of naive writers. They're everywhere!