Unfortunately, the problem indicated in the title is not uncommon. That’s the way humanity works — some small part of it is always trying to deceive the other. You can’t relax!
What to do when a freelancer has already disappeared with money is a topic for a separate extensive manual. In such cases, it is very difficult to return the money (and sometimes even impossible), and in general, such procedures take too much time. Therefore, as in many other cases, the main thing here is “hygiene” and prevention. That’s what we propose to focus on now.
Situations when a freelancer disappears from the radar after prepayment imply three main scenarios:
- a “freelancer” is a professional fraudster who initially does not plan to provide any services;
- the chosen freelancer is initially interested in order, but due to a tendency to procrastination or lack of time management skills, he simply does not know how to meet the deadline and instead of solving the problem prefers to avoid discussing it;
- The freelancer really had something unexpected happen.
Following the tips that you can see below will help you protect yourself. If you stick to them, the first category of freelancers will most likely refuse to cooperate with you, and for the second and third, it will be a good motivation to find resources to fulfill their obligations.
So, here are our tips:
- Initially, do not pursue the task of finding a contractor at the lowest price. The more professional and in-demand a contractor is, the more he values his time. Low prices and big discounts are easily accepted only by those who do not plan to do their work efficiently, or even do not know how or are not going to do it at all.
- Be sure to Google. We especially recommend trying to find the profile of the freelancer you are interested in on social networks. If he indicated his real name, this is already a good sign. However, you need to make sure that this account does not have signs of a fake (low activity, copy-paste posts, bot-like friends, etc.).
- Study the reviews about the freelancer. And in general through search engines, and on specific freelance exchanges. At the same time, remember that many reviews are “fake” — left by bots or friends. By the way, one of the advantages of the freelance marketplace is that you can leave a review about a freelancer only from the account from which the task was set, within which this freelancer was identified as a performer.
- Be sure to ask for a personal phone number and make at least a couple of calls to it to make sure that this number belongs to the performer you have chosen.
- Do not hesitate to ask for a copy of the passport and be sure to check the data from it. Fraudsters sometimes simply take available scans of other people’s passports from the Network.
- If you have any doubts, call the freelancer’s previous customers and clarify whether there was a fact of cooperation, what kind of work was done and what impressions they had in general.
- If possible, avoid prepayment via electronic money. Yes, freelancers usually prefer such payment methods, however, remember that they are not very safe for the customer.
- Chat with a freelancer on topics that are particularly exciting to you (experience, guarantees, the possibility of concluding a contract, etc.). This way you will get a more comprehensive idea about them. And if the conversation was written, you can try to Google the phrases used by them. When it comes to scammers, they can change accounts, but conversational scripts, as a rule, remain the same.