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Possible Scam?

Active Member
Heidi C Member Since: Jan 11, 2020
1 of 22

I had applied to a job posting and I don't know to check if they are legitimate or not. On Upwork, their posting seems normal. "Looking for a proofreader who is..." and I applied. They sent me a message for an interview over on Skype and after passing the interview they are saying they are going to send me a check to buy "official equipment from a local company vendor". They are asking for my bank and I don't think this is normal. 

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 22

This is a scam. There is no real "job."

This is a scammer who wants to steal money from you.

 

There are no legitimate jobs on Upwork in which a client will need bank information from you.

 

re: "I don't know to check if they are legitimate or not."

Well, there is no "Check if Legitimate" button. There is no list of which jobs are not legitimate.

 

But experienced Upwork freelancers are able to identify scammers and illegitimate jobs within a few seconds. You'll get to that point too, fairly quickly, if you continue to use the site.

 

We know the signs of scams, and in an all honesty, the same signs are repeated over and over again. The same scams get used over and over again, so it's not really that complicated.

 

One of the most basic things to look for is that scammers do things that violate Upwork rules. Asking to accept payment outside of the Upwork platform violates a very important Upwork rule, and it is a common sign of a scam.

 

No legitimate Upwork client sends anybody a real check. Scammers send fake checks so that they can steal money from your bank account. It is an effective, lucrative way to steal money from naive newbies. If you received a real check from anybody you meet on Upwork, it would be grounds for you to be suspended or terminated from the platform. You could even get suspended or terminated for receiving a fake check.

 

re: "send me a check to buy 'official equipment from a local company vendor'"

Yeah... That's just the standard "fake check" scam. It is the most common scam on Upwork. It's common on all freelance work platforms, and other places as well (CraigsList, LinkedIn, etc.).

 

Pretty boring, really. I like hearing about new scams. The only thing "new" about this is that the scammers are using Skype instead of only using Google Hangouts. I think it has only been a month or two now that we have been seeing reports of scammers regularly using Skype for the fake check scam.

 

re: "They sent me a message for an interview over on Skype and after passing the interview"

It was just chat, wasn't it? They asked you to use Skype, but you never actually heard their voice or saw them live?

Active Member
Tamara E Member Since: Nov 13, 2020
3 of 22

Exactly what happened to me! Thank you for sharing!

Moderator
Bojan S Moderator Member Since: Mar 9, 2018
4 of 22

Hi Tamara,

 

Thanks for flagging this for us. I've checked and the job has already been taken down because it was in violation of Upwork TOS and action has been taken on the client account. 

 

Please check this thread for more information on how to use the flag option found on each job post or message to report any suspicious or inappropriate content. Also, check out this post for more tips on how to avoid questionable jobs.

 

Thank you!


~ Bojan
Untitled
Active Member
MacKenzie H Member Since: Jan 6, 2021
5 of 22

Hi,

 

This happened to me and I cashed the check. However, I stupidly came to read more about it after the fact, freaked out, ran to my bank who is now rejecting the check (it was still pending). I reported the posting and will no longer be in contact with them. Is there anything else I should do?

Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
6 of 22

MacKenzie H wrote:

Hi,

 

This happened to me and I cashed the check. However, I stupidly came to read more about it after the fact, freaked out, ran to my bank who is now rejecting the check (it was still pending). I reported the posting and will no longer be in contact with them. Is there anything else I should do?


Yes - you shouldn't accept interviews off of the Upwork system before you're officially hired via Upwork, and you shouldn't accept cheques at all, for any reason, ever. Both of these things are terms of service violations that can get your account banned. 

 

Active Member
MacKenzie H Member Since: Jan 6, 2021
7 of 22

Yes, it was my first time and feel extremely stupid. Is there anything else I should do besides report the listing?

Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
8 of 22

MacKenzie H wrote:

Yes, it was my first time and feel extremely stupid. Is there anything else I should do besides report the listing?


Unfortunately there are hundreds if not thousands of scammers doing this, so they'll just change their names and come back. Now that you know what to watch out for, at least it won't happen to you again. When you're bidding on projects, also watch out for new, unverified clients whose posts are set to US-only, have vague job descriptions and offer higher rates than average (although I would like to stress that these aren't ALWAYS red flags, it's best to be on your guard).

Active Member
Margo A Member Since: Nov 13, 2020
9 of 22

I just wasted a good amount of my day dealing with this exact same scam.  I wish I had of read your post first. This is very sad as well as criminal. It was my first proposal and knew it sounded too good to be true.  I am hoping that Upwork will have better ways of vetting clients.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
10 of 22

re: "I am hoping that Upwork will have better ways of vetting clients."

Upwork does not vet clients.

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