๐Ÿˆ
ยป Forums ยป Freelancers ยป I am currently being scammed
Page options
daf5c545
Community Member

I am currently being scammed

So I signed up for Upwork a while ago, and today I decided to pitch for some jobs. I pitched for an editing and proofreading job. I was directed to Skype for an interview. Before you say, "that is an obvious scam," thank you, I know. Unfortunately I have fallen for this to the point where I signed their "formal job offer," and given them my home address. Thankfully I haven't given them anymore information, but I just figured out it's a scam and am still in communication with them. What should I do now? And here are some screenshots of my conversation which includes lots of red flags, and the job offer form which is just... I can't believe I fell for this. I really thought I was getting a good opportunity. ๐Ÿคฆโ€:female_sign:

**edited for Community Guidelines**

28 REPLIES 28
bobafett999
Community Member

What do you want us to tell you now?  You know the answer.  Follow your instincts. 

 

pgiambalvo
Community Member

Block them and report them. Did you know that you aren't allowed to communicate off of Upwork until AFTER a contract is in place? If not, can you explain why you weren't aware of that?

Yes I can explain. It was the first job pitch I have ever made using Upwork. I have never used the site before today, despite creating an account months ago. I did look into the conversion fee as the scammers mentioned they would pay it. There is some misleading information. It states to never speak with clients using outside chat or messaging apps. But it also states that Skype and Zoom are now being commonly used for job correspondence these days, so I assumed that meant Skype was okay. I realize I have made a mistake. How should I report them and where?

When under the stress/excitement for an opportunity, we tend to loose our senses somehow- and thats what scammer exploit. 
Although there are safety measures in place, there are loopholes that are also misused. So, welcome to the forum ๐Ÿ™‚ the more you read, the better prepared you are for whats to come.

Can you explain the loopholes? What are they? I am genuinely interested.

 

I don't understand how you can read the Terms of Service and not know it is strictly forbidden to communicate off-platform before a contract.

 

The thieves are looking for easy victims. As long as people believe they will receive lots of money for a nonsense work job, the scammers will be waiting. Would a freelancer go off in a dark alley with a stranger whispering about a big pot of money if they will just follow them and violate every rule of safety and common sense? Well, that's precisely what someone does when they break the rules.

 

It's hard to have much sympathy when people deliberately make bad decisions because they are focused on getting money no matter what they have to do. Not every single person who is scammed went off-platform, but 99.00% or higher did just that.

Based on what i have read;
- Credit card verification; on client side
- Jobs against ToS but masked as otherwise
- Time tracker; manual hours, inactivity

Credit card theft can happen anywhere. Chargebacks can be avoided or limited by the proper use of hourly tracking and milestones on fixed-price jobs. Verification is done when the job is first listed. By the time the bank cancels the stolen card, a freelancer is already doing busywork and submitting their work. No business on the Internet will cover your losses if the bank does a chargeback. You do have the right to submit evidence in a chargeback situation.

 

Upwork does not do anything, anything at all, to validate clients. They do not even verify emails. Upwork says they have a team working to remove scams, but in reality, you have to do that yourself. No one is going through the job listings to make sure there are no scams. Freelancers are supposed to flag scams and contacts.

 

I'm not sure of your exact concern with tracking time, but many, many freelancers use the system with absolutely no issue. The problems occur when freelancers don't understand the program and that manual is different from automatic tracking.

 

I see no loopholes.

Mostly agree, but milestones on fixed-price jobs are in no way protected from chargebacks. And it's Upwork who pays the freelancer for protected time tracker projects when the client can't' or won't pay. Bottom line is that if a client doesn't want tp pay, they don't have to and Upwork and freelancers can't make them.

As I said, chargebacks can be avoided or eliminated by properly using the hourly tracker and having milestones in place. If you use the milestones properly, you will never be at a loss for large amounts of money.

 

If a client doesn't want to pay, there are steps that limit any potential damage. I do fixed price all the time with never a problem.

 

Yes, if an evil person sets out from the very beginning to get free work, planning on doing a chargeback and keeping the work, it is a problem. However, there is little risk if the freelancer abides by the TOS and uses the tracker or milestones correctly. Build in tiny milestones if necessary. I have never been scammed. Have I encountered weird clients that tried to take advantage of my greed? Yes. Was I scammed? No, because I followed the rules and used common sense.

 

Case in point:

 

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

As you can see, 50+ people have applied. Why? The ad has every sign of a scam, and I guarantee they want freelancers off the platform and 50+ merrily go along. How many will be here in a day or so crying because awful Upwork didn't protect them from their own ignorance and greed? Everyone knows their skill level, even if you are brand new.

 

There are legitimate issues with Upwork not dealing with the scams. Turn off the filters, and there are contact numbers in job ads that could simply, cheaply be filtered out and are not. The obvious scams could be filtered as well. However, that is a totally separate issue from freelancers violating the TOS and being greedy beyond the point of reason.

 

It is important to acknowledge what Upwork's responsibility is and what is the freelancer's responsibility. Saving people from themselves is not Upwork's job or responsibility.

Personally, I've never had a client not pay, and I've only had fixed price or manual hours contracts. In fact, I won't accept a job if they want me to use the time tracker. And like you, I also frequently set up multiple milestones, so I'm sure that has helped. But yeah, there are way too many freelencers here who apply to these obvious scams when they should know better.

Oh, the irony. I eliminated all links and forbidden elements and had a screenshot of the scam job and all the people who applied. I do not see how it violated the TOS. The job was a complete scam.

 

Wow, fantastic technology that can eliminate a scam job in the forum. Who would have thought anyone could do that? The things you can do with technology these days.

 

Hmmm... I wonder if there is a way this power could be used to filter out the same scam ads in the job feeds?

 

 

"I wonder if there is a way this power could be used to filter out the same scam ads in the job feeds?" Ha! But obviously it can't or won't be because the scam ads are always there, right? Plus, you're talking about a handful of forum posts to be filtered by actual human beings, and thousands of scams to be removed daily on the job boards.

 

"If you use the milestones properly, you will never be at a loss for large amounts of money."

 

Not true.  Milestones are not protected from chargebacks and certain other incidences. Only hourly contracts with correct use of the Time Tracker offers payment protection.  

 

I did not say you would be protected from chargebacks. I said exactly what you quoted. You have to protect yourself, and that includes understanding how to use the tracker and milestones.


Jeanne H wrote:

As you can see, 50+ people have applied. Why? The ad has every sign of a scam, and I guarantee they want freelancers off the platform and 50+ merrily go along.

Or it could be that they're applying in order to get 10 free connects. They'd know they've nothing to lose, because even if the scammer doesn't reply, they'll get their connects back anyway when the job is taken down. So, gullibility or cynicism? It's hard to tell.  

I understand your confusion. Upwork should have made it more clear to you when you signed up.

With this becoming a larger issue as it seems, I just wish I would have looked into it more before I pitched for any job.

At least you didn't lose any money. There is not much they can do with your home address, which would show up on any client invoice anyway. People have lost hundreds in advance fee scams, thousands in crypto and fake check scams. But now you know how to steer clear of the scammers. Many people come to the forum afterwards when it is too late. 

Mya, it would be a good idea to read everything about the site before pitching for jobs, especially Upwork's terms of service. One of its most inflexible rules is to communicate with clients outside Upwork before you have a formal Upwork contract in place. Although other scams exist, you can protect yourself from this type of scam by sticking to the rules.  

This is an excellent blog by a freelancer on scams to watch out for: 

https://community.upwork.com/t5/Community-Blog/Top-Red-Flags-for-Scams-From-Community-Member-Wes-C/b...

And this is a starter must-read: https://community.upwork.com/t5/New-to-Upwork/Getting-Started-on-Upwork/td-p/264214


Mya R wrote:

Yes I can explain. It was the first job pitch I have ever made using Upwork. I have never used the site before today, despite creating an account months ago. I did look into the conversion fee as the scammers mentioned they would pay it. There is some misleading information. It states to never speak with clients using outside chat or messaging apps. But it also states that Skype and Zoom are now being commonly used for job correspondence these days, so I assumed that meant Skype was okay. I realize I have made a mistake. How should I report them and where?


Mya, out of curiosity, can you link us to where Upwork says Skype is being used for interviews (that made you think it was allowed)? We should bring that page to Upwork's specific attention to address the language there. 

re: "Mya, out of curiosity, can you link us to where Upwork says Skype is being used for interviews (that made you think it was allowed)? We should bring that page to Upwork's specific attention to address the language there."

 

I assumed that she mis-remembered that point, possibly after seeing descriptions of Upwork's built-in Zoom being used.

 

Zoom and Skype share a number of overlapping areas of functionality.

Both can be used for interviews.

 

Or she may have seen OLDER references to Skype being used for interviews, before the rule went into effect that requires all pre-contract communications be done via Upwork.

Preston, I specifically asked Mya so that she could share what she saw and if it is indeed what she says, that it could be corrected. Perhaps she saw an old forum post that needs a disclaimer put on it, or perhaps there is some Upwork language on a webpage that is nebulous. It wouldn't be out of the question, considering how often we ourselves find outdated language on Upwork. 

 

Mya, I still encourage to share the links you referred to so that they can be assessed if they need to be updated. User reports are one good way to find these and help someone else so they don't make the same mistake. 

I'm pretty sure there's no way you can contact anyone by Skype pre-contract. You can use Zoom, which is incorporated in Upwork's messaging system.

AveryO
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Mya, 


I checked, and it looks like actions have been taken against the client's job post and account. As a gentle reminder, users cannot communicate off Upwork until a contract has been set up on your account (the client sent an offer, and you accepted it). It would also be best to visit these articles for more information on how you can keep in line with Upwork's Terms of Service when engaging on the website:

You may also want to read up on the "Safety First!" section of the freelancer resources we have compiled, these tips for avoiding questionable jobs, this Community article, and these articles for more information about working safely through Upwork. 


~ Avery
Upwork

re: "It was the first job pitch I have ever made using Upwork. I have never used the site before today"

 

Part of trying something new is making mistakes.

 

That's okay!

 

Don't beat yourself over it. It is common for new freelancers to make these mistakes.

350d38c2
Community Member

Luckily I reread the tos and saw this. I'm assuming this is the same one I applied for yesterday before realizing how bogus it was. 

Proposed, sent to Skype, job removed from upwork. Yea, I instantly backed off. 

Was my first proposal too, so happy I realized before breaking any further regulations. And in my case, they only acquired info I have on here, so safe. Lost 10 credits though, lesson learned.๐Ÿ˜“ 

 

Upwork runneth over with scams, and it is up to every freelancer to protect themselves. Good for you to read and follow the rules. Report the scamming client to Upwork and include the Skype message. Upwork will return your connects if you show the off-platform Skype message.

 

Also, read this excellent information for  Wes: https://community.upwork.com/t5/Community-Blog/Top-Red-Flags-for-Scams-From-Community-Member-Wes-C/b...

 

Knowledge is power. Be safe.

8cd664ea
Community Member

I am so sorry about this. Also glad you put it out here to get help while subsequent people learn from this.

Latest Articles
Top Upvoted Members