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Feeling disillusioned by too many scammers (my experience)

knowthyself72
Active Member
Raphael L Member Since: May 5, 2021
1 of 12

Hello to all,

 

I hope everyone reading this is doing well and feeling healthy.

 

My name is Raphael and I'm new to the Upwork platform. Unfortunately, my experiences here so far have left me with more questions than answers and I'm unhappy about what's going on. 

 

Today was the fourth time in two weeks that I was interviewed by a person who turned out to be someone other than whom they claimed to be. In every instance, the entire posted project was a sham meaning the actual company or entity being mentioned/used in communications, documents, and attachments had no idea of what was going on. 

 

To make matters even worse, today's scammer had the labels "Upwork Plus Client" on their posted project along with a "Featured Job" banner that appears in the job feed. 

 

People can say what they will about terms and conditions, terms of service, and who is ultimately responsible if a person falls victim to whatever these scammers are actually chasing after. However, there are much larger issues that need to be considered. Is anyone thinking about the following?

 

  • The amount of time lost/wasted in interviewing for projects that don't actually exist.
  • The long-term (or even short-term) effect of so many of these instances on Upwork's reputation.
  • The potential fallout (including collateral damage) of someone becoming a victim of whatever these people are trying to accomplish.  

As a professional who has worked in cybersecurity, commission sales, and mortgage lending, I'm well versed in the importance of due diligence. However, it would be nice to feel like freelancers here on Upwork were getting more support from those in charge when it comes to the vetting process for clients looking to hire. 

 

Seeing "Upwork Plus Client" and "Featured Job" on a listing that turned out to be 100% fraud has left me feeling disillusioned and disappointed. I'll get over it, but this is a situation that definitely needs more (and immediate) attention. 

 

Thank you for reading. Your consideration is appreciated. 

bstojadinovic
Moderator
Bojan S Moderator Member Since: Mar 9, 2018
2 of 12

Hi Raphael,

 

I'm so sorry to hear about your experience. It's definitely a great call to keep an eye out for fraudsters out there who may try to take advantage of professionals like you.

Please check this help article for crucial information that will help you have a safe and successful journey on Upwork. If you see a violation of the Upwork Terms of Service, we encourage you to use the Report Suspicious User Activity feature.

 

Good luck! 

~ Bojan
Upwork
colettelewis
Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
3 of 12

Bojan S wrote:

Hi Raphael,

 

I'm so sorry to hear about your experience. It's definitely a great call to keep an eye out for fraudsters out there who may try to take advantage of professionals like you.

Please check this help article for crucial information that will help you have a safe and successful journey on Upwork. If you see a violation of the Upwork Terms of Service, we encourage you to use the Report Suspicious User Activity feature.

 

Good luck! 


___________________________

 

It is so easy to say "sorry" and to add a blithe "Good luck!" in answer to a genuine concern. How difficult is it to read a post from start to finish? - in particular ...   

 

Seeing "Upwork Plus Client" and "Featured Job" on a listing that turned out to be 100% fraud has left me feeling disillusioned and disappointed. I'll get over it, but this is a situation that definitely needs more (and immediate) attention. 

 

I daresay the OP will get over it, but I wonder if Upwork will get over it if it continues to ignore the frequent complaints of "Upwork plus client fraud"?  

knowthyself72
Active Member
Raphael L Member Since: May 5, 2021
4 of 12

Hello Nichola,

 

I just wanted to take a moment to say Thank you. It feels good to see that at least one person understands exactly what I've been trying to point out about this serious, ongoing problem. 

 

And, it will, in fact, negatively impact Upwork's ability to grow and prosper as a platform (and potentially its very existence) if someone doesn't get a handle on what's going on. 

 

As of now, it has become abundantly clear (to me) that the platform is being used for victim hunting by an unknown number of scammers and fraudsters. Those in charge have the ability to make such activities impossible if they want to. And, it could be done with little to no increase in operating expenses. 

 

Thanks again, Nichola. Have a fantastic weekend.

mwiggenhorn
Community Guru
Mary W Member Since: Nov 10, 2014
5 of 12

Raphael - Upwork Plus only means that the client has paid for certain privileges; it doesn't reflect anything good or bad about the client.  And Featured Jobs are featured only because the client paid to have it featured.  And yes, scammers and frauds, both freelancers and clients, are rampant.

 

You can, of course, always flag a job post and maybe it will be removed, maybe not.

 

Here's a hint that I learned the hard way.  When you are new, any unsolicited invitation you receive will more than likely be a scammer.  Valid invitations don't happen for quite a while.  They prey on the newbies.  Hang in there - it will get better.  The scammers also prey on the freelancers with low rates.

knowthyself72
Active Member
Raphael L Member Since: May 5, 2021
6 of 12
Hello moderator,

While I appreciate your words of support, they don't make me feel any
better about the lack of proper oversight or vetting of clients who are
signing up to "hire" freelancers like me. Since writing my original post
(which was less than 3 hours ago) I've already been contacted by another
scam artist who quickly steered his questioning to whether or not I have a
credit card and what the limit on the card is!

If Upwork was simply a place where people went to post jobs like
craigslist, I wouldn't have anything to say about these jokers I seem to be
running into left and right. However, I was under the impression that
Upwork was a platform (worthy of trust) where people could feel reasonably
assured of not encountering blatant, thinly disguised attempts at
committing felonious acts against them.

And, I'm starting to get the impression that if someone *does* fall for one
of these scammers' tricks, they are going to be told, "Sorry that happened
to you, but we posted this article or this paragraph about what to look out
for."

Have we not all seen enough real-life examples of the disastrous results
following companies taking the position of, "Well, we put a warning about
that danger somewhere on our website, so..." in response to something bad
happening to someone???

I have a background that involves both risk mitigation and damage control,
so please forgive me if I sound a bit alarmist. But, I've encountered five
serious (elaborate) attempts of some type of scam or fraud with less than
10 proposals submitted! That *should *be getting someone's attention.

Thank you for reading.
prestonhunter
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
7 of 12

As long as Upwork freelancers understand that "Upwork Plus Client" and "Featured Job" don't mean anything, this won't be such a problem.

 

Maybe Upwork can check for any place that these phrases are displayed to freelancers, and add a note: "(This does not mean anything.)"

knowthyself72
Active Member
Raphael L Member Since: May 5, 2021
8 of 12

Hello Preston,

 

I hope you're doing well today.

 

If those badges and labels are meaningless, then they shouldn't be used in the first place!

 

The only true purpose of such things is to build and project the idea of trustworthiness OR the idea that whatever is carrying said label is actually better than others that are similar. 

 

Anyway, vetting people or entities who say they want to hire someone on your platform is the exact opposite of rocket science these days. It's not about proving you have money or guaranteeing that you're going to hire someone from the platform. But, freelancers shouldn't have to worry about being "catfished" on Upwork and that's exactly what's happening right now. 

 

Thank you for reading. Hope you have a great weekend.

moonraker
Community Guru
Jamie F Member Since: Mar 7, 2010
9 of 12

Rapheal

After a while, you'll develop a spidey sense and automatically know which one's to keep clear of. 

I'm not saying that excuses anything (it doesn't) but at least your own experience will improve. 

tlbp
Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
10 of 12

Raphael L wrote:
Hello moderator,

While I appreciate your words of support, they don't make me feel any
better about the lack of proper oversight or vetting of clients who are
signing up to "hire" freelancers like me. Since writing my original post
(which was less than 3 hours ago) I've already been contacted by another
scam artist who quickly steered his questioning to whether or not I have a
credit card and what the limit on the card is!

If Upwork was simply a place where people went to post jobs like
craigslist, I wouldn't have anything to say about these jokers I seem to be
running into left and right. However, I was under the impression that
Upwork was a platform (worthy of trust) where people could feel reasonably
assured of not encountering blatant, thinly disguised attempts at
committing felonious acts against them.

And, I'm starting to get the impression that if someone *does* fall for one
of these scammers' tricks, they are going to be told, "Sorry that happened
to you, but we posted this article or this paragraph about what to look out
for."

Have we not all seen enough real-life examples of the disastrous results
following companies taking the position of, "Well, we put a warning about
that danger somewhere on our website, so..." in response to something bad
happening to someone???

I have a background that involves both risk mitigation and damage control,
so please forgive me if I sound a bit alarmist. But, I've encountered five
serious (elaborate) attempts of some type of scam or fraud with less than
10 proposals submitted! That *should *be getting someone's attention.

Thank you for reading.

Upwork has chosen to address the issue by disclaiming liability in their Terms of Use. Usually, these scams involve one or more steps that are a violation of policy either by the client or freelancer (or both) at which point Upwork will wash its hands of the matter. Given the levels of fraud on other freelance sites, this position is, at the moment, sustainable. 

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