Making money online sounds like it could be as easy as it could be lucrative. You don’t have to commute anywhere, you don’t have to pay for gas and you don’t have to face traffic jams – so what’s the downside?.

It is indeed true that content writers, software developers, virtual assistants, etc, can make money online, but most of them have faced their own share of cyber fraud issues as well. Whatever their success, they would have encountered several hurdles along the way. Some online workers are savvy enough to avoid serious issues, whereas some learn the hard way.

So, what could go wrong when making money online?

  • Your payment never comes
  • Your client stops communicating with you
  • The website which you were using as a platform, disappears overnight.

All of these happen and they all constitute cyber fraud.

There are also other websites, but these three are the most popular. However, even with their popularity and their reputation, all of these websites can be exploited for cyber fraud.

Most such websites have their own “escrow” system which is used for paying the freelancers or workers. A big project can be divided into small sums of money and each of them are called “milestones”. These milestones are paid to the freelancer after they deliver the project to the client. The client has to confirm that they have received the project and only then the payment is released.

So, how can this system be exploited?

  • A fraudulent client might ask you to start work without funding the milestones
  • A client might message you personally asking you to receive payments outside of the website
  • A client might find one milestone only and not the remaining ones
  • A client might use the work you submitted but claim “that it is not what they wanted”. Any doubt expressed by the client will prevent the website from releasing the payment.

So, how can this be avoided?

  • These types of cyber fraud usually make big claims in their job offers. They might claim to offer double of what the standard rate is. For example, they might offer $5 per word whereas the normal rate could be $1 per word.
  • The job description might be vague
  • The client may not have a single rating or review
  • The client may write in the job offer itself that he or she will make final payment only once. Now, it could take six months to complete a project. It is always safe to work on projects which can be completed within few weeks or a month.
  • Any client asking you to get paid outside of the website is to be completely avoided. This is a complete cyber fraud. If you work outside of the website, you will not be able to report the client or claim your dues.

The trick is to look for a clear job description, a client with good reviews and ratings and a history of making payments on time. Cyber fraud can be easily avoided like this.