Before I get into it, first I want to say that both Facebook and Craig’s List are great tools for people who work for themselves. As an author, ghost writer, blogger, editor, and public speaker, I’ve been successfully self-employed since 2008, in part thanks to Facebook and Craig’s List.
From time to time, I’ll post an ad on a Facebook community page seeking work as a ghost writer or editor. I’ve met many clients this way and it gets my name/info out there for referrals.
The other day I was thinking about posting in a local community again and I saw something suspicious. It was an ad offering a large sum of money for a simple task of posting real estate ads on to Craig’s List. After some investigation, I realized it was a scam. A person in real estate “hires” someone to do their busy work posting ads on Craig’s List. But then they don’t pay their hired help for doing the work (which is promised after a two-week period). The person makes all kinds of excuses why they can’t/won’t pay. If you Google “Craig’s List Real Estate Scam” you will find many stories about this scam.
Now, what makes victims fall prey to these scams is that the scam artist will create a beautiful Facebook page. They will steal photos of an attractive, approachable looking woman (or man) and create a fake page, with a fake name. The person will be featured in various photos taken over the years, on glamorous vacations, with a cute pet, with friends or a lover. The punchline is — LOOK CLOSER — there will only be a few “likes” for each photo and hardly any engagement with so-called friends/family. This is the dead giveaway! Do not walk away, RUN!
As we know, the majority of successful people on Facebook have reached their friend limit and engage with their friends/fans/family on a regular basis. For real accounts you’ll see hundreds of comments.
Scam artists can never have enough time to create a seemingly true picture because they are too busy scamming. This particular page I saw was one of the more elaborate ones I’ve seen. Others are the more obvious type of fake with just simply a few photos (of a very good looking female or male) with limited engagement. But those are the types that seem to want fake love and fake relationships, not necessarily money (or your time to work for them at no pay).
With what I already knew, and some further investigation, I exposed a scam artist and he/she was banned from the job hunting community!
It breaks my heart reading real stories about people in vulnerable situations (the one I read yesterday was home bound in a wheel chair) getting scammed.
If you’re self-employed, or seeking work in between jobs, or just need some extra cash, here are ways to avoid being scammed:
- Ask for a phone number and an email address. Do not EVER work directly from Facebook Messenger and/or Craig’s List addresses.
- When you get a phone number, call it at least once for any reason. Make up a dumb question. You need to make that verbal connection to know the person is real.
- Over the years I’ve worked with clients all over the country and in other countries. But I’d suggest if you first start working for yourself, remotely, stay as local as possible. Unless you know for sure the person you’ll be working with is honest and sincere.
- If you’re asked to create a fake Gmail account — DON’T DO IT! The person can use this to find out your passwords and get information to your other important stuff like bank accounts.
- Do not provide a social security number over the internet. Only send a W-9 form to a legitimate email address that belongs to a legitimate company/organization.
If you have anti-scam tips or stories you’d like to share, feel free to comment below!
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :
“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227
“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261
“The Gypsy Smiled” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9