About a month ago (May 8 to be exact), I applied for a position as a proofreader for Relatieplanet International. This was the job ad that caught my attention:
Of course, I researched the company. No one had anything negative to say about them. Everything seemed legit.
After sending my resume and three references, I was hired. I had to sign a contract stating that I would put forth the amount of effort required to complete the tasks and that I would receive payment after 21 days of work. I was getting paid $5 per edited kb, which was around $20 an hour for me. Of course, that was a red flag. How could they pay me so much?
But, I am still relatively new to the freelancing world. And, so, I took the job, telling myself that if it was a scam, at least I would have some edited documents to add to my portfolio. It wouldn’t be a total waste. Besides, I hadn’t shared any bank information with them (and I never share my main account information, for the record).
At first, I was enthralled with the company. They sent semi-steady work (a few projects each week) and they were always complimentary. My job was to proofread letters between non-native English speakers who met on a European dating site called Relatieplanet International. 1
Then, my payday came. By then, I had grown wary. A few of the letters had the exact same lines in them. They also seemed to have the same content, just worded differently. I began asking myself questions. How could this company afford to pay me so much? Why would the company even care to edit their clients’ letters? (Most of them, in my opinion, were understandable without my help.) So, I set up a separate bank account (a savings account) so that they would not have access to my main account. I used that account when they asked for the information for the wire transfer. After a few days, I still had not received payment for the first month.
So, I started researching more about the company. Then, I stumbled upon a post on Scribe for Hire. She included a letter that she had had to edit and, to my surprise, it was exactly the same as one of the letters that I had edited only a few days ago. Her post, though, was from the fall of 2013. She had a few other letters posted as well. I’d edited each of those, too. The weird thing is that she had been proofreading for a company called E-Dates, but the letters were identical. Word-per-word identical. I was not the only one to notice this. Others commented that they had reviewed those exact letters as well while working for Relatieplanet.
After finding that site, I kept digging and found a Ripoff Report confirming my suspicion that Relatieplanet International’s proofreading position may be a scam.
Luckily no one has had any monetary losses (that I have seen) from Relatieplanet. There are rumors that the company is laundering money, but I’m not sure if that is true.
Someone also claimed that E-Dates had sent them a large amount of money, then asked the recipient to send the difference back to them, claiming that they had made a mistake. When the recipient sent the difference back, she realized that the initial payment had been a bogus check. So, not only did she not receive payment, but she had sent her own money to the company.
I’m posting this to raise awareness, but also to invite others to comment about their dealings with Relatieplanet or E-Dates. Have you been hired? Were you paid? What was your experience like?
Right now, all we know is that they are sending the same letters to their “employees.” My biggest concern is that they don’t seem to be taking money (other than in that one instance), so I’m wondering what their interests are. Is their game just to waste people’s time? Though I highly doubt that, I can’t see that they are doing much more than that. So, please, let me know if you have any experience with them or even with E-Dates.
1 I do not believe that the real Relatieplanet International is in any way associated with this possible proofreading scam. The hiring managers seem to be impersonating the real company.