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nononoyesno's avatar

I just accepted a "gig" on craigslist. How can I make sure that I go about this in the safest way possible, and ensure that I get paid?

Asked by nononoyesno (204points) February 22nd, 2010

I just accepted a “gig” on Craigslist to compile some research and make a few excel sheets. I got an email telling me to call him immediately for more info. He gave me his full name and his profession (lawyer, doing a very specific masters program – I googled him to make sure he’s real) but he didn’t provide any other info. I want to make sure I do this as safely and carefully as possible to avoid getting scammed or even hurt.

Where do I go from here?

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13 Answers

Likeradar's avatar

Always meet him in public, especially at the beginning, and let a friend or two know exactly where you’ll be and who you’ll be with. Draw up a contract stating what you’ll do for him and the time frame and what you’ll get in return and when payment is expected. Both of you should sign it.

nononoyesno's avatar

How would I know the contract isn’t BS? I feel like there are so many ways to scam me into performing free labor and getting away with it. How can I make sure that I get paid? Perhaps this is a bad idea to begin with?

BoBo1946's avatar

yes, you can meet in public, but would never go that route. Too dangerous even in public. Would forget it!

Likeradar's avatar

@nononoyesno You draw it up, and make sure it isn’t BS even it it means consulting a lawyer to review it for you.

@Bobo1946 how is meeting in public too dangerous? I meant meeting in public and staying there, btw.

Buttonstc's avatar

Why not meet at the business office of a notary public and get the contract mutually signed? You choose the NP and you’re meeting in the office of another professional. How dangerous can that be ?

As a lawyer, he obviously understands the need for a signed contract so if he has any objections to this, there’s you’re signal to drop the matter.

Having a signed specific contract in hand would enable you to take him to small claims court if he tries to withhold payment.

How much do notaries charge these days? Last time I needed one it was five bucks.

Most AAA have a notary on staff. I’m not sure whether they handle stuff unrelated to cars or travel.

But, they aren’t that difficult to find. Many are attached to Real Estate Offices.

I don’t know that being on Craigslis automatically makes everything suspect. He may be a younger guy more conversant with the Internet and willing to go a nontraditional route.

Just take sensible precautions and it should be fine.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Likeradar well, anything from Craiglist, would stay away from it. From what I’ve heard, it does not have a good reputation. The danger, would be, being ripped off…most reputable lawyers, etc. would never touch Craig’s list.

Cruiser's avatar

I wouldn’t do it unless you like working for free.

TILA_ABs_NoMore's avatar

Craiglist isnt always bad. Just make sure you ask for references!!! If they hesitate, or get insulted that you would even ask, then that’s definitely a red flag. They’re response should tell you alot!

davidbetterman's avatar

Take half up front and the other half when the gig is half over.

EmpressPixie's avatar

@BoBo1946: posts jobs on CL. So do many other companies. It’s absolutely the best way to find an apartment these days. CL can be the norm for certain kinds of things—it depends on what you need done.

EmpressPixie's avatar

Not helpful right now, but if you do happen to get scammed—report him to his University. Email copies of the work to yourself so that it is timestamped before you hand it over. Stealing academic work is an honor violation at most universities and the school will punish him for it. At my undergraduate institution, the student would be required to pay for the work and placed on academic probation. The better known the University is, the more likely it is that they have a strict honor code that students must follow.

tekn0lust's avatar

It’s awful that we have to assume out of the box that the world is out to scam us. Maybe the guy is legit, more than likely he is just who he says he is. The fact that he’s searching for talent on CL is a sign he’s pretty up with the times. Taking a few risks are part of the nature of business. If you try to validate every single deal you ever do you’ll waste a lot of time. I hate to tell you but you will not make it all the way through life without getting scammed or taken advantage of once or twice. You learn from those experiences and protect yourself for the future. My recommendation is to go with your gut feeling, and remember that if the deal seems too good it probably is…

In your case you are in a good spot to be able to develop what he wants without delivering anything final to him prior to payment for services. Either do not provide the final workbooks until payment is made, or lock the workbooks to whatever level you choose. I have done something similar by providing neutered worksheets and even screen shots vs. the actual workbooks. I would even go so far as to only demo the work for him via webex type service or in person. Never under any circumstances give him any of the code/workbooks you have developed without payment. This applies to just about all things digital like; program code, digital art/photography, research.

I would forget about the contract unless you are talking about thousands of dollars. Deals are still done on a handshake. Law is a pretty political line of work and few well placed letters should he turn tail on you and you’ll get your payment.

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