Oftentimes, connecting with a new client can seem like a positive experience, but in today’s age, finding a “dream client” may quickly turn into a nightmare. With scammers more prevalent than ever, it’s important to be vigilant of criminals that disguise themselves as potential clients. Read on to discover five ways to ensure your new client isn’t a scammer.
1. Review the Details
Oftentimes, scammers will entice would-be victims with offers that are too good to be true. While you may be on the lookout for new work and exciting clients, it’s essential that you carefully review the details to make sure you aren’t being scammed. In a situation with someone that is trying to take advantage of you, you’ll likely receive job offers or projects with unbelievably high pay rates, a very quick start date, and at times, requests for you to do work for free as a “trial”. Even though you may hope that this dream client is legitimate, if the offer seems too good to be true, it likely is.
2. Speak with Them on the Phone
When trying to determine if your new client is a scammer, it’s important to speak with them on the phone. As most criminals use the internet to hide their true identities, most will shy away from getting on the phone. However, there are a few things to consider when on the phone with a potential client.
When speaking with new clients, use software that protects your identity and sensitive information. With the help of tools like a conference call bridge, you’ll also be able to use secure conference calling to verify the identification of new callers. Additionally, you can use screen sharing for further confirmation that you’re speaking to the person you believe you are talking to.
3. Verify Their Payment Methods
When working online with new clients, it is often difficult to gauge whether or not a stranger can be trusted to compensate you for work. As scammers often promise to pay in full at the start of the job only to end up disappearing once the work is complete, it’s in your best interest to verify their payment methods before starting any work. While scammers can open up accounts with trustworthy sites, it is easier to track down payments through sites like Zelle, Paypal, and Stripe.
Another way to avoid getting scammed for a job with a new client is to request payment upfront. While asking for all or a portion of your payment prior to completing the project may turn away some clients, it is a good way to lock in those that aren’t trying to scam you.
4. Analyze Their Motivations and Deadlines
One tell-tale sign of a criminal is that they are often in a rush to meet their deadlines. Whether it’s a new client with a “rush order” or someone looking to hire you immediately, having incredibly tight deadlines is often a red flag of a scam. Scammers use pressure and urgency to force their victims into making the wrong decision. While there are often clients that are in need of quick turnarounds, having a stranger demand work immediately is cause for pause.
When working with a new client, never accept a project too readily. Give them and yourself time to interview one another to see if this job is the best fit for you.
5. Look for Spelling or Grammatical Errors
It’s not always easy to figure out someone’s intentions over the internet. However, paying attention to the details can help you identify a scammer. For example, scammers often send emails or job offers containing grammatical or spelling errors. While this isn’t the case for every untrustworthy person, these errors are often a way for scammers to pinpoint a possible target.
Similarly, when communicating with potential clients, pay attention to their email. Criminals often use email addresses from illegitimate domains that appear to be questionable or unprofessional.
When trying to identify a potential client as a scammer, in hindsight, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Keep this guide in mind the next time you receive a job offer or send a project proposal to a potential client that seems too good to be true.
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