I have recently explored my capacity to work as a full time freelancer. It would be a neat thing if I could earn more with this than in a full time work, at the same time I get to attend to other needs such as my boutique. Through various freelance websites and connections, I get a range of clients from the opposite side of the world.
I had my usual routine of finding clients through these sites, and luckily found a post on Guru that piqued my interest.
A post that probably calls for SEO writers, which, fortunately, is something that I have been interested in and wanting to practice as well so I bid. A few days after I key in my proposal, I received a message from the possible employer, Keefe Pang.
300 articles? My eyes sparkled with interest, of course. It was a good big project as a freelance. Our conversation then went on via e-mail after that. He used the e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. I kindly asked how was my service gonna be paid, and he gave me two options, Paypal, or from the site we met in. Since he is an international client, I only have Paypal as the easiest way of payment. I even told him I would have preferred the site we met from but I felt “too greedy” since freelancing sites take a percentage of your earning. So I told him Paypal it is. I was feeling a bit doubting during the time since I had no guarantee it wasn’t some kind of modus for scamming, but gave the benefit of the doubt since I checked his profile and saw some paid jobs he already purchased.
Soon, I was invited to a site called Asana. It’s like an online company/organization tracker or something. He even explains the reason as it was difficult to track 500 articles otherwise.
Moving on, we discussed instructions and he gave me the long list of keywords I needed to use for each article as well. I also requested to be paid every 5 articles and start on the next 5 after payment so we’ll both be at ease that it was a serious thing. A precaution I decided to take in case he planned on running away from the payment. He agreed.
In 2-3 days, I was able to finish the first 5 articles I was assigned with. I was of course, extremely excited for the payment as well. So I sent all the articles I owed to him via Asana. That was January 26.
January 28th came, when he replied. he asked for my Paypal details and even noted on each submission the number of words I wrote as it was a per-word payment. He then replied saying he already paid for the 5 articles I wrote, which I quickly checked on my Paypal account. US$12.50 from a person named Sylvia Koh. I was confused during the time as the rates we talked about was far, really far from what I received, so I immediately PMed him to ask about the rates, which he replied with our first agreement amounting to a much higher one. He then asked me to refund the fees and he’ll send another invoice as he mistook my rates with another writer. Of course I did so.
The $11.65 below is due to the Paypal refund fee. It was the maximum allowable amount to be refunded from the $12.50 after the refund fee is deducted.
Guess what. It’s dating February 10 already, and still none. I PMed him through Asana several times to follow up. I even politely ask if it would always take that long for payments to be released, and I did not get any replies after his message of sending me another invoice. During the time, I didn’t want all the hopes I had left to be gone. But when it hit the 1-week mark from our last conversation, I knew I was already hoping for nothing and it was unfortunately, a freelancing scam.
I ran a quick check on the site, Maple Tree House, that he used as his supposedly, corporate e-mail. I found out that it was a site based in Singapore, apart from his location from the freelancing site we met that says Japan. They sell handmade goodies, crafts and scrapbook needs and it was actually one of my best interests, but this scam thing is not part of what I had imagined.
Anyhow, it’s not like I have any claims on the service as it was done out of the freelancing site. I had nothing to hold against him. I had no W9 or payment protection system to be dependent to and it just makes me frustrated how I exerted a lot of effort into finishing those articles yet it had to come to this scam.
For those curious, the work I was able to finish would have valued at almost 130USD. Waste isn’t it?
Funny thing is, from another site, I was offered an out-of-site work as well. The person who offered says he was having troubles with the site’s payment system and he could do it outside and that he was a trustworthy person. I had a good laugh. I checked his profile and it was only registered January of this year. His profile had no description, no photo, no paid jobs and he expects me to believe he’ll be paying for my service just like that, especially after what I experienced? No. I am not taking those risks again.
Anyway, it would have been my karma for being selfishly asking for no fee deduction, but I realized it would be better that way. It just didn’t occur to me that people can actually do these kinds of stuff. My mom is right. No matter how kind you are, people around you will not always be as kind.
I have no idea if the site, Maple Tree House had something to do with this. But surely, we should not tolerate any type of scam even if we can consider that site as a legit seller. Besides, I might pay their store a visit when I go to SG. Who knows, I might meet Keefe Pang or Sylvia Koh, or whatever his/their names actually are and give him/her a good hug of a
job scam well done.
BTW, I’ll be publishing the articles I made for them in my blogs such as this. They weren’t paid for so I am not held back by any ghost writing ethics nor NDA or work-for-hire agreements.
Despite this post coming from a rant, I do want to raise awareness for all freelancers as well. Be careful!