How To Prevent Falling For Fraudulent Job Postings

Written By: Abhinav Sethi

This article was the winning entry in IFW Blogging Contest 2013.

I have been working in the freelance writing sphere for a while - a little over 3 years to be more precise. During this time, I have worked with dozens of clients from all over the world. It goes without saying that this experience taught me a thing or two about the trade as well. One particular thing which I learnt - and trust me, this particular one is quite important - is how to tell if a prospective client is good enough to be approached for work. Are they genuine and credible enough? Will they pay you in time (if at all)? Are they worth your time? You can find answers to these questions by simply looking at the job posting.
You see, if you are serious about freelance writing, or plan to make a living out of it then you seriously need serious clients. You need people who appreciate good quality work, encourage creativity, and not to forget- - pay reasonably. In our profession there is a saying which has also become quite popular over the past couple of years - “You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.”

Now, how do you tell if a client would be paying peanuts? After all, they don’t mention that in the postings, do they? Well, for one thing, you can ask him regarding it but then maybe he will ask for a sample first. In any case, asking questions will only waste your time. Won’t it be better if you could filter out the genuine job postings without wasting time on communicating with useless clients?

It is possible. And in fact, it is rather easy. All you have to do is be a little extra careful when going though job listings.

Here are a few tell-tale signs that should set your alarm bells ringing.


Some people are dead confident that using uppercase in the text makes it look more important. However, to a smart person such kind of tactic on the contrary only gives a bad impression. And so, generally, these kinds of people are unprofessional, and simply want to lure more people into their scams and fraudulent schemes.  So, the next time when you see a posting which looks like “NEED CONTENT WRITERS IMMEDIATELY. EASY INCOME, 2 HOURS WORKING” you better shift into wary mode.

2) Key Words

Want to know if a prospective client will pay in peanuts, or won’t pay at all just by reading the ad? Well, if you notice words like start-up, bulk work, inexperienced writers eligible, etc. in the postings then close the webpage immediately. You don’t even need to contact the employer- a word which I am only using for the lack of a better one.
Bulk- Bulk work simply means they don’t care much about the quality, and hence pay paltry sums. After all, unless you are Rajnikant da you simply can’t write quality posts in bulk every day.
Start-up- this is just a euphemism of saying- Guys, we are new in the market. So don’t expect any pay from us, at least until we start making money ourselves.
Inexperienced writers eligible- This key word is used when they are looking for cheap writers, or newbies who can be easily made to work for the kind of money needed to buy popcorn, or even for free.

3) Brevity Of Words

Many a times you will come across such job postings which are extremely short. I mean, I have even seen one which just said “Freelance writers needed. Good pay. Contact-
If an employer is serious about his work, then he will always give details of the kind of work he requires. He will explain what kind of niche writer he is looking for. He may even want the writer to have experience with SEO, and platforms like Wordpress. And when he expects so much from you then understandably he will also pay appropriately.

4) Too Good To Be True

Another kind of job postings which exist involve a lot of ‘$’ signs preferably put in the titles, and are also often put next to figures with lots of zeros. Here is a sample post- “$$$ Make $4000- $5000 from home every month easily $$$.” Seriously, if someone could earn that kind of money from home, and that also easily, then freelance writing would become the most popular job in the market in a jiff. Reputed software engineers and businessmen would quit their work and join us in no time.

A little diligence while applying for freelance jobs will help you save a ton of anger, helplessness and grief that comes with not being paid for your services. Avoid these "so-called” clients and instead try contacting the ones who will pay appropriately and also give you a platform for growth.

Always make sure that before you start working with a client, you get all his/her details including location, contact number. etc. Also, never send more than one sample article to a client. For all you know your work is being used for free and the client will disappear without paying you a penny.

I hope you will find these tips helpful. Keep writing, and keep dreaming.

Author Bio:

He is an engineer by education, but a content writer by profession. He loves reading books, listening to music, playing guitar, and writing poems. You can reach him at


  1. This one is superb! Abhinav, u deserved the top rank. Reality

  2. Excellent piece on the spam and scam that is spread all over the internet. I liked the break odwn of the keywords to as to which means what ans it is true. Good post.

  3. Thank you Megha and Aniket. I am glad you liked it. :)


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