Freelance websites for IT work - opinions sought

One of my targets for the next year is to make a bit more money for me and Mrs Aruns. Since I’m in the IT field (I am doing a PhD in Computing Science) and like programming, I am thinking of doing some freelance work, so I could work from home and not cut down the hours I spend in the University.

I have experience in IT work, but I have only worked freelance. Dopers, do you have any advice? What are the websites you use for this, what are your experiences, and most importantly, what are the pitfalls to avoid?

Another thing: I am living in the UK, what happens if I get screwed by someone abroad?

Incidentally, I had interviews in a few UK job agencies that also handle freelancing. I was only offered two possibilities: become incorporated (that is, establish my own one-man firm) so that, at my end, they could deal with an enterprise rather than an individual, or get hired by a so-called “umbrella company” as a full time empolyee working from home but subject to their choice of work and their choice of load - and I would also have to pay them for their services.

Neither of those solutions are really ideal for me. When I was in Italy, I did work on some temporary IT job with a contract form called “external collaboration”. Is there something like this in the UK?

Right, I got the timing competely and absolutely wrong: the last day of the year. Wow, it takes some effort to achieve that. Now that it’s monday, allow me the one bump, please. Hopefully more people will read this.

Incidentally, non-UK sites are also OK if they are fine with working with people not living in the same country they are based in.