re: "How do I get help for fraudulent activity from a job poster? It is impossible to find a number or email for help on this site."
It is not Upwork's intention that you email someone or call someone if you encounter fraudulent activity. Upwork takes such reports very seriously, so there is a DEDICATED way to report.
Go to the job posting and click on "Flag as inappropriate" in the top right hand corner of the screen.
Select the "Looks fake or is a scam" option.
Enter additional notes in the text box, as appropriate.
Please do not hesitate to to ask questions or discuss the matter in more detail here in the Forum. We are a talkative bunch and (to be honest) sort of love talking about scammers and (even more) we love to help Upwork users successfully avoid scams.
Thanks for the feedback. I am new and need to understand if the questions I'm being asked are inappropriate/suspicious vs just directly reporting it. The articles, bot, etc. have not been helpful in me determining if this incident is a scam.
re: "I am new and need to understand if the questions I'm being asked are inappropriate/suscpicious vs just directly reporting it."
Ignore the bots. They're just toys.
Don't hesitate to discuss the matter right here in the Forum.
Pretty much 24 hours a day, 7 days a week you will find regular Forum participants who will answer your questions about possible fraudulent activity.
Is there someone I can email privately? I'd hate to post the situation here and have it not be a scam and hurt both my reputation and that of the job poster. It appears I've been scammed twice today on this site and it is very concerning to me.
There is no email address for discussing this.
Don't worry about discussing the topic here. We talk about scams all the time here in the Forum. You won't be mentioning any names. You will be discussing behaviors... what the client (or "client" did... the situation, etc. It's fine to talk about in the public Forum.
If you want to only work through a Customer Support ticket, then that is possible. But it will be more difficult and you will be limited in terms of who helps you. Probably only one person. And it is really not Customer Support's intended role to tutor new users about scams.
You can share your report here with us and we'll be sure to escalate it to the correct team for their review. You can check this help article for more information on how to use the flag option found on each job post or message to report any suspicious or inappropriate content. Also, check out this post for more tips on how to avoid questionable jobs.
That's a scam.
This is the most common scam on Upwork.
For one thing, nobody is going to contact you out of the blue and send you a laptop computer.
These people want to send you a fake check, which they use to steal money from your bank account.
Any exchange of funds outside of Upwork is a serious ToS violation.
If the check was real, then you could be permanently terminated from Upwork for receiving the check.
But the check is not real.
You could be suspended from Upwork even if you receive a fake check.
If it makes you feel any better, you can look forward to being able to easily and quickly identify scams. Experienced freelancers quickly learn to do so. Most people you will meet in the Forum can identify a scam in less than a second.
And the good thing is that scammers don't bother you after you gain some experience. I never get contacted by scammers.
re: "Do you think I'm at risk for them downloading anything on my computer?"
No. You're not at risk.
That's not something that is part of this scam.
This scam involves them sending you a check, and then you send them money from your account, and then the check turns out to be fake, but you have permanently lost the money you sent to them, and the bank does a clawback on the funds. And you either lose a ton of money or lose the ability to bank there.
This has nothing to do with an attack on your computer.