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leahmhansen
Community Member

Fed up with scam job offers

I'm really fed up with scam job offers and interviews. I applied to seven gigs today through Upwork, and every single one of them turned out to be a scam. I'm wasting hours of my time! Every single job I applied to sent me a message with a PDF instructing me to do an interview by Skype. I've been down that road before, though. They ask you a bunch of seemingly real interview questions then at the end say you're hired and start asking for personal information.

 

Is there any way to send a complaint or feedback to Upwork about this problem? Or get all those wasted Connects reinstated? I can't find a customer service email address or phone number. Everything just points me back to the support forum.

34 REPLIES 34
martina_plaschka
Community Member


Leah H wrote:

I'm really fed up with scam job offers and interviews. I applied to seven gigs today through Upwork, and every single one of them turned out to be a scam. I'm wasting hours of my time! Every single job I applied to sent me a message with a PDF instructing me to do an interview by Skype. I've been down that road before, though. They ask you a bunch of seemingly real interview questions then at the end say you're hired and start asking for personal information.

 

Is there any way to send a complaint or feedback to Upwork about this problem? Or get all those wasted Connects reinstated? I can't find a customer service email address or phone number. Everything just points me back to the support forum.


1. You flag the job posting

2. You get the connects back when upwork takes it down. 

3. When you don't communicate outside of upwork, you will not waste your time. 

I don't communicate outside of Upwork, I only tried it once when I didn't know any better. But it still takes time to read through job listings, pick ones to apply to, and then actually submit a proposal. Every cover letter has to be tailored to the particular gig at least somewhat. So it's still wasting time to be applying to fake jobs.

 

Basically, I wish there was some way Upwork could do a better job weeding out the scam job listings sooner.


Leah H wrote:

I don't communicate outside of Upwork, I only tried it once when I didn't know any better. But it still takes time to read through job listings, pick ones to apply to, and then actually submit a proposal. Every cover letter has to be tailored to the particular gig at least somewhat. So it's still wasting time to be applying to fake jobs.

 

Basically, I wish there was some way Upwork could do a better job weeding out the scam job listings sooner.


You didn't know it was a scam. Nothing in the job posting seemed suspicious to you. How do expect upwork to know better than you? They can only screen for certain words. In short, a job posting might look perfectly legit to you and upwork. The suspicious acitivity only starts when you start talking to the client, This is where it's really important to stay on upwork at all times, since scammers don't like that. 

I don't come across weird job postings in my niche, but things to look out for are: vague language, promising an hourly rate too high for the task, longterm or fulltime employment. Promising employment in itself would be unusual. 

Next time, just flag the job posting and move on. This is a very important task to keep yourself safe and help keeping the platform safer for everyone. 

 

BojanS
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Leah,

 

Iโ€™m sorry to hear about your experience. Iโ€™ve checked and Connects were already refunded to you as jobs have been taken down because of violating Upwork TOS. You can check this under your Connect History

 

If you see a violation of the Upwork Terms of Service, we encourage you to use the Report Suspicious User Activity feature. This will send a report directly to our Trust and Safety team for investigation.

 

Thank you!

~ Bojan
Upwork

Thank you Bojan, I appreciate your looking into this.

pgiambalvo
Community Member

I completely agree with you. Scam posts are much more prevalent lately than I've ever seen before. It's great that you adhered to the ToS and not communicated with the scammers outside of UW. It's also great that you posted about it here to alert others about this growing and ongoing problem.

pgiambalvo
Community Member

Hey Leah H, I'm curious. Without giving ANY details about the clients or specific job, were any of them Upwork Plus clients, Featured Jobs, and/or did any of then show they had a verified payment method?


Peter G wrote:

Hey Leah H, I'm curious. Without giving ANY details about the clients or specific job, were any of them Upwork Plus clients, Featured Jobs, and/or did any of then show they had a verified payment method?


Is there any particular reason you refuse to believe the repeated testimony of successful freelancers that verified payment is an absolutely useless criterion for judging the sincerity, solvency, or trustworthiness of a prospective client?

 

Yes. I believe that scammers are less likely to provide that information than legitimate clients are. And as a successful freelancer myself, I can testify that in my experience, I have never received a message attempting to scam me from a job I've applied for that showed a verified payment method. All of them have been from clients without one. So, I would say that it then follows that that criterion is obviously not absolutely useless.  Is there a particular reason that you are so dismissive of the desire by freelancers to be better protected by Upwork?


Peter G wrote:

Yes. I believe that scammers are less likely to provide that information than legitimate clients are. And as a successful freelancer myself, I can testify that in my experience, I have never received a message attempting to scam me from a job I've applied for that showed a verified payment method. All of them have been from clients without one. So, I would say that it then follows that that criterion is obviously not absolutely useless.  Is there a particular reason that you are so dismissive of the desire by freelancers to be better protected by Upwork?


Your rhetorical question is beneath notice.

Here's a real question for you: Have you never negotiated a contract from a legitimate client whom you had to remind to verify payment before beginning work? Because many of us do that all the time, and make big bucks from it, as we've said. And said.

 

Follow that criterion if you like. All the more money for us. It's no service to newbies to encourage them to leave money on the table, as opposed to knowing the real criteria for potential fraud. 



Douglas Michael M wrote:
It's no service to newbies to encourage them to leave money on the table, as opposed to knowing the real criteria for potential fraud. 

Especially when some scams actually rely on the client having a verified payment method, such as (among others) all the ones that involve the client "paying" (or rather "not paying") money via Upwork and the freelancer then paying real money for crypto or gift cards or via weird and wonderful payment gateways or into gambling wallets or some other nonsense, before it becomes obvious that the client never paid. Or the nonsense "hourly contract at $500 per hour" stuff when the freelancer's normal rate is $5 ....

 

Bottom line is that Peter is, for some reason, on a mission to demand protection for people who violate the terms of service and lack common sense at the cost of all else.

 

I am not on a mission to demand protection for people who violate the terms of service and lack common sense at the cost of all else. I am hoping to raise awareness among freelancers of the number of scam posts on UW in an attempt to get them to read and abide by the ToS to protect themselves. I am hoping that UW can figure out a way do more than they already do to prevent scam posts without negatively effecting legitimate clients or freelancers who do follow the ToS.


Peter G wrote:

I am hoping that UW can figure out a way do more than they already do to prevent scam posts without negatively effecting legitimate clients or freelancers who do follow the ToS.


I'm sure that Upwork also very much wishes that they could figure out a way to prevent scam posts, without affecting any legit clients or freelancers. You seem to believe that they're just shrugging off their responsibilities, and that's why you need to take up the gauntlet and protect the unwitting from themselves? People who fall prey to scams don't read any of the reams of information that Upwork provides nor any of the thousands of times that others have posted about scams in the forum, so why do you think that your continued warnings will get through to anyone?

I donโ€™t believe Upwork is shrugging off their responsibilities and they have said they are constantly trying to improve their ability to prevent scams, and I believe them. But if freelancers were more aware of the amount of scam posts, maybe they would be more likely to read up on how to protect themselves. But, maybe not. Worth a shot, I think. Also, whenever I, you, or anyone else posts on these threads, it moves up on the board, thus making it more visible and raising awareness of the issue.

 

But the main reason I choose to participate here?: โ€œAs a global platform for collaboration and professionalism, the Upwork Community forums are where customers can engage with each other and Upwork representatives. In the forums professionals can ask and answer questions, search topics, learn, socialize and get updates about Upwork. The Community is also where members will share input on existing features and suggestions for new features. If customers have any ideas on how we can improve their experience on Upwork, the Community is a great place to share that feedback.โ€

First off, thank you for taking note of my rhetorical question that was beneath notice...without answering it. And to answer your real question, yes. Looking at your public profile, you seem to have done pretty well here, as have I. Keep at it at and I'm sure you'll catch up to and even surpass my success. I'm not afraid of competition so if I can help other freelancers, who should read and abide by the ToS, to find legitimate offers by helping them to be more aware of scams and how they are or or not protected from them, good for me, I think.


Peter G wrote:

First off, thank you for taking note of my rhetorical question that was beneath notice...without answering it. And to answer your real question, yes. Looking at your public profile, you seem to have done pretty well here, as have I. Keep at it at and I'm sure you'll catch up to and even surpass my success. I'm not afraid of competition so if I can help other freelancers, who should read and abide by the ToS, to find legitimate offers by helping them to be more aware of scams and how they are or or not protected from them, good for me, I think.


I do not answer "questions" that are veiled and bad-faith accusations. I couldn't give a rat's patootie how much you have earned, even less why you imagine us to be in competition.

"Good for [you]"? Whatever. Bad for the freelancers to whom you insist on spreading misinformation.

The question was asked in good faith. It was not an attempt to bait you or impune your level of compassion for others. As for the rest of your comments about my comments, mine were prompted by your mention of "big bucks" and your more-than-implied words that seemed to suggest that less freelancers who somehow deserve what they get for being naive and are booted means more work for those who aren't, such as yourself. And I take great offense at your "rat's patootie" remark as I am a big fan of  rat's patooties.  I am not spreading misinformation, merely my opinions. Please refresh yourself as to why this forum exists:

"As a global platform for collaboration and professionalism, the Upwork Community forums are where customers can engage with each other and Upwork representatives. In the forums professionals can ask and answer questions, search topics, learn, socialize and get updates about Upwork. The Community is also where members will share input on existing features and suggestions for new features. If customers have any ideas on how we can improve their experience on Upwork, the Community is a great place to share that feedback."

BojanS
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi All,

 

This thread will be closed from further replies. As a gentle reminder, please be mindful of the Community Guidelines when posting in the Community.

 

Thank you for participating in this thread.

~ Bojan
Upwork


Peter G wrote:

Is there a particular reason that you are so dismissive of the desire by freelancers to be better protected by Upwork?


I don't think that it's Upwork's job to protect us; we should be able to make decisions for ourselves. And if you read through many of the complaints in the forum, a lot of problems happen with payment verified clients anyway. But I do wish that they'd do more to educate and, if necessary, get rid of freelancers who break the ToS. People who are easily manipulated and lacking in street smarts would probably never make any money here anyway. That would be much more effective, instead of your calls to discourage clients - both good and bad - from using Upwork.

 

If Upwork required clients to verify their payment methods, I guarantee you that the scammers would then find a way to do it (it's not difficult). Then all hell would break loose because freelancers would be even less cautious about working with scammers, being lulled into a sense of security that Upwork has "verified" them. (Look at how freelancers are already easily led to believe that "Upwork Plus" status has any meaning.) Meanwhile, the percentage of scammers in the marketplace would go up because new clients would be discouraged from joining. It really doesn't seem like you've thought this through.

I didn't know that "Upwork Plus" status didn't have any meaning, but thank you for telling me. And why is verified or not verified, or Upwork Plus even shown, if not to be some sort of indication of the quality and validity of the client?


Peter G wrote:

I didn't know that "Upwork Plus" status didn't have any meaning, but thank you for telling me. 


It has no meaning when it comes to determining whether a job post is safe or not.

Upwork Plus just means the client paid or is a new client who had it handed to them as a freebie.

 


Peter G wrote:

And why is verified or not verified, or Upwork Plus even shown, if not to be some sort of indication of the quality and validity of the client?


Payment method verified just tells freelancers that if they get hired, they're ready to go because the client already has a verified payment method.

It means that at some point the client had $10 available to be charged on a payment method and access to the statement. It doesn't mean the client is honest, it doesn't mean that the client has any money other than those $10, it doesn't mean it is not a scam.

 

Also some people don't apply to job posts from clients who don't have a verified payment method, which is why they can be such rich picking for those who aren't prejudiced and short sighted and understand that such clients are likely just new. New clients are wonderful! I have no idea why you would think a "Plus Client" in some way higher quality or more valid... because they got a freebie or can afford to spend a few Dollars?

 

Peter G wrote:

I am not on a mission to demand protection for people who violate the terms of service and lack common sense at the cost of all else.


You are. As those are the only ones who are affected (No freelancer who abides by the terms of service is ever in any danger, nor are those with a modicum of common sense) and you never post about anything else.

 


Peter G wrote:

 I am hoping to raise awareness among freelancers of the number of scam posts on UW in an attempt to get them to read and abide by the ToS to protect themselves. 


The people whose awareness you would need to raise won't see your warnings until they have thrown common sense into the wind and violated Upwork's Terms of Service. The people who don't violate the terms of service don't need your non-stop awareness-raising because they know better anyway. 

 


Peter G wrote:

Again, I wish that UW could figure out a way to do more to stop scam posts without negatively impacting freelancers or legitimate clients


So you keep saying, over and over, day in, day out. We heard it the 1st time, or the 10th or the 30th.

 

And as you've told me many times, day after day, just ignore what annoys you and move on.


Peter G wrote:

And as you've told me many times, day after day, just ignore what annoys you and move on.


Please don't labor under the delusion that any of us care whether or not we change your mind. We continue to respond because leaving your fallacious assertions unchallenged creates a misleading narrative for new UW freelancers who use the forum as a resource to learn about the platform and how to use it safely and profitably. Those who are doing their homework and informing themselves deserve accurate guidance.

 


Peter G wrote:

 I have never received a message attempting to scam me from a job I've applied for that showed a verified payment method. 


And I've never experienced an attempt to scam me from a client without a verified payment method.

 

Scammers prey on the vulnerable, and some freelancers are scammed by people who have verified their payment method. Hence, while *some* scammers would have to give up if Upwork insisted on a verified payment method, many others would continue just as they are. Or change their tactics. 

And, as somebody else mentioned, verified payments would likely cause many freelancers to lower their guard, making them even more vulnerable. It appears as though some scammers even buy an Upwork Plus account to give a false sense of security. 

In the meantime, there will be fewer and fewer legitimate clients. Those successful freelancers who contribute to the platform and have the nous to avoid scams end up losing out because of other people who don't follow the TOS and contribute next to nothing.

For as long as there are gullible people on this planet, there will be plenty of people more than happy to relieve them of their money, and there's ALWAYS a way. Credit card theft is rife, for example, and many CC thieves will use them to extract money from credulous fools before the stolen CC is cancelled. 

Things would carry on pretty much as they are even if verified payment methods were made mandatory. Except, that is, for a decrease in genuine jobs. 

*Edit. You might even end up with MORE people being scammed due to the increased desperation due to fewer legitimate jobs.

Again, I wish that UW could figure out a way to do more to stop scam posts without negatively impacting freelancers or legitimate clients. I find it hard to believe that that is impossible.

The main problem, as has been pointed out by Petra to you previously, is that the majority of the scam job postings do not violate any rules here at all...until they contact the freelancer.

Yes, I am aware of that. BUT, seeing as how no doubt many of the scam posts are from the same scammers, once they HAVE violated the rules and their posts have been removed, if they had had to verify their identity as freelancers do, they then could be blocked from posting again, because UW would know who they were.


Peter G wrote:

Yes, I am aware of that. BUT, seeing as how no doubt many of the scam posts are from the same scammers, once they HAVE violated the rules and their posts have been removed, if they had had to verify their identity as freelancers do, they then could be blocked from posting again, because UW would know who they were.


For newbies reading along: This would inject more than enough friction to discourage many legitimate clients from using the platform, thereby punishing all of us because some FLs can't be bothered to learn the ToS, comply with the ToS, and/or exercise a minimal degree of common sense. 

I'd love to see studies done by UW that support this opinion.


Peter G wrote:

I'd love to see studies done by UW that support this opinion.


You don't need any "studies" - It is absolutely, glaringly obvious to anyone who engages a braincell.

 

I really wish you wouldn't keep suggesting the same schemes that would hurt all honest freelancers in your quest to protect those who insist on violating the terms of service and who attract the scammers in the first place. 


Peter G wrote:

Yes. I believe that scammers are less likely to provide that information than legitimate clients are. And as a successful freelancer myself, I can testify that in my experience, I have never received a message attempting to scam me from a job I've applied for that showed a verified payment method. All of them have been from clients without one. So, I would say that it then follows that that criterion is obviously not absolutely useless.  Is there a particular reason that you are so dismissive of the desire by freelancers to be better protected by Upwork?


FYI, the only problem I've had so far with a payment on Upwork was with a customer with a verified payment.
Let's see if once and for all you stop saying that "payment not verified" is a sign alert.
I think it's the smallest red flag you can find among all the big red flag that are commented in the forum.

Okay, but since as you say yourself, you think "it's smallest red flag you can find among all the big red flags that are commented in the forum," it is a red flag and therefore a sign alert. But in any case, you will never hear me mention the words ""payment not verified" again, promise.


Peter G wrote:

Okay, but since as you say yourself, you think "it's smallest red flag you can find among all the big red flags that are commented in the forum," it is a red flag and therefore a sign alert. But in any case, you will never hear me mention the words ""payment not verified" again, promise.


If I have called it a "little red flag" it is because it would be the last thing I would consider if I have already found several more.
And as they have already commented, a job can seem totally legitimate until you start the interview and now, from what we are seeing, many fraudulent jobs already have the payment verified.
As long as freelancers refuse to read the TOS and help and forums before getting started ...

bitsharma10p
Community Member

first and foremost don't contact client outside upwork, don't give them your contact details or skype whatsapp anything,

 

second be-aware of similar job post form different country, flag job post which you think is a scam, block a scam client and tell upwork about it, 

never bid on job post which has contact information or asking outside work

 

I am also seeing a rapid increase in these kind of job post I recently posted the same issue here on this link

 

https://community.upwork.com/t5/Freelancers/have-anyone-else-seen-a-recent-increase-of-fake-job-post...

 

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