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Client Scam: Fraudulent Cashier's Checks

A client using Upwork.com recently committed fraud by sending me three fraudulent cashier's checks, said to be used for the purchase of a laptop and software for a freelance assignment. 

 

Although the proposed business transaction seemed unorthodox and I questioned it, scammers persuaded me to deposit the fraudulent checks in my checking account and then withdraw cash from the first check and deposit it in the account of the supposed IT vendor, who was to provide me the laptop and special software. Because funds from the first deposited check were available, I believed that the check had cleared. It had not. Scammers knew banking rules whereby banks make funds available after a two-day hold. It may, and apparently does, take banks more than two days to discover that a check is fraudulent. Upon discovery, the issuing bank notifies the bank of deposit and puts a collection hold on the check. The person who cashed the check then owes the bank the full amount of the withdrawal. 

 

I do not know the name of the client responsible for this fraud, as Upwork will not provide it, though they have offered to work with my legal representative to pursue legal action. I am working with the bar association in my state to find suitable legal representation. I believe that the amount stolen from me makes this crime a felony.

 

Scammers used the following names in this fraud: **Edited for Community Guidelines** used Upwork letterhead to invite me to interview for a job. If you receive communications from these persons through Upwork, please report to Upwork.

 

Scams involving fraudulent cashier's checks are apparently very common. Because Upwork does not vet its clients, you may safely assume that any client whose payment method is unverified is a potential criminal whose sole intent is to take advantage of you, and not to give you a job.

 

Also, you are on your own when you are a victim of crime committed on Upwork.com. Upwork allows you to file a complaint and provides links to information about how to protect yourself. But they apparently will not work on your behalf to recover your money or prosecute the criminals who stole from you.

ACCEPTED SOLUTION
dossy
Member

> "Also, you are on your own when you are a victim of crime committed on Upwork.com."

 

This is why I think Upwork should make the "Upwork Readiness Test" a mandatory test for all freelancers before they're allowed to submit proposals at all, and make the test MUCH more thorough -- especially have a section around common scams and things asked of freelancers that are eithr complicit in fraudulent activity, as well as things that may not be obvious as violations of Upwork's Terms of Service.

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43 REPLIES 43
dossy
Member

> "Also, you are on your own when you are a victim of crime committed on Upwork.com."

 

This is why I think Upwork should make the "Upwork Readiness Test" a mandatory test for all freelancers before they're allowed to submit proposals at all, and make the test MUCH more thorough -- especially have a section around common scams and things asked of freelancers that are eithr complicit in fraudulent activity, as well as things that may not be obvious as violations of Upwork's Terms of Service.

lysis10
Member

Lol how much they curb stomp you fors they got you three times? That's hilarious. Some Nigerian is out buying a Beamer.

Srsly though how much you out? So far highest is some chick for $20k.

Fraud discovered when first check bounced.  Not finding it hilarious.

 

mtngigi
Member

Pamela,

 

It is advisable to read all the help articles available to new users before communicating with clients and/or bidding on jobs. Most importantly, accepting  payment outside of Upwork is a serious violation of terms of service. Yes, you were scammed by one of the oldest scams on the 'net, but you also agreed to accept money outside of Upwork ... a big no-no.

 

Read up:

 

https://community.upwork.com/t5/New-to-Upwork/Tips-to-Avoid-Questionable-Jobs/td-p/240833

Thanks, Virigina. I wasn't aware of that. The scammer contacted me on Upwork letterhead. I wonder if Upwork could do more to prevent their clients from committing this kind of crime.

If freelancers used a modicum of common sense, or, in absence of that, just followed the most basic rule not to accept money (fake or otherwise) outside the platform this scam would die tomorrow.

 

Good luck trying to sue someone in a much warmer, very far away country...

 

Your money is gone. Hopefully you have learned a very valuable (if very expensive) lesson.

I hope that by posting this, it will help others from falling into the same trap.

 

 


@Pamela D L wrote:

I hope that by posting this, it will help others from falling into the same trap.

 

 


There are so many "I fell for one of the oldest and most well-known scams on the internet, be warned!" posts in the Community they could fill a book. Maybe a trilogy. George R. R. Martin length. 

 

Pamela, with all due respect, you fell for something that is so well-known it's practically a caricature of an online scam. In doing so you violated the rules of this platform. Everything about the scam you fell for should have thrown up red flags that illicited laughs, not trips to your bank. You need to protect yourself immediately against this sort of thing happening again because scams come in all flavors and if you were targeted for one you're likely to be targeted again. To be prudent you should read all the Terms of Service in addition to threads about how to avoid scams.  

Thanks, Melissa. No doubt my response will elicit more laughs and condemnation, but I didn't know about this scam. You may be surprised to learn that local law enforcement  in my city and state do not know about it. At least the officer I spoke to didn't. The district attorney and attorney general in my district also appeared not to know about it. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


@Pamela D L wrote:

Thanks, Melissa. No doubt my response will elicit more laughs and condemnation, but I didn't know about this scam. You may be surprised to learn that local law enforcement  in my city and state do not know about it. At least the officer I spoke to didn't. The district attorney and attorney general in my district also appeared not to know about it. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 They target a certain demographic. I'm not surprised your local po po don't know about it. You fit the demographic to a T.

 

Do like me and send the checks TO your local po po lol. The Internet hate machine doesn't fall for this stuff.

 

go read stuffs on upwork and l2internet or you'll fall for one of the others. Ebay guy comes to mind. So does bosnia permit guy.

We get like 45 posts a day of people who fall for this. 

Nearly the whole of the internet knows about it. It has little to do with local law enforcement since it's largely an international scheme. 

what's funny is she gonna get a bunch of Nigerian prince emails now. lol They sometimes even follow me on G+. Luckily, Gmail does a great job of filtering them out, but people actually go through their scam emails and fall for this stuff. The gmail forums over at Google are filled with dummies asking if google indeed has a lottery for billions of dollars and they won.


@Pamela D L wrote:

I hope that by posting this, it will help others from falling into the same trap.

 

 


 

Pam, do you remotely know just how many times freelancers have posted about this exact message and scam? New freelancers do not take the time to learn about the site they have registered with. Not the procedures, not what to look out for, absolutely nothing. They just jump right in and think they will make tons of money.

 

Do you assemble things without reading the instructions. Do you take a test without reading and studying the content the test is based on? On any new site, especially one where money is involved the TOS and everything else the site has about it's procedures should be read BEFORE you even work on your profile.

 

This message you posted, as with ALL the other same messages concerning this and other scams (at least 1 a day if not more) will NOT be read by new freelancers until After they are scammed. Then they come on here asking how do I get my money back, - why doesn't Upwork help me, and I'm going to sue these scammers.

 

Note- These scammers probably live in another country (well know for scams) it's almost impossible to find who they are never mind sue someone located in another country.

 

Take the time now to read about other scams so you don't fall victim to any more. Also, use common sense. It goes a long way.

Upwork is the mediator in between the freelancers and the buyers. 

If someone uses Upwork's letter head, you should have cross checked with Upwork. Probably they might did all those things via a Skype / Google hang out and/or email. Why should Upwork hire someone here to buy laptops for them? You should use your common sense before asking Upwork to block such users. It is possible for Upwork to take action against those scammers if and only if, we, freelancers report them. 

And it is your mistake that you have violated the ToS of Upwork by accepting payment outside Upwork in order to bypass their fees. 

lysis10
Member

Lol you deposited it? Twice? Haha did you send them money? You did come on fess up for the class. Did the bank kill your account? They usually kill accounts. How much you out on fees ? Bounced checks cost you fees right?

Come on tell us cuz it's interesting. It's always the same people they target and fall for this lol
kochubei_valeria
Community Manager
Community Manager

Pamela,

 

I can confirm that the job and the client's account have already been actioned as inappropriate. Unfortunately, Upwork doesn't and can't have any protection available for payments that are made off the platform. Moreover, payments off platform are against Upwork ToS as Virginia pointed out. 

 

Please, see this help article for more information.

~ Valeria
Upwork

I wish I knew what actioned as inappropriate meant. The criminals are blocked from using Upwork again? But probably can anyway when they use different ficitious names?

 

 

 

 

Pamela,

 

Upwork has over 17 million registered users and thousands of projects are posted daily on our platform.  As such, despite the many tools we have in place to detect issues like the one you presented, they do still occur from time to time.  In addition, unfortunately, even if we take action on an account, the individuals involved may open a new account to circumvent our efforts. We remove all such posts as soon as we become aware of them.

 

We won't be able to share more details about our internal processes.

~ Valeria
Upwork
tlsanders
Member


@Pamela D L wrote:

 

 

Scams involving fraudulent cashier's checks are apparently very common. Because Upwork does not vet its clients, you may safely assume that any client whose payment method is unverified is a potential criminal whose sole intent is to take advantage of you, and not to give you a job.


 Incorrect.  At least half of my Upwork clients have been unverified when I started working with them, and many other experienced freelancers regularly contract with clients whose payment methods are unverified. Though no system is perfect, using Upwork as it is intended goes a long way toward preventing scams.

 

A verified payment method would not have protected you when you chose to violate Upwork's TOS and accept direct payment from the client. 

 

It's unfortunate that you had this negative experience, but convincing other freelancers that the fault lies with Upwork is counterproductive. If you truly want to help other new freelancers protect themselves, suggest that they follow the TOS and keep financial transactions within Upwork.

I made a mistake in not carefully reading and later reviewing the terms of service. So it was not a choice to violate Upwork's term of service, but a mistake, which I will not make again. 

 

Most responses in this thread have pointed out my error / violation of the terms of service. None have questioned Upwork's handling of fraud, though two or more responses from Upwork employees explain tthe company's position.

 

It is unlikely that I would've posted anything if this unfortunate incident hadn't occurred. So, in regard to your suggestion that I encourage new freelancers to follow the TOS, I do so now.

 

It still seems to me that freelancers should be advised to proceed at their own risk. A mistake on the part of a freelancer cannot be remedied and is harshly criticized (reference to some of the earlier comments, not yours), while the names of the clients who committed fraud are removed from view. No doubt Upwork has good business reasons for doing this. The names may be fake or appropriated from innocent persons.

 

I do not know wheher Upwork prosecutes criminals who use their site to commit fraud, but I hope that they do.

 

Thanks for your comments on how to use Upwork safely and effectively.

 

It is very unfortunate that you've lost your hard earned money.

But again and again you are blaming the system instead of accepting the truth that the whole mistake is on your side only.

Some of the comments in this thread where someone laughing at you is not acceptable at all.

It seems you never visited the forum earlier and nor gone through the ToS of Upwork earlier.

Even a couple of days back also I have seen a very similar thread shared by some other user. Same kind of scam.

Atleast you've learnt a (costlier) lesson now and instead of blamming Upwork and others, move on and hope you will not do the same mistake again.

Not only in Upwork or any online business, but also in offline businesses, we have to proceed at our own risk only.

All the best.

I blame the criminals who committed this fraud. The gist of comments in this thread is that Upwork bears no responsiblity in keeping criminals off its site, and anyone who falls prey to fraud has only themselves to blame. 

 

I doubt that the same criticism would be leveled at a motorist who crashed after driving into an intersection on a yellow light or who misread a sign and drove down an exit ramp the wrong way. That actually happened to a friend of mine long ago. She died instantly. I'm guessing from the kinds of comments I'm seeing in this thread (not yours, thank you for being civil), passers-by would have had a hearty laugh at her expense.

 

More than one commenter has said we've seen it all before and that posting about such issues is a waste of time. But it seems to me that if such posts are frequent, there may be a usability issue with the website. Upwork probably has tested its site for usability in the past and may do so in an ongoing basis. Redesining this aspect (fraud prevention) may be something they want to look into. Sorry, I digress from my response to your comment.

 

It appears that the consensus is that I should not have posted my original comment so as not to waste people's time. But I appear to have given commenters an excellent opportunity for schadenfreude, and I hope they have enjoyed it. No need to thank me.

whoa there, lady. I'm not blaming you. I just think it's funny. I'm getting sick of the scam posts. idk what is the answer. I'm probably ok with them charging something upfront at this point.

 

I think the scammers are scumbags and I can't really unleash my true feelings on it here cuz it's all kinds of snowflake killing words, but I just think it's hilarious wihen people fall for it because it's so freakin obvious with their terrible english, using a gmail account, and they tell you their age when they introduce themselves. LOL  I think it's hilarious that people fall for it but I ain't blaming anyone but scammers and I can't really elaborate except on reddit.

This is beating a dead horse (I refer to the check for equipment scam), except the horse doesn't stay dead. Cat Mad

 

Pamela wrote, "Although the proposed business transaction seemed unorthodox and I questioned it, scammers persuaded me to deposit the fraudulent checks in my checking account and then withdraw cash from the first check and deposit it in the account of the supposed IT vendor, who was to provide me the laptop and special software."

 

Unorthodox is an understatement: why send a check that then must be deposited so another check can be written for the same amount and sent somewhere else, when the client coujd send a check directly to the vendor? And while the invitation might have come through Upwork, the discussion of the checks must have taken place at an outside site such as google hangout, correct? Lastly, why would a client choose to provide all that equipment to a freelancer newly registered at Upwork who lacks any work history? So even not knowing that payment outside Upwork is prohibited, a cautious person *might* think twice about all these oddities, and perhaps do a google search for something like "upwork check equipment" or even post a question here, and avoid the scam. But for those who get taken, I'm truly sorry, but Upwork can't get your money back.

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce

Everything you said makes sense, John K. I questioned the "interviewer" about their unorthodox business practice. They did not fully explain what they wanted me to do until later in the interview process, which took place over two weeks. Because I had a number of interviews where I was required to answer questions related to the "position," I was persuaded, despite my misgivings, that this was a legitimate position. 

 

I did think twice and wondered why they were conducing business this way. I did some online research, but not enough and not in the right area. I thought maybe they were doing money laundering, but couldn't find enough information to support that supposition. I wondered why the name on the check differed from the name of the business I would supposedly have been working for and found that many large multinational companies use other businesses to pay bills, so as to defray their tax burden.

 

I didn't know about the prevalence of fraudulent cashier's check scams because I had never encountered them, and nothing popped up in my searches (admittedly searching for the wrong crime). I have been criticized by more than one commenter for my ignorance and ridiculed for being the demographic that fraudsters target. Nothing I can do about being on the wrong side of the digital dvide. I still need to work.

 

Yes I was duped and shouldn't have been. I've been scolded, if not condemned, for not having common sense, for being gullible (my term). The feedback has been -- there is no gentle way to say this -- at times smug and sanctimonious. Yes, I and everyone esle should read the find print, play by the rules, and never ever make mistakes. No doubt the commenters who have set me straight can rest easy tonight having done their duty in scolding and shaming. And they've the added bonus of having an easy target to ridicule. What fun!

 

I believe Upwork to be a valuable resource and one that makes an effort to provide a good user experience to both freelancers and employers. But their methods for handling crime are opaque, and there appears to be little recourse for freelancers such as myself to recover from making mistakes, which I'm sure none of the commenters who've taken me to task have ever done.

 

I expected some criticism from my post, but not character assassination. Now I know the ways of the internet, which one commenter appears to joyously subscribe to. Haters gotta hate, or something to that effect.

 

But I digress. Two things about this: Upwork should look into redesign to prevent those of us  lacking other posters' self-described superiority in common sense, etc., from becoming victims of  FELONIES, and Upwork should prosecute criminals who misuse their site for criminal activity, if they don't already. Based on the vague and equioval statements regarding client fraud, I'm guessing they don't. Too time-consuming and too expensive. 

 

A final note on this: it seems to be a badge of honor that anyone using an online resource understand that there are no protections. Would we, at least in the U.S., accept this same premise about any service, even if privately owned, that targets and is used by the public (i.e., a multitude of people with a wide range of ages and abilities)? 

Pamela - Upwork has a number of "safety procedures" to protect freelancers, IF they use them. Escrow, Time tracker and of course their TOS and even posts in this community forum (see the very first post under the link New To Upwork.) It's up to us to use them.

 

Don't expect Upwork to go after these scammers. Most of the time they have no idea because communication is taken off site. Nor can they read every single message between clients and freelancers on this site. Although they have algorithms to detect certain phrases and words and will suspend a clients job listing if it finds those things, they also depend on us freelancers to alert them to any fraudulent, scam and suspicious jobs.

 

Ultimately it's about impossible to "go after" these scammers. As I said before, most of them originate from a certain country, They work in internet cafes and they use certain ip and email programs that can not be traced. They also don't have just one account. If their account is suspended they have 49 more to use. And it's just not one person perpetuating these scams.

 

Freelancers need to use caution.

I questioned the "interviewer" about their unorthodox business practice. = If you had questions, and concerns about this clients unorthodox business practice, That would be a sign

 

They did not fully explain what they wanted me to do until later. The scope of the job should be IMO the very first thing that should be discussed. What are the requirements, do both of us understand what needs to be done. Do I have the skills to complete this job. etc. 

 

I was persuaded, despite my misgivings If you had misgivings, then ACT on them. Sort of like, ..."I had misgivings about driving 120 mph, but I was persuaded to do that.

 

I wondered why the name on the check differed from the name of the business I would supposedly have been working for  = That's something to wonder about. To work for a business and have a check with a totally different name on it. Great cause for concern.

 

You said in your original post that you were sent a cashiers check. and then told to take the extra money and by a laptop and other equipment. -   That should have been a red flag. Why would you need a laptop. Don't you have a computer?  In case you don't know, That excess money you sent to the "equipment vendor" is either the actual client or one of his associates.

 

Finally you state  it seems to be a badge of honor that anyone using an online resource understand that there are no protections - There ARE protections but you just have to know about them and use them. Best protection is you. When you have all these uncertainties and misgivings and gut feelings, listen to them.

Re: English, I worked as an editor of various kinds for decades. Highly educated and intelligent people do not always write well. I learned through experience to tread lightly with them. Writing is considered easy and unimportant by many, if not most. But people take offense if their writing is questioned or changed.

 

So, I overlooked the errors in my my interviewer's writing, because I thought that writing was not his strong suit.  And I thought it would be presumptuous of me to call him out.

 

Funny, no doubt.


@Pamela D L wrote:

I blame the criminals who committed this fraud. The gist of comments in this thread is that Upwork bears no responsiblity in keeping criminals off its site, and anyone who falls prey to fraud has only themselves to blame. 

 

I doubt that the same criticism would be leveled at a motorist who crashed after driving into an intersection on a yellow light or who misread a sign and drove down an exit ramp the wrong way. That actually happened to a friend of mine long ago. She died instantly. I'm guessing from the kinds of comments I'm seeing in this thread (not yours, thank you for being civil), passers-by would have had a hearty laugh at her expense.

 

More than one commenter has said we've seen it all before and that posting about such issues is a waste of time. But it seems to me that if such posts are frequent, there may be a usability issue with the website. Upwork probably has tested its site for usability in the past and may do so in an ongoing basis. Redesining this aspect (fraud prevention) may be something they want to look into. Sorry, I digress from my response to your comment.

 

It appears that the consensus is that I should not have posted my original comment so as not to waste people's time. But I appear to have given commenters an excellent opportunity for schadenfreude, and I hope they have enjoyed it. No need to thank me.


All due respect Pamela, the usability issue lies with the users, and not the website. Upwork does have processes in place, but for every scam client they identify and take action against, there are 50 more lined up behind them ready and waiting. Upwork does what it can, but to do more would end up costing all of us - and we don't want that.

You're working in a world comprised of complete strangers. The onus is on all of us using the site to acquaint ourselves first with what is allowed, and what is not; with how to work safely, and how to identify red flags; by being aware that here, as on the internet in general, there are scammers. They're not all that hard to spot, and when people don't, it's hard not to shake our heads.  I mean look at what you were asked to do - how did that not raise questions in your mind?

   ETA: What John K. said.

No, usability issues lie with website design. A good website design prevents user errors. The first commenter to reply to my post provided the most useful solution, IMO. His solution was something to the effect that users be required to read and demonstrate understanding of Upwork rules. Users could be periodically rechecked to confirm that they know the rules of the road. Like most people, I find reading through all this info a pain. I must've read it at some point for the sole client I have worked for and who has never made any attempt to cheat me, so far as I know.

 

Having had an unevental relationship with Upwork, I trusted it and communications coming from it. I was surpirsed and pleased to receive an invitation (on Upwork letterhead) to interview. One of the commenters said that I was the right demographic to target for fraud. If true, what information is available on Upwork that criminals use to target victims. And what is Upwork doing to prevent targeting?

 

The consensus of this discussion thread is that any crime committed against a freelancer is the freelancer's fault. But consider this, if criminials are deliberately targeting you for a crime, does the website need to accommodate for this predicted activity on the part of criminals (i.e., make the website safer to use)?

 

It seems to me that blaming the victim misses the point. Yes, people who use resources online or off should be aware of risks and take necessary steps to protect themselves. But people -- perhaps even commenters in this thread -- make mistakes. The likelikhood that they will make mistakes when targeted for subterfuge increase the odds that they will.

Pamela, the thing is, Upwork is just a place where people post jobs. It makes no representation that those posters are vetted, and spells out what steps freelancers should take to protect themselves. No one who is successfully using this site wants to see our fees quadrupled so that Upwork can hire a large number of human reviewers to sift through the thousands of job posts and make individual rulings. We're adult professionals running our own businesses, and Upwork is no more responsible for our decisions than Craigslist or gmail or the free newspaper you pick up at the supermarket. In fact, I'd argue that Upwork is less responsible, since it's taken steps to protect freelancers should those freelancers opt to take advantage of them.

 

In the scenario you described, I don't think anyone (at least, no mentally healthy person) would think it was funny that your friend was killed because she misread a sign. But, you left a step out of your analogy. I suspect that if the ramp were clearly marked and a driver didn't see the sign because she was texting or driving after having been up for 24 hours or whatever and then her family started writing editorials about how the city was to blame (though the signage had been clear), then you would begin to hear people talk about how the city had done its part and the driver's own negligence was a factor they couldn't control.

 

That's exactly what;'s happened here. I don't say this to beat up on you--I know this has been a traumatic experience. But, the information and tools were readily accessible. You didn't read the rules, you didn't check with anyone when things seemed fishy, you didn't even know not to take money outside the platform (which is probably Upwork's #1 rule). That's what went wrong. 

 

 

Reply to Pamela - I wonder if she fell prey to the same guy who got me Friday night / saturday morning this past weekend.   He said he came from **Edited for community guidelines** - that he wanted me to buy a laptop from a third party using money he sent me in a check that he put into a skype chat which i printed and the deposited.  I was excited for my first paid editing job so I didn't question him much until he starrted asking me to send monies to different addresses - in $500 increments.  I have taken the check to my bank to have them look into it - it is with their fraud department now.  but they have placed a hold on my account in the menatime.    so anyway - yes a google search would have ended up with me seeing what had happened to you Pamela.  this guy's handle is **Edited for Community Guidelines** and he sent me to **Edited for Community Guidelines** to send $500 and also to t**Edited for Community Guidelines** to send $500.   his **Edited for community guidelines** check said it was drawn on Citibank for $2500 and it only had 8 digits in the account number.   it sais it came from **Edited for community guidelines** .   

Sean

Sean:
I'm sorry that you had to learn some lessons the hard way... But I really do appreciate the time you have taken to share details of your experience. These stories are beneficial to Upwork users as a whole.

 

It sounds like your bank account may have a hold on it right now? But you didn't actually send anybody any money? If so, then that is a good thing. Some people who participate in this scam end up losing $2000 to $3000 in money from their own bank accound and likely lose their bank account entirely.

 

Obviously you know enough about this now and you will never participate in this scam again.

 

Upwork's rules are there for a reason. An important Upwork rule is that we never exchange funds outside of Upwork. If you had followed that, you would have never accepted the fake check in the first place. All attempts to send checks to freelancers are scams and violate Upwork ToS.

 

I wish you well in your future endeavors on Upwork and hope any holds or difficulties with your bank account are resolved soon.

Hi, Sean,

 

The names and email addresses of the scammers who approached me three years ago are different from the ones you listed. That may not mean much, because scammers use fake names and email addresses created just for the purpose of scamming. The scammers used the bank account of a legitimate business  in the midwest for their cashier's checks. I contacted that business, and they said that this had happened more than once. Someone had gained access to their account number and used it to commit fraud. Presumably, they changed their account number(s) and worked with law enforcement to protect themselves.

 

The scammers Fedexed  the fraudulanet cashier's checks to me. I deposisted them in my checking account, and they appeared to clear.  Days later, the issuing bank stopped payment, after I had withdrawn money to pay for the (supposed) laptop and other equipment. Scammers know about the delay in check processing and use it to their advantage.

 

Although the scammers' names are different, the process they used is the same. I notified the FBI and the local police department about the scam. Nothing came of it. That is, there were no arrests or prosecutions, so far as I know. I did not recover my money. I surmise that stolen funds are hardly ever recovered. There are too many, and perpretrators are often working from overseas, where U.S. law enforcement has little or no authority.

 

Other posters in this thread are correct that you must read, understand, and follow Upwork policies / rules and procedures. Upwork will not, or cannot, protect you against scammers, other than to provide instructions about how to use their platform. 

 

I recommend re-reeading Upwork policies and procedures before you bid on any more work. If you receive any requests from supposed clients outside the Upwork platform, report it immediately to Upwork. (The scammers who approached me emailed me directly using Upwork letterhead.) I understand that Upwork will block cilents who approach users outside the platform. But these "clients" (scammers) just change their names and email addresses to  that they can retain access.

 

Upwork has some excellent new videos on how to use the platform to advantage. These include policies on not accepting work outside the platform but also provide useful and easy-to-follow information on how to successfully bid on projects and build your reputation and business.

 

I am sorry that this happened to you and wish you all the best.

 

Good luck. I hope you land some legitimate projects soon.

 

re: "I notified the FBI and the local police department about the scam. Nothing came of it. That is, there were no arrests or prosecutions, so far as I know. I did not recover my money."

 

This is a very important point and I really appreciate Pamela pointing this out.

 

I strongly advise any freelancer who figures out that they have participted in a scam to NOT contact their local police department or the FBI. I truly believe that any freelancer who does so is wasting their own time, and wasting the time of their local police and the FBI.

 

The scammers who you were talking do don't even live on the same continent as you. Your local police are interested in local matters.

It IS APPROPRIATE to report scammers to to Upwork. Upwork will remove their current Upwork accounts so that they need to create new fake accounts and won't be able to create accounts with impressive track records.

 

And it HELPS YOU to report, because if a job is removed for violating Upwork ToS, you get your connects back.

I think the advantage of reporting is that it provides data  and information for law enforcement to identify threats and deal with them as they can. I remembered after I last posted that a detective in the local police department did follow up and found that an arrest warrant was issued in another state for one of the scammers. I do not know whether the scammer was  arrested. He may have skipped town or even left the country. 

 

Although the reach of U.S. law enforcement may be limited in other countries, that does not mean that it does not exist. For crimes like this, law enforcement and lawmakers could use aggregated data  to develop crime-fighting strategies. 


Sean N wrote:

Reply to Pamela - I wonder if she fell prey to the same guy who got me Friday night / saturday morning this past weekend.   He said he came from **Edited for community guidelines** - that he wanted me to buy a laptop from a third party using money he sent me in a check that he put into a skype chat which i printed and the deposited.  I was excited for my first paid editing job so I didn't question him much until he starrted asking me to send monies to different addresses - in $500 increments.  I have taken the check to my bank to have them look into it - it is with their fraud department now.  but they have placed a hold on my account in the menatime.    so anyway - yes a google search would have ended up with me seeing what had happened to you Pamela.  this guy's handle is **Edited for Community Guidelines** and he sent me to **Edited for Community Guidelines** to send $500 and also to t**Edited for Community Guidelines** to send $500.   his **Edited for community guidelines** check said it was drawn on Citibank for $2500 and it only had 8 digits in the account number.   it sais it came from **Edited for community guidelines** .   

Sean


I wish more people would post about this on reddit groups, because so many people claim to work for banks and say nothing will happen to the victim if they deposit the check. Every time I bring up they are wrong and banks will put holds on accounts and sometimes cancel the account due to too much risk I get downvoted. 

Hi, Sean,

 

Not sure if you posted again, or this is a version of your previous post edited to conform with community guidelines.

 

It appears that the names of clients or their contact information cannot be posted, even if they are scammers. I will say that one of the scammers who approached me had an online profile (which of course was bogus).  He indicated that he worked on behalf of a European / international financial services firm.  I found them online , and they are a legitimate business. But his relationship to them was a lie. I contacted them (unfortuantely, too late) to verify.

 

The scammers had me do a series of editing tests to check my credentials. But, really, it was just part of the scam. 

seanog34
Member

I had the same thing happen to me

Hi Sean,

 

Could you please send me a private message with more information about your report so that I can check and assist you further?

Thank you.

~ Aleksandar
Upwork
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