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I was asked to do an on site translation in my hometown Cali Colombia

Active Member
Carolina M Member Since: Mar 7, 2018
1 of 8

Hello. I am new to Upwork and have not yet been hired for any jobs. I recieved an invitation yesterday from a client to be his translator for a few meetings he has tomorrow march 8th (from 10 am to 5pm he says) . His profile says his payment is not verified and that he is from singapore. I´m not sure if this is real or if this is something safe to do. I find it kind of odd that he is coming to my city in Colombia para if it is true maybe this is why he contacted me even though I am new? I would really appreciate some help regarding this matter. 


Thank you! 

Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
2 of 8

For any project, you should not do any work at all until (1) the client offers you a contract with terms that are acceptable to you (how much you'll be paid and when, and for what), and (2) the client's payment method is verified. (Often, a client new to Upwork will not bother to verify their payment method until they are ready to hire, and that's fine. But never actually begin work until it's verified.)


The project you describe could be perfectly legit but, as you obviously recognize, there are a lot of ways it could be risky. Before accepting the contract, you could require certain detailed information that you should be able to confirm: his name, company, position with the company, who he's meeting and where and for what purpose; require that your pay include reimbursement for transportation (and meals, if necessary). Even with all of that, there is still some risk involved IMO.


I would expect that a legitimate businessman in that situation would turn to an agency that provides on-site interpreters. If his meetings are important enough to pay for an interpreter, why would he take a chance on an unvetted freelancer?


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Community Guru
Renata S Member Since: Jun 10, 2014
3 of 8

Hi Carolina,

I'm glad you posted. The job could be legitimate but I think you're getting some uneasy feelings about it, which you should definitely listen to. 

On the forum, people have posted quite a lot about various kind of scams they've encountered on UpWork. It's a good idea to check some of those out. You could just type "Scam" or "Is this a Scam?" in the search box at the top to see previous forum threads. There are a few regular ones that you should try to avoid. For instance, buying a Bosnian work permit is not a good investment. 

I find one of the best tests for the type of thing your talking about is to ask yourself this question: Does this sound too good to be true? 

Petra posted a great flow diagram on how to navigate this on this thread:

I think Lena, one of the moderators, has also posted a thread, which I'll try to find.

There's also an excellent article here:

Ace Contributor
Stephanie G Member Since: Jan 29, 2018
4 of 8

A common scam aimed at interpreters*** is this:  They want to send you a check and it's more than the fee would be. And they want you to IMMEDIATELY refund the difference.  The check bounces and you have lost the money.  And they never show up.


A legitimate businessman would be able to ask his embassy for a list of experienced interpreters, or his hotel. Or the businesses he is meeting with.


This could be legitimate, BUT insist on being paid through Upwork or in local currency.


*** Landlords, nannies, dog walkers, interior decorators ... this scam has a million versions.  But it boils down to they overpay by forged cashier check and want you to send the difference by Western Union.

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
5 of 8

@Stephanie G wrote:

This could be legitimate, BUT insist on being paid through Upwork or in local currency.

If she asked or accepted to be paid any way other than through Upwork her account would be history as that is the Nr. One bannable offence...


Community Guru
Kathy T Member Since: Jul 17, 2015
6 of 8

Usually, scammers target new freelancers because they don't know the procedures and what to look out for. When a client contacts a freelancer and the freelancer hasn't submitted a proposal for that job, that's one of the warning signs. This may be a ligitamite job but be very careful. In order to protect yourself there are a few things to be aware of and to follow.

1. The client's account should be verified before you begin ANY work. Not verified through Upwork, no work.

2. The client Must hire you through Upwork. A client who says, you're hired,  I'm hiring you, or start work, I'm having a problem with Upwork, while I get it straightened out (or Upwork is aware that I can't click on the hire button and they are working on it, in the meantime.......

3. If this is an hourly job make sure the client deposits funds, FULLY deposits funds into escrow here. No funds, no work, even if he says I'll pay you when you're finished. ALL financial transactions MUST take place on this site. No escrow not fully funded, no work.

4. And just be careful when you are meeting someone on site who you don't know.

Ace Contributor
Sapna D Member Since: Feb 1, 2018
7 of 8

Everyone else already gave you great advice, but I want to reiterate that you should be very careful about meeting him in person. Make sure the address he gives is a legitimate office or meeting space and get the name of the person and company he is meant to meet with as well. If you do end up going and anything at all feels weird or "off," just leave.

Active Member
Carolina M Member Since: Mar 7, 2018
8 of 8



Thank you to everyone who replied! I had no intentions of accepting the job if I was not going to be payed through Upwork and had a bad feeling about the proposal anyways. I asked the "client" for the Upwork contract as someone mentioned and he replied saying that he wasn´t going to pay me through Upwork, everything else he said was really sketchy so I reported him. Its a shame people are using this site with bad intentions, everyone beware of these scams and above all be safe!!