What I’m listening to: 6th Avenue Heartache by The Wallflowers
I want to bottle yesterday and drink from that thermos every day. I had allotted myself a week to finish four articles — I finished the third one yesterday. So now I have three days in which to finish the last one. That right there is what I love about being OCD about deadlines. Sometimes, it just works.
I wish I could say the same for some of the absolutely lousy scams that hit my in box. If you’ve been blogging for a while, you’ve probably received some guest post offers that are completely off base. Writers are being paid for the number of times they place an article with some specific links. The language in these emails (clearly, someone is giving out a form letter) makes it obvious after you receive two that it’s not a guest poster whose content will match your blog’s focus.
Then there are those job offers that are clearly not job offers, though at first you might hesitate. Here’s one that came in yesterday:
Sorry about the image quality. If you open it in a new tab you’ll be able to make out the details. But let me restate them.
From Bryan Ron Michael Lee <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: undisclosed recipients Subject: Writing & Editing Job// -- Hello I am a business man and also a private investor, may i know if you are specifically into writing or editing. I need your service and will be glad to know your availability for more info. Bryan Ron Michael Lee
On first glance, you might think “Wow, this guy really needs a writer’s help.”
Look again. There are plenty of red flags in this short note. Let’s start at the top.
The name is a bit suspect. While I do know my share of quadruple-named people, this one feels a bit too random. So how do you know for sure? Google search. When in doubt, search. Guess where Bryan Ron Michael Lee shows up? Nowhere. While again I do know people who are completely off the grid, those people make up the minority. This red flag is waving a fake-name banner. Next!
On to the next item. Easy one — “undisclosed recipients” means your note is neither to you nor personal on any level. Next!
The subject. Oh, don’t you just love the tease? We’re offering you work. Wait — we’re offering you work// While misspellings and an odd character here and there aren’t uncommon, what is uncommon is the presence of two slashes. It’s not exactly normal business protocol — not in this country. Next!
Ah, the personal greeting. Oh no, wait. The impersonal greeting. “Hello” without punctuation. Really, do I have to repeat myself? Next!
“I am a business man and also a private investor” – right there. That’s the part that’s shady. “Private investor” is code for “I’m about to try swindling you into depositing my phony check into your account in exchange for the cash you’re stupid enough to draw out of that account based on a bad check.” Next!
Then there’s the issue of the email address. Just for fun, I looked it up. Guess where it shows up? Right here at a resume website. No, it’s not this guy’s resume — it’s a sample resume for a carpenter! And the sample guy’s name is actually Michael Loren, not Bryan Ron Michael Lee.
Let’s not even bother with the request for your services since we’ve already figured out this email is nothing more than bait to get your bank info. Let’s just say this —
Any client who requires your bank information or insists on you depositing money in exchange for a check from you is scamming you.
When in doubt, trust your instincts. Better to turn away questionable yet possibly legitimate work than to be scammed out of your savings.
Writers, have you ever been approached to work for someone like the person above?
How has your intuition saved you in the past? Have you ever fallen victim to a scam?
How do you vet offers like this?