The pros and cons of freelance work during unemployment - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

The pros and cons of freelance work during unemployment

By Lisa Strawbridge - email

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL/WMC-TV) - Many unemployed workers in are turning to freelance jobs to pay the bills. While there is some good work to be found, Dick Eppstein of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) says there are scams to look out for as well.

Matthew Boyd got a freelance photography job three years ago that has turned into steady work while he's unemployed. "I was just cruising on Craigslist and saw a want ad for a fan photography job for the Harlem Globetrotters. I thought 'That sounds pretty cool. I have a couple cameras.' They said, 'Sure come on down.' I've been doing it ever since."

U.S. job reports show freelance workers have increased for five consecutive months. The jobs don't provide health insurance, and there are no set hours but Boyd says it's very convenient. He finds the jobs on internet sites.

Popular sites include:

Dick Eppstein of the Better Business Bureau reminds job seekers that the sites are just as accessible to scam artists. "The websites are ok, but what you don't know about is the people posting the jobs," he said.

Before taking a job, Eppstein suggests doing your research on the company by contacting them directly. Ask them for references from current or previous freelance employees. "Call the references and ask them, 'How much did you get paid?'" he suggests.

Keep in mind, though, scammers have thought of an answer for that too. "It's not 100 percent reliable because there is a lot astroturfing on the net," said Eppstein. "Family members will get in and say, 'Yes, I worked with him.'"

Eppstein suggests starting out small and taking low-paying jobs first so you make money and don't end up losing in the end. "We all need work, but you have to be careful. Don't jump in with both feet. Stick the toe in slowly, or you could get stuck for a lot of money."

Also, watch what type of personal information you give out online.

If you're still not sure about a company, you can always check with the BBB.

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