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A Scam? Virtual Assistant Helping with Payroll / Printing and Sending Checks

Active Member
Matthew S Member Since: Jun 23, 2016
1 of 17

I have worked in Article Writing, Proofreading, and Editing as a Freelance worker. I decided that after completing my book and having extra time this summer I would look into the "Virtual Assistant" jobs. I'm very organized, find solutions quickly, and have always been told I am reliable and go above and beyond. 


This opportunity has come...But I want to make sure it isn't some type of scam I'm not seeing. I can normally smell them fast, but wanted to bounce it off the community.

 

The guy has corresponded with me both on UpWork and email. Has an authentic Outlook email. 

 

He said he has found that the task of printing, organizing, and sending checks has gotten to a level he is looking for help. My job would primarily be printing checks, and he would reimbiurse me for the cost of Business Versa Check ASH 3000's I would need to buy to print on my printer. 

 

I would comiple them and send them by way of USPS Express (prepaid by himself). 

 

Does this seem authentic? Is there any specific questions I should ask to test and weed out any ill-doers? 

He has been professional and upfront. Good response and seems legit...Not rushed or pushy. 

 

Any help is appreciated. 

 

Matt S.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
BEST ANSWER
2 of 17

re: "Does this seem authentic?"

 

This is an old scam.

 

He will want to have you purchase supplies with your money, and he'll send you a worthless paper check to reimburse you, and you will lose money.

 

If you want to call his bluff, go ahead:

 

"Sam, I believe we can work together well on this. Go ahead and send me an hourly Upwork contract offer. I'll accept, and we can continue with you providing any information or training that is necessary. I understand the need for supplies and equipment. You can send these directly to me, or you can send me money to purchase these things myself using Upwork. Upwork has an option to send payment directly for expenses. If I need to buy anything, you can send the money and once it has been processed, I'll make the purchase."

 

Matt: You need to understand that if the client does NOT agree to these conditions, then both you and he would be violating important Upwork ToS rules. You could get your account suspended or even terminated.

 

If the client DOES agree to these conditions, then this could be a legitimate job for you. (Although the client may still be using you to scam other people... who knows.)

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
3 of 17

Matt

 

Whether you are on Upwork or not, printing checks is a criminal offence. Don't call anyone's bluff. Submit a request and report this person to CS as soon as possible. Here:

 

https://support.upwork.com/hc/en-us/requests/new

Active Member
Matthew S Member Since: Jun 23, 2016
4 of 17

*sigh* 

Of course, when something looked promising it is a bust. 

 

Thanks for the help. 

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
5 of 17

Nichola:

There are still real paper checks in the world. And somebody prints them legally.

 

I myself have legally printed checks when I had a retail business and I printed checks to pay suppliers and employees.

 

Matt has encountered a person who is a scammer, whose principal intended victim is probably Matt himself.

 

If the scammer ACTUALLY got Matt to print checks, then Matt would almost certainly be printing illegal checks, intended to be used as part of the scammer's scam, but insulating the scammer from blame, because Matt would be doing the deed.

 

I understand your concern, but I don't agree that "printing checks is a criminal offense."

 

Writing or creating bad checks (forged checks, fraudulent checks, or checks without money to back them up) would be the criminal offense.

Active Member
Matthew S Member Since: Jun 23, 2016
6 of 17

Thank you Preston. I did not feel like having to take someone through a history and reality lesson on the fact that there are paper shecks, there is no law that they must be hand written and not printed,, and there are in fact printable ones even for individuals that people can use (in fact, they now have ones for senior citizens who cannot write as well that print on their computer). 

 

That is why although it could be legit...I wanted to make sure it was not a known scam. 

 

On I go I suppose to look for other opportunities. 

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
7 of 17

 

 


@Matthew S wrote:

Thank you Preston. I did not feel like having to take someone through a history and reality lesson on the fact that there are paper shecks, there is no law that they must be hand written and not printed,, and there are in fact printable ones even for individuals that people can use (in fact, they now have ones for senior citizens who cannot write as well that print on their computer). 

 

That is why although it could be legit...I wanted to make sure it was not a known scam. 

 

On I go I suppose to look for other opportunities. 



I am sorry, I misunderstood. I thought you were referring to actually making the check - literally printing a bank check, for example.

 

As to history and reality lessons - that's rich from someone who had to ask if this job was legit .  . .

 

Active Member
Toni P Member Since: Jul 10, 2016
8 of 17

Thank you for this reply? I have received the exact same "offer" from 4 different individuals over the last 6 days and was concerned as well. Being a new member to Upwork, I really want to get started quickly on projects- but these seem very suspect. It's very discouraging because these are the only interactions I've had here, so it makes me wonder if there are legit clients on this site genuinely seeking actual help.

Active Member
Annette H Member Since: Aug 8, 2016
9 of 17

I ALMOST GOT SCAMMED!!! BEWARE!!!

I'm really glad I found this post. I recently joined UpWork and was thrilled when I received an invitation for a job as a **Edited for Community Guidelines**. I was offered $800 p/mo for what would be ''less than 30 hours each week".

********
Here's how mine went:
The would-be employer requested my number for a phone interview. Instead of calling me, he started sending texts. But rather than ask me about myself, my previous job experience, etc., he basically spelled out the job and offered it right away.
Only at the end did he mention purchasing the business checks, ink, envelopes, etc.
He even sent me a contract!!!

Here's where red flags started flying:
1) The contract had several spelling errors and was written in poor English.
2) The word 'organization' was spelled incorrectly on both the contract AND the email address it was sent from.
3) For being a well-established company, the email address was in the CompanyName@Gmail.com format rather than EmployeeName@Company.com.

And here's where it got really bad....
The name and profile picture of my contact person: FAKE
The name and address of the company: REAL

So I Googled the company, contacted the manager and informed them of what happened. She said I was the ** SIXTH VICTIM ** in less than 3wks to contact them.


Notes: It was a **Edited for Community Guidelines**.
The guy who I spoke to over the phone was Asian with broken English.
The number I was texted from had a (810) area code.

Moderator
Vladimir G Moderator Member Since: Oct 31, 2014
10 of 17

Hi Annette,

 

I've checked and see the client's account was already addressed by our team at the end of July. Thanks for flagging, feel free to report any further cases to Customer Support directly.

 

Please make sure not to start working unless you have an active contract on Upwork, and note that all the payments have to be processed through the platform.

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