The staff at YOUNG MONEY often receives mail from our readers. They ask us great questions and sometimes tell us stories about their experiences. Here’s one we wanted to share, so you are one step ahead of the next scam that might be calling for you!
New entrepreneurs can be easy targets for scam artists, because they know they are eager to establish their business, may be flexible on payment for services. Scam artists often use the lure of potential big profits to convince freelancers to work for them for no pay.
Donna McGuire wrote in to tell us her story:
I have a web development business called Upper West Web based in New York, and one day I received a call from a businessman in Canada. I was flattered he wanted my services. He said he was from Texas, working on eight large ventures. Approximately 60 people were needed to make his idea happen.
This person [said he] was interested in hiring us for a very “large” proposition, and was quick to mention that although he only had $2 million to spend on the project, he was going to be getting the financing for $50 million. If anyone tries to impress you with dollar amounts in the first 10 minutes of a phone call, be careful. He mentioned that “we would all be rich,” if advertising from major companies were to happen, and that it most likely would.
We had another conversation the following day. He asked for a lot of personal information, more than typical, and more than I desired to share. At this point I still did not know his company name, nor received information via email explaining more about his venture. I noticed that facts and figures were changing with the few phone calls I had received. The first phone call really was to introduce the con artist, and have me feel for them as a person, excite me with dollar amounts, and convince me that we were perfect for the job. We were also pressed to commit by sending them our personal information. They agreed to send some information on their company, and months later we are still waiting. Con artists never want to put anything in writing or do things that can be traced back to them.
In another case reported to YOUNG MONEY, a con man in Florida asked a group of acquaintances to donate their talents and services in exchange for future work orders that never materialized. In the end, no one got paid for services performed.
“He expressed that it was for a non profit organization, but he wanted everyone to donate their services and quote prices for what they would normally cost,” according to “Jamie,” a computer technologist who was asked to create an interactive interface for the project’s website but refused because she was suspicious of the plan.
“Everyone had to take time to do the leg work and in the end the work was somehow ‘lost.’ Because it was time and not money involved it would be difficult to prove that it was a scam. But there are many people who are still mad because they had their time wasted.”
Remember, time is money; even if you’re just starting out. Not getting paid means your business won’t last long. So, ask questions and get it in writing before you start a job!
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