Warning to Writers! There is a scam afoot!

scamIIGreetings fellow writers! If you turn to CraigsList for some of your writing gigs, then you know well the animals that are out there scamming honest, hardworking writers such as yourself. Unfortunately, these unscrupulous pigs prey on a writer’s desire to work and attempt to make a living.

Well, I want to call out one such scammer. I have seen him around for a while and he seems to get around Craigslist fairly well.

He always has these short ‘ads’ for a writer. He almost always uses his email address xtietz@gmail.com.

According to his Google + account, his name is Xavier Tietz. Watch out for this scammer – here’s his game.

He posts an ad on Craigslist, looking for a writer, usually to write articles. The writer emails him back, answering the ad.

A day or so later, the writer gets an email back from someone named ‘Hannah Walker’ at hannah.walker@pandaresearch-usa.com

This is the letter I received. Interestingly enough, several friends received the SAME email. The thing is, they asked questions about the ‘job.’ One did not even apply or send in a resume, yet he still receive the exact same letter.

letter 1

But wait! It gets even more fun! A month later I received another email from someone named Allison Saynor at allison.saynor@ipsos-surveys.org. She writes:

letter 2

Hmmm…I had not written back or responded to the first letter, yet I receive this one for a completely different survey company! Not only did I receive this once, but several times to each email I had sent. If you click on the ‘Ipsos’ link, it takes you to Vindale Research.

The plot thickens!

Now, what can we learn here? Either Panda Research and Ipsos are placing fake ads on CraigsList for writers in order to get people to sign up, OR (and this is more plausible) Xavier Tietz (if that is even a real name) is placing these fake ads in order to get people to sign up under him on these sites and he is posing as a Human Resources manager for Panda Research and Ipsos in order to try to look credible.

This is low, folks. It is really, really low. But, you do have recourse.

If you respond to an ad and you receive an email like this, forward it to the email address for abuse at the company site. And if you have been hit with the Panda Research or Ipsos scams, here are their email addresses. Forward the emails to them.

Panda Research  abuse@pandaresearch.com

Ipsos  info@ipsos-na.com

Vindale  abuse@vindale.com

So, fellow writers, I do hope that this helps prevent you from being scammed. If you have a story or scam avoidance advice you would like to share, please do!

Happy writing!