๐Ÿˆ Community
ยป Forums ยป Freelancers ยป SCAMS
Page options
lizzy414
Community Member

SCAMS

I am on the verge of closing this account down and being down with upwork. I signed up about a week ago and was so hopeful that I could do some work from home given my poor health. Well I almost got scammed twice luckily my husband helped me figure it out before it was too late. The only info they got was my name and mailing address. I also called the company they were pretending to be and warned them of the situation. And forwarded the conversations and emails to the companies IT dept so that they can make sure to set up a investigation. I am very upset by this and now I keep getting fishy invites for jobs, plus all the legit jobs I apply to don't respond. I am beginning to regret ever setting this account up.

88 REPLIES 88

Yujie: I am sorry that you experienced this scam.

You lost money because you violated one of Upwork's most important rules. You participated in the exchange of funds off-platform.

 

Fortunately you will never again be tricked by this scam.

Vert nice of you to say so.

Hi Yujie,

 

I checked your account, but I was not able to locate an active contract. Did you communicate with this client outside of Upwork? Please know that all communications must be done through Upwork if a contract is not yet placed. We find that when users communicate outside of Upwork there is an increased risk of fraud, scam, and other harmful behaviors. When communications (and work) stay on our platform we can better track, verify, and help address any issues that emerge, and as a result, the potential for these behaviors to cause harm decreases dramatically. For example, the vast majority of scammers that successfully take advantage of talent do so by going off the platform. You can read more on this help article and also, please check out Tips to avoid questionable jobs and this help article about how you can stay safe on Upwork.  

 

Please feel free to send me a PM with the job post link so that I can check with the team. Thank you. 

~ Joanne
Upwork

I am sharing my experience.

 

Just saying, please pay attention on the company called '**Edited for community guidelines**' who is looking for remote full-time/part-time employees. They sent fake offer letter and payment checks, and also asked employees to transfer fund via cash apps for 'office equipment'. Please block that company and stop the scam to anyone else.

 

**Edited for community guidelines**

Hi Yujie,

 

Thank you for flagging this for us. Iโ€™ve checked this report 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.

~ Bojan
Upwork
d9cec6d8
Community Member

Hello everyone, so recently I had been interviewed for a job for voiceovers and they said my voice is fine but they need to look deeper into it. So they asked me to record a sample script for their YouTube channel and later, no response from their side. The interesting thing was that their profile looked totally legit, they have spent $120,000, payment is verified and everything. Is it possible that they will scam a new voice actor of one script just to save $20? I even asked that I am open to revisions and changes if they would like to tweak something but, no response at all.

re: "they have spent $120,000"

 

The type of person we call a "scammer" doesn't spend $120,000 paying freelancers on Upwork.

 

That is a lot of real money that the clients has paid to real freelancers.

 

Is it possible for a real client to behave in ways that are imperfect?
Yes.

 

For example, a real client might ask a freelancer for a work sample in a way that I would characterize as inappropriate.

 

I don't approve of a $120,000 client asking for a free custom voice sample. Why not just pay $20 and be a professional about it?

I don't understand that. But I recognize that getting asked for a sample by a client who has paid $120,000 is different than getting asked by a zero-payment-history client.

Thank you so much for replying to my query! I am feeling much better knowing that I wasn't just scammed. It may be possible that they didn't find my work suitable, but I'd like to be clarified if they do or don't want to hire me. It saves a lot of mental exhaustion.

Priya,

I recommend you forget about that person completely.

This is over now and they are NOT planning to hire you.

 

If that changes, they will notify you.

oranus
Community Member

Sorry to hear that Elizabeth. Hope that you'll get better soon.
It's a nasty world and scammers are all over the place, don't let them get to you and don't give up, that's my opinion.
If a client start asking personal question, flag and report them, as easy as that, and move on...
This is a place to work, and Upwork already has our info... no need to communicate any of that to any client...
Best of luck!

Personal as in what?  Full name, then disappearing for an hour?  

How about asking how's my credit score?  (boggle)....

so frustrating!

r2streu
Community Member

Hello!

 

On top of what Vladimir already said, which is excellent advice not only for Upwork, but in general, I also recommend scanning the community boards regularly. Folks like to stay on top of scammers, and there ARE ways to tell the most common scammers apart from the bulk of legitimate clients. 

 

The first and biggest tell is simply this: Walk away the second they ask you where to send the check. They have the same TOS we do: work contracted through upwork is PAID through upwork. If they're looking for a way to go around it, they're not legit. Full stop. 

 

The second important thing to keep in mind is to remember to REPORT them every single time you see a scam. This helps the upwork team get a better handle on what to look out for as well. 

 

As far as legit job offers, keep trying. When you can, tailor your bid/audition to them personally instead of using generic. If you DO use generic samples, make sure they're your best work, and as close to what the client is looking for as possible. If you're new to Upwork, you may need to consider underbidding just a little bit to help you stand out. At least at first. Clients will have a hard time handing the entire budget to an untested provider when there are 5-star rated, experienced providers out there. And if you ARE experienced, just not in the Upwork world, make sure you note your experiences on your cover letter, and why those experiences translate to what they're looking for on that job. 

My first few months on Upwork were dedicated to one thing, and one thing only: building up my street cred and getting the Top Freelancer rating. It's much easier to bid on or even over budget if you have reviews to back it up. 

Best of luck!!

Randy, That sounds like pretty sage advice.  I had no idea that scams had found their way onto the Upwork platform. 

 

It's a sad state of affairs when you're simply hoping to trade your experience, skills, talent and time for income and still find that predators are on the loose. 

 

Thanks, everyone here for the alerts, cautions and preventative measures.

5a94ea76
Community Member

I believe I just experienced a scam job opportunity. 

 

I was contacted by **Edited for Community Guidelines**, with a great Virtual assistant position along with really high pay. Being a newbie I was pretty excited and replied back. Bruce told me to add "**Edited for Community Guidelines** " on skype for an instant interview. I believed this would be a regular video skype interview, but it was actually all through messages. Seems like they did everything possible to try and convience people they are legit, by addding on skype and making the impression we will be seeing someone. They also sent me the website that I'd be doing this project for "**Edited for Community Guidelines** - they told me within 3 hours if I qualify the HR department will be in contact with me.. Everytime they gave me more information, more red flag alerts kept popping up in my head. They requested a bank account to be paid through and be sent money for tools and what not... and before I finally told them I am no longer interested, they had just asked me for my resume along with my ID.... 

 

I have reported the **Edited for Community Guidelines** account and I have personally emailed the website, which seems to be located in Asian and the job description says United States. 

 

I would like to thank Upwork for the great payment system they have, to help us stay away from the scammers. 

 

Thank you, Ana Lucas 

Hi Ana Lucas,

 

I checked the job posting and it had already been removed by Upwork team as inappropriate. Check out this post for more tips on how to avoid questionable jobs in the future.

~ Valeria
Upwork

Hi Ana, may I know what company or the name of the employer that you are talking about? I am a newbie here in upwork, amd someone just invited me for a job interview. Thank you so much.


Dianne Liz P wrote:
Hi Ana, may I know what company or the name of the employer that you are talking about?

 

The name is irrelevant because scammers (obviously) don't use their own names...... The most common scams target US based freelancers, because of the way checks are processed in the US.

 

Frankly, as long as you keep your eyes open, your brain switched on, and don't violate the terms of service, don't do any work without an Upwork contract, don't agree to receive or send any money in any way, it is pretty difficult to get scammed.

The companies change names even within a contact and the following interview.  They're hiding and you won't realize this until you've seen it for yourself.  The point is that it isn't just one, or a few, companies - and they aren't using their real names anyway, and they aren't even legitimate companies.

I would like to see Upwork do more on the front end for their freelancers, and ESPECIALLY when we've lost connect points we've paid for.  This is a learning curve I certainly didn't expect to find when I returned after a hiatus and had a wonderful previous experience with them.  Sad!  And it makes me very leery of buying more connects. 

kat303
Community Member

Elizabeth - You don't have to close your account, you just have to have some good old common sense. Don't be so desperate and so quick to find a job here. Learn what to look out for.

 

Do you know how this site works? Do you know the protection Upwork provides to freelancers. Do you know what to look out for and the do's and don'ts of Upwork. And how about Upwork's TOS. Have you read it, or even skimmed over it?

 

Do you read and follow instructions when assembling something. Do you not read information when you are taking a test? If you answered yes, then do the same with this site. Your husband won't be there every single time you get an invite. These scams are not new, It's the same ones over and over and over again. But, the reason they are the same ones over and over is because new freelancers like you who don't take the time to learn, they fall victim to these same old scams.

 

And at this point, because you are new, all invites that you receive, that you didn't send a proposal/cover letter for, are scams. So are Google Hangouts.

 

Finally, never search out the companies that "so called" clients tell you they are from. It's not necessary. You waste the companies time and your time. Scammers do that to gain your trust. These companies DO exist. But these clients are not employees of these companies.

silw
Community Member

Sorry to say it this way, but when you think about giving up just after 1 week, maybe Freelancing online isn't yours.

madison-russell
Community Member

When I first started freelancing, it was HARD. I had no clue what a scam looked like. But you eventually learn. And you gain experience. And, eventually, you'll get good, paying jobs. It won't be instant. I've been on this site for years and I'm just now starting to actually get consistent jobs. Just keep trying and don't get discouraged.

Also, PS, just because a client asks to talk to you on Skype doesn't automatically mean it is a scam. If that's the only red flag, then it may not be a red flag at all. My longest-term client talks to me through Skype messages, and one of my first jobs ever featured a Skype interview. 

millermelanie
Community Member

I imagine all of us were approached by scammers when we first registered here. They prey on newbies, because they figure fresh freelancers don't know the ropes yet and are easy prey. Read through the threads here so you can learn their "tell signs" and not fall for them. After a few days, they will leave you alone when they see you aren't going to respond.

 

Having said that, if you are ready to throw in the towel after just one week, freelancing may not be for you. You have to have a lot of patience and some thick skin to make it work for you.

Most scammers do NOT use Skype.

 

Although YES, there are SOME scammers who use Skype, I do not regard a request to use Skype as a "red flag."

yes and they prey on small businesses owners on social media

klynnm
Community Member

The same thing just happened to me with the **Edited for community guidelines** position. I went through an hour long interview. I knew it sounded off when they said they were going to send me a laptop and started asking questions about my bank. I called the actual company and they said they are not hiring, there is no one working right now except for the receptionist (whom I was speaking to), and they would never send me a laptop! Its too bad we have to deal with this added stress when we are already stressed trying to make a living. Upwork needs to vet their job postings better!


Krista M wrote:

The same thing just happened to me with the **Edited for community guidelines** position. I went through an hour long interview. I knew it sounded off when they said they were going to send me a laptop and started asking questions about my bank. I called the actual company and they said they are not hiring, there is no one working right now except for the receptionist (whom I was speaking to), and they would never send me a laptop! Its too bad we have to deal with this added stress when we are already stressed trying to make a living. Upwork needs to vet their job postings better!


If you didn't realise at first that this was a scam, then how was Upwork supposed to know? This particular scam occurs on a daily basis; they can't phone every company who posts a job to find out if it's legit (at least, not without passing the extra staff costs onto us, and I feel like I pay enough fees as it is). It's really very simple to avoid this scam: don't agree to interviews on Google hangouts, and don't accept payments off the website. At the very least, as soon as a total stranger offers to buy you a laptop or asks you about your bank account, you can end the conversation; there was no need to bother that receptionist. Just flag the job as inappropriate and Upwork will take it down. 

re: "I went through an hour long interview."

You should never go through an hour-long interview for a freelance job.

 

Any client who would keep you on the phone that long without hiring you - at least as a short-term consultant - is seriously disrespecting you.

 

Can you imagine calling a potential doctor, housekeeper or attorney - who you were thinking of - and talking to them for an hour without hiring them or paying them?


Preston H wrote:

re: "I went through an hour long interview."

You should never go through an hour-long interview for a freelance job.

 

Any client who would keep you on the phone that long without hiring you - at least as a short-term consultant - is seriously disrespecting you.

 

Can you imagine calling a potential doctor, housekeeper or attorney - who you were thinking of - and talking to them for an hour without hiring them or paying them?


Wrong. I often go through interviews that last at least an hour. How long your interviews might be are directly correlated to the value of the contract, the expertise needed, and how much you (the FL) need to vet the client in question. Some of us do more complex work and conversations with potential clients can indeed go for an hour. 

 

On another note, having unfortunately been involved in more than one lawsuit, I have had an initial interview with attorneys that lasted an hour. And if I was hiring a housekeeper, who was going to be in my home without me for long periods of time, you bet I'd be vetting the person longer than 30 minutes. 

 

Just because we are consultants, it does not mean clients do not take care to properly vet and hire or that we do not take time to properly vet and accept new clients. 

 

Time spent interviewing is a cost of doing business. But spending the time to properly vet can not only help you spot a scam but also spot a not-great client. 


Preston H wrote:

re: "I went through an hour long interview."

You should never go through an hour-long interview for a freelance job.


Preston, I wish you would stop assuming that the business model that works for you is the right business model for everyone on Upwork.


Preston H wrote:

 

 

Can you imagine calling a potential doctor, housekeeper or attorney - who you were thinking of - and talking to them for an hour without hiring them or paying them?


Yes, I can definitely imagine that, since the vast majority of my attorney clients offer free consultations that involve learning about the prospective client's circumstances, perhaps looking at documents, and offering a preliminary assessment of the case.

re: "I called the actual company and they said they are not hiring, there is no one working right now except for the receptionist"

 

Please don't ever do that.

Don't call companies whose names are copied by scammers off of the Internet.

Doing that does not benefit anybody. It just wastes people's time, including yours.

bizwriterjohn
Community Member

Hello,

Issues of this nature happen, but to my knowledge, they are not widespread.  Unfortunately, as Upwork consolidates its position as the global leadership of virtual work sourcing, the scammers will be attracted.

Recently, I experienced this.  A company sent an invite, indicated my profile seemed to be in good working order, and would I please head on over to their hiring system (i.e. direct competitor to Upwork).

Personally -- albeit it at a cost of time -- I make it a personal hobby to come down on these (probable) scammers like a ton of bricks.  Not so much because I am to be accused of being an Upwork Evangelical - I consider it more a system as my source of income and work - call it what you wish.

The first thing I do:
1. Take screen shots of the suspect listing, communications, etc.
2. Immediately contact contractor support
3. They will ask for the job URL and appreciate the screen shots
4. Whereupon they will immediately investigate the potential violation
5. With a Trust and Security Department built specifically to do this.
6. And from there, say
"We cannot advise you of the outcome but appreciate bringing this to our attention:"

Then I complete my morning or afternoons fun by sending a note back.
"I have reported this listing to Upwork Trust and Security."

I feel less as the victim and more as a person who has perhaps helped to stop this propagation to other Upworker Colleagues.

All communications are kept above board.  All communications are kept professional.  And I really enjoy chatting with Upwork contractor support when I can actually (hopefully), help them out for a change.

Just a tactic to consider.  Stop one for one.  Stop one for many.  Enjoy.

I can't seem to get anyone in support...?


Margaret C wrote:

I can't seem to get anyone in support...?


You don't need anyone in Support.

Just flag the job post and move on.

bc79b49f
Community Member

i been getting emails daily stating my account is temporarily suspended and to rejoin and stay with upwork for 2 years or pay conversion rate, i am a newbee, first time use i hired freelancer and withdrew after 3 days,2 days he did log in hours , pay was $5.50  usd for 5 hours, he said he did 4 hours, i actually wanted to get out after a few days,freelancer said he was happy to cancel contract, he tried to scam me and lured me to say after he said that he wanted to work outside this was done in chat. and i am getting blamed it seems set up and conned, i deleted the contract, payed the freelancer bonus and i get continued spam mails from upwork in the wrong account, not the one i signed up with which is similar, no attempts to call me, can you tell me what this is about i believe i was scammed and set up? support has not helped yet supported freelancer, failed to engage by phone or chat about what has happened.

Hi Antonina,

 

I`m sorry to hear about the bad experience you had with your freelancer. I can see that you already are communicating with our team via ticket. Rest assured, I`ve also escalated your concern to our team. One of our team members will update your ticket as soon as possible and will assist you further. Thank you.

~ Goran
Upwork

Iโ€™m not Antonia. Iโ€™ve reviewed lots of messages erroneously.

Hi Margaret,


Were you replying to one of my posts here? Could you please share more details with me if you have any questions? Thank you.

~ Goran
Upwork

all strange enough, it seems like they managed to get  similar email to use, hmm how can that be??

Latest Articles
Upcoming Events
Jun 22
Upwork Virtual Community Hour
Community Hour English
Featured Topics
Learning Paths