Freelancer.com Scam: What to do to Avoid Being Scammed


Despite painful experiences I’ve had with the site, I can still say that there is no Freelancer.com scam. If there are any employers who scam freelancers through the site, they do not represent the whole site in general.

I thought of sharing some of my experiences on Freelancer.com not to be emo but to share what I’ve learned based on personal experience and hopefully make a difference.

Freelancer.com scam

I’d like to talk about the scam and sham in GAF or Get a Freelancer as it was called before and how you can avoid them. Although I also find work through another major freelancing site, it was in Freelancer.com where I’ve been badly introduced to the world of dishonest people. I am no longer bidding through the site and the issues I’ve encountered happened a few months ago when I started in the site back in July.

1. Test articles

It’s not that all employers who ask for you write test articles are a fake but a majority of them are. If you already supplied sample articles from previously written work, I believe that there’s no need for test articles. Even if the samples show up somewhere on the web, the application letter alone will be more than enough to distinguish great writers from spammers.

In relation to spamming, while many apply with generic applications, I make every application letter as personal as possible. I write the cover letter based on what the project demands. I don’t copy paste a single phrase for all applications. This worked well for me. So when it was my turn to start a writing project, I looked for the same personalized cover letter when selecting people.

As for the test articles, I wrote UAW (Unique Article Wizard) test articles and was told my grammar was bad so it was rejected. A few weeks later upon performing a copy check, I saw my articles posted on an article directory. If it was so bad, why was it not edited and published exactly how I wrote it? The answer is simple. Some employers ask for test articles so they can get as much articles as they can and complete their projects without having to pay for anything. Anyway, I contacted the web master of the article directory site in question and they obligingly took down the articles without delay.

2. Project not awarded

If an employer awards the project, both you and him/her pays Freelancer a fee. If a project holder is not willing to pay a mere sum of $3 to $5 for fees, then there must be something wrong.

3. No milestones

If you intend to work without milestones, make sure that the employer is trustworthy enough. I understand that despite the minimal fees for awarding projects, there are also additional fees just to deposit funds alone whereas, you can send and receive money without fees through PayPal.

But it’s not always like that, I’ve been writing about a scammer in my previous posts. The guy actually had good reviews in Freelancer.com but it was probably only in the beginning. When he asked me to write, he did not award the project, he did not setup milestones, and he did not pay as well. So working with milestones is still most recommended.

4. Delayed payments

Another indication for a scam is delayed payments no matter what the reason. My first taste of this was from the very first project I won by bidding. The person only paid an amount that can pay the Freelancer fees but not the project. I’ve sent numerous follow up emails that were not answered. When she finally did, she was still full of excuses. She never paid me to this day. If I mailed her now, she will still probably write an excuse.

It was only a meager sum. I slapped her with the fact that it wasn’t about the money and I can easily earn the amount overnight taking calls in my previous job. It was the effort I exerted writing. Not to let it go just like that, she’s all over scam reports site now and even if I removed most of them as per her request, there are some sites that do not remove files from their database. Think I went too far? I probably did but it’s the only way I could vindicate myself.

What to do when you’ve been scammed

I doubt if anyone would bother spending time and energy to do what I did, but Freelancer.com can’t do anything much. They only offer arbitration for projects with milestones involved. I’ve reported the fraudulent person I've been talking about numerous times but they didn’t do anything about it. So although I say that Freelancer is not a scam, they still harbor criminals by not removing his account on the site. What most writers whom he also scammed did is to write scam reports about the guy, like I did. I searched for his information recently and there are new scam reports about him. He’s still at it.

In case you’re interested to do what I did, submit the unpaid articles to various websites online long before the scammer does. In that way, you can report the copied content once he or she does post them online. Also, even if it was already published online, you can still do something about it. See previous post about Google copyright infringement.

Despite several issues, Freelancer.com had still opened doors of opportunity for me. I have met wonderful people in the freelance writing world for whom I continue to work for to this day. I’m sure you’ll experience the same thing if you put to mind some of the reminders mentioned earlier. These will help you in distinguishing scammers from the genuine providers. 
Share on Google Plus
    Blogger Comment
    Facebook Comment

30 comments :

  1. Freelancer.com is a very greedy company and leave no chance to rip off providers.

    They charge commission when project is awarded, and if buyer disappear, provider lost his money and given an incomplete project on profile.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have to agree with you on that note about fees. Both providers and buyers are charged a fee (I know because I've assumed both roles) for projects. In fact for a buyer, there is a fee for every single provider you hired (aside from the project fee); not including the fees when you deposit money.

    So what I do is to go with the flow and hopefully earn provider's trust so we can transact outside the site through PayPal and avoid fees in the process.

    I posted this as a guide for freelancers, so everyone of us warned about scammers out there.

    But there are also issues with providers. See this article: http://www.freemindsfreelines.com/2011/11/tips-when-choosing-freelance-writer.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. I hate freelancer.com, they are definitely a scam company, they don't even have a phone where you can talk to a live person or something, their live support are persons from 3rd party countries. They suspend accounts that have money and they never respond to you and even ignore you by kicking out the chat.
    I recommend you to stay away from this site.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Appreciate your feedback. As for me, it's not the site per se which is a scam but it's some of the people (employers or buyers) who scam freelancers that are.

    ReplyDelete
  5. the site is a SCAM. STAY AWAY. I took a very small project $30, and they charged me $20 in fees, and have to wait months to get the money out of the account. Just $10 - not worth it, better to stay clear.

    ReplyDelete
  6. ^Your clearly not a legitimate user of Freelancer.com. You see fees are only at 10%, thus the fee is only at $3. It's only applied if the project was awarded to you and not when you took it (I wonder how did that happen? :) If you are a premium member, the fees are lesser.

    For the first withdrawal, it takes 30 days for clearing once the employer releases the funds. Afterwards, it's instantly sent. You see it doesn't take months.

    A popular freelancer site, oDesk, also charges the same fee percentage and it doesn't change since there is no premium membership of any sort. Your funds become available after a week and there is also a waiting time (3-5 business days) once you withdraw it to a bank account.

    I have to say that there are scammers on the site of course and this article talks about them. It's not the site but some of the users you should be careful about.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Don't defend them... I can confirm they love to rip you off and their customer support is dumb and lazy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have no reason to defend Freelancer.com. I have been ripped off an amount close to $200. But it wasn't the site's fault. It was my fault for being a noob who doesn't know that the site is filled with scammers and of course, it's the scammer's who are to be blamed as well. I know the site can't do anything much and that sucks. Trust me, I've been there and I've hated them for not being able to do anything but once again, my only is that ITS NOT THE SITE TO BLAME HERE. It's the scammer users. Peace. :)

      Delete
  8. Hi all

    I am am one of the victim of Freelancer.com. First time user from UK i wish i could find this blog before paying money to them.

    I did deposit 480 USD (They charged me 492 USD) to my account.

    I was trying to create milestones for project,

    4 pieces of 120 USD

    I did not realised that it is on GBP then i did cancel it. All money came back to my GBP account. I converted them to my USD account.

    When i deposited i had

    £ 5 and $ 480 in my account.

    When i converted i see that i have

    $441.52 and £5.00 i have so i lost 38.48 USD in seconds???

    USD and GBP exchange rates doesnt change like that in a second? I know the market. I know that guys would like to get profit but that is cheating. There is no that much high profit in Money Exchange Market? And it is impossible.

    Then i emailed them and Costumer Service was terrible. They just said they can not fix it and to give my money back they offered more than 2 weeks???

    This is scam. I cannot accept it. They can not charge users that much exchange rate this is insane. This is a big scam.

    I don't know what to do to be honest. I claimed to get it back on Paypal but it is going to take ages. And they will keep my money god knows for how long.

    And also after Paypal Case they suspended my account with no warning or no reason.

    Shame to do business like that.

    Thanks for listening :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry to hear about what happened to you. I think you were already charged for creating the project and awarding it to freelancers (separate fees for each one) before you cancelled it. Unfortunately, they don't have a refund when it comes to project fees.

      Delete
  9. I am NOT referring to scam users but to the VERY WEBSITE. They do use scam tricks: suspending or DELETING accounts with money deposited on them, privacy breaches and DO NOT help you when you ask. The company is a scam as it DOES NOT provide you the services it should. Better?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I've already read something about that through other forums and sites. The messages are always the same. It's like a script. I kinda feel like such forum posters are hired to post everywhere with the same message over and over again like the ones in scam.com. Most of them are also anonymous. If you've lost that much money, why would you hide in an anonymous forum profile?

      Delete
    2. I do not use any of stuff listed down (fb etc.). What's more I like a bit of privacy. Does this hurt you so much? People who got scammed by freelancer.com are hired? Give me a break... by whom? I assume you are defending them because they rent you for it. It would seem more logical.

      Delete
    3. I don't even freelance via Freelancer anymore. I'm not a privacy freak. I'm not into anything illegal online so I have no reason to hide anything. I freelance via oDesk and elsewhere online. Here's my Freelancer account - https://www.freelancer.com/users/2674211.html . It's not even that active anymore. Most of my gigs are from oDesk, Fiverr, and elsewhere online.

      Delete
    4. I do not do either. Suggesting that someone who does not like to flash with his or her photo, name etc. is into (as well as calling such people "privacy freaks"), puts you on a slippery slope. Frankly I do not care about you or places where you freelance. I am just one of many Freelancer.com's victims warn other people about it. I assume you know the issues, you just get paid by those pack of scammers disrespecting their customers. Piece of advice: be more gentle and less hustling. over and out.

      Delete
    5. My name is right here with my photo, need I still flash it? I still stand by what I said before. I lost nearly $200 over people who are using Freelancer.com as a venue to trick newbie freelancers like I was before. It sucks that the site has no concrete way to help people when we get scammed but other freelancer sites can't help that much either, especially if we fall into the traps which are outlined in this article. If the site pays me just to talk about them, this would have been a rich blog site. But no.

      I'm a researcher and I've found out that most entries under "Freelancer.com scam" or what not in forums and sites use the script over and over again with posters in anonymous profiles. If anyone has been tricked, all the more should they come out in the open and become a so-called warning to others and not hide behind anonymous accounts. Anyone can write negatively about a product anonymously but by which authority is it based upon when they can't even show themselves? Why would you believe someone who can't even provide enough proof.

      Whatever the case, this is not about the site per se, it's about people who uses the site to scam others. Period.

      Delete
  10. The largest scam to avoid is Freelancer.com itself. When you pay via PayPal they keep their site attached to your account and take out money at will. If you award additional money above the original contract there is an additional fee, but no way to figure out in advance how much it will be.

    Their fee was $4.50 on $150 (3%), $2.70 on $90 (3%), $0.90 (0.012857143%) on $70 ?? so how exactly are they calculating this mysterious fee? By picking numbers out of thin air? Or is it supposed to be 3% and that one time their computer forgot how to multiply?

    You can't create a milestone until you deposit more money - but when you deposit the amount you need to pay a freelancer they take some random amount out of it. So then to pay your freelancer you have to deposit more money - but they have a $30 minimum and won't accept just their fee amount.

    The site is really confusing - but their money games make it a scam and there are many people who say they opened an account, put money in, and then Freelancer closed their account and kept their money. Search for Freelancer.com scam to see them.

    If you use PayPal to put money in Freelancer you have to manually disconnect them or they can take money out of your PayPal account any time they feel like it. Here's how:

    Log into PayPal, click on Profile, then click My Money, then update on "My preapproved payments" to cancel.

    You have to do that EVERY SINGLE TIME you put money into Freelancer. STAY AWAY. Try elance. I haven't yet but it has a better reputation and hopefully it couldn't be worse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I have talked to their live chat people over and over asking them what their fee percentage is to award additional money and all they do is send me links to pages that don't have the answer on them.

      That is a very simple question that all of their people should be able to answer. It is ridiculous that they don't know.

      Delete
    2. There's clearly a personal basis for your concern so I wouldn't disagree in anyway. As for me, I have participated in a few projects as a buyer. These only involved minimal amounts and I haven't encountered anything unusual. Even the fees are no longer a surprise so I don't have that much complaints. :)

      Delete
    3. Maria, are you a representative from freelancer, because you are replying to every post and supporting them. Its surprising that you are doing so even after you have lost some amount. What is your special attachment to freelancer?

      They don't have buyer protection like eBay. They don't take any responsibility for disappearance of freelancers and non-execution of projects. In this cyber world such lack of protection is harmful.The freelancer team just says it is a platform to enable you meet the freelancer or project provider.So one needs to think twice while getting projects done/doing projects there unless they provide a resolution process for these issues.

      Delete
    4. I've lost money as a freelancer while on the site Freelancer.com but it wasn't because of the site per se. It's because of a scamming employer named Additto Sen with the username Tanvir324. It wasn't the site's fault that people like him exists. I understand that people here had issues with the actual site but that's not me. I can be sympathetic but I cannot relate. I had my share of becoming an employer through the site but I didn't experience the same thing they did. By the way, this is my blog so I'm sure there's nothing wrong with me replying to everyone since this is my blog. I'm only trying to accommodate people who take the time to post a comment. I'm not even active in the site anymore. All my freelancing gigs are through other sites like oDesk, which I admit is so much better than Freelancer.com.

      Delete
    5. Hi Gail. I’m taking the time to reply to each concern about Freelancer.com and I’d like to address yours.

      As we have said in our previous reply posted on May 17, 2012, Freelancer.com strives to be as transparent as possible when it comes to our fee structure. It is listed in our FAQ (http://www.freelancer.com/faq/view.php) and our Terms and Conditions respectively ((http://www.freelancer.com/page.php?p=info/terms) . Additionally, we have more information on fees and charges via this link, http://www.freelancer.com/news/articles-fees-84.html. We strongly believe our fees are nominal and some of the most competitive in the industry.

      As to your concern about payments, for convenience and ease of use, if users did not deposit funds for the milestone payment, we will automatically deduct the funds from their next highest currency balance. Following this, we will process the payment from their verified payment source which is from their Paypal account.

      We would like to assure you that Freelancer.com will only suspend or freeze accounts to further validate a user’s identity or investigate the transactions done through our site.The funds inside those suspended accounts won’t go anywhere. Once they’ve gone through account verification, the funds will be made available.

      We hope we’ve addressed your concerns. Should you have further enquiries, please send us an e-mail to [email protected] and we’ll address it promptly.

      Delete
  11. Oh, its your blog. Nice to see your reply.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Emille,

      Emir here from Freelancer.com. I’m taking the time to address the concerns posted here in Maria’s blog. We appreciate your feedback. While Freelancer.com is a platform where freelancers and employers can have a productive exchange of ideas, services and more, we go to great lengths to to make sure every issue and concern is taken care of. Users can contact us any time of the day, seven days a week either through e-mail or live chat. Be assured that each concern is treated with utmost respect and professionalism. As always, the support that we provide greatly depends on the cooperation from both employer and freelancers. We do our best to get them resolved as quickly as possible. To help get projects completed smoothly, we offer our Milestone Payment System.By placing a Milestone Payment, we will hold the funds until you are 100% happy with the work completed. This will also obligate the freelancer to finish the project and adhere to your agreed specifications. Using a Milestone payment will also let you use Freelancer.com’s Dispute Resolution Service, which allows you to dispute the Milestone if you are unhappy with the performance of the freelancer. For more information, please visit this link (http://www.freelancer.com/faq/view.php) and access the FAQ.

      I’d like to inform you as well that Ms. Maria is in no way connected to Freelancer.com, however, we do commend her for the effort and the time she has given to help out freelancers and employers.Thank you very much and we hope we’ve addressed your concerns.

      Delete
  12. Hi everyone. Emir here from Freealancer.com. I came across this blog and I've read all of the comments. We appreciate the feedback.

    I'd like to take some time to address the concerns raised here.

    But first, I'd like to thank Ms. Maria for her blog post. I'd like to add that we have more tips at our site (http://www.freelancer.com/news/articles.html) to help you become successful freelancers and employers.

    Freelancer.com is not a scam. We would like to assure everyone that Freelancer.com is not in the business of defrauding people of their money. We have millions of users and have hundreds of thousands of satisfied customers worldwide. We've been featured in international news networks, trade publications and more.

    As for our fee structure, Freelancer has always strived to be transparent about it. We have listed them in our Terms and Conditions (TOC), (http://www.freelancer.com/page.php?p=info/terms) in our Freelancer FAQ, specifically the Employers and Freelancer.com Membership Plans, Payments and Billing sections (http://www.freelancer.com/faq/view.php). We also have more information on fees and charges via this link, http://www.freelancer.com/news/articles-fees-84.html.

    Freelancer.com has an obligation to conduct our business in accordance with all applicable rules, regulations or laws. We will only freeze or suspend accounts to further validate a user’s identity or investigate the transactions done through our site. Freelancer.com will not disclose sensitive information unless to comply to legal obligations or with your express consent. Withdrawal clearance periods are also enforced for security reasons. Please visit the Payments and Billing section of the Freelancer.com FAQ (http://www.freelancer.com/faq/view.php) for more details.

    Please be assured that Freelancer.com policies and security procedures are in place to create a safe environment for freelancers and employers.

    Also, we've taken into account your feedback on Freelancer.com Customer Support and we'd like to assure that we will continue to work on improving what we do.

    If you have account concerns, we'd like to invite you to send an email to [email protected]
    together with a detailed explanation on your account concerns. Please include your name in the e-mail so we can identify it. I'll make sure our Customer Support Managers will work on addressing your concerns.

    Thank you very much and we hope to see you again use Freelancer.com services.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for taking time to respond to the feedback written here. I do hope they get to read it.

      Delete
  13. It isn't cool to get scammed. And Maria your right,most of those complaints about the site seem scripted lol. I just joined freelancer.com I havent won a project yet,but im thinking about going somewhere else. I have an elance account,might as well check that out again. Odesk? I think I signed up there,but havent actually bid on anything. I mean gesh every site has scammers and Im paranoid on doing work if I do win a project and lose money.

    Btw, Im anonymous cuz I didnt feel like signing up lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have accounts in enumerable freelancing sites. Every freelancer site have scammers. The type of clients who disappear after you submit work. Thus, I would recommend for you to ALWAYS ask for a milestone (no exemptions). If a buyer is not willing to pay for a milestone, it may mean they don't even have money to pay you to begin with. Even if they do, they still may not pay you after. I don't often accept fixed rate jobs, look for hourly or time tracked jobs as these are guaranteed payment no matter what. Good luck!

      Delete
  14. - Freelancer.com - the BIG SCAM - This video shows how Freelancer.com will smoke away your money - be careful with this site -

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eESrvA6daG8

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have had it with freelancer.com. I am over the scams, the taking of my money, the poor service. I am over it all.

    So I set up a petition to NASA to get them to cut ties with freelancer.com. Hopefully if enough people sign it, they will and that will shake up freelancer.com (I doubt it though!!!! They seem to be beyond repair!!)

    Anyway, please sign it, share it, support it. You know the drill. Thanks.

    https://www.change.org/p/nasa-tell-nasa-to-boycott-freelancer-com

    Ps sorry if you see this cut and pasted on other posts, I want to get this message out super duper quick and as far as possible. Cut and paste saves me time!!
    Pss Please help spread the word!!

    ReplyDelete