Another Freelance Writer Scam: They’re Everywhere! 46 comments


Can you believe that I was targeted by another freelance writer scam? That’s two this month! What is wrong with these people?

I was asked to edit the text of an article for a guy named Jason Dickson. (His email is jj_dickins@att.net, just in case you get targeted by him.
Nothing unusual there. The text was particularly horrible, so I charged more. The guy said that he’d mail me a check.

This was my first mistake. Writer’s don’t ever accept checks as payment if it’s from someone you’ve never heard of and that is an individual. Checks from big companies are fine.

Next, the guy said that his partner cut the check for $4000 instead of the price I quoted him. He asked if I would wire the extra money back to him? Umm, sound fishy yet?

I just repeated told the guy that I hadn’t received the check and never agreed to wire him the money. I figured there was no check and he was telling me all this in hopes that I would do the editing for free. I wasn’t about to do any work until I received payment, so I wasn’t worried. Writers, don’t ever start work until you receive some type of payment upfront. I’ve been burned too many times not to follow that rule.

So, after over a month, the check arrives. It isn’t for $4000. It’s for $2850. He also told me that the check was sent out weeks ago, but UPS and the date on the check says that it was mailed one day before I received the check. 
Jason Dickson emails me and tells me that he wants me to wire the money to:

NAME………….. Nicholas Folk
ADDRESS……..107 S MAIN ST,
CITY………………. Brooklyn
STATE…………….New York
ZIP CODE……. 11213 

Huh? The guy’s name is Jason Dickson, but he wants me to wire money to Nicholas Folk? 
I went down to my local bank and talked to them about the situation. They said that this is a common scam. The scam artists create a check that has a routing number from one bank and an account number from another. This confuses the bank’s machines and, as the check bounces around in the system, the writer wires money back to the scam artist. The scam artist gets money, the writer’s account is in the hole once the check bounces and the writer has no recourse but to pay back the bank. Also, some banks will close the bank account of a victim of fraud, even if they pay off the fees and over-drafted account! 
Thankfully, I didn’t wire the guy any money, but I want to make sure that no one else falls for this scheme. Pass this post along on Twitter and Facebook to all of your writing friends and maybe we can stop scams against writers!

About Alina Bradford

I've been a DIY, lifestyle, tech and health writer for almost two decades. Dang, that makes me sound old...Anywhoo, feel free to follow me on Twitter. I'm @alinabradford. Real original handle, huh?


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  • Alina Post author

    Wow! This guy is scum! I hope plenty of people read both of our stories and don't get taken in by him. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Anonymous

    In december I browsed the craigslist general work page, figuring in the area theres supposably money. Im traveling the north california coast and thought I might try to work up some extra money. I replied to a post about house keeping, there were several ads for house cleaning. A couple weeks later I got an email from a guy named jason vaughn, email he is using now, jvaughn.jason@gmail.com. He made claims of him and his family moving to this area and wanted the house cleaned up before they arrived. When he mentioned advanced payment by check I got the feeling this isn't going to work out. But continued with discussing work and menthod of payment I guess just to see where it went but when he deviated from his original as soon as possible mode to not responding for a week I decided to look into things a little more. Turns out the last message he sent me was just like the one you described with him claiming my financer has sent the check, please take your payment and do my wife a favor by sending the extra amount to an artist she has arrangments with in Brookln New York. The name of this artist just so happens to be Nicholas Folk. His information was sent set up the same way you have it. This guys isn't just scamming writers. Luckily the check he was suppose to send never made it and I did some research which brought me to this page. So anyone that see's your post hope they know his new name and email, not that it won't just change again but hopfully this helps prevent others from being scammed!

  • Diane Seltzer

    Wow – classic check over-payment scam! Never accept a check for more than what they owe you and return money back. You did the right thing going to your bank too. Hopefully you didn't put too much work into the "editing project".

    A friend of mine recently got hit by the same type of scam trying to sell his boat (his was an international buyer which was a big red flag) Wrote an article about it here: http://www.boaterlifeonline.com/2011/08/avoiding-internet-boat-buying-scams.html