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Another (likely) fake client, unverified, scamming for free English help

Hi Upworkers,

 

I recently received an offer to interview for a long term proofreading job, with follow ups that smell like a fake client profile. The person's name is generic and his payment method is still unverified after a month of posting this attractive job, which received 17 interviews out of 32 applicants.

 

His first message urgently requested a "sample" proofreading job, and in it he promised to pay through Skrill, etc - irrelevant details that smelled like an attempt to pull the job off-platform. He needed the sample done within minutes. I did not comply.

 

A few days later he asked for a sample four page original paper, again with urgency, "before we start with the bulk orders." I let him know that I will be happy to write under a contract, and he did not respond.

 

Anyway, this kind of scam is not too hard to detect, but it's a real time waster, so I'm sharing it with the community. I reported the posting and withdrew my application.

 

-Alan

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jerahangelo
Member

There are so many cases like this. A lot of so-called client that will contact you and would ask for a sample (free work). It is okay to provide an example work, but you should be able to ask questions or even negotiate with them.

 

On my experience, I look at clients based on Feedback, Experience & Payment Verification. The initial interview call is necessary as well.

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7 REPLIES 7
jerahangelo
Member

There are so many cases like this. A lot of so-called client that will contact you and would ask for a sample (free work). It is okay to provide an example work, but you should be able to ask questions or even negotiate with them.

 

On my experience, I look at clients based on Feedback, Experience & Payment Verification. The initial interview call is necessary as well.

Alan,

Thanks for sharing your story.

 

You're one of the good guys!

 

One of the biggest problems with the Upwork platforms is the CONTRACTORS who will go ahead and write free sample work for these scammer clients.

 

People: These clients are NOT going to pay you!

 

It is not physically possible for Upwork to monitor all Skype, phone, email, messaging conversations and make sure that no client ever asks contractors to work for free.

 

Contractors must be the ones to enforce this. If all Upwork contractors refused to write articles and papers for free for these clients, then clients would not be able to get work like that done for free, and that would cut down on all time-wasting clients.

Angelo: very good point about having an initial call with the client. That would filter out most fakes. A real scammer won't even invest the time to speak with you, and he or she will do everything possible to avoid leaving traces that could identify him or her. My sneaking suspicion is that many are students, and academic cheating through Upwork leaves a risky paper trail.

 

Beyond that, a call is imperative to see if you and the client "click."   Every great job I've had on Upwork has started with a phone call.

 

Thanks very much for replying.

 

-Alan

lysis10
Member

"bulk orders" is a red flag in the writing/editing section.

joannielsen
Member

I completely understand your concern, Alan. The grief is when people believe on these kind of scams and in order to get the "bulk orders", they would even go for 4-pages.

 

What I have learnt, though my field is translation, these people send 1-2 pages each to each and everyone and ask them to do it for them. "We will get back to you after seeing the quality", is what they would write after you deliver them.

 

Almost 5 years ago, when I started working on freelance websites, I got one invitation; the client asked to translate 1000 words as a "sample" to get a 15000-words project. I did it and that was it as I never heard back from the guy. Also, I was cheated by a client who I sent a link to one-page marketing translation (and it was the exactly same thing he wanted to be done so, he got it for free that would cost him $125 - my standard rate for one-page marketing text translation).

 

So what I decided was, if a client wants to check my qualification and translation quality and asks for a sample, I ask them to send a text with 150-250 words. That actually worked for me as the real clients always hired me after the sample (I am still working on a project with almost half a million words and am booked for 6 months after my sample of 150 words stood out best), while fake clients never contacted me back after I told them I won't do samples for more than 250-words at all.

 

I think this can work in writing and proofreading fields as well. I don't think doing sample is bad, but it must be within a limit and an individual freelancer must also sense it; if it is fishy, stay away. Man Happy

kochubei_valeria
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Alan,

 

Thank you for sharing this with the Community. Please, report clients who ask for free samples and offer to pay outside Upwork. Those are violations of the Upwork Policies and our team will take actions against such job posting and clients.

~ Valeria
Upwork

Hi Valeria,

 

I appreciate your guidance. In a case like this, asking for free work is easy to detect. I flagged the unverified client before I posted this message.

 

Most of the consulting projects I do here require some kind of exploratory interview. It is very hard to draw the line between a productive conversation that gives the customer new insights, and unpaid work. I'd say that 95% of clients are aware of that line, and try to avoid crossing it.

 

Probably because of my very positive track record with clients, I am taken off-guard in the rare case when I meet an untrustworthy one.

 

Thanks! -Alan