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How to Identify Legit Online Clients from Scams/ Cons

Today scammers not only target freelancers through enticing adverts or emails, they are also becoming quite common in popular freelancing sites. Freelancers are likely to become victims if they do not exercise caution.

What do scammers do? They get unsuspecting freelancers to do their work and disappear without paying freelancers for their hard work.

How can freelancers in Kenya tell the difference between legitimate jobs and scams? Below are useful tips to help remote workers avoid getting scammed.

1. Read and Understand the Project Keenly

Some freelancers especially beginners often get desperate for work. This can lead to the haphazard application of jobs with minimum comprehension of the description. It is important to read the project description word for word. Only then can a freelancer understand the project requirements.

Legit clients are always very specific on what they want. They are careful to include the project timeline, budget, method of payment, and the project duration.

Avoid job postings which sound too good to be true or even unrealistic.  Some job postings may promise to pay very high rates for very little work such as simply browsing the internet.

Freelancers should be wary of jobs that require them to purchase a user guide once they have been awarded the project. Chances are that these could be scammers who take advantage of freelancers for their own selfish gain.

2.Ensure to Check a Client’s Profile

A good client should at least have an active profile complete with a verified method of payment. By this, we do not mean to imply that every client with a blank profile is a scam. However, it is important to exercise caution when interacting with such clients.

Be careful to study the client’s feedback left by their previous workers and their ratings. A client who has good ratings and reviews is often legitimate.

3. Utilize Payment Protection Systems

Every freelancing site comes with a payment protection system. Ask clients for milestones or payment protection for fixed jobs to avoid payment conflicts.

For hourly contracts, freelancers in Kenya can utilize official time trackers available on freelancing sites to log their working hours. This way, they get paid automatically.

A time tracker may not be necessary for freelancers who have already established a good working rapport with clients. In this case they can use the more convenient screenshot monitors to communicate with the client.

Refrain from Providing Free Samples/ Tests

Many times, scammers will ask freelancers to provide free samples. This, they claim, will enable them to gauge the freelancer’s competitiveness. Providing a sample of work plays an important role in getting recruited.

However, many freelancing sites prohibit it. Legitimate clients should always pay for work submitted. Many scammers lure freelancers into providing free samples for their gain at no cost.

Report Suspected Scams

As seen in the above tips, identifying a scam can be done through carefully perusing a client’s profile, reading the project description, and communicating with the potential client.

Freelancers who suspect scam jobs should be careful to report them. This way, they protect themselves and other online workers from getting lured into the scam.


With the number of Kenyan freelancers on the rise, many scammers are devising new ways to exploit them. Beginners are especially encouraged to exercise caution before they start working. The above tips can help them avoid getting scammed.