Unfortunately, scams are everywhere. Nobody is safe, not even virtual assistants.
I want you to stay safe online, so I have a few tips that will help you learn how to spot spammy (AKA fake) clients and protect yourself from them!
PROTECT YOUR VIRTUAL ASSISTANT BUSINESS FROM SCAMS
Let’s say a potential client has approached you on LinkedIn, but something feels off and you wonder if they’re a legit business. Or you see a post online that seems too good to be true and wonder if it’s for real.
Here are a few suggestions to help you determine whether a job opp is a scam or not.
- Trust your gut! If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Google the person and their business. If you can’t find any mention of them, or if someone else is asking if they are a scam, then you should ignore them. Legit online business owners looking for a VA will usually have a website and perhaps a little presence on social media.
- Beware of people who make demands. If they insist that you bill them through Quickbooks instead of using your PayPal account, it’s a scam. Just drop it and run!
- Be wary of people who ask you to purchase something (equipment, training, etc.) in order to work with them. There are scams out there where people will send you money to purchase an item and then send you too much. They then ask you to return the extra money. The problem is, their money isn’t good, their check bounces, you now have bank fees, and you just sent them your hard-earned money!
- Do they have an email address with their domain name? If so, they are likely legit. Spammy people like to use email addresses like Gmail. If they say they are from a legitimate company, but they have a Gmail email (or similar type of email address), be very wary.
- Don’t let a prospective client tell you how to onboard them. If you typically send an invoice to clients before working with them and the new “client” isn’t happy with that, it’s a red flag. If they say they don’t need a contract, DO NOT do business with them. You are in control of how you set them up as a client. Spammy people don’t like following the rules. Have an onboarding process and stick to it.
- Know who your ideal client is. Getting clear on who your ideal client is is one of the important foundational pieces you have to have when creating your VA business. Knowing who this person is will help you decide who you want to work with (or not!).
- Spammy people are known to advertise a certain job and then want to switch it to a totally different one. They may say they’re looking for a general admin, but when you reach out asking for more info, they say the position has been filled. Then they’ll tell you about an unrelated job opp that you’d be great for.
- Don’t get so caught up in getting new clients that you ignore your instincts. Finding a new client, especially your first one, is exciting! Don’t let this cloud your thinking, though. If you see red flags or have bad feelings about something, listen!
Most importantly, don’t let the spammy people out there discourage you. Just follow your gut and do your research. Remember that you have the right to tell a client (whether they are legit or not) that you don’t want to work with them. It’s your business and your call.
And remember, there are TONS of awesome, legit clients out there who want to work with you! Don’t waste your time with the fake ones.
If you’d like support as you grow your business, check out my membership, the Introvert VA Club! You’ll have access to trainings, resources, and a super supportive community at an affordable price.