Hi there! I'm new to Upwork, and two of my proposals have been accepted and have moved onto the interview process. The clients have sent me an image (it seems to be a stock image that has text added for contact information via Skype). However, I'm not sure if it is legitimate, and I was wondering if anyone could confirm if this is standard practice. It does not specify the kind of client or business I am working with, and the person I would be meeting with is not the client that messaged me.
I've just heard of some scammers that may filter through the client workspace, and I want to make sure that I'm being careful, especially as a newbie!
As you are new, you are WISE to discuss your situation with us here in the Forum.
re: "I was wondering if anyone could confirm if this is standard practice"
No. This is NOT standard practice.
It sounds like something only a scammer would do.
Most of what you told us: It may be unusual, but it doesn't violate any Upwork rule.
Clients are allowed to use stock images. Often clients have two or more people who work with a freelancer.
But if they are inviting you to talk to them via Skype?
That is not allowed.
You may communicate via Skype with clients AFTER you have been officially hired.
Until then, you are required to communicate with prospective clients ONLY using the Upwork platform. Which (remember) includes chat, messaging, audio calls, video calls, and built-in Zoom).
What you described in your post... It probably IS a scam.
But I always advise giving clients the opportunity to do the right thing.
Tell this prospective client:
"Thank you for that inormation. If you click the Hire button now, I will accept the hourly contract job offer and we can converse further using Skype. Until a contract is in place, I am required to communicate using the Upwork Messenger tool. You may use this tool to go ahead and ask any final questions you have before hiring me, and to provide me with the final details about the work you need me to do for you."
After you do this, if the prospective client does not send you an official Upwork hire offer, THEN you should go to the job posting page and use the "Flag as inappropriate" link button to report this "client" as a scammer.
I very much appreciate your thorough response! I will be sure to send that message, and see how it goes. Thanks again for everything! Hope you are well.
Thank you for flagging this for us, Lauren.
I’ve escalated this report to the correct team for their review and the project has already been taken down because it was in violation of Upwork TOS and action has been taken on the client account.
Make sure to check our Stay Safe series and learn more on how to work safe online:
If you see a violation of the Upwork Terms of Service, we encourage you to use Report Suspicious User Activity feature.
Lauren wrote: I will be sure to send that message, and see how it goes.
Please don't do that. You are brand new, you absolutely can't afford to enter into contracts with random strangers you have asked to hire you just to interview you. If they are scammers, they won't. If they are genuine clients you will alienate them and will either lose the job or end up with a resentful client or, worse, one who thinks you are trying to scam THEM.
Why not be straightforward and tell them that unfortunately Upwork's terms don't allow communicating outside the platform before a contract is in place, but luckily Upwork has call and chat functions and even Zoom, so there is no need for skype, and be done with it.
It is always better to be straightforward and honest, and not put yourself into a situation where you can hurt your metrics before you've even been hired.
No, not standard practice. I normally keep all my conversations if possible through Upwork.
Plus, unless you are hired, you are required to keep all contact through Upwork.