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Community Member

Constant Stream of Scams

I do work as a marketing strategist and advertising consultant for FB and Google Ads. Every day for the past 2 months I've received invites to multiple scams. I also see a ton of fraudulent posts. Luckily I have good client retention and don't need to spend too much time searching through jobs to find someone to work with. For someone starting out though I could see this as being incredibly dangerous and wasting an insane amount of their time. 


I wanted to share with the community the scams I've encountered, things I see as red flags, and potentially get some feedback from others on how they deal with these issue.


The two most common scams I see are as follows:


1. Facebook Marketplace housing scam. The client promises you something along the lines of $500-$700 weekly to post a few houses on FB's marketplace. The reason they are doing this is because they are posting properties that they don't own. Someone pays then shows up at the property only to find out they've been scammed. You could lose your Facebook account, and for someone like me that could be a major issue for my business.

2. Need management services. This seems normal enough. Someone reaches out to you looking for you to manage their advertising account, and packages a "plan" or previous "proposal" in a zip file with a bunch of "ads". What you are really getting is a bunch of random images off google image search, with virus masquarading as a powerpoint or pdf. I imagine once you launch it it's a keylogger or something. I could see a number of not so computer savvy marketers potentially falling for it, but if you have some knowledge of how computers works you aren't going to run any programs from a stranger.


Red flags for me:

- Doesn't seem to know much about what they are talking about. They throw around marketing terms but don't seem to care about the answer.

- Ask for you to send over work, but answer you immediately as if they didn't even read it.

- For the second scam, they usually don't even look like ads or product shots.

- They ask you what kind of computer you have. Shouldn't matter if you work off a toaster so long as you get the job done. They likely want to know what format they shoudl send the virus in.


It's super annoying at this point, it feels like post COVID and with all the craziness in the world, more and more people are turning to scams to make money. Not sure if that's true, but it makes sense.

Please be careful out there and make sure you are not just doing whatever a client asks because you are in a desperate situation as well. Be safe and don't get scammed!

Community Member

These are the most common scams judging from all the forum posts:

1. Payment of a fee for a company ID, bank account, or some other pretend employee onboarding cost.

2. Fake check for office equipment.

3. Buying virtual currency.


The scams I posted are a bit harder to detect, especially since they aren't asking for money or anything strange. They are asking for a legitimate service and puting a virus in the initial package they send over, or they are making you an accessory to a scam.


I've been doing my thing for years now, so I know when something doesn't seem right, but I easily could see a new freelancer falling for these, since the ask doesn't seem out of place.

For newbies like me we really need help from experienced guys like you hope you are free to help us out .thanks

Hi Lily,

Take a look at Wes's post too. I've posted the link below. There's a lot of good information about scams there.

I notice you're a data entry clerk. You'll probably need to be extra careful about the jobs you apply for because there are currently a lot of scams targeting data entry. Avoid applying to any post that gives contacts for Telegram or WhatsApp, or personal email addresses or phone numbers. Contacting clients outside the Upwork platform before you have a contract is a violation of the Terms of Service, so clients should not be posting this information. Also, you should decline any request for an interview outside the platform.

Hey Andreas,

With the first type, are you generally asked to post on your own FB account? If so, that might be an easily identifiable red flag for people.

Wes mentioned this one in his post on the community blog about red flags for scams. Is what you're being asked to do any different than this?
Screen Shot 2022-04-05 at 10.35.13 PM.png
The second one sounds like it would be hard to suss out because for certain jobs, it's normal to look at client files to get a sense of project scope. But having a request information about your computer would be bizarre. No one's ever asked me for that information. 

The above in Wes' post sounds pretty similar to that. I may have encountered specific variations but yes you are essentially posting house ads on your account and scamming people before the reports come in and your account is banned. Presumably they just keep cycling through people.


For the second one, if you aren't being given a word document, or powerpoint, you know it's a virus. Any exe or scr files that are sent as a proposal should NEVER be opened. The client shouldn't have to send you a 400mb program to tell you what they need. Viruses can live in documents or pictures, but all the ones I've seen are programs.


Honestly they shouldn't need to send anything before you've event discussed their needs. To me that is the biggest red flag. They are sending you what a previous agency did with them, or all their assets before you've even really discussed anything. Make sure you just have a normal conversation and establish needs, terms etc. Don't have them send you anything, because you shouldn't have to see anything from them. They are interviewing YOU not asking you for an free opinion.

This may not apply to every kind of freelancer, some may need to review files first. Just be very cautious if you do need to open files. If you do need to open something use a sandbox, It's a closed environment that lets you open a file without it being able to harm your computer.

Here is a link to a Sandbox tutorial for Windows 10, but I imagine they exist for every operating system. 


Community Member

Hi Andreas,

Sorry to hear that you've been getting so many invites, but thanks for posting your observations. It's really important that people are posting insights like these publically. People who are not familiar with these types of scams can really benefit.

Wes, one of the other freelancers has prepared this post about different kinds of scams people can encounter here.


Community Member

Stream? Try the mighty Mississippi.

Community Member

I was looking through the postings recently, and there are a lot job ads on the board that sound exactly like the ones you're mentioning.

I see about 100 ads for posting Facebook ads that all have Whatsapp or Telegram contacts.

Hi Renata,


Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I shared your report with our team for further review and appropriate actions will be taken as per our internal processes.

~ Nikola
Community Member

Nikola S wrote:

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I shared your report with our team for further review and appropriate actions will be taken as per our internal processes.



Can someone tell us why we freelancers (who are not paid to check the job feed) have to do such searches and why the entire department in charge of and paid to police the job feed doesn't?

It's hardly rocket science. Why do the people (who are paid to clean up the feed) NOT run the most basic searches?

Don't they know how to? Maybe Renata could teach them?

Aren't they allowed?

What is it?

Hi Nikola,

Thanks for your help. I actually posted about this separately yesterday, and all but one are still there.


A search for WhatsApp shows more than 1300 posts currently up, almost all of them asking you to contact them via WhatsApp or Telegram.  https://www.upwork.com/nx/jobs/search/?q=whatsapp&sort=recency&user_location_match=2&client_hires=0

Community Member

Can somebody tell me if it's real or not. 

thank you!


**Edited for Community Guidelines**

Community Member

This is a scam.


Keep in mind that communicating outside of Upwork before being hired on Upwork is a violation of Terms and Service.

By keeping cmmunication and money transactions on Upwork, you can stay safe from most common scams.


Please also read the following resources to get you up to speed on how to use Upwork, and learn what is allowed and not allowed. That will help keep you safe and in compliance with the rules.

Freelancing 101 on Upwork - Upwork Community

Upwork Legal Center

Get Started – Upwork Customer Service & Support | Upwork Help

Upwork Customer Service & Support | Upwork Help

List of red flags for scams - Upwork Community

Report Suspicious User Activity – Upwork Customer Service & Support | Upwork Help

Understanding and Using Connects – Upwork Customer Service & Support | Upwork Help

Tips to Avoid Questionable Jobs - Upwork Community

SCAM : STOP buying PUBG, CRYPTO, NFT, etc… on... - Upwork Community

Community Member

Thanks for sharing this information I will careful. 

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