How to Distinguish a Legit Freelance Job from a Fake One?

If you're a freelancer, how can you find the legit freelance job? Check out the article to find out!

Getting the gig you really want is something to celebrate as an independent worker. But we have a tendency to do whatever it takes to win and get hired. However, you must be mindful of any red flags that catch your attention. Sometimes the project can be too good to be true, or just straight-up shady.

According to the Freelancers Union, 44% of freelancers claim clients have stiffed them and average around 36 hours of work to track down missing payments. Always protect yourself by always sending contracts to your clients. Though you may not create agreements, it gives you legal backing just in case something goes wrong. We give you 5 tips to consider when you review and apply to the freelance job listing.

Verify the company

Take the time to visit the website and explore what they do. It is not only a great technique to help you prepare for an interview, but also a great sign that the company is solid. If the freelance job listing does not match the information on the website, you can avoid it.

Do your homework before accepting, and research the company. Use social media to your advantage and look at how the company markets itself. If they have sketchy accounts that look like spam, take a pass. If other people have already deemed this company fake, Google their name and “scam” to take a peek at their website. Websites like The Rip Off Report and the Better Business Bureau will tell you if they have cheated other freelancers.

Read the application closely

Beware of overly vague descriptions when you look at your freelance job listing. Be sure you do not overreach, meaning that you should feel capable of your ability to do the work. Ask your client for a list of deadlines if you have projects in line to be completed. 

Avoid getting cornered by making your client sign a contract with a clearly defined purpose. Sometimes, scammers might assign you a project that grossly understates how much work they need to have done. And once you sign the contract, you won’t have to put yourself in that situation again.

Do Not Pay

Legit companies will never ask you to pay for an interview or a resume review. Do not trust a freelance job listing that tells you they will send something as long as you wire money. Wiring money is also usually not the safest way to pay someone.

Be wary of spec work

Some application processes take advantage of work-hungry freelancers by demanding ‘spec work.’ Spec work or speculative work is when the client wants to see examples or a free finished project before they hire or pay you. Writing samples and short writing tests can be a norm, but be careful when companies ask for complete, standalone tasks that have specific prompts. If it feels like free work, it might be.

Spec work puts independent workers in situations, and it’s a telltale sign of a fake job. If you have a website or an online portfolio, link them to your free samples. 

Find a human being!

If possible, find the appropriate hiring contact (if not listed in the application) via LinkedIn and send them a direct email. Make it short and sweet and let them know you applied through the preferred channel and wanted to introduce yourself directly. Ask for a brief call or Skype.


Being self-employed takes a lot of work, and if a potential job offers you an incentive that is too good to be true, it may be worth researching. Although you may be in need of fast cash, stay one step ahead of scammers. So you don’t fall into wasting your time and efforts. And finally, always require contracts so they can protect you from any problems you might face.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How can you tell a fake job in freelancer?

  • Check other online profiles. 
  • Google their bio and avatar.
  • Look for valid website links.
  • Check feedback.
  • See examples of their work.

2. Can you get scammed as a freelancer?

Many new freelancers fall for scams on these platforms. Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr are the three platforms most famous for freelancer scams because they are the largest in the industry.

3. How do you know if a client is legit?

Do the basic checks (finance, feedback, hire rate, etc.). Also, if it is a new client offering a fixed contract, and you feel your credibility is a lot higher, you can ask for frequent milestones and upfront payments. 

4. Which work is best for freelancing?

  • Top-paying jobs for freelancers
  • Social media specialist.
  • Copywriter.
  • Business consultant.

If you are looking to kickstart and scale your career as a freelancer, Freedom2Work can help provide a stepping stone to make your dreams come true. Our experts at Freedom2Work help you apply for a freelance license and even a residence visa. Get in touch with us through the following details today!


Address: 213, Vakson Commercial Building, Umm Al Sheif, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, UAE

Phone number: 800-FREEDOM (373 3366)


Open chat
Hello, how can I help you?