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Payroll Scam

Active Member
Patti J Member Since: Apr 25, 2018
1 of 5

They are back....  Actually, I'm not sure if they ever left - they just keep changing names, accounts, and some details.


This time, the job was posted by a **Edited for Community Guidelines** who grabbed 7 unlucky interviewees and promptly closed his account, or maybe Upwork shut him down, I'm not sure which came first.


Anyway, if you are one of the unlucky interviewees, please beware that this is a SCAM. It's been running for several years in different iterations, on Craigslist, Upwork, and other freelance sites. It seems it originated in Cameroon, but the "Michael" I spoke to sounded like an old guy from a German, or another West_european background. 


The crux of the scam is that he wants you to print checks for him from your home. He will have you buy check printing paper, posting supplies, and a printer compatible with "MICR" (magnetic ink character recognition, which is ink used by the banks for check processing). Where it goes from there, I'm not sure because I bailed out. But some iterations of this scam have you buy things and then reimburse you on your first "pay-check" with other fake checks or hacked bank accounts. Sometimes they phish for your banking information. Other scams have people write these phony checks to new people being scammed and then the scammers disappear before the whole thing blows up.


Good luck all and stay vigilant!



Community Guru
Jo-An B Member Since: Aug 2, 2016
2 of 5

Hi Patti,

Thanks for reporting. Do you have the link of the job post? Can you please send it to me via direct message?

~ Jo-An

Active Member
Jessica E Member Since: Sep 20, 2018
3 of 5

I encountered this today. **edited for Community Guidelines** and I spoke via gchat. What they were describing didn't make any sense (how does one "design" payroll?), so I googled it and found this page. Thanks for posting.

Avery O Moderator Member Since: Nov 23, 2015
4 of 5

Hi Jessica, 

I would like to share that actions have taken agains the client's job post and account for violating the Upwork User Agreement. Thanks for sharing your experience with the Community. 

Active Member
Adielle G Member Since: Feb 14, 2019
5 of 5

I was just contacted by one today. Her name is **edited for Community Guidelines**. I already reported to Upwork. Be careful everyone!