Recently, I have been scammed on freelancer.com and would like to share my experience.
I wanted to do it the lazy way, spend money and let some outsources from India build Adsense websites for me. This freelancer got 10/10 reviews and appears very professional, so I hired him for a job where I spent 700 EUR to get a website that could earn $50 a day. He claimes to be an ex-google employee and found a way to get organic search engine traffic on my sites without the whole back link trouble. I was sceptical, but there was no upfront payment involved so I gave it a go. To my surprise, he delivered and the website earned initially $15 and continue to grow in earning. Together with his perfect review I totally trusted him and believed that I have found a golden opportunity to get rich quick.
So I borrowed some money and accepted his offer to let him create a $250/a day site for 4200 EUR upfront payment. I hesitated, but I thought with the paypal protection I will be on the safe side. Paypal created some problems for Indian transaction, so he suggested me to use Western Union or Money Gram to transfer the money. He gave me his mobile phone number, and PAN card and bank account statement of his business partner of the company to prove that me he was legit. I made some phone calls and through various conversations he appears to be a competent and trustworth guy, so I wired him the money via his business partner contact details.
Not long after this, adsense income stopped. I checked the adsense income more thoroughly and could see a contry specific CTR for India at 40%. Shortly after this my adsense account was banned. I managed to get it back since I had other websites running, but the income from his side was of course not paid out. The strange thing is, this guy still answers my emails and also picked up when I call. He told me that he has some server problems and will handle this soon. He is just very busy right now, because he found a super opportunity to earn money with forex. He could earn $5000 USD with this each day but is still looking for funds to get started. He assures me that I will get my money back, and that I should not worry.
This really confuses me... I mean, would an average scammer not just run away with the money? What do you think? Please share your thoughts. Anybody experiencing something similar? What you suggest I could do? Do you think there is anyway I could see this money again? To Indian warriors: Is a PAN card any good? Would legal actions make any sense?
Long story, short... What I learned and hopefully this will help my fellow warriors:
1. Don't look for quick secret money earning methods. If it is too good to be true, it is likely to be so.
2. Don't trust reviews blindly. Get your own experience about an outsourcer and build business over time.
3. Stop at yellow lights. There are many times where my intuition said: "He, stop for a while", but I just rushed through. It may get you faster forward, but is dangerous in the long run.
4. It's easy to spend money, but it's very hard to get it back. So be extra-careful about giving money away. In case of freelancer.com. Don't let them talk you into prepayments. Always go with milestones. Don't give reviews up front for any reasons. Only after they did the job.
5. Say NO earlier is better then say NO to late.