Bloggers who are new to the game often supplement their income by doing other work. For me, landing a crypto writing gig was the dream ticket. But little did I know how this would unfold.
This post will detail my experience of getting scammed through an online job. I will share an honest and accurate account of what happened, in the hope of educating others on how fraudsters operate.
Making Ends Meet
Starting a blog is hard work, especially as a one-man-band. My eventual aim is to monetize this website by placing ads, but until then, I will continue to pay for it out of my pocket.
As such, I often keep my eye out for suitable writing jobs. Sites such as talent.hubstaff.com and angel.co are great sources for finding online work. I mean, it’s good earning beer money with the things I do on the side, but a full-time writing job is a continuation of what I love to do, and a chance to improve my craft through 3rd party feedback.
Around November last year, I came across an advert from a company called CryptoMeNow, who were looking for a crypto writer. As a believer in the fundamentals of blockchain technology, I was extremely interested. I sent off my application and went about my usual business. Within a few days, the owner, a Wilson Jian P. messaged me through Skype. Here is his LinkedIn:
Update: It looks like he has changed his name on LinkedIn to Wilson J Pang, and removed his association with CryptoMeNow. Don’t be fooled, he is also involved with Sumo Dash and went to the College of San Mateo.
He asked me to write a piece on utility tokens as part of the recruitment process. I was keen to get started, so I asked questions such as who it was for, and what is the purpose of the piece? He replied by saying it’s a beginner’s guide.
It took me a few days to write, and after proofreading it several times, I emailed it. The following morning I received a reply with the feedback. Unfortunately, he said I was trying too hard to write for a beginner, and it wasn’t what he was looking for.
During that moment I felt a pang of disappointment but thought to myself, there will be other opportunities. But continuing with email, Wilson went on to say; he’d like me to write another piece, this time on the state of crypto in Asia.
I felt a sense of relief sweeping over me, but I was surprised at getting a second chance. Nonetheless, this time around I was determined to write a better article. In between my other commitments, it took me a week to write, and this time, the feedback was excellent.
It’s Christmas, and I’m enjoying time with my family. My phone goes off; it’s Wilson, he suggests we move communication over to Telegram. Taking this as a positive sign, I do so, and over the next few days, we talk. One day, we were talking about what I do for money, and he then sends me this:
At that moment, I felt so proud of myself. I had finally managed to get that full-time writing gig, on top of which, I get to learn about growing websites. It seemed as though things were looking up for me.
After accepting his offer, things start to change. Before then, communication was fun and easy-going. But now, he’s snappy, and all my ideas were being shot down. He ends by saying maybe this gig isn’t for me. Not one to be easily discouraged, I tell him I’ll do some research and come back with a plan and some goals.
Examining well-respected crypto news sites, I deconstructed what they do, and formulate my plan accordingly. I won’t go into specifics, other than saying it was focused on social media platforms and raising the website domain authority.
After reading my plan, he tells me he doesn’t have time to hold my hand, which was something he repeatedly said over the coming weeks, and that I should just do it. I’m somewhat surprised because as a relative newbie, I thought he would at least give me some direction. Especially so, given that Wilson is a self-described “growth hacker.”
Nonetheless, at this point, it hadn’t occurred to me that this guy was a scammer. I was so caught up with wanting to do well; this job took priority above everything else. I was spending ten hours a day, seven days a week, growing his site and writing articles.
After a shaky start, I begin to get results. I double the Twitter following; influencers were showing an interest in collaborating, my Quora answers had reached 1,000 views, and feedback on my articles was positive. Although he never shared the traffic figures or gave me WordPress editor access, he tells me to keep doing what I’m doing. And I do.
During this period, I’m spread across three different jobs and dealing with home life as well. My washing is piling up, and I haven’t eaten a home cooked meal for a while, this job was my entire focus. But feedback continues to be positive, and that only makes me want to work harder.
A month passed, and I didn’t get paid. I thought to myself maybe this job pays at the end of the month, rather than on the four week anniversary of starting. I ask him, is payday on the 31st? He tells me his editor, some guy called Kevin, handles all that, and it’s in hand. Great I thought, and continue with the work.
The 31st comes and goes, and payment still hasn’t been received. I message him, and again he refers to Kevin handling the money. But tells me not to bother Kevin, as doing so is suggesting he’s not doing his job. By the 2nd of February, it dawned on me that this was a fake job.
The funny thing is, he has the nerve to continue messaging asking where the updates are.
How Online Job Scammers Operate
This was a lesson learned for me. After thinking about what happened, and how it happened, here is what you should know.
With a real job from a legit company, there will be some sort of assessment. The easier that assessment, the more likely the online situation is fake. In my case, the recruitment process was relatively painless. Yes, I had to write two sample pieces, but there was no face to face interview where I would put on the spot. I only ever communicated by text message, this is likely because Wilson doesn’t dare to look me in the eye.
Legit jobs have teams that work together to achieve a particular objective. I was working in isolation. I only had contact with Wilson, and minimal interaction with Kevin for Twitter queries. Looking at the CryptoMeNow website, there were other staff members/contributors, but I was never introduced to them.
Perhaps the most telling sign is a contract or lack of in my case. The job offer came in the middle of a conversation, and work started shortly after. A real job will need you to sign a contract, to formalize consent before you start working.
I consider myself to be a switched on person, which is why this incident pains me. For six weeks I worked hard and received nothing in return. When it comes to the internet, essential cues about a person are taken away; we cannot always see the other person’s body language or hear their voice tonality. Sadly, this plays to the advantage of immoral, lying and dishonourable people, such as Wilson Jian P.
In the meantime, I have amassed several crypto articles while “working” for CryptoMeNow. They are my intellectual property, and I consider the articles he published as stolen property. I will be re-writing and posting them on this website.
I have already revised the first article CryptoMeNow published; the link is here >>> The Asian Crypto Landscape. The revised version is much easier to read.
There are scammers on the internet that take advantage of being able to hide behind a screen. They can trap you through legitimate channels, such as genuine job websites. They will appeal to your desires, so, always be on guard, even if you think the source is credible. And in the case of online job scammers, a relatively easy recruitment process, working in isolation, and the lack of a contract are all signs that the job may be a scam.