What are the WARNING SIGNS That a Freelance Writer is a FRAUD?


In content marketing, the need to outsource or hire freelance writers often arise. This is because constant content is needed to fill in blogs and the task of creating consistent content may be overwhelming for the average content marketer.

 A blog requires regular update with fresh contents and to meet this demand, hiring writers becomes a invaluable to the marketer. Outsourcing freelance writing jobs has the advantage of helping the business meet with its audiences’ demands. It also helps the business save time as the blogger can concentrate on other aspects of the business like promotion and management.

Indeed, there are benefits associated with signing up freelance writers cannot be ignored but the relationship is not always smooth. Some freelancers can promote their sales page with fascinating offers but when it comes to delivering the actual writing project for client, it then would dawn on the client that all of those offers are misleading!

The best of content marketers have experienced “scam” freelancers in one way or the other. You get to hear about freelancers doing shoddy work, not meeting with deadlines, plagiarizing other peoples’ work, etc. Although most clients now have a way to check and manage “fraudulent” freelance writers, many are still falling victim of these scams.

Now, it becomes necessary to know the signs to lookout for when avoiding fraudulent writers. No one wants to fall victim of it.

If you have been scammed by freelancers in the past, what are the warning signs to watch out for? What are the red flags to look out for when outsourcing writing projects to freelancers?

Your input in the comment section would be invaluable in helping unsuspecting blogger/content marketer avoid being scammed in the future!


  1. Sunday:The questions you raise are critical and often crucial to the successful publication of quality content.

    However, my approach to hiring authentic, quality freelance writers to to come at it from a POSITIVE direction, not the negative, what to avoid direction.

    Steps to take:

    -1- Review published portfolio of prospect – put samples through http://Copyscape.com (assuming samples met quality criteria) to check for plagiarism

    -2- Only hire through established freelance sites that have a “review and evaluation”
    archive (where previous customers rate the written product contracted for)

    -3- For really important jobs contact previous customers of the prospective freelancer for detailed confirmation of positive reviews

    -4- One last point. Do not give some huge order to a provider you have never used before. Start small and scale up with a quality provider.
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  2. Hi Sunday,

    As a freelance writer myself, I would look into the following elements on the writer’s website before hiring:

    – Presence of samples
    – Presence of already published material (links, PDF, etc.)
    – Presence of testimonials
    – The writer’s social following and the overall trust factor transpiring from it

    Usually a trustworthy writer has a track record of samples. Even a beginner writer will have a few published guest posts around, or at least their own blog.

    Meeting deadlines is a must for every writer, however there might be writers (like me) who are sickly and who will often need deadline extensions or to work with flexible deadlines to begin with.

    The best way to handle the deadlines matter is to discuss it with the writer before hiring: ask the writer if your editorial calendar and deadlines are okay for his lifestyle and any health issues; the writer should be honest and tell you what they can realistically achieve withing your terms. If a certain writer’s productivity and conditions don’t meet your needs, just part kindly and look for another writer.

    Or you might ask that writer if they can recommend you another good writer from their network who can meet your needs (and, by doing so, lay the foundations for a relationship).

    A good writer will also be communicative, whether it’s to tell you they have a flu or to respond to blog comments or to take care of any edits you may request. Or to talk editorial plans, too, because a good freelance writer will feel as part of your team, not like a content producing machine.

    Communication and mutual understanding are keys, but they have to start BEFORE the hiring process, when you really are still only talking it out.

    (A very recent personal experience: I had an accident in February that had me bedridden for weeks and made it impossible to work; I let my clients know about it immediately and I took March off. They understood and wished me well, and now that I feel better I’m completing posts I couldn’t work on in February, plus my new April posts starting next week. 🙂 Communication and reciprocal trust are very important. It came to a point that our community of founder, editor and writers feel like a group of close friends.)

    Just my two cents and I hope they help. 🙂

    ~ Luana

  3. I see frauds coming a mile off. Here are some of the red flags I would suggest anyone should pay attention to.

    1) They use the same kind of pre-formatted emails when contacting you.

    2) They don’t really introduce themselves or tell you why they may be able to help you.

    3) Their emails are rife with typos and grammatical errors.

    4) They call themselves “experts” or “gurus”.

    5) They compliment you a little too much.

    6) They don’t use your name anywhere in their initial email.

    7) They haven’t read the guidelines on your blog.

    8) They get annoyed when you ask them to edit their work.

    I hope it helps!
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  4. Hi Sunday,

    The biggest warning sign for me will be past experience with other clients.

    If a writer has had bad past experiences with lots of other clients, then it’s likely he can’t be trusted.

    I would ask for reference of past clients and follow on asking what their experiences have been with the writer.

    If most of them recommend him, then that’s a fair indication the writer is not a fraud.

  5. Hi Sunday,

    Knowledge is power and if you don’t know much about a freelancer then you are most likely to encounter fraud.

    One sign that a freelancer is a fraud is you don’t know how to check him/her when things are going wrong.

    If the freelancer is not clear about how their work can be checked then this should be a red flag and you need to be careful!

    • Hi Amit,

      Indeed, knowledge of who we are dealing with is crucial when it comes to avoiding fraudulent freelancers.

      If we don’t know much about the freelancer then it becomes easier to fall victim of their deception.

      You raised a good point about getting adequate knowledge about them!

  6. There are lots of warning signs to detect a fraud in freelance writers. However, experience will remain the best teacher.

    A newbie should learn from the mistakes of others.

    This is why it is important to checkout reviews and follow advice of mentors!

    Every client of freelance writer must use past experience and opinions of others to make final assessment!

  7. Just about any freelance writer could be a potential fraud! Yes, this a fact if one has not done business with them before hand.

    It is one thing to promote what they can do but it is a different ball game seeing them deliver on their “promises”.

    Hence, it becomes really necessary to do pre-hiring research on the integrity of the freelancer before offering them the job!

    • Hey Winford,

      You are right,doing a pre-hiring research on the integrity of the freelancer before hiring is a good thing. At least, this will tell if the freelance writer actually keeps to his/her ‘promises’ as widely promoted on job boards!

  8. A fraudulent freelance writer doesn’t sound right. He must be avoided like plague. A content marketer that is ready to engage the services of a freelancer must be clear on what to expect.

    However, there must be proactive steps in the effort to research the work history and integrity of the freelancer before hand.

    Although, in most cases, it is not easy defining who a sincere freelancer is but there is nothing to lose if we can only make effort to try!

  9. Hey Sunday,

    I got scammed recently. Been using this guy for awhile, since his prices were cheap. I guess cheap sometimes just means crap. Sometimes his typos and grammar was poor, but it turn out he was just copying duplicate content and spinning.

    It’s very risky using freelancers. Too many frauds out there. I think people should do their homework when outsourcing.

    For now on, hire through established freelance sites and do some background check on the writers.