5 Ways to Spot a Bad "Writers Wanted" Ad

Updated on January 16, 2020
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Owner of MommyDaddyKids and mother of two, Meagan is passionate about her family and sharing real-life advice with everyday people.

Learn how to spot a writer wanted ad scam.
Learn how to spot a writer wanted ad scam.

There are some amazing freelance writing opportunities available online but trying to weed through the bad ones to find a good job can be frustrating. Most new writers will waste hours of their time applying for jobs that never existed. Luckily, you can avoid this fate and learn what red flags to watch for by learning how to spot bad writers wanted ads, and once you know what to look for, you’ll be able to spot a scam from a mile away.

1. Watch for Too-Good-to-Be-True Promises

Nobody would turn down a job writing one article a day for five hundred dollars a week, but that sounds just a little too good to be true, right? While there are some legitimate jobs out there that pay very well, most of the ads claiming to pay a fortune will not work out well in the end.

Still, you don’t want to pass over your dream job because it sounds too good. If you think it may still be a legitimate post, check to see if it passes the rest of the scam tests below.

2. Beware of Partial Payments

Why would a client be willing to pay half of the money up front? Many people fall victim to this scam because they think a client willing to pay right must be legitimate. They get excited about being paid for a job, finally, and hand over all the information the client needs to get into their bank account without ever realizing it.

There may be clients willing to pay a small bit of money upfront to prove they will pay, but they won’t typically ask for routing or account numbers. You should always ask for payment through a third party such as a job-matching site or PayPal. If an employer is not willing to pay through anything but your bank, politely decline and move on because it’s not worth the risk.

Your banking information should not be the first thing an employer asks for.
Your banking information should not be the first thing an employer asks for.

3. Watch Out for the "Custom Sample" Scam

You apply for a job and get a response asking for a sample of your writing. That’s not surprising—most people will ask for a sample of writing—but this one is unique because it comes with guidelines you need to follow.

After you write a 750-word article about a keyword they chose and optimized it for SEO, like they asked, you send it to the employer only to be told that you are not what they were looking for.

They just got a free article from you and hundreds of other people.

Don’t run simply because someone asks for a sample of writing, but if the sample they are asking for meets very detailed specifications, you are likely being scammed.

You should always have a portfolio of writing samples ready to send out to potential employees, but they should not be full articles. If you have published it somewhere else, be sure to tell the employer that when you send it so they know they cannot re-post it.

Don't throw caution to the wind because someone else said it was a good job.

4. Don't Get Blinded by Testimonials

How many times have you seen a help-wanted ad that had a testimony attached to it? A mother who used to struggle every month to pay the bills but who now has the time to work from home, pay her bills, and have enough money to go to Disney World. These ads' catch your eye and make you want the same thing for yourself, but don’t throw caution to the wind because someone else said the job was amazing.

Most real job opportunities won’t have a testimonial attached to it, and the ones that do almost always lead back to a site you have to join to be matched with an employer. Sometimes they are free to join and may be worth your time, but other times they require you to pay a fee to join.

5. Look for Contact Information or a Lack of It

As a writer, you should know everything you can about a company before you work with them. You need to know their style, their voice, their tone, and what they are all about if you want to be able to write content that fits their business. The best way to do this is to do some research about the company and always check online reviews.

If the help-wanted ad does not include any contact information, and the employer is hesitant to give you any information, you are probably being scammed.

Sometimes a start-up business may not have that information available, and it can sometimes pay off to work with a new business because when they gain more popularity you will reap the benefits, but they should be willing to share what information they can with you. Beware of start-ups who promise to pay you according to page views instead of a set price.

Go Get 'Em

There are some amazing writing jobs just waiting to be filled by the right person and now that you know how to spot and avoid the scams, there is nothing standing between you and your dream job.

Questions & Answers

    © 2020 Meagan Ireland

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      • Angel Guzman profile image

        Angel Guzman 

        2 weeks ago from Joliet, Illinois

        Great advice Meagan. I wish I got paid to write. I'm expecting my best payout so far with my new article. Happy New Year.

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