Wednesday, April 5, 2023

IWSG Posting Day Has Arrived With A Side of Scam Alert!

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post. 

And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! Otherwise, when you leave a comment, people can't find you to comment back.

First a few items to pass along:

Don't forget that WEP's next challenge is this month.

Life is Beautiful Post April 19 to 21.

Enter the April challenge here.


Tonja Drecker passed this one along and wanted to get the word out on a nasty writer scam going around.

Scams are nothing new, and as a writer, there are certain things, which set off the alarm signal. This last week, though, I ran across one, which caught me by surprise. I’ve since learned that it's been around for several years and hits job boards as well as the usual social media outlets. I ran across it on Twitter, and while I didn’t fall victim to it, I was shocked at how much time the scammers put into it.

I received a DM from an account I’ve been following for several months, claiming that they needed some help with something and asked if I was willing and comfortable with writing clean kidlit stories. The account had around 3,500 followers (over 150 writers which I follow myself), did regular posts with book news and religious quotes, and didn’t seem off in any way. After a little back and forth, they claimed that they were contracted by a large company (a real company, who was not involved in the scam) to find remote writers for a project. It was a permanent position with a monthly salary of $4000. Wary but curious, I agreed to an interview on Skype, which was scheduled three days later.

The first alarm bells sounded when the gentleman, who was to interview me, insisted that it be done per chat…claiming the printed form was important to  assist in the company's decision. During the chat, the logo of the supposed contracting company was present. The interview was very normal and came with the usual questions but did get odd when it was my turn to ask for information. The gentleman’s answers were vague, and the conditions, while nothing over-the-top, sounded too good to be true. The interview lasted over 30 minutes, and at the end, he claimed I appeared to be what the company was looking for. A second interview was scheduled with the supposed hiring company's manager for the next day.

This interview also came as a chat only. While starting out with the usual questions, the ‘you’re hired’ popped up fast. Claiming that they needed me to start as soon as possible, they requested personal information, supposedly to speed up the paperwork process. While I didn’t let it get this far, I’ve since learned that it would include everything from address, birth date, bank information, credit card, and even SSN. 

Before reporting this to anyone, I did contact the real company, whose name was used by the scammers. They were extremely kind and helpful, and confirmed that the individuals did not work for them nor were they hiring writers at the time. The account has since been reported to Twitter, but that, obviously, won’t stop the scam.

Now let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

The awesome co-hosts for the April 5 posting of the IWSG are Jemima PettNancy Gideon, and Natalie Aguirre!

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

Remember, the question is optional!

April 5 question - Do you remember writing your first book? What were your thoughts about a career path on writing? Where are you now and how is it working out for you? If you're at the start of the journey, what are your goals?

I remember indeed. Doing it between work, maybe sneakily while at work, and other life stuff. I admit I cringe a bit at the first one now as I know far more. Career path though? Ha! Knew not to give up the 9-5 in order to avoid the cardboard box. 100+ books in and still a going. Enjoy doing it so I do. Nothing more. Nothing less.

How's your career path? Any writer scams that you have come across lately? Have you heard of this one? Are you joining WEP's challenge this month?


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Pat - thanks for the reminder re WEP .. I'll be there. That scam sounds so sad - I'm glad Tonja wasn't caught out. We need to be so careful. I just enjoy writing for my blog - and seeing how other writers are doing - good luck to everyone writing their books - cheers Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Tonja, thanks for letting us know about the scam.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for letting us know about your scam experience, Tonja. Sadly, there are a lot of them going around these days. You might want to make Writers Beware and SCBWI aware of your experience.

Jen said...

Yikes! I've not heard of this scam. Thanks for the alert!
My first book...oh man...thank GOODNESS that's in the bin! My second's still an idea I'm working through, gradually getting details and sifting through backstory. I won't say how long ago this story came to me (it's embarrassing, honestly) but I've always known it needed to be written. As for a career path? A published book is still the top goal, but I'm learning that the path of a writer is one that twists and winds and merges and it's best if we're booted up and ready to pivot when the rocks start to slide.

Great post! Happy Wednesday. Man, it's good to be back x

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

thanks for the head's up. I'm glad they were found out. Sadly, we live in a world of scam artists and it will continue that way. At least, with warnings we can keep ahead of them.

Tonja Drecker said...

Thanks so much for helping spread the word on this one!

cleemckenzie said...

I love this month's WEP theme!

And I'm glad you were smart about the 9 to 5. Those cardboard boxes are drafty.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Wanting all of that information was a big red flag. I'm glad you saw it for what it was.

Patricia JL said...

Thanks for the heads up about the scam.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I had an "interview" with a magazine, and it seemed legit, and I didn't give them any major information, but they never printed the article and now I wonder... agh.
It's the moments when I feel desperate for some kind of "applause" or "approval" that this kind of stuff gets under my skin the most. I have to remember; I'm writing for a small audience who likes my niche stuff and writing brings me joy - even when I don't put it into the world.

Denise Covey said...

Hi Pat! Always good to hear about scammers. Grr.
Thanks for the shout out to WEP this month. Be lovely to have you write for us again one day! We miss you!

Denise Covey said...

Hi Ales! I remember that story of you fishing out your old ms and seeing it through to publication. Not many do. Mostly I see those old stories as my writing machine. Glad it worked for you!

Karen Baldwin said...

Hoo boy! Those scammers are ruthless. 100+ books? You are persevering, dedicated, and creative. Admirable. I lost my first manuscript that was typewritten.

jabblog said...

That's quite some achieveemnt. Well done!

Visiting from

Diane Burton said...

Thanks for the heads up on the scam. That is so mean, deceitful.

Gwen Gardner said...

100+ books is awesome!

The $4K monthly salary was the first tipoff. My goodness, scammers are certainly getting good at this. Thanks for the info.