Craigslist is a popular site for job hunting, getting freelance work, and many other categories like buy and sell, personals, discussions, and more. When it comes to writing work, there is one big thing you need to watch for before warming up to a writing gig – scam!
Many postings on Craigslist coax you into sending your intellectual property to them – stories, scripts, articles, and so on. This may appear quite tempting but before sharing any of your writings, including your ideas – yes ideas, because that is also what many scammers want – you need to know who they are.
Just yesterday, for example, I came across an ad on Craigslist’s Chicago pages, titled “Looking for Script Screenwriters” and promising that they have equipment, cameras, makeup, design etc. They just wanted writers for short films. When I responded to the ad, they instantly asked me for my loglines. But in their reply, they didn’t share any bit of information as to who they were, their names, contact number, any website, nothing – a sign that the hands and brains behind such correspondence are up to theft of ideas and intellectual property.
So instead of rushing to send them anything, I asked them about their identity – name, contact information, and website or social media page links. Not surprisingly I got a pissed-off response saying I need to get over myself and I hadn’t introduced myself properly – though I had sent them my social media profile link. Their response confirmed that they are a potential scam.
Now what could possibly happen if you send an unnamed or unverified person your idea, loglines, or completed writings? They are free to use it to their advantage in whatever way they like without compensating you for it or even giving you credit. And you won’t be able to do anything about it because you can’t claim you sent it to them (or anybody for that) – all you did is send it to an anonymous person.
To be safe and to fail scammers, never share your information or intellectual property – including your ideas – with any Craigslist poster (or others) without first getting their complete name contact information and social media page or website address (and there is hardly anyone these days who doesn’t have some kind of online presence, particularly those who offer any business or work). Also keep a folder on your computer and one in your email account where you store the email correspondence via which you send anybody any of your information or writings/ideas.
Keeping yourself safe is your headache and by being a little critical and suspicious of anonymous posters, you can do a good job protecting yourself against scams and frauds.