Tag Archives: scams

Freelancers, be wary of assignment scams by email

Carolyn Crist

About Carolyn Crist

Carolyn Crist (@cristcarolyn) helps AHCJ’s freelance members find the resources, tips and contacts they need to create and run a successful business. A freelance journalist and author, Crist covers health, medicine and science stories for national news outlets such as Reuters, Runner’s World and Parade. She also writes for trade and custom publications. Contact her at carolyn@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Trending Topics 2019 via Flickr

In recent weeks, many freelance writers have received the same email — a consultant says she needs help with a writing project for an upcoming workshop. She wants to create an article on a specific health topic that will be given to the workshop attendees as a handbook. She’s already drafted an outline, and she wants to know if you can help.

I received this email, as have several AHCJ members, and a few of us responded to this email. The request looks both legitimate but also suspicious based on the phrasing and vague details. If you respond, the consultant often replies with additional information, including the word count, a $1/word rate, and a deadline. Continue reading

Fake news sites push scams, drugs

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

We may be trapped in the midst of a massive economic recession, but at least one sector of the media is booming. Fake news sites like the Miami Gazette News, New York Finance News and WKTV News 13 in New York are springing up across the Internet, all of them half-concealed advertisements for things including work-from-home scams and anti-aging drugs.

The sites are often quite convincing, with head shots of what is purportedly a TV news team, comments from supposed readers and production and design values that put many legitimate outlets to shame.

Forbes‘ Dirk Smillie took a look at the army of such sites looking to convert the popularity of Oprah Winfrey favorite Dr. Mehmet Oz into cash, while Wired‘s Kevin Poulsen notes that ads for such sites have run on the Web pages of numerous mainstream media outlets.

Matt Grant of KRCG-Jefferson City, Mo., provides an example of how such stories can be adapted for regional outlets, warning local consumers of local variants and explaining the larger phenomenon.