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m_terrazas
Community Member

Ideas to stop to "scammed" and "scammers"?

I was going to add this in one of the threads about scams, but I would like to know the opinion of people and what ideas they have that could help those who "fall" for scams, stop making silly excuses to justify their, let's say, greed or stupidity.
I'm not trying to supplant the work Upwork should be doing, but until they get serious (but really) about filtering scam jobs, we need a way to keep scammers away.
The ideas of "that the client pays X to advertise a job" or "that the client verifies his payment method in any way" are not valid.

 

There are ToS, there is a magnificent post about scams, there is a forum full of information, but it is not enough from what we are seeing.
Just an idea. What if, as well as the warning about Russia and Belarus (which will hopefully disappear soon), another one appears with a warning about reading ToS and the Wes's post about scams?
There is enough information, but it is not read.
With this notice, no freelancer will be able to say that they "didn't know".

SCAMS.png

I know, we already have a lot of pop-ups, and I'm the first to deny them, but... they have to do something.

36 REPLIES 36
kfarnell
Community Member

'Please read the ToS' isn't likely to work. It's just another way of saying 'have you read all the terms and conditions? then click here'. Most people just click without thinking. That's assuming the reader actually knows what 'ToS' means. 

 

I'd favour a pop up that directs to a 'don't get scammed' step by step guide written in very simple and clear English that takes only a moment to read. E.g:

 

Scammers are everywhere on the internet. Don't be one of their victims.

To make sure you aren't scammed on Upwork:

1. Only use Upwork's messages or Zoom function to talk to potential clients before you agree a contract. (Brief note in smaller font outlining when an exception might be made.)

2. Once you've agreed a contract, make sure your client has verified their payment method before you begin work.

 

And so on...

At the end it could say 'for more details check out...' and link the terms of service and anything else thought relevant. And how people can find help if they need it.

 


Kim F wrote:

'Please read the ToS' isn't likely to work. It's just another way of saying 'have you read all the terms and conditions? then click here'. Most people just click withoout thinking. That's assuming the reader actually knows what 'ToS' means. 

 

I'd favour a pop up that directs to a 'don't get scammed' step by step guide written in very simple and clear English that takes only a moment to read. E.g:

 

Scammers are everywhere on the internet. Don't be one of their victims.

To make sure you aren't scammed on Upwork:

1. Only use Upwork's messages or Zoom function to talk to potential clients before you agree a contract. (Brief note in smaller font outlining when an exception might be made.)

2. Once you've agreed a contract, make sure your client has verified their payment method before you begin work.

 

And so on...

At the end it could say 'for more details check out...' and link the terms of service and anything else thought relevant. And how people can find help if they need it.

 


Yeah, I think you're right that "please" isn't going to work. That's what I get for wanting to be nice ๐Ÿ™‚
The thing about a pop-up is that it will appear to all freelancers and it can lead to rejection. I do not know.

Payment verification should be mandatory (by the job poster, not the freelancer) before/during the job posting process. If you're serious about hiring someone, you should have to prove it. That would solve everything. Just like term limits for Congress. ๐Ÿ™‚

There are lots and lots of scammes with payment verified. 


Richard C wrote:

Payment verification should be mandatory (by the job poster, not the freelancer) before/during the job posting process. If you're serious about hiring someone, you should have to prove it. That would solve everything. Just like term limits for Congress. ๐Ÿ™‚


No, it wouldn't fix anything.
It seems that you did not read all the text.
This is one of the solutions that were not valid.
I am not going to go back over the reasons that have been given over and over again.
Here, the main one is that there are many scammers who have the payment verified. So no.

martina_plaschka
Community Member

But who can resist just clicking it away when that juicy crypto-buying offer is on the table.... there needs to be a pop-up that can't be clicked away by freelancers with no prior jobs, or less than 10 jobs. Better yet a pop-up that disables sending proposals before the ToS are read, confirmed, and tested. 

And then there are the people who will never read, never educate themselves, and perceive upwork as a way to make easy money from stupid people who appear to be unable to do even the simplest things themselves. 

It is more than greed, it is moral superiority. They think they found an idiot who pays them 40% commission on a transaction which they could easily teach the client how to do on his own. That is not a nice trait. That is taking advantage of others. In short, they think they found a mark, not realizing they are the ones being played. 


Martina P wrote:

there needs to be a pop-up that can't be clicked away by freelancers with no prior jobs, or less than 10 jobs.  


Unfortunately, even that might not be enough, as I've seen people with 25+ jobs, 10K+ earnings, or even with the top-rated badge get scammed (significant amounts). People are notoriously stupid and easily lose to those "get free money" offers.


Martina P wrote:

But who can resist just clicking it away when that juicy crypto-buying offer is on the table.... there needs to be a pop-up that can't be clicked away by freelancers with no prior jobs, or less than 10 jobs. Better yet a pop-up that disables sending proposals before the ToS are read, confirmed, and tested. 

And then there are the people who will never read, never educate themselves, and perceive upwork as a way to make easy money from stupid people who appear to be unable to do even the simplest things themselves. 

It is more than greed, it is moral superiority. They think they found an idiot who pays them 40% commission on a transaction which they could easily teach the client how to do on his own. That is not a nice trait. That is taking advantage of others. In short, they think they found a mark, not realizing they are the ones being played. 


Oops!, I gave to accept as a solution when I wanted to answer you.

Well, reading your post I have only managed to depress myself.
It seems that until Upwork decides to do searches like the rest of us (it won't be that difficult, right?), nothing will be achieved.
I really don't know how they could be FORCED to read.

And it's not just poor, helpless newbies who "fall" for scams anymore. We have a recent example out there. Not only did he carry out the scam, but because he did not know what he was doing, he made a refund of money that did not exist. I think you know what I'm talking about.

I do. That was a terrible case of being completely unaware how the platform works - believing that refunding makes the scam go away. 

If you want to get even more depressed, search for the stuff that the guy needs for his  boss on any given weekend in the job feed, watch helplessly as people are getting hired, and be horrified at the amounts that are showing up. It's like watching a car accident about to happen and you can't do anything about it. 

I think we need a psychological evaluation of the typical upworker who falls for this scam, and then target the message specifically to reach that person. I'd say it goes something like this:

1. You're not as clever as you think.

2. Clients are not as stupid as you think. 

3. Read the ToS. 


Martina P wrote:

Better yet a pop-up that disables sending proposals before the ToS are read, confirmed, and tested. 

Yes, I think that's the only way. People need to be tested and not allowed to send proposals until they pass. Also, as I've said earlier, it's surely possible to detect contact information in a client's response to a proposal (or in any message sent before there's contract in place), and block that message before the freelancer can even open it. Needless to say, this should also apply to job postings with contact info.

 

As for the marks, maybe there's some kind of Crypto Buyers Anonymous, with a seven step programme to recovery. 

 

 

data_divas
Community Member

I like your idea.  People may click away from it but some may read it once. Worth a shot and can't hurt.

gilbert-phyllis
Community Member

In theory, more and clearer cautions should work. In practice, I don't think it will help. People who are inclined to pause and understand what they are getting into, already do. Those who are not so inclined, will overlook or ignore anything put in front of them.

 

How about this: Any FL caught communicating off platform without a contract is suspended for 30 days; second time they do it, banned for life. Caught with stolen material in portfolio? Ban for life. Caught using photo of someone else in profile? Ban for life. Caught participating in any financial transaction off the platform (buying and sending game tokens or crypto, accepting direct payment), ban for life. 

 


Phyllis G wrote:

Caught with stolen material in portfolio? Ban for life.


That would mean 90% of the "graphic designers" on this platform would be gone. But I digress.


Christine A wrote:

Phyllis G wrote:

Caught with stolen material in portfolio? Ban for life.


That would mean 90% of the "graphic designers" on this platform would be gone. But I digress.


Digressing further, in an ideal world Upwork would support the copyright owner by at least informing them that their content was being used to make it easier for them to take action if they wanted and to raise the possibility of the same infringement nbeing repeated on other platforms. A ban isn't enough. 


Christine A wrote:

Phyllis G wrote:

Caught with stolen material in portfolio? Ban for life.


That would mean 90% of the "graphic designers" on this platform would be gone. But I digress.


That would be a good thing, wouldn't it?

I repeatedly flag scam posts that are then removed only to reappear every day from clients who show they have been members for months, so it is clear they are not getting banned for posting scams. If freelancers should be banned for violations as you suggest, which I'm fine with, so should clients. Yes, it's easy for scammers to set up a new account (TOO easy) but it's obvious they don't even have to do that because they aren't getting banned in the first place.

An alternative to my 3-month suspention, but yes. Some violations might deserve a second chance but other are unexcusable.

I want to add "misrepresenting your skills" to the list and the people who have been reported with evidance for trying or succeeding to scam a client.

kfarnell
Community Member

Absolutely nothing will work to stop ALL victims of scams falling prey to a scammer. But clear and obvious messages could stop some. And Upwork giving the impression it is actively fighting scams could also help reduce the number posted.

 

Focusing on victims' character deficiencies here only makes people reading less likely to report near scams in case they get into trouble or because they're embarrassed and don't want to be mocked or humiliated. And they may get into the cycle of thinking that having done one wrong thing that risks punishment, what difference does it make to do another? Firmly saying something to the effect that 'if you ignore what we say and end up in bother, Upwork CAN'T help you' might be more effective than 'do something wrong and we'll ban you'.

 

I'm not convinced about the testing thing. Most people will simply see it as a hoop to jump through and once they've done so, the content will probably fall out of their head.

 

Though some people are their own worst enemies, the real blame lies with the scammers rather than their victims. And a simple block/hold to posts that contain phone numbers or telegram links etc would drastically reduce the number posted.

 


Kim F wrote:

Though some people are their own worst enemies, the real blame lies with the scammers rather than their victims. And a simple block/hold to posts that contain phone numbers or telegram links etc would drastically reduce the number posted.

 


Yes, the real blame lies with the scammers, and yes, Upwork could block mentions of Telegram, phone numbers etc. But then the scammers will attach the interview information as a pdf or jpg, which some are already doing. If there are thousands of dollars to be made from guillable freelancers on a daily basis, scammers will figure out a way to beat any screening process. They're not going to easily give up and go away.

 


Kim F wrote:

I'm not convinced about the testing thing. Most people will simply see it as a hoop to jump through and once they've done so, the content will probably fall out of their head.


I completely disagree. If somebody told me, "Read this, or you risk losing thousands of dollars," I'm certain that I could spare a few minutes out of my busy schedule to read it and remember the contents. If people are incapable of doing that, then they probably won't make good freelancers anyway. And at least they wouldn't be able to say that they weren't warned.

 

I also agree with Martina's assessment of the freelancers who so eagerly participate in the purchase of crypto etc. for clients. There must be a thought process such as, "Ha ha, this stupid client doesn't know how easy it is to buy this themselves. I'm going to take advantage of the situation and fleece them for all they're worth." There was a guy in the forum just the other day who kept insisting that a scammer he'd encountered was legit; he actually wanted to join Upwork just to work with this "client", even after several other freelancers repeatedly told him that he was being scammed. I find it difficult to feel sorry for such people.


 


Kim F wrote:

I'm not convinced about the testing thing. Most people will simply see it as a hoop to jump through and once they've done so, the content will probably fall out of their head.


I completely disagree. If somebody told me, "Read this, or you risk losing thousands of dollars," I'm certain that I could spare a few minutes out of my busy schedule to read it and remember the contents. 

 

Yes, or if someone said, "Pass this test, or your days on Upwork are over". There needs to be an incentive and a deterrent. That will concentrate people's minds.

 


 

Sure, but only if that's done in conjunction with clients having to verify their identities in a similar way that freelancers have to before allowing them to sign up.


Peter G wrote:

Sure, but only if that's done in conjunction with clients having to verify their identities in a similar way that freelancers have to before allowing them to sign up.


Peter, precisely you, who have been in all the threads in which this topic of customer verification and their payment method has been discussed, appear to defend it once again when you know perfectly well that many of us here are against it. .. Is it just to leave your touch?
Also, it was one of the invalid ideas.
And we're talking about how to keep freelancers from "falling" for scams (those who fall, not those who let themselves fall in them).


Christine A wrote:

Yes, the real blame lies with the scammers, and yes, Upwork could block mentions of Telegram, phone numbers etc. But then the scammers will attach the interview information as a pdf or jpg, which some are already doing. If there are thousands of dollars to be made from guillable freelancers on a daily basis, scammers will figure out a way to beat any screening process. They're not going to easily give up and go away.

No, they're not, but anything that makes the process more difficult or time consuming is helpful. 


I completely disagree. If somebody told me, "Read this, or you risk losing thousands of dollars," I'm certain that I could spare a few minutes out of my busy schedule to read it and remember the contents...

I'm not at all opposed to tests, just doubt they'll be that effective. Yes, if not reading something meant losing thousands of dollars, most people would pay close attention. But to many people, thousands of dollars earned here sounds ridiculously unlikely. They either expect to earn a small amount or aren't convinced  they'll earn anything at all. They simply don't see the stakes as that high.

Character deficiencies are relevant insofar as they motivate people's worst instincts and prevent them from behaving like adult professionals. 

m_terrazas
Community Member

Any moderator out there?
I have done a simple search with "WhatsApp" and a long list of jobs violating the ToS has appeared.
I said to myself, we are going to flag a few. But I find that I have to open each job to be able to mark it.
Wouldn't it be possible, just to make our free work easier, to add a FLAG icon to the job listing?
The finger down icon already has a listing, add a flag option?

Hi Maria,

 

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I will share your report and suggestion with our team for further review and consideration. 

 

~ Nikola
Upwork


Nikola S wrote:

Hi Maria,

 

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I will share your report and suggestion with our team for further review and consideration. 

 


Thanks for reply Nikola.
I know everything here is in a hurry, but this really is urgent.
Since Upwork relies so heavily on us to bookmark jobs, at least make it an easy task. Click and the next.

If we can search for "WhatsApp" and then flag them, why can't somone from Upwork do the same and then IMMEDIATELY remove them for viloating their ToS?

00137e0a
Community Member

I like your idea about a TOS popup to alert freelancers. They should make it simple, let's say, condensing it in about five or ten "commandments", so people can learn and assimilate it faster, instead of being asked to read the whole thing, which would be really impractical for most people. 

 

Also, your idea about a flag button on every job post is great. I just checked, and currently, flagging a job takes 5 clicks. That's too much. I just flagged ten jobs in a few minutes, and after a while, at least in my case, I just gave up. There are so many scams that I'd probably spend half an hour every day if I were to flag them all. Your idea, if implemented, could make things way easier. No dropdown list; Just one button, one click, done. 

 

This whole thing is completely out of control. It's becoming impossible to focus on finding good jobs amongst so many scams. It's very annoying and time-consuming.

m_terrazas
Community Member

In another thread, a freelancer commented that she almost fell for an invitation scam.
She says that Upwork sent her an auto email when she sent her proposal which had this community mentioned in it.
Other idea. For the first proposal, instead of sending that email AFTER the proposal has been sent, how about sending it BEFORE. I don't know how, but the warnings appear before I click send.

 

ETA - The email she received (although it should be changed. Here the important thing would be security, not how to make good proposals ๐Ÿ™„)

64963dc1
Community Member

Agreed!

richardcoda
Community Member

How about "PAYMENT MUST BE VERIFIED"... PERIOD! No more of this "payment unverified" **Edited for Community Guidelines**? If you're serious about hiring someone, you should have to prove that you have a means to pay them.


Richard C wrote:

How about "PAYMENT MUST BE VERIFIED"... PERIOD! No more of this "payment unverified" **Edited for Community Guidelines**? If you're serious about hiring someone, you should have to prove that you have a means to pay them.


Many legitimate clients do not verify their payment method until they are ready to set up their first contract. (Do you let a store swipe your credit card as soon as you walk in, before you even know whether or not you might make a purchase?) Meanwhile, many scammers manage to verify a payment method that lasts just long enough for them to score. 

You can filter your search to exclude jobs posted by clients who haven't verified their payment method yet. There's no reason to obstruct the rest of us from connecting with good clients.

 

roberty1y
Community Member

The thing about people who fall for scams is that they're mostly people who have never got a legitimate job here and never will. Upwork derives no revenue from them. Their gullibility is ruining the site by drowning us in "change PDF to Word - $1000" job posts. We'd be immeasurably better off without them. Let's have a test to weed them out. And if you contact a client offsite after you've passed the test, you're banned for life from Upwork. No exceptions.

elisa_b
Community Member

Only today I flagged dozens (and counting) fake job posts, and frankly I am getting tired of wasting time on that. They get duplicated over and over again, yet sometimes there are 5 or more people applying to evident scams, featuring Telegram URLs and phone numbers in plain sight. Please Upwork open your eyes!

 

I think Upwork should take immediate actions, filter out job postings containing information contact, and perhaps have a look at my humble proposal: https://community.upwork.com/t5/Freelancers/Proposal-Suspend-unpublish-job-posts-flagged-at-least-3-...

 

Regarding freelancers, when they apply to a job offer a large popup should appear, just saying "Beware of scammers asking you to communicate outside of Upwork BEFORE they hire you. You may be cheated and/or banned from Upwork"

 

A popup so huge and brightly coloured that is impossible to miss it. Every day here on the forum I see people asking the same question "Have I been scammed?" and frankly I am getting tired of them as well. 


Elisa B wrote:

Only today I flagged dozens (and counting) fake job posts, and frankly I am getting tired of wasting time on that. They get duplicated over and over again, yet sometimes there are 5 or more people applying to evident scams, featuring Telegram URLs and phone numbers in plain sight. Please Upwork open your eyes!

 

I think Upwork should take immediate actions, filter out job postings containing information contact, and perhaps have a look at my humble proposal: https://community.upwork.com/t5/Freelancers/Proposal-Suspend-unpublish-job-posts-flagged-at-least-3-...

 

Regarding freelancers, when they apply to a job offer a large popup should appear, just saying "Beware of scammers asking you to communicate outside of Upwork BEFORE they hire you. You may be cheated and/or banned from Upwork"

 

A popup so huge and brightly coloured that is impossible to miss it. Every day here on the forum I see people asking the same question "Have I been scammed?" and frankly I am getting tired of them as well. 


Upwork already knows they're there. Why they don't act faster or more efficiently is what many of us wonder.
But, what I was trying to do here is to look for ideas on how to prevent freelancers from "falling" for these scams.
As you said, these jobs have several ways to contact outside of Upwork (there are others that cannot be controlled because that information will reach the freelancer with an attachment in the chat), and they are clearly scams.
You also say that there are freelancers bidding, and surely interviewing. That's the problem. Why do freelancers "fall" for these scams? For the simple reason that: they have not read the TOS or they are greedy and believe they will cheat the customer or out of sheer stupidity. But mainly, all those who appear in the forums saying that "I think I have been scammed", have not bothered to know how the platform works and what rules to follow.

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