Are job posters screened at all? The 2 times I've attempted to retain a job through this website have both been the exact same experience. A company wanting to hire me and send me a check to cash to "buy supplies". This really needs to be addressed because there is fraudulent activity all over this site and it's lowering the reputation of the site.
Like any online activity, there are going to be clients here on Upwork who are not who they say they are or won't follow through on what they say will do.
Report them to Upwork and then move on to making bids on as many projects as you feel you are qualified for. And if something about a client strikes you as iffy, just move on. Do not, under any circumstances, let a new or potential client talk you into something that violates Upwork's rules or procedures, especially in terms of how they will pay you for your work.
Properly using Upwork's built-in anti-fraud policies and procedures helps - these policies are there to protect honest freelancers and honest clients. I have been using Upwork for a few years now and have not encountered any truly fraudulent clients, but I've had a handful who have, as we say in America, tried to pull a fast one.
I'm sorry about your experience on the two scam jobs you mentioned. Please note that you're required to be hired through Upwork in order to start working and need to accept payments only through the platform. Hopefully you haven't deposited the fake checks? Please pm me the job post links the clients you communicated with posted, so I can check if our team already took action against them.
In the meantime, please stop communicating with these clients, review our safety tips derived from Upwork ToS, make sure to only communicate through Messages with prospective clients, only accept to get paid through the platform, never pay in order to be considered for a job, never share your ID, bank account, SSN# or similar personal information with other users and start working only once you're hired on Upwork. Note that thousands of jobs are posted daily on our platform and despite the tools we have in place to detect fraudulent jobs like the ones you mentioned, we do rely on our freelancers to abide by Upwork ToS in order to avoid questionable jobs that we might not identify on time.
I'd also strongly advise you to review these resources before submitting new proposals. Let us know if you have any other questions.
re: "Are job posters screened at all?"
Aside from some rudimentary filtering done by automated algorithms...
The answer is "no."
People who post jobs on Upwork are not screened.
Upwork wants to make it as easy as possible for people to become a client on the site and post jobs.
It is theoretically possible for Upwork to have a significantly more complicated "onboarding" process for clients, which would involve background checks, identity verification, interviews, etc.
Upwork does not do that. Upwork is thus attempting to maximize their income by maximizing the number of jobs that are posted and maximizing the number of actual contracts created between clients and freelancers.
As an experienced freelancer, I am never contacted by scammers. So Upwork's business plan works very well for me. It means that there are large numbers of legitimate clients who want to hire me.
But, yes, the current system can be frustrating for newbies.