Jaryd: I do not blame you for being surprised or disappointed by this. But do not take it personally.
Every company that scammers can find on the Internet can have this happen to them. Fortunately the scammers quickly rotate through company names. You company's name will not be used for long.
re: "It would be good to understand why someone would do it and how they plan to make money out of it."
These are two different questions.
Scammers do this in order to get money.
First of all, they are not trying to get money from you. They are trying to get money from freelancers. They copy names of real companies and feed those names to freelancers. The scammers want the freelancers to google the company names. The freelancers who don't know about scams then google the company name and see it is a real company. The freelancer thus thinks the job is real, and they think they can earn money.
Then scammers then tell the freelancers to send them money. Typically this is facilitated by the scammer sending the freelancer a fake check. But the freelancer sends the scammer real money.
That is how the scammers make money.
As a person associated with a real company, THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT.
You are not responsive for this scam, and there is no way for you to prevent it.
The freelancers who get scammed are all behaving foolishly AND they are violating important Upwork rules.
Also: Keep in mind that this has nothing to do with Upwork. Scammers apply this same scam on other work platforms and elsewhere, including CraigsList, Facebook, etc.