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We learnt about online and freelancing job prospects for mariners and sailors so that they can use their time at home more productively. But the main problem related for a newcomer is the vast expanse of the cyberspace which is much more complicated than even the giant ships that these marine engineers and navigating officers are used to handle. Moreover there are very few percentage of genuine freelancing sites (remember I not saying less in number but less in relative numbers as compared to fake and not so attractive sites). In this article we will focus on this aspect and see how to spot genuine opportunities for online freelance work.
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How to Spot Fakes?
Of course people working on board ships have the experience of traveling across the globe and hence are not the ones which could be duped easily but at the same time, they need to be careful about identifying fake sites and emails which may seem genuine. Here are a few general tips to do the same.
- Don’t believe in the emails which you get automatically in you inbox or bulk folder which say that you have won so much money etc. Remember that if you did not buy a ticket for something, you CANNOT win a prize and remember what you learnt in you kindergarten school – temptation can be dangerous.
- Never give out your personal details in response to such emails as that could lead to identification theft. If you have done so, it is not very improbable that someone-somewhere could be posing as you and using perhaps a credit card that gets billed to your bank account – a scary thought isn’t it
- Regarding websites for freelancing I would say a simple look at the website would be sufficient to tell you intuitively whether it is a spammy and fake site or a genuine one. Always check out for physical address, contact numbers etc and a website that only has an email id as contact is very unlikely to be genuine.
- Beware of sites which ask you money before you begin BUT you need to exercise your intuition in this. For example some of the most reputed websites for freelancing including Elance, Guru etc DO require upfront payment but one difference is that in most of these genuine sites you can try out for free and get limited facilities before making payment. But if a website says they wont tell anything before you pay a couple of hundred dollars, it is mostly likely a fraud site.
- Check out the website reputation and ranking by going to discussion forums or some popular ranking engines. For example I would suggest the use of Alexa.com for checking the ranking. It is always good to work for a site which has good ranking since they will have ample traffic and hence customers to keep you busy.
- Don’t believe in websites which have banners such as that shown below. As you can see in the attached picture it says earn 5000 weekly without any experience. That comes to around 20K USD per month and the only way you can earn such money is if you do real good business or have lots of experience and work for a good company. So do not let such exaggerating claims tempt you and lose money in the end.
- Last but not least, just remember the golden rule – There is absolutely no substitute for hard work – working in freelancing mode or online does not mean that you do not have to work hard, rather you may need to work harder. It only gives you flexibility in terms of job location and working schedule but the hard work required is not less if not more than a conventional job. Of course sailors are really hard working people so they are not afraid of slogging long hours to get the job done.
Let me also add that these are but a few tips and there could be hundreds of other alerts and signs. Basically you need to use your intelligence, common sense and intuition that’s it. If you are really doubtful about a website just stay away from it to be on the safer side unless you confirm it otherwise. In the next article we will see about some genuine sites and types of work available on them.