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ec179c8c
Community Member

External Client pretending to be internal? External recruiters?

I made my first proposal today for a job that seemed very fun, but I got this long message in response that asked me to go externally to apply, then join a webinar series, and get paid offline that way. I messaged them back saying something to the extent of: "I know Upwork's policy states we must do business on this site, so if possible, let's keep it here." And just a few hours later I get a warning email from Upwork charging me with breaking the Terms guidelines, so... I am just wondering if this is common? That job poster is unlisted now, so maybe they were removed. 

 

I've seen other postings where it sounds like they're hiring for an off-site role and I thought that wasn't allowed... Can someone enlighten an Upwork newbie?

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a_lipsey
Community Member

What you go was a form letter from Upwork, likely because the client was reported by someone else, and so Upwork probably sent the same generic email to anyone who applied. Those warning emails can look intense, but it's really a generic email. If your message history shows you declining the request to be paid offsite then you are fine.

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02d3e798
Community Member

If you get anything like that don't reply to the client after that  just flag it to report it to Upwork, then forget about them. 

a_lipsey
Community Member

What you go was a form letter from Upwork, likely because the client was reported by someone else, and so Upwork probably sent the same generic email to anyone who applied. Those warning emails can look intense, but it's really a generic email. If your message history shows you declining the request to be paid offsite then you are fine.

feed_my_eyes
Community Member


Kayliani P wrote:

I messaged them back saying something to the extent of: "I know Upwork's policy states we must do business on this site, so if possible, let's keep it here."


If you got a ToS warning, it might be because by saying, "if possible" it sounded like you were willing to be persuaded into going off-site if the client really wanted to. Keeping messaging on Upwork before a contract is awarded (and being paid through the site) isn't just a suggestion, it's a requirement. 

 


Kayliani P wrote:

That job poster is unlisted now, so maybe they were removed. 


Yes, they were probably a scammer, so another freelancer reported them.

 

ec179c8c
Community Member

Thanks for the help! I didn't intend on working externally. I've noticed there are quite a LOT of this kind of offer... Is it best to report/ignore them? And ... how are they allowed to be published if they go against guidelines to start with?

"How are they allowed to be published if they go against guidelines to start with?" That is the million dollar question, isn't it? Because for the greater good, Upwork doesn't want to implement things that could stop them. You will surely hear why many people think it's better that they don't. I am not one of those people. Sorry this happened to you and please read this to better protect yourself when Upwork can't. https://community.upwork.com/t5/Community-Blog/From-the-Trust-and-Safety-Team-How-to-Spot-a-Scam/ba-...

Upwork doesn't check projects before they're posted, and in many cases, they look legit up until the point that a client contacts a freelancer via private messaging and asks to go off site. Scammers target new freelancers because they rely on them to not know how things work and to be anxious to just jump right in. Read this post to learn more: https://community.upwork.com/t5/New-to-Upwork/List-of-red-flags-for-scams/m-p/1017044. And yes, there's a "Flag as inappropriate" link at the top of every project page that you can use to report things like this.

It IS possible for a client to be new and simply not know the rules, but the legitimate ones will back down after you tell them that you'll be happy to message or call them via the Upwork system. (It works perfectly well, so there's absolutely no reason to use Skype or anything external.)

Thank you for clearing that up! You're right, I am eager to step in and start writing, but it's definitely not worth it to fall for scams. I'll be sure to check out the links you and Peter recommended for me. I'll be sure to report anything I see if it does happen again!


Kayliani P wrote:

I'll be sure to report anything I see if it does happen again!


It definitely will happen again, unfortunately; as I said, they target new freelancers, and apparently they're especially active in the proofreading category. If it gets annoying, there's an option to set up a custom search and filter out clients with unverified payment methods and clients with no hires, and that will hide most - but not all - scams. (Mind you, it'll also hide legit new clients from your feed, but I think it's a good idea until you have more experience.) Don't get discouraged - the real clients are out there.

Thank you!!

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