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Freelancers BEWARE

Ace Contributor
Mark H Member Since: Jan 12, 2016
1 of 13

I am hoping that I am writing this concern in an area where other freelancers can easily see it. I was sent a request for interview by **edited for Community Guidelines** and instructed me to add two of their representatives to my Yahoo Messenger account so that we could conduct an interview. This interview was conducted via text/typing (no audio/webcam) and they interviewer seemed to have a template of questions to ask. During the interview they asked me for the name of my bank (to confirm if their mode of payment was compatible with mine). I declined to give the name of my bank and explained that was private (security purposes) and the interview continued. Following the completion of the interview, they congratulated me on being hired and informed me that they would be paying me through direct deposit (I now assume they were phisihig for my social security number), I informed them that was a violation of Upwork policy. They then stated that it was ok but would need for me to complete a W4 (which requires my social security number). I will report this to Upwork.

 

Mark A. Hylland 

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
2 of 13

It's one of the oldest scams on Upwork if not on the Internet.

 

This guy/guyess - probably a whole fraudster company -  is indefatigable on this site and never, ever gives up. I suppose Upwork does sometimes zap them, but given the frequency with which these posts appear on Upwork and are commented on in the forum,  one does wonder how often they are allowed to slip the net,

 

Completely new freelancers (new to any sort of job) are particularly vulnerable.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
3 of 13

Mark:

For future reference, as soon as a client asks you to exchange text messages with Yahoo Messenger, you know it is a scam. After reading thousands of reports, I have yet to find a single instance in which a legitimate client used Yahoo Messenger.

 

Anything these clients do using Yahoo Messenger is somethign you can already do within the Upwork messenger interface.

 

So why have job "candidates" use Yahoo Messenger?

Three reasons:

a) They use Yahoo Messenger in order to escape Upwork's scrutiny. They don't want their scam pitches and ToS-violating discussions to be recorded and identified within the Upwork platform.

 

b) The "clients" (scammers, really) want to mask their identity. That is why they aren't communicating with you via Skype or a phone call. Because they are claiming to be somebody they aren't.

 

c) The "clients" have text files that they copy responses from. When you communite with them, they are following a well-worn script that they use to trick people and rip them off.

Community Guru
Katrina B Member Since: Jan 9, 2011
4 of 13

What really bothers me is how many freelancers are falling for it.  I mean, if they keep doing it and they keep posting it, it must be working.  So it would be interesting to know how many are actually falling for it in that desperate hope of getting that "first job".  

"Fairness is giving all people the treatment they earn and deserve. It doesn't mean treating everyone alike-Coach John Wooden"
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
5 of 13

re: "...indefatigable on this site and never, ever gives up. I suppose Upwork does sometimes zap them, but given the frequency with which these posts appear on Upwork and are commented on in the forum,  one does wonder how often they are allowed to slip..."

 

There is no technological way to block these people from creating new fake client identities and posting jobs.

 

There IS a way to stop this entirely or almost entirely, and that is by requiring new contractors to take additional training and pass a quiz before they are able to fully function as contractors.

 

There are effective designs for this to be done in a way that would ensure that these scammer "clients" would fail to find a receptive audience. Upwork should implement this additional training.

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
6 of 13

@Nichola L wrote:

It's one of the oldest scams on Upwork if not on the Internet.

 

This guy/guyess - probably a whole fraudster company -  is indefatigable on this site and never, ever gives up.


 There are thousands of them, copying the same same scam, over and over

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
7 of 13

I am well aware of this Petra. However,  if there are 'thousands' of them on Upwork, then I think it is time that Upwork had some kind of recognition radar in place to zap them before freelancers fall for it. The forum is only an indicator of the frequency of this type of fraud, none of us can know exactly how many people on Upwork have been victims of this scam.

 

 

Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
8 of 13

What one can do with a stolen SS number in the US? As a non-US citizen, I was always wondering this, especially considering the number of running frauds involving SS numbers...

 

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
9 of 13

I daresay the freelancers who have fallen for this scam who have had bank and SS numbers stolen or corrupted (whether or not in the States), are too frightened/ashamed to come forward. Particularly those who went off site to be scammed.

 

But we will never know. Unfortunately, Upwork will not make an exception and name and shame them every time they come up. These people know that Upwork is, in effect, protecting them and that they are completely immune from punishment.

Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
10 of 13

@Nichola L wrote:

These people know that Upwork is, in effect, protecting them and that they are completely immune from punishment.


Upwork is not protecting them, simply they don't see the need to invest expensive resources in fighting a phenomenon that doesn't impact the company. Naive providers are at loss, not Upwork.

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
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