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Community Member

Scam via fake checks

Not sure if this is going to help anyone but I feel like I have to put this information out. 

A few weeks ago some scammer impersonated **edited for Community Guidelines** (I have called the company and they said several people called them with similar stories and they have filed it to the police) to set up a position, then hired you to be a virtual assistant. The scammer then asked you to send money for equipment with money you got from them via checks, which will later be rejected by your bank, resulting in you owing the bank money. If someone or something like this happens to you, stop talking to them as long as they want you to send money somewhere else, your "cleared" checks can always be bounced back as fraud. 

If you, unfortunately, got scammed, contact your bank immediately, then the FTC, then your local authorities and police so that if your case is ruled as fraud, the bank will legally have to reimburse the money. 

Stay safe out there. 

Community Member

re: "A few weeks ago some scammer impersonated Leon Smith, the CEO of Cornerstone Communication (I have called the company"


PLEASE do not call the company.

It does not benefit them in any way. It doesn't help anyone. Just wastes their time.



You will never fall for this scam again.

Unfortunately, others have and will because they have not shielded themselves properly with knowledge that is readily avaiable here on UW.

Oh, I only contact the company to ask like "Did you guys posted a job on Upwork?" just to verify right after my checks got rejected and they immediately went "No that is definitely a scam" and went on with other information I stated. 


Community Member

Also I'm just curious why would the name be censored? And since they took down the job I have no way to report the account of that scammer impersonating **edited for Community Guidelines** so that everyone knows to avoid. Is there any more way I can help? 



It is a violation of a Upwork Community Forum rules to name a company or individual an accusation of wrongdoing.


You named this real company and real person in a post about a scam. They are innocent of this. They don't need to be associated with scammers. Which is what your post would have done if left uncensored.


Moreover, it is important to understand that the name doesn't matter.

It is the behavior thst matters.


We don't identify scammers by the names they use, but by what they do and say.


ALL companies whose names are on the Internet are potentially used by these scammers. The scanners cycle through company names.


So it is not useful or informative to name them.


It is a serious violation of Upwork ToS for a freelancer to contract a client prior to being officially hired using a method outside of the Upwork messages tool. It is a violation of Upwork ToS for an Upwork freelancer to contract a client using information they find by looking up a client's name or a company's name. Even after getting hired. Had this been a real client, your action in calling this company would be grounds for your Upwork account to be suspended or otherwise penalized.


You are a good person and your heart is in the right place,

But there were things thst you didn't know about Upwork rules and about scams.


Dont take this personally,

To add to Preston's information about TOS violations, it's also against TOS to accept a check/payment outside of Upwork from the client. Scammers look for freelancers that either don't know the TOS or are willing to break it. OP, be careful to follow the TOS in the future and you won't get scammed. 

Community Member

Thank you very much! My very first month on Upwork, and I cannot be more grateful to be educated so that something unfortunate would not happen to me or my Upwork account in a long run! I think it's also my fault I got caught up in this mindset of accepting basically whatever in the desperation to find another job. Life has been hard and these scammers are not at all helping

Absolutely would never take this personally! 


Thank you very, very much. You have provided me so much useful information for the future. Thanks for educating me on this. 

Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Anny, 

I'm sorry to learn about your experience with this client. I had to edit your post because identifying persons or companies in an accusation of misconduct is not allowed in the Upwork Community. You may refer to  Community Guidelines for more information. 

As for your concern, if the job post has already been taken down, it could mean that the team has taken action against the job post and the client's account. Just the same, I will look into this to make sure that the account has been reviewed, and appropriate actions have been taken. 

In the meantime, I highly recommend that you read up on the "Safety First!" section of the freelancer resources we have compiled, and these tips for avoiding questionable jobs for more information about working safely through Upwork.

~ Avery
Community Member

Thank you very much for the information! I will research better before anything

Community Member

Just to be clear: if a check is not covered by funds, you don't owe the bank money. If the bank already has credited your account before receiving the funds, they will reverse that credit. Nobody has lost money in that case. 

The scammer is trying to get the mark to SPEND their own money in the timeframe where the mark believes that this spending is covered by the check, by effecting a purchase with their own credit card or bank account. This purchase is fraudulent, nothing will ever be delivered.

This is how people lose money with the fake check-cashing scam. It sound like you didn't do that, so that's good. 

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