No one likes getting scammed, but the internet is rife with scammers preying on anyone who will click on their ads.
My team and I have heard a lot of stories from students who’ve dealt with work-from-home scams in the past. If you don’t see ’em coming, they can really burn you!
It’s not just work-at-home scams you can fall prey to. People searching for service providers often get lured in by promises of getting work done for cheap, but then they end up with subpar service or no service at all.
It happens all the time! But if you know how to spot these scams, you’ll protect yourself from getting caught in them.
Today on the blog, Macy Thornhill from Clippings.me, a website where you can create a beautiful online portfolio, is going to tell us how writers can spot scam websites for proofreading services. These tips are also super useful for all my proofreaders out there looking to sign up as a service provider on these websites!
Take it away, Macy!
How to Spot Scam Websites for Proofreading Services
Many freelance writers get their start online. The never-ending demand for online content makes it easy to find gigs that will get you both experience and contracts. But there are thousands of writers available that might be more affordable or more well-known. How can you stand out?
One way to set yourself apart from the herd is to secure the services of a professional proofreader. Proofreaders function to catch the errors you missed, the little mistakes that separate the amateurs from the professionals.
With such a massive amount of content being created daily, competition is high, so partnering with a professional proofreader or proofreading service can make all the difference between a successful venture and one that fails to reach the bar you set for yourself.
But knowing all of this — how can you tell which proofreader or proofreading service is legit? How do you protect yourself and your reputation from scammers? Below, I’ve compiled a list which can help you spot and protect yourself from those proofreaders who are more interested in emptying your wallet than proofing your work.
1. Where Is the Proofreading Service Based?
All online businesses in the US are required by law to post their address on either their website or email lists so it is within full view of their clients. If you come across a proofreading website that has no visible physical address, this could be your first red flag.
To take extra precautions, you can check their IP address. By checking the IP address, you can track down the owner of the domain. If the address presented on the website or email list does not match the address on the domain, then there’s a chance it is operating under shady ownership.
2. What Will It Cost?
Finances are always a concern when starting a new business venture, so it’s only natural you’d like to keep your overhead low. When it comes to finding a high-quality proofreading service, it’s not a good idea to go for cheap, unless the proofreader is just starting out or has an excellent rating.
What price should you look for? Well, beginning editors and proofreaders can charge up to $30.00 an hour. More experienced and specialized proofreaders can ask approximately $50.00 an hour. As stated, it’s understandable to search for a good deal, but ask yourself: How much do you value your work? If the price is too low, it may be an indicator of poor service, one who preys on new authors looking to save a buck and may not even really read your work thoroughly.
Remember, you get what you pay for. If you are in the market for excellent proofreaders, then consider that fact and look for other areas to trim the budget.
3. What Payment Methods are Available?
On the subject of payments, take some time to see just what sort of payment methods are available. In other words, what are your options? The more options, such as Worldpay, PayPal, and Google Checkout, the better.
4. Are the Reviews Legit?
Did you know that some websites will pay for dishonest reviews? Unfortunately, it’s true. These reviews are from those who have never used the service but will write a stellar review anyway.
To check out honest reviews, look for reviews listed on external sites. Pay close attention to both the tone and language of the review and whether or not the website verifies actual sales. Once you are aware of the existence of these fake reviews, they can be quite easy to spot. If the company doesn’t have a fair amount of third-party reviews, it may be a signifier that the site is new, and as such, may be purchasing its reviews and recommendations.
5. Is the Company Registered?
To verify a company’s legitimacy, you can always check the company registration website. If you reside in the US, you can do this with CorpSearch. It will provide you with a list of companies by state, and you can begin there. As registering requires background checks, time, and money, you should be safe from scams with a registered company.
6. Can You See Their Editor’s Profiles?
Not every proofreading company you come across will post their editor’s bios online. For those who do, research the editors listed. Google them, searching for professional profiles such as those you find on LinkedIn, or search for other work they’re listed as responsible for.
If you can’t verify the editors, it may merely mean that they are new and have yet to prove themselves. However, it may also be that their bio has been padded or entirely fabricated. By sticking with known names with some experience under their belt means you’ll pay more in the short term, but it will save you money and hassle in the long term. Remember, the aim is to look to build a relationship with a proofreader that you can trust, which will, in turn, reflect well on your work.
7. Will Your Work Be Secure?
Does the proofreading company you’re considering care about your security? It’s a given that any paid service should have security encryption in place, but there are other security concerns you’ll need to think about.
First of all, can the company promise you a level of confidentiality? What is their policy regarding handling sensitive content? Are they willing to sign a nondisclosure agreement if the information is confidential? Also, how is your work stored, and how long will the company keep the data stored on its servers, as well as who will have access to it?
All of these security concerns are crucial to address before considering hiring a proofreading company. If the answers you receive are vague or make no sense, or if the company takes its time getting back to you, it may signal inexperience, or worse, deliberate dishonesty.
Steer clear of anyone who can’t promise to keep your work private and guarantee your personal information will remain secure.
With the constant drive for content on the internet, there are plenty of courses and services available on topics ranging from writing to editing to social media marketing. Apart from having an online portfolio that establishes you as a professional writer, your work needs to speak for itself. If you desire to create the best content possible, then get the best proofreader possible.
To find one with the experience you require, within your price range, begin by checking credentials, business registration, as well as looking up editors you can trust. By engaging in these simple steps, you are well on your way to avoiding scams and finding yourself a professional proofreader that you can grow with, ensuring that your money, content, and personal information are secure.
Awesome tips, Macy! If my writer friends follow these tips, they’ll have no trouble avoiding scams. Another way they can avoid them is to hire one of our proofreading graduates directly! PA graduates have been put through their paces with rigorous practice essays and transcripts, so they’ve got proofreading experience right out of the gate!
Still worried about falling prey to a scam? You’ll find more tips and tricks for spotting and avoiding scams in my book Work at Home.
Macy Thornhill is the frantic scribbling squirrel over at Clippings.me. She loves writing herself out of sticky situations and helping fellow scribblers grow their freelance writing business.