Writers: Be careful out there

As if it isn’t difficult enough to be a writer these days, a growing number of scammers are looking to take advantage of us with promises of writing gigs and so forth.

This scam alert comes to us via Poets & Writers:

Recently we’ve become aware of an e-mail scam involving someone posing as a representative of “Macmillan Publishers” offering to pay the writer for taking part in a conference. After agreeing to terms, the writer is asked to provide a deposit for video equipment the scammer says will be provided. In another version of the scam, the writer receives a check, and is then told they’ve been overpaid and asked to return part of the funds ASAP; of course the original check bounces. Several writers listed in the Poets & Writers Directory have been targeted.

If you receive an offer like this, please do not respond. As you likely already know, the internet is rife with such scams. Solicitations that do not include specific details about an event or that ask for payments should be considered suspicious and are likely a scam. If you have any doubts about the authenticity of a message such as this, verify that the contact information is valid before taking any action. Even if the message includes a name that is familiar to you, scrutinize the e-mail address of the sender and proceed with caution. And of course never provide credit card information in an e-mail.

Also keep a close eye on the Writers Beware blog.