๐Ÿˆ
ยป Forums ยป Freelancers ยป Possible Scam
Page options
c763b1a0
Community Member

Possible Scam

Hello all! I am thinking there might be a scam going on here on Upwork. It's pretty creative and sneaky if you don't know what to look for, but here's my experience: I am a photographer and editor and I recently saw a job (payment unverified) asking for photo editing of eCommerce jewelry items. I applied and was contacted and she asked if I would be willing to do a few test shots so she could determine whether I was capable of handling the work. I am paying member so I have the ability to see how many people have applied and are being interviewed. I noticed she was already interviewing 11 people. I also noticed that the quality of images she was having me edit were horrible and I realized that she might be asking all 11 applicants to edit "test shots" and essentially getting all of her editing done for free. If each was asked to do 2-3 images as I was, that would be over 30 images done for no charge! I told her I would do one for free but that's it. My portfolio already demonstrated I could do what she was asking. That conversation has quickly gone dead and I haven't been hired. So, on the next day, I saw a similar job posted (eCommerce image editing) and applied for that one, as well. This time, I wasn't interviewed, but again, I noticed that the client was interviewing multiple people in a very short amount of time. This job quickly closed with no hires and no verified payment. Does anyone else think this sounds fishy and is there a way to report this?

ACCEPTED SOLUTION
pgiambalvo
Community Member

If it smells like a fish and quacks like a fish, it's a fish.

View solution in original post

85 REPLIES 85
prestonhunter
Community Member

Cheryle:

It is important for all freelancers to understand that it is a violation of Upwork ToS for clients to ask for free work. Even if it was not against Upwork's rules, it would be against MY personal rules to waste time with scammer clients like that. Those people pretend they are giving freelancers a "test," but they pride themselves on never actually paying for work.

 

re: "I told her I would do one for free but that's it."

 

Thank you for reporting your experience with this common Upwork scam.

 

Now you know what this scam is all about.

 

Next time you will know that you are wasting your time by working for free.

 

re: "...is there a way to report this?"

 

Yes.

 

Go to the job post page. Select the "Flag as inappropriate" option.

 

Screen Shot 2021-10-27 at 2.40.01 PM.png

 

Click on the radio button for "client is asking for free work." Provide a brief explanation.

 

Screen Shot 2021-10-27 at 2.40.08 PM.png

Thank you for that information. I will trust my instincts next time.

pgiambalvo
Community Member

If it smells like a fish and quacks like a fish, it's a fish.


Peter G wrote:

If it smells like a fish and quacks like a fish, it's a fish.


Exactly. ๐Ÿ‘

 

That being said, I must add that coconuts make no sound. Unless, of course, they fall from the tree, which is when they sound like a small bomb going off when hitting the ground. Much depends on the properties of the ground.

 

I should know. ๐Ÿ˜‰:desert_island:๏ธ๐Ÿ˜œ


Mikko R wrote:

Peter G wrote:

If it smells like a fish and quacks like a fish, it's a fish.


Exactly. ๐Ÿ‘

 

That being said, I must add that coconuts make no sound. Unless, of course, they fall from the tree, which is when they sound like a small bomb going off when hitting the ground. Much depends on the properties of the ground.

 

I should know. ๐Ÿ˜‰:desert_island:๏ธ๐Ÿ˜œ


That's not a fish. That's a fish-duck. Please work out the proper shortening of this term amongst yourselves. 

JoanneP
Moderator
Moderator

Hi Cheryle,

 

In addition to the helpful information shared with you here, you might also want to read more on this help article, and also, please check out Tips to avoid questionable jobs. Please check out the information here to learn more about staying safe on Upwork. 

~ Joanne
Upwork
martina_plaschka
Community Member

I wouldn't call it a scam. In my definition (which might not hold up to any legal standard in any country) a scam is when you actually lose money. Like the check cashing scam, or the crypto-buying scam. 

This is just a client trying to take advantage of inexperienced freelancers. Not nice for sure, but not neccesarily a scam. Flag and move on. 


Martina P wrote:

I wouldn't call it a scam. In my definition (which might not hold up to any legal standard in any country) a scam is when you actually lose money.


I'd say that losing time (while doing free work) = losing money. Whatever we call it, it's a robbery. 

A scam is intent whether someone falls for it or not.  If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? 

petra_r
Community Member


Cheryle H wrote:

I am paying member so I have the ability to see how many people have applied and are being interviewed.


Everyone can see that...

tlbp
Community Member

In addition to reading Upwork's help materials, you can also do a web search using terms such as "common freelance scams" or "red flags for freelance gigs" (try some variations to see what comes up). There are several articles on the web that list various types of scams and offer general advice about how to avoid being taken advantage of. 

Step one is to always think through the potential up- and downsides of a proposal or request. You've already well on your way to being a savvy freelancer. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

 

wlyonsatl
Community Member

Cheryle 

 

Your note that you are a "...paying member so I have the ability to see how many people have applied and are being interviewed." illustrates one reason paying Upwork to receive that information is useful.

 

If a project has too many proposals already, the client hasn't reviewed the project in a while or they are already interviewing a significant number of potential freelancers, I don't bother submitting my own proposal.


Will L wrote:

Your note that you are a "...paying member so I have the ability to see how many people have applied and are being interviewed." illustrates one reason paying Upwork to receive that information is useful.


Nobody has to "pay Upwork to receive that information". It is freely available to absolutely everyone, whether they pay or not, whether they are clients or freelancers, on any plan. The only thing paying members are able to see and others are not is the bid-range.

That is super helpful information, Petra.

 

Thank you.

tasharie
Community Member

I would also like to know how to report those.Recently I was offered a task but the client told me i needed to get verified first on a certain website for me to be able to undertake the job. I later realise i couldnโ€™t access the account that i had been verified and contacted that company to check if there is any account registered under my name and they confirmed there was. So he lied so that he could then use the account under my name for his benefit and denied me access to the account by changing some of the details i had used. And there are a lot of reviews under his name probably people are not aware that heโ€™s using them. I tried flaging the job but Iโ€™m not sure if there was an action taken agaist it because heโ€™s still on it .
hedy_w
Community Member

I'm sorry, but I am new to this platform too and I would like to know why is the onus mostly on the freelancers?  I saw the TOS and most people first signing on aren't going to look at those or know to look at them.  The other thing is there are things that Upwork can do to filter out some of the scammers.  Like, if you look in the messages and see that there are Skype links, then why aren't those automatically taken off?  Why isn't there information on the message screen that warns you about what to look for?  That is pretty much a first point of contact and would be helpful on that page to warn people.  This website could use an overhaul to help the freelancers more.  I mean when you go onto a place like Craigslist, you know to be wary, but a site like this should be more trustworthy.  I can honestly say I haven't been on a website like this where I have to be so cautious.  It can turn into a nightmare if you are new and there are not enough warnings to alert people.  I honestly think there is some negligence on this website.  If this information is so important, it should be made more obvious to people.  I think this website is run slipshod and might be okay for people who have experience on here and know what they are doing, but most people first coming on here are really not protected and you make it sound like the burden is totally on the freelancers and I just don't agree.  I was on here a couple of years ago and it seems to have gotten worse.  The company went to the trouble to put the TOS on the website and put a bunch of small print in, but don't go to the trouble to warn people in ways that I think would not be that much of an effort.  I think it's unconscionable and didn't fall for the scams, but was pretty close to it.  I could say more, but you get the point. 

I agree but promised I'd stop complaining about this. Apparently, it is what it is and is not going to change,

Frankly, Peter, I'm almost done with the subject too. I think I'll put more focus on the subject of freelancers scamming clients, which is ultimately the bigger problem and hurting all of us. 

Martina, you may be right, but then again, freelancers rarely get paid unless they deliver what was agreed upon. Client's will always be able to wield the bigger stick known as money to protect themslves,


Peter G wrote:

1) freelancers rarely get paid unless they deliver what was agreed upon.

2) Client's will always be able to wield the bigger stick known as money to protect themslves,


Both 1 and 2 are unfortunately very untrue- Not that you'd notice, because the only thing on Upwork you are even faintly interested in is freelancers who violate the terms of service and lack common sense being in danger of losing money as a direct result of their own actions. 

1 and 2 are both very true. And I'm also very interested in 1920's German cinema.


Peter G wrote:

1 and 2 are both very true. 


Nope. There are naive clients as well; some let freelancers rack up charges for months on end without seeing any results, until it's too late to do anything about it. Or they're given stolen or incorrect work and don't realise until after they've already paid and left a good review. Then they come to the forum and say that it's all Upwork's fault and that Upwork should do a better job of vetting freelancers. You might want to take up their cause and demand that Upwork do more to protect them.

As a freelancer, I always do my best to make sure the client is very clear with me as to what they expect me to deliver. If they aren't able to do that, that's on them, and I don't accept the job. And it rarely happens, maybe 5% of the time, but if they aren't happy with what I deliver, it's because they are a nut and I refund their money and move on.

And you think that all freelancers are exactly like you?

No, I don't. Do you think all freelancers are exactly like you?


Peter G wrote:

No, I don't. Do you think all freelancers are exactly like you?


I'm not the one who tried to disprove a comment by only reflecting on my own personal work ethic. 

I wasn't trying to disprove anything, just sharing how I deal with such situations. Nowhere did I say anything that what you said wasn't the case.

So the naive clients must think UW will protect them, just like naive freelancers do. But yes, I will take up their cause and demand that Upwork do more to protect them. I already tried demanding Upwork do more to protect freelancers and we all know how that went.

Excellent. I will certainly support your efforts to clear scamming freelancers off the platform. 

Spend some time reading the client section of the forum. You will recoil in horror. 

I just did. And I did recoil in horror. Seriously.

I know. And I must say, these accounts worry me so much more than the occasional freelancer getting scammed because they don't do their homework. This is what is hurting the platform. Clients are precious.... They should do more to eliminate these scammers. Wrong timezone? Stole a picture from the internet? Hired by your aunt? They all need to go poof, no questions asked or answered. 

How are freelancers scamming money from clients? 

Requesting payment upfront, never sending any work. Using fake screenshots. Doing shoddy work that ruines the clients website. Lying about their skills. When they get bad feedback, they create another account. 

One person does all this?  Since I am a freelancer and wouldn't do any of this, I can only worry about what affects me.  I'm not sure why you are siding with the company or the employers and I don't know what the ratio of corruption is between the employers and freelancers.  All I can say is the company should protect the freelancers better, especially if they are paying for their services.  This company does have paid subscriptions.  Where is the money going? 


Hedy W wrote:

One person does all this?  Since I am a freelancer and wouldn't do any of this, I can only worry about what affects me.  I'm not sure why you are siding with the company or the employers and I don't know what the ratio of corruption is between the employers and freelancers.  All I can say is the company should protect the freelancers better, especially if they are paying for their services.  This company does have paid subscriptions.  Where is the money going? 


I think Martina was giving you examples of scam, not that one of them did all that. Although you might just be being sarcastic and I didn't catch it.

 

On the other hand, this topic has been discussed countless times in the forum.
You just have to search for "scam" and read everything that has been said about it.

Hedy, it is becoming very clear that upwork is not the right place for you. How much have you paid so far for using upwork? Zero, right? Because you only pay a fee once you win a contract.  

I do not dispute your right to complain or jump up and down like Rumpelstilzchen (German spelling) if you want to. You go ahead and do you! 

It might be more becoming to understand a thing before complaining, but hey, I'm in a forgiving mood this close to the holidays!


Martina P wrote:

Hedy, it is becoming very clear that upwork is not the right place for you. How much have you paid so far for using upwork? Zero, right? Because you only pay a fee once you win a contract.  

I do not dispute your right to complain or jump up and down like Rumpelstilzchen (German spelling) if you want to. You go ahead and do you! 

It might be more becoming to understand a thing before complaining, but hey, I'm in a forgiving mood this close to the holidays!


I have read through this whole thread, and I have to say I agree with Martina. Hedy, the platform is not going to change to suit you. The things you are complaining of are problems on every freelance platform and everywhere on the internet. Like Petra, I would prefer Upwork spend money on bringing good clients to the platform rather than holding the hand of newbie freelancers. The purpose of this platform is to connect clients and freelancers and provide a payment conduit. It's not here to manage freelancers and teach them how to be safe on the internet. Upwork provides loads of help pages on Getting Started and Staying Safe. As Preston mentioned, if you want to jump in without reading and learning, you must be willing to accept the mistakes and losses you will make. That's really all there is to it. 

 

It sounds like Upwork is not for you, and maybe it would be better for you to focus on building local business through networking or other means instead. That's okay. Upwork isn't for everyone. 

petra_r
Community Member


Hedy W wrote:

One person does all this? 


Clearly not.... Where is thar even coming from?

 


Hedy W wrote:

I can only worry about what affects me.


But things that affect clients affect all freelancers. Clients are who bring the work and the money we make.

 


Hedy W wrote:

I'm not sure why you are siding with the company or the employers  


There are no employers here. There are clients. Completely different concept. And it's not about "siding with" anyone. It's about being grown up, realistic and take responsibility for one's own actions.

 


Hedy W wrote:

All I can say is the company should protect the freelancers better, especially if they are paying for their services.  This company does have paid subscriptions.  Where is the money going? 


Clearly the money goes on running a multi million Dollar business. What a MOST peculiar question...

 

I tell you what: I (or rather my clients via myself) pay Upwork many thousands of Dollars a year and I want them to spend that money wisely, bringing more clients so freelancers can earn more money.

 

I'd rather they didn't spend the money I (or rather my clients) pay them on protecting people from their own unwillingness to follow the rules and their own lack of basic common sense.

I don't want Upwork to spend that money on stuff for people who have no business navigating the internet unsupervised.

Latest Articles
Top Upvoted Members