It goes without saying that, as a freelancer, with every job application you submit, you stand the risk of being interviewed by a fraudulent or difficult client. As a freelancer, you always want to work with clients that appreciate your services and understand the demands of your craft. Some clients can pretend to be legit, only to bail out once they receive results from you.
I will give you four significant red flags of a “bad” client.
Asking For a Form of Deposit
A real client will never ask you to get involved financially, before awarding you the project. Clients who ask you to make a payment before moving forward, are very likely fraudulent. In fact, this is as clear a violation of freelance policy as can be. Also, look out for clients that have no problems “creating milestones,” even on hourly proposals. It goes to show that the client is invested in the work.
Let’s Take This Someplace Else
Reject a client that is asking you to continue the conversation on another platform. Very often, clients that opt to go over to “Skype,” “Google Hangouts,” and “WhatsApp” etc. are up to no good. You can have a client eventually communicate with you via email or these social platforms, but not before the job has been discussed extensively here on the freelance website. They may choose the other platforms as these may be easier to reach them via. But, never give audience to a client who right off the bat wants to take you over to Skype. This screams; Fraud, fraud, fraud all the way.
Offering to Pay You off The Freelance Website
When you work and earn via the site where you are registered (like here), you are guaranteed payment for the work done. Clients know this, and for the most part, they comply with this safety net. Because, vice versa; clients are also assured that when they pay for something and shortly after that see that it is not worth it, they can make a strong case for a refund.
Changing the Terms and Conditions of the Offer Mid-Way into the Contract
Now, let’s say you have discussed a project with your client, and both parties have come to an agreement to proceed. There is no justifiable reason (asides poor results from you) that should prompt the client to alter the terms and conditions of the contract. Unless they are so excited, they are offering you a raise (in which case, we say “kudos” to you); the terms of the accepted offer should remain as is until the work is completed successfully.
Asking You to Sign up Somewhere before Being Offered a Contract
You may not be acutely aware of it, but many fraudsters are actively exploring the avenue of freelance websites to (sadly) recruit victims of phishing. Clients that send you some half-baked URL to the “complete job description,” which of course requires your email and password to access this “locked” file.
Please, don’t fall for this; they are probably after your private information for cybercrime attacks.
Get smart about choosing clients; use this guide to fish out rotten eggs, and reel in the offers with positive tidings.