delangie7
Member

Scam, Scam, and Scam

I worked for this site when it was Elance. I got plenty of work and found it to be a great way to supplement my income. I came back here thinking I could do the same thing, but every "potential employer" has been someone trying to scam me. 

 

Like clockwork, they immediately ask me to meet with them outside of the Upwork platform when they ask me to add them to Google Hangouts. I know that should be an immediate red flag, but I had to see if they would prove me wrong.

 

All three of them used the same scamming format. They would ask me questions as if I am doing an online interview, then all of a sudden they throw in personal questions like the name of my bank and my phone number. 

 

I really want to report them, but I cannot seem to navigate the website well enough to make them aware of the names of these people. 

 

Will you help me with that?

ACCEPTED SOLUTION
snapary
Member

Thanks for the post. A lot has happened since the switch to upwork from eLance. I too miss those days of maybe 15 bids to a post before you get hired, more ethical clients vs this race to the bottom. You have to be very careful here. I too have had some strange request like that. 

 

Thanks again for posting. 


Gene

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59 REPLIES 59
snapary
Member

Thanks for the post. A lot has happened since the switch to upwork from eLance. I too miss those days of maybe 15 bids to a post before you get hired, more ethical clients vs this race to the bottom. You have to be very careful here. I too have had some strange request like that. 

 

Thanks again for posting. 


Gene

Thanks Gene for your reply. I read the solution to another post that taught me how to Flag them. I flagged all three of them and I read Job Warning Signs post. That was extremely helpful. I bookmarked that page as well. I am hoping to be able to dig through the muck to find some decent work here, but the outlook is dismal.

 

Overall, I still think its a great site and I know I will spend much time perusing the forums. It's Fun and informative.

I need to find out how to do the flag and bookmark, are there instructions on that..

Hi Vivian, to flag a job click the "Flag as inappropriate" link located at the upper right of every job. Alternatively you can also submit a ticket with customer support. To find more infomation on how to report jobs and clients, check out the help article here: https://support.upwork.com/hc/en-us/articles/211063118-Report-Suspicious-Activity

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vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Gene,

 

Thanks for participating in the discussion. Please upload a real photo of yourself to your freelancer profile you're posting from, to avoid any restrictions being placed on your profile.

 

Thank you.

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That photo is mine. Its me from a couple of years ago.

Vladimir's post was for Gene, his image isn't a photo of himself. Your photo is fine 🙂

vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Angela,

 

Please take screenshots of your conversation and report the clients directly to Support. In addition to the thread you already read, please have a look at tips and warning signs shared in Upwork's Trust & Safety FAQ.

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re: "Vladimir's post was for Gene, his image isn't a photo of himself. Your photo is fine"

 

LOL.

Thanks for clearing that up!

I kept staring at Vladimir's post and Angela's photo and wondering why he didn't think that was a real photo of her...

 

But he's clearly addressing "Gene." Not his fault.

I am a victim of this scam as well, and I am flagging the post and have a call with them in a few minutes will take screenshots.

Kristen

kat303
Member

There are a ton of scammers on this site that actively look for newcomers. They figure these new contractors don't know too much about freelancing and they can scam them (because of that) very easily. In fact, with the number of posts here from new contractors, I'm beginning to think ALL newcomers are being contacted by these scammers. Most new contractors don't take the time to learn about scammers, or what's allowed and not allowed (Upworks TOS) so they have no way of knowing that this job is a scam.

 

If you have documentation on what they are doing you can submit a help desk ticket with the web address of the job. Or you can click on the "Flag as inappropriate" link on the top right of the opened job.

I agree with you. Elance wasn't perfect, and there were plenty of bottomfeeders wanting to pay you a buck for a thousand words and thank them for the privilege, but I never got this intense kind of spam activity before. I've had multiple phishing attempts this past week alone, some of them quite elaborate, which are a huge waste of time and energy.

 

It just seems that since the pay hike, the site has become less secure, not more. I joined Elance in the first place because at least you could guarantee your payment through their mediation service, but I've got some guy who's welched on doing that *after* we had an Upwork contract just this past weekend.

 

This is not worth it. Upwork, you need to do something.

I agree with Paula about the scams. I keep getting contacted by these people. Five of the last 6 clients to contact me have been scams. They all have the same senario that they use on Hangouts. It has gotten to the point that it is not worth replying to jobs.

 


@John P wrote:

I agree with Paula about the scams. I keep getting contacted by these people. Five of the last 6 clients to contact me have been scams. They all have the same senario that they use on Hangouts. It has gotten to the point that it is not worth replying to jobs.


 

When they invite you - don't engage. Refuse them, block them, and report them to CS by opening a ticket (the dropdown is less than useless).

 

I've been doing that. It's still an unnecessary waste of time. There's already enough chaff out there. This shouldn't be a Blame the Victim scenario.


@Paula S wrote:

I've been doing that. It's still an unnecessary waste of time. There's already enough chaff out there. This shouldn't be a Blame the Victim scenario.


I don't think Upwork is blaming the victim in this case, but it is true that we should answer invitations even if they are scams. At the moment opening a ticket is the only effective way of getting CS's attention.

 

Otherwise, don't report them just block them and refuse the invitation.

 

I haven't had any scammy offers for a long time, so I think they give up eventually.

prestonhunter
Member

re: "Why doesn't UpWork vet the jobs properly so freelancers don't have to waste their time doing what should be UpWork's job?"

 

Upwork does some vetting of the content of job postings. But for the most part, Upwork does no vetting of clients who post jobs.

 

To do so would be very resource-intensive. (Very expensive.)

 

That is not their business model. If you want to work on an online freelancing platform that vets clients and screens job postings, then you need to use a different website.

 

Personally, Upwork's system works well for me. I earn large amounts of money working for un-screened, non-vetted clients. I never get invited to jobs by scammers. I have never fallen for a scam.

 

Contractors who understand what they're doing have much to gain from a website which attracts large amounts of legitimate clients by not requiring a job posting fee.

yayyyy they are inviting me now. FINALLY I get to play with my own.

This is Blaming the Victim again. I worked for Elance for years and never encountered a scammer until last month. It seems to me that if the site is going to take a cut of the business that goes through here, *and* increase its percentage of that cut, it should be vetting the clients better. Otherwise, what is the point of paying the Upwork fees? I can go risk myself with spammers on sites where people pay much better on average.

oh mannn the print check scammers are not as fun. He wouldn't chat and only wanted cell phone chat. So I gave him the number to my local police departmnent.

 

Not as fun at all. 😞

 

Think I'll stick with the bounced check Google Hangout people. They are funner.

I take it back. He's back and this is great. I wish I could post this conversation. I'm playing needy girlfriend and want to know why Mr Interviewer is talking to other people when I'm the one for him. I told him that I feel like he's distancing himself from me and he's not giving me the attention I need.

 

His response: I need to calm down. lol

Jennifer, I suspect you will have him in tears....


@Mary W wrote:

Jennifer, I suspect you will have him in tears....


 

Or in tiers . . .

lol he quit me. Game over.

 

"You are a police and still looking for job again , You are ole"

 

LOL

 

Hopefully I give some poor Upworker a chuckle. Someone should appreciate my fun.I reported him like 15 minutes ago. 

 

ETA: Either he blocked me or Upwork finally killed the job. Hopefully I wasted his time and he wasn't able to get the noobs.

 

The giveaway, btw, is that his time zone is africa and he claims to be in the US. FYI for people who are falling for this.

 

ETAx2: Yeah, Upwork got him. 15 mins. Not bad.

@Jennifer --

 

I have all kinds of phone fun with the guys named "Kevin" and "Michael" who have suspiciously South Asian accents and who call from "Microsoft" to alert me to problems with my computer (oh, dear!). I usually lead them on for at least a half hour (while folding laundry or something), before the game is up and I ask them if their parents are proud of them, knowing that their son spends his days cheating people. (Or whatever I feel like asking/telling them that day.)

 

Last time I did this, they had called my 84-year-old mother's home when I was there for a visit. (Mom was like, "No, go away, Silly Scammer!" But the guy was persistent, so I took the phone from her and played along as if I were her.)

 

First, the guy insisted that SHE (I) was WRONG about her own NAME! Then, later on, they wanted me to send a Western Union money order to "Terry" in Bakersfield California. (Supposedly, this was the official way to pay the "billing department" at Microsoft. I had balked at giving a credit card number over the phone or internet.) No address, just "Terry" in Bakersfield, CA. I told them I didn't think that Microsoft had an office in Bakersfield, and that my son, who used to work for Microsoft, had told me that Microsoft would never call me, that I would always have to call them.

 

Eventually, they cursed me a blue streak. (These guys seem always to speak fluent, if accented, English swear-words.) After yelling at me for "wasting" his time, this particular "Kevin" (or was it Steve?) asked me why I was lying to him. I told him that I had lied about nothing, except that I was taking the place of my mother. (In fact, my son actually even used to work for Microsoft. 'Tis true.) I asked if he had a wife and children and were they proud of him for cheating people all day. Then I described Mom: I said, "You were trying to scam an 84-year-old widow who lives alone, on a fixed income. You're a fine man."

 

My husband thinks I'm nuts. But I look at it as public service. The reason this guy thought that I was wrong about my mother's name was that he was calling the other widow on her street, who shares her last name. Obviously, the guy has a list of the elderly and presumably vulnerable. I hope that I wasted a loooooottttttttt of his bleepin' time.

Janean, last time I got one of those calls I didn't lead him on, I told him straight up that I work in IT and that I know he's lyng and he's not getting anything from me. He persisted. So I started on a similar tack to you. "Does your mother know what you do for a job? You should be ashamed of yourself. You are trying to scam vulnerable people." We kept this up for a few minutes with him insisting he was legit and me trying to guilt trip him until he eventually cursed me out and hung up on me...And then persisted to call me back and randomly insult me for the rest of the evening. Sadly it sometimes backfires 😞

@Jennifer -- Yes, sad that it backfired on you. Still, he ended up wasting time on you that he could have been using to fleece others who are more credulous.

 

Another aspect of some of these calls that astonishes me: Some of the callers become so EXASPERATED with me! They actually sigh loudly, adopt a scolding tone of voice, and say things like: "Are you kidding me?!??" and "Come on! Why you are doing this?" or even "You do not know what you are doing! Just listen to me!!" (This is usually at the point in their scam when I refuse to do whatever they want me to do, or refuse to give them personal in formation, until and unless they can at least tell me where I purchased my computer. They are always unable to tell me where I purchased my computer, of course. All they ever know is my name, address, phone number, and the fact that mine is a "Windows" computer. Well, duh, that means that they have access to a phone book and that, like about 85% of U.S. residents, I own a PC.) These guys actually start to yell at me as if I am a small child. Weird, weird, weird.


@Jennifer D wrote:

Janean, last time I got one of those calls I didn't lead him on, I told him straight up that I work in IT and that I know he's lyng and he's not getting anything from me. He persisted. So I started on a similar tack to you. "Does your mother know what you do for a job? You should be ashamed of yourself. You are trying to scam vulnerable people." We kept this up for a few minutes with him insisting he was legit and me trying to guilt trip him until he eventually cursed me out and hung up on me...And then persisted to call me back and randomly insult me for the rest of the evening. Sadly it sometimes backfires 😞


LOLOL.  The old "does your mother know what you're doing?!"  line is a universal threat. 

@Janean L

 

There is a community devoted to messing with scammers' heads. The practice is known as "scambaiting":

 

http://www.419eater.com/

 

You can't shut down entire operations all by yourself, but you sure can ruin their day. I've heard some doozies of stories. One woman back in the early oughts or so managed to get one of the scammers to go to a spot in one German city where she knew there was a CCTV camera she could access (she was not in Germany; neither was he before she got him to go). She, naturally, never showed, but she did email him and mess with him even more before revealing what she'd done. Boy, was he mad.


@Jennifer M wrote:

lol he quit me. Game over.

 

"You are a police and still looking for job again , You are ole"

 


 I know I'm always saying, "That Jennifer.  She is OLE!"  Lmbo

anima9
Member

Re: Why can't Upwork delete fraudulent posts

 

This platform gives clients the benefit of the doubt most of the time. There's always a chance, no matter how small, that a job might be legit.

I don't want to sound like I'm defending scammers (I'm not), but I honestly believe that many of these people are working out of scam mills set up as offices and businesses in Africa and other places and this is just a job to them. They're not the ones who set it up and they are not sufficiently sophisticated intellectually or morally to fully comprehend what they're doing.

 

This doesn't excuse it.

 

And, yes, I understand that this is insulting.
 

But I think that for many of the people running working these scams, it is no different to them than if they were providing customer support for an IT company or taking orders for a retail company.

 

Note that I'm not saying all the people in the communities that house these mills are equally deficient with regards to their intellect and ethical values. This is only a description of a certain (unknown) percent of the people who work these scams.

I used to live in Cameroon back in the early 90s and I know exactly the mentality involved. It's that of a poacher or someone trying to strike it rich with a gold strike (those analogies are literal; I knew guys who did that). I used to call these guys "young men with radios" because they would wander around my village, looking bored, with radios clamped to their ears instead of helping out with the considerable work their mothers and sisters had to do. They probably have smartphones now.

 

This kind of scam is a get-rich-quick scheme that attracts the lazy and dumb. In a weird way, they're getting scammed as much as their intended victims. Not that this increases my sympathy for them. I saw a lot of hard-working people when I lived in Africa--these guys weren't it.

 

I'll bet the Indian version is just the same.

@Janean, the IRS scammers are the worst! My sister gets those phone calls and they always threaten to have her thrown in jail. She tells them to go for it. lol  I don't get to play with those people because I don't answer my cell unless I know the number. Saves me time on telemarketers and recruiters.

 

I wish I could remember the video Daniel (I miss Daniel) had me watch about the Nigerian scammers who do this stuff. It was interesting.

 

Netflix has a documentary on lots of the "dark arts" as I call them and one was car jacking to send the cars to Ghana. After watching that, I am glad I own a sports car. I guess they like their Range Rovers, BMW SUVs and Merc sedans.

 

It's fun screwing with them though. 😄  I usually get at least one phishing email afterwards and I did have a recent attempt on my Battle.net account but I get those attacks at least once every few months. They go after anything that had a data leak, which is pretty much every popular site but my password running around in the wild is at least 10 years old.

@Jennifer --

 

Alas, I cannot play with the IRS scammers, because they unfailingly require that I call them BACK. They always leave a message, even if I pick up the phone. (I refuse to call back, of course.) Their typical message intro is the BEST! "This is a message from BlahBlah Fake People." Then they always say "Any effort to ignore this will be an official attempt to fail to respond to a message."

 

Oh, no!!!! How utterly dreadful! I live in fear of the legal consequences!!! What are the ramifications? Can I be put in jail for officially attempting to not respond to a message? Is the penalty even worse for officially attempting to non-respond to an official message? Is that "message-evasion in the second degree" ? Is it even worse if I SUCCEED in avoidance of responding to the message? Do strong men with thick arms and handcuffs show up at my door?  I tremble...

 

My typical response is to listen to the message (to see if I have to call them back, or if there is a way to "play," this time), then, if my husband is nearby, to catch his eye, drop the phone to the floor, and say, "Ooops! Official message from the IRS! Sorry. I didn't write down the phone number. Somehow dropped the receiver by terrible accident. Oh, well... Sorry, hon. Guess we're in big, big trouble now... What's on Netflix?"

@ Preston --

 

I fully agree that many of these scammers have probably normalized this routine until it seems to them to be a "regular job." What I do not buy is the idea that they don't understand that this "job" is based on their lying to and cheating people. They must, by necessity, be trained in methods to deflect "customers' " pertinent questions and to offer blatant un-truths. They always begin the whole scam with lies about their names (presumably) and a lie about the company for which they work (always "Microsoft") and with a pure nonsense about the reason they are calling (unquestionably). They also HAVE to know that they are "selling" services that provide no value (or, in some cases, they seize a computer with extortionate ransomware).

 

These scam participants may ultimately rationalize their behavior by telling themselves that it's okay because they are preying on people in "rich countries." They may simply allow their economic need to overcome whatever reservations and scruples are inherent to their moral natures. Maybe they even come to experience a certain "rush" when they "outwit" us fat, dumb, rich First-World-ers, seeing us as unworthy of the wealth from which they part us. I don't know. I don't know exactly how they justify their scamming behavior, but I am convinced that they do justify/rationalize it to themselves. (This is one reason that they become so very, very irate, so personally nasty, and so foul-mouthed when it's clear that the jig is up and they are called out on their behavior.)

 

I do not, however, believe that these scammers fail to understand that what they are doing is based on lies and cheating. And I do not believe that adult humans of normal intelligence are ever so "morally unsophisticated" that they don't understand lies and cheating to be wrong.

 

Just my $.02.

These guys are well aware that they're lying and cheating. They just don't care. Again, most Africans are not like this, but then, most Africans are not engaged in some pathetic get-rich-quick scheme, anymore than most Americans are dealing in phony hedge funds or scamming credit cards. This is the underbelly of West African culture.

 

There's some misogyny involved, I'm sure, as Africa has its fair share of that and they do target elderly women a lot. But a lot of it is this cocky, ignorant attitude that Americans are an easy mark. They get their information from old TV sitcoms, the internet, and the odd visiting American tourist or aid worker. They develop the idea that we are dumb and easy to fleece.

 

The irony is that I saw a Cameroonian come over here with just that attitude and he nearly got eaten alive his first few years. He thought we were minnows and he found out we're really sharks. I never realized until then how aggressive and competitive a culture we Americans really are.


@Paula S wrote:
But a lot of it is this cocky, ignorant attitude that Americans are an easy mark. They get their information from old TV sitcoms, the internet, and the odd visiting American tourist or aid worker. They develop the idea that we are dumb and easy to fleece.

 Well, looking at the unbelievably large number of people who post on this forum alone, wondering if what are the oldest, best known, and dumbest scams on the net, which anyone with even an iota of common sense and critical thinking would immediately figure out as being a scam, you can see where they get that idea....

Keep in mind, though, that very few people actually fall for the scam to the point of giving them money. They have to go through thousands of people to get to that one mark. It can take months. In light of that, you can see why they'd be frustrated when someone strings them along. Not sympathetic, mind you, since they are con artists, but their anger makes sense.

 

In my experience, con artists are the easiest people to manipulate, anyway, since their entire mindset is that they are the manipulators. I've seen it in action and it's a really strange sight.