Beware Bait and Switch Scams

Header image: bait and switch scammer  offering a carrot to tempt victims off a cliff

There’s a scam doing the rounds right now.

Scam email to writers: "I have a speech distorting condition called Apraxia...Can you write an article on a specific topic?...I have a title for the article and have drafted an outline to guide you."

(Apraxia is a neurological condition affecting, among other things, the ability to speak; it’s not really clear why the scammer makes this claim, except maybe as an excuse not to speak on the phone.)

It’s not just writers; illustrators are targets too.

Apraxia scam email to illustrators: "I will give the idea of what I need to be illustrated/drawn and you can get back to me with the price to get it done. I will pay your fees up front if you want."

If the person responds, they are sent upfront payment in the form of a check that looks genuine (I’ve redacted the name of the purported sender because it’s not clear they’re involved in the scam).

Bogus payment check sent by the scammer for $6,650.00

The check bounces, of course. The recipient contacts the scammer to complain, and the scammer asks for the deposit ticket or other proof of deposit, which would give them some of the recipient’s bank information. Alternatively, the recipient is told that the scammer accidentally overpaid, and asked to send the overage back to the scammer (this is also a common Craigslist scam).

This is an example of a bait and switch scam. You’re offered an opportunity with remuneration. Or you’re promised a service that doesn’t require an upfront fee. But to access it, you have to pay something or buy something or provide something of value, such as personal or financial information. Once you’ve complied, you never hear from the scammer again.

Some other bait-and-switch schemes that have pinged Writer Beware’s radar:

Conference Scam: The bait: the scammer claims to be inviting the writer (or other professional–this scam targets multiple professions) to participate in a virtual conference, for which they’ll be paid a sizeable honorarium. The scammer’s emails use the names of real staffers or executives with real companies, so that anyone who is suspicious enough to Google, but not suspicious enough to wonder why a company with no connection to publishing is putting on a writing conference, will be more likely to assume the invite is genuine.

The switch: to participate, the writer must send a money order (i.e., a payment with no accountability or possibility of reversal) to rent “video equipment” from a preferred vendor. Not to worry, though: the scammer will send a check to cover the expense (which some writers actually do receive, though as with the Apraxia scam, it’s bogus). Guess what happens when the writer deposits it?

This is quite an elaborate, ongoing scam that appears to trace back to one person with a PO box in New York City. I’ve written about it in detail here.

Editing Scam: DC Publishing Service claims to be an “independent publisher”, but it seems to be more interested in recruiting remote workers. Anyone who ignores the giant scam signal on the DC website (illiterate English from a supposedly UK-based company), and applies, is promised payment of $2,000 plus a $300 bonus for completing an initial task.

A cavalcade of ripoff signals follow. In order to do the task, the person must “register” an account, which costs $80 (they’re assured this will be refunded as part of their earnings). The task–typing text from a series of screenshots into a Word document–is weirdly pointless and unchallenging. The contract they’re asked to sign has missing pages, and their recruiter can’t seem to fix it.

If the person is not scared off by all of this and completes the task, they’re instructed to link their account to “the payment system” in order to receive their fee. And that, of course, is the switch:

Fee demand by DC Publishing Service to "link account" in order to be paid: $350 for "single transaction", $550 for "multiple transactions"

Those who pay–and, worse, provide their ID information–never hear from DC Publishing Services again.

UPDATE 1/9/23: I am completely unsurprised to discover that the DC Publishing Service website has vanished. But I’m hearing about a scam that looks very similar, including the claim to be recruiting remote workers and suspiciously large fees for very small projects: Royal House Publishing.

UPDATE 6/17/23: I’m hearing about a very similar bait-and-switch job scam by Giickon (or Glickon, it’s not clear) Publishing Hub:

Screenshot of Glickon Hub "pending payment" message, requiring payment of a "refundable linking fee ($100)"

UPDATE 11/1/23: Spine Press Publishing and Consultancy appears to be running the same type of scam. I’ve gotten reports of job listings on Upwork; the job is re-writing content word for word from provided images into a Word doc, and then converting to PDF format. In order to get a job, though, you have to provide a “registration fee” of between $50 and $1,000, depending on the project (see this “project listing“), with a refund promise:

"Registration Fee" description from Spine Press: must be "paid by Freelancer before job will be issued. The fee shall be refunded back to Freelancer after the project has been completed."

Translation Scam: On Facebook, an account identifying itself as Elena Morgan has been posting job calls in translators’ groups on behalf of a (websiteless) company called Online Chase Publishing.

Facebook job posting from Elena Morgan: "We are currently looking for audio translators who can translate an English text from English to Spanish, polish, Japanese, Chinese Italian, Dutch."

Those who respond (and you can see from the number of comments that there are a lot of them) are told they must pass an audio audition: translate and narrate a short English-language children’s story in their preferred language. The audition is unpaid, but if they qualify, they’ll be compensated at the rate of $500 per hour for translation and narration of additional stories.

That’s the bait. The switch: although the audition was fine to record on the translator’s phone, subsequent projects require specific recording equipment…and the translator must confirm that they own the equipment before they can proceed or get paid. If they don’t have the equipment on hand, and/or it’s too expensive, no worries: Elena can recommend an “audio engineer” who can provide it for much less.

"Audio engineer" recommendation from Elena Morgan: "We pay $10,000 upfront and $1q5,000 after you complete the project. Purchasing this equipment, certifies that you would be responsible enough to complete the 6 month contract...If the equipment is expensive in your location, we can refer you to our audio engineer who sells the specified equipment at a second-hand level."

At this point, the translator who reported this scam to me smelled a rat, so I don’t know how much the “engineer” would have demanded. Had the translator paid, however, that’s no doubt the last communication they would have gotten from Elena and Online Chase Publishing–which not only would have stolen the translator’s money, but gotten a free translated story narration into the bargain (which of course poses an entire range of other issues).

Fake Literary Agency Scam: If you’re a regular reader here, you’ll be familiar with this one, given the many posts I’ve written about it. The scammer targets self-published writers with offers to represent their books to big-name traditional publishers and/or production studios–commission-only, no fees ever! But in order for that to happen, the writer must lay out cash: re-publication/re-branding of their book, a screenplay, developmental editing, a video trailer, and more. Often the writer is referred to a “trusted literary firm” that can provide the needed services–aka the scammer for which the “agent” is a front.

Typical bait:

Fake agent "commission only" offer

Typical switch:

Fake agent "re-licensing" offer and fees: $900, with referral to Blueprint Press Internationale

Blueprint Press is one of many names used by this particular scammer to solicit authors in the US, Canada, and the UK; in the Philippines, where it’s based, it does business as Bridgebooks. Dozens of other scam companies run similar bait-and-switch operations.


How to protect yourself against bait-and-switch scams? This can be a challenge, since you often have to venture some way into the scammer’s web in order to figure out what the play is.

Solicitation can be a clue–though not always, for as with the conference scam, legit conferences often approach potential participants out of the blue. Lack of findable information, as with Online Chase Publishing and its lack of website, should prompt caution–though this isn’t infallible either, since the scammer may be impersonating someone real. Obvious unprofessionalism–poor written English, for example, or a super-sketchy website like DC Publishing’s–is of course a huge red flag, though I’m constantly surprised by how many people are willing to ignore this.

Bottom line: if you’re promised payment for providing a professional service, but there are conditions attached–such as a fee you have to pay or equipment you have to buy or sensitive information you have to provide–or if you’re promised a service that doesn’t involve any upfront fees or other investment, but in order to access it you must lay out cash for some adjacent good or service, you are probably being scammed. At that point, no matter how much work or hope you may have invested in the scheme, trust your gut and get out.


  1. Really glad I saw this.. the SpinePress thing was definitely throwing off red flags for me but, not as obvious as the usual scams (i.e. a Managing Editor at a supposedly established consulting firm… that has a gmail account for professional/business correspondence? Love seeing that one, definite give away! The email I got last night from this person was a email though, so I really didn’t give it a second thought honestly!) so I was trying to be cautiously optimistic because I REALLY need to get some sort of income flowing.

    Only difference with whatever person I was talking to “from SpinePress” is

    1: This “recruiter”/project manager didn’t ask me to make any sort of deposit or payment before I could be given the details of the job. They just sent me a contract, which I filled out and returned with no issues, and then sent me the material they wanted me to “translate.”

    2: The contract they sent me was titled “For Translation Services,” even though what we had prior discussed had to do with transposing photo captions. When I pointed this out, I was told to basically just overlook it, they’d know where it was going.

    3: The “project” is a 100 page Victor Hugo short story that they wanted me to LITERALLY just re-type, save as a word doc, and send back to them… which I was honestly kinda stoked about because the contract stated they would pay by page, and I type INCREDIBLY fast, so hey, EASY money!!!

    Oh well.. you know what they say! “If it’s too good to be true, then it probably isn’t true.” 🙁

    1. Thanks for the updated information, Rebecca. Interesting that they didn’t ask for money upfront–but I can’t imagine that the demand would have come at some point, especially given the pointlessness of the task they gave you.

  2. Thank you so much for the update on this article! I was so close to fully committing to a task with “Glickon Publishing Hub”, but I didn’t push through with it after reading this article.

    I was looking for a part-time job, and was happy that I got one wherein I only had to retype a scanned book. I got the file via Telegram as well (same with Ayten). Nothing seemed fishy, since the file was sent to me and they weren’t asking for any upfront fee. But for some reason, I just felt like doing a background check on the company. Imagine my surprise when the first website I saw was a certain Glickon for outsourcing services, and not for a publishing hub. Next thing I saw was a photo of what is supposed to be their company logo, but posted on Baskadia (which is only a platform to share images, writings, comics, etc) which is weird for me. Now I’m here, having verified the third time through this article that the company and the job are just fakes.

    And just to share, I messaged the person who sent me the scanned book, asking him if their company have a website. The person just said, “yeah sure, go check it out” without sending me any link. I mean, if I was on their shoes and I know that what I’m doing is legit, I’d have the initiative to give people the link to our website. Or maybe that’s just me, I don’t know. But nonetheless, I guess they knew they were about to get busted.

    Sorry for the long comment, but I hope this can serve as a warning to others as well.

  3. Just got scammed by DC Republishing Services for a “translation” job. As it was my first application for a freelance job so I had no experience before. They first “tested” my translation skills and afterwards I received a pdf via Telegram for several project types from which I could choose and for which I had to pay a refundable “security fee”. As it was 40 $ for a 685 $ job, I was okay with it, even though I was a little suspicious. Yeah, shortly after I noticed that it was truly a scam and asked them to refund my money back but of course no answer 😀 I wished them bad luck and karma and they deleted the chat 😀

    1. “[I] Just got scammed by DC Republishing Services for a ‘translation’ job.”

      “DC Publishing Services.” I am sorry for your financial loss; it is a damn shame that victims of scams do financial due diligence searchers on the ‘net after being scammed and not before.

      Perhaps you would send to Ms. Strauss emails and documents you have from and to “DC Publishing Services.”

    1. Hello
      I have same experience I done project n give them now then payment he said I pay 100 dollars I says why I pay u payment then no reply .. seriously it’s scam that was my first project we trust I really. Depressed 😔

  4. “Then this can be one of the most important emails you have ever read!”

    Gosh, that is screaming hilarious.

    Some people do indeed pay for a few score reviews, and some pay for several hundred. This, of course, violates Amazon terms of service,.

  5. I’ve recently received a rash (like one a day for the last week) of emails form people wanting to read my book for a review. I don’t think I’d gotten anything just like this before, and it’s obviously a concerted spam effort.

    Cheryl L. Freeman
    Yup, Accepting Book Review Requests Right Now


    I am Cheryl, a student of English literature. I have been in love with books since I was a kid. I read books of all genres. If you are looking for a review on Amazon or Goodreads, please contact me.



    Tom S. Ortiz
    I can help you with Amazon Reviews


    If you are still looking for Amazon and Goodreads reviews for your book, please let me know. I am a book review tour organizer with thousands of ACTIVE AND VORACIOUS book reviewers and Kindle readers in my list. I also have over four thousand social media followers in my network. If you want honest reader reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, etc., you can contact me for details.


    Colin A. Smith
    Do you Want Guaranteed Reviews?- That’s Correct!


    If you want GUARANTEED reviews on Amazon…

    Then this can be one of the most important emails you have ever read!

    I don’t know about you, but I firmly believe that an author should spend time writing books rather than marketing them. Imagine yourself sitting back in the comfort of your chair, absolutely focused and worry-free, writing your next bestseller book, while I do all the hard work of garnering reviews for your existing book! To top it all, my review program also comes with a guarantee: if you don’t get a review from me, you will definitely get a refund. At present, I can guarantee up to 40 reviews.

    1. This is interesting–I haven’t heard from anyone else who’s gotten these (though I’m sure I will). Sounds like the long-running racket run by Aimee Ann, aka the Red-Headed Book Lover.

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