Remember how yesterday I said that I was busy, could really blog, because a lot of “cool” things were happening? Well, all it turned out to be were scammers. Sure they asked to do their interview over Skype and sure their questions were full of typos, but I was there to be a proofreader anyway, right?
When they wrote “we’re going to get you a computer and printer for the job, all we need to do is send you a check, then you deposit it…” all I could do was sigh. Again? Really?
There were a few telltale signs other than the ones mentioned above. Looking back on it, their “acceptance letter” came from Nexgen Flouride, a company based in India which is decidedly not the company they said they were. But you know, when you’re excited about a new job…you just kind of read the e-mail on your phone and go, hell yes.
I also ended up going and taking a look at the company they claimed to be. They’d said they were DotDash, and if I’d done even a little research, I’d have known they were full of shit. DotDash used to be About.com. It’s on Forbes lists and Fast Company articles, and these motherfuckers had the audacity to use the CEO’s picture as their Skype profile (btw, fun fact: their user IDs were like cid1345870123723, lol). When I looked at that website, my heart sank. What I thought was a grimy, semi-professional little startup (willing to pay…not excellent, but well enough) was in fact a joke. Like that, a little bit of comfort, a small piece in the freelance business I’m building (to the tune of $30 an hour for 10 hours a week) evaporated.
But I’m telling you, when you’re desperately looking for these things, and busy with getting everything ready for a baby, and also juggling five other freelance projects, you want to just hustle things in. You want it to be true, and so you plow forward, despite the red flags.
The first time I got scammed like this was about fourteen years ago. I was eighteen and had just moved out of the house. Living with Rios, she got approached at Bath and Body Works by an older couple who asked if she and I would like to go to lunch with them at Souper Salad. The food tasted like dog shit and cost too much, but we sat there for an hour while they told us all about the opportunities.
I asked how much we got paid, and they said, “Hah, there’s no payment, but you get a commission for every X you sell, and every person you bring on to sell X.” (I’m not typing in “X” to protect them or anything, I just honestly don’t remember what it was.) I said, “This is a pyramid scheme.” They said, “This is not a pyramid scheme.” Then I got really pissed off and they left before finishing their dinners.
I wish I could have these scammers in front of me so I could yell at them, or do worse.
Most of all, it just feels bad. Before looking into any of it, I had clicked on the “acceptance letter” in my email and unthinkingly messaged my wife to tell her that I’d gotten another freelance gig. This time at $30/hr. She texted back that she was proud of me. Imagine an hour later, me with my tail between my legs. Humiliating!
She’s kind and told me she loved me. I felt worthless. For one moment, I thought maybe I am worth $30. You know? Because you go through this mental thing where anyone offering you money feels suspicious. Growing up poor, you don’t trust shit like that. I let my guard down a little, and let myself feel worthy.
I’m over it, though. Back to the grind. I have managed to procure several (legitimate) freelance gigs through Upwork, and the Reedsy editing continues apace. If you’re interested in any of that, holler at my Reedsy profile or message me here. Oh, and I do want to get that ghostwriting stuff off the ground! Maybe you need a little collabo help, getting over a plot problem or some such thing? Holler at me!