We outline how to avoid scammers hitting your blog website, and how to get your money (sometimes) if you have been scammed.
You work hard for your blog, and try to make it the best it can be. Sadly, the better your website, the more likely it is to attract a scammer who will try to take advantage of your good reputation and metrics.
What these scammers do is approach you with the offer to pay you for publishing an article with their client’s link in it. Then once you agree on the price and guidelines, and publish the article, the money is never paid.
Sometimes they just vanish, and sometimes they keep answering your emails with all sorts of excuses as to why the payment has not been made… those ones making the excuses are doing it as a stalling tactic, and below we will explain why — and what you can do about it.
Why are scammers doing it this way?
There are two methods of operation most of them employ.
1. They are operating on sites like Fiverr where they offer to get backlinks cheaply from high authority sites such as yours. This kind of scammer depends on getting a lot of links published and then presenting the links to their client on a particular day and getting paid before you remove the link.
2. They are offering your site around in emails they are sending to thousands of other sites, which have a list of websites they claim they can publish articles on for a price. They will offer you 5 times (or more) what they are actually getting paid, in order to persuade you to publish the article. Again, they depend on their client paying them before you remove the link… that’s why they try to stall you about the payment excuses.
What can you do to prevent being scammed?
Be wary if their email is not from an agency or company, or is ‚faked‚
For a start, you may notice that pretty much all the emails from scammers are gmail addresses… not entirely all, of course — there are some from yahoo and live. But gmail is the most popular choice for scammers and fraudsters because it is so anonymous. This means that when they don’t pay, there is not an SEO agency behind them that you can contact to get the money you are owed.
Don’t be fooled by email addresses like email@example.com …. that’s still an anonymous email address. What you are looking for if you want to trust somebody is an email like firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also be aware that there are tools that allow people to fake their email as coming from a company. Usually this will be the company they say they are representing. The clue here is that instead of their email being email@example.com it will be something like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. You can easily check whether the email is genuine by going to the website of that company and looking for their contact email or support email. If you find their email identifier is @bigcompany.com and the person who approached you has an email identifier that is slightly diffferent, it’s a sign that it’s a faked email.
Get verification from the company if you think the email is faked
Contact the company and ask for verification of the person and the price they have negotiated with you. Many times, the company will take a few days to get back to you, so you need to be patient. Sometimes they won’t get back to you at all, but if you let the person who approached you know that you are verifying them with the company, they will vanish if they are a scammer.
Only set the article up in draft until you are paid
Make it clear during the negotiations that because they are contacting you from a non-company email, or an email you have doubts about, that you will set up the article in draft and send them a screenshot, and then will make the article live once payment has been made. Some will protest about this, but genuine people will be reasonably happy to comply.
Only set up the article as a password-protected one until it is paid
This way they have no excuse that they cannot show the published article to their client, or that the article must be indexed before it is paid for.
Set the article up as published but password protected, and ask Google to index the link via your Search Console. It is also a good idea to give it a date that will put it on the last page of your site, so your usual readers will not come across it by accident. For example, instead of making the date 25 July 2021 make it 25 July 1921.
Then send then an email stating something like this:
We have completed this work for you and indexed the link. The live url is below, and is password protected until the work is paid for. You can show your client the live url and they can check the work, by telling them to use the password, which is: <INSERT PASSWORD HERE>
The password will be removed and the url will be made public and put on the home page when the payment is made. The date will then be changed to the date of the payment, so the post appears on the home page.
Only allow them 24 hours to pay for the article
If you are determined to go ahead and publish the article before being paid, make it clear in negotiations and also when you send the live link, that it must be paid within 24 hours. And then remove the link immediately on 24 hours if it has not been paid — and do not reinstate it until it has been paid.
Scammers often depend on you keeping the url live long enough for them to get the money they are being paid at their end before they vanish. Don’t fall for it!!!
They will plead, they will get angry, they will threaten, they will insult you… but they won’t pay you. So be firm.
What to do if you have been scammed
You may think you have no recourse to action if you have not been paid for the article after you published it. But you actually do have some action you can take… because you know who was paying the scammer — the website behind the client link.
You should go to the client link website and find their contact email, and then forward them the email trial from the scammer (copy the scammer on the email, too) with a notice like this:
We have had to remove your link from our website. Your representative commissioned us to publish an article with a link to your website (see email trail below). However, despite repeated emails to them, they have not made the payment. Hence we apologize but we have no recourse but to remove your link from the article, and blacklist them and Bigcompany from our business network. If you have already paid them for the placement of this article, you should ask for a refund. If you believe you were an innocent party in this scam, please contact me and we will discuss removing Bigcompany from the blacklist. Please email me if I can help further, or if you would like us to reinstate the link.
On several occasions, the client has been in contact to pay for the link to be reinserted. And at the very least, the client will turn on the scammer to get their money back if they can. There have been several occasions on which the client has been able to have Paypal refund the money they paid the scammer.
Criminals will keep trying to defraud you like this, but armed with a few strategies and a bit of patience, you can avoid being scammed most of the time. Also, don’t begrudge the extra time some of these strategies take… yes, it may mean it takes a little longer, but not as long as you would be waiting for a payment that is never going to come!
Here are some email addresses from known scammers you should beware of:
Aldo Sorella (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Aldo Sorella (email@example.com) provides content with links. After publication there is no reaction.
Justin add Carl (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Friendly, lively email traffic with Justin add Carl (email@example.com) until content was published. After that all communication stops.
Andrzej Marczuk (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Andrzej Marczuk (email@example.com) comes around the corner with a lot of content. Operates a certain stalling tactic as far as payment is concerned, but it seems obscure. For example, individual payments might not be possible; only package payments. Promises payment within the next 72 hours. Only, even after 144 hours, nothing comes.
Marinus Nutma (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Another candidate is Marinus Nutma. This one seems to act for different projects under different e-mail addresses.
This troll promises payment within 10 days; however, it must be in a different space-time continuum, because even after 30 days, you wait in vain for payment.
Jessica McRichmond (email@example.com)
After receiving the service, the contact breaks off completely. No response to inquiries.
Chaentae Mills (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mediated content and then the contact is completely over. After a short time there was even an error message from the Gmail server „The email account that you tried to reach is disabled„. A candidate who apparently operates under several names and email accounts.
Anna Hafner (email@example.com)
Eternal back & forth by e-mail. Then the offered payment methods do not work. Instead, they ask for possible payment methods that are not very common in Europe, such as Paxum or Webmoney. Seem to me but rather diversionary tactics to delay it further.
Josh Buttler (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Negotiates discounts and after the release there is no response; not even when asked repeatedly.
Many of our readers have also had bad experiences and have told us about some candidates who seem to use unfair means to arrange guest posts for blogs. Since we have not had our own experience with these people, the list is of course unchecked. However, if you do business with these people, you should act with caution:
Would like you to write the article. „Alex Roy“ is actually a person named Maleeha Iqbal in Islamabad, Pakistan.
… is someone who works with alexroy and uses the same methods.
… would like you to add links to your articles.
… would like to publish articles on your website.
here is a risk that malware links are in the article.
… tries to publish articles.
… tries to publish articles.
… tries to publish articles.
… wants to get articles and links for his website, but then does not pay.
Here you should be careful whether the articles do not originate from another website.
… tries to publish articles without payment and claims to have an agency
…articles may have come from another website.
…bad experiences have also been made with the person behind this e-mail address.