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2c9d6bd6
Community Member

Scammed to work for free

Hi,

 

Is there any way to report a client that had me troubleshooting and identifying an issue then proceed to ignore me in message get banned? I was a newbie so I didn't know (lesson learned), We were communicating in upwork the whole time and what I thought then was within ToS. I believe the client since he/she had a good review so I don't know. feels bad really

 

The work involved identifying the issue and recommend the next step (the issue resolution was out of our hands so we cant really solve it)

17 REPLIES 17
sofia2008
Community Member

If you worked without a contract, there is not much that can be done.

 

Always make sure you are hired on Upwork before providing work.

Yeah I know that, but is it that? nothing can be done on the client? I guess this also encourages scammers.

If you do not have a contract for hourly or milestones, there is nothing anyone can do. You worked for free.

 

Yes, the scammers feast off freelancers here because they do not follow the rules. I know you regret your actions, but you didn't follow the rules, and therefore you will not be getting paid.

 

The client might possibly be suspended for not using a contract, but I have never heard of that happening. It is on the freelancer to be the expert and establish a contract.

 

As long as freelancers break the rules, scammers will be here to steal, especially from new freelancers who jump into jobs without following the rules.

Is there a Scammer Hall of Fame or something within this community? Just so anyone posted there can be shamed, the person has a lot of positive reviews although I suspect those are coerced with the Freelancers she had worked with.

re: "Is there a Scammer Hall of Fame or something within this community?"

 

Scammers don't use their real names. When a scammer's Upwork account is taken down, he simply creates a new fake account.

yofazza
Community Member

Posting anything that can identify someone or even some fake person although about true criminal activity or just about their incompetence isn't allowed here, so a hall of fame like that will never happen.

 

I'd just move on and keep edicating myself about how things going in here.

 

This gave me some good advice, it covers most misconducts from true crimes to the one you just experienced:

 

https://community.upwork.com/t5/Community-Blog/Top-Red-Flags-for-Scams-From-Community-Member-Wes-C/b...

 

 

prestonhunter
Community Member

Sam:
Take comfort in knowing that LOTS of freelancers go through exactly what you are going through now.

 

Making mistakes is part of learning something new.

 

I hope you don't take this personally.

If you were in culinary school, you would ruin a lot of dishes before you perfected your technique. It's to be expected. The great news is you have control over what you do, and you will remember this as you move forward. So you will never make the same mistake again.

not at all, reason why I post it here is for awareness as well, thank you for your input

martina_plaschka
Community Member

This might not even have been a bad intention from the client. I recently had a conversation with a potential client from an invite, they wanted to create an Austrian language section in addition to the German language section. I advised them that unless there are distinctive dialects used, which was not the case, it is simply unneccessary to do that, as most online shops only have one German section. 

The (potential) client was very appreciative of my consultation, and expressed that in the future they will contact me for work since they like to work with professionals like me. That was nice. It never would have occured to me that I needed to be paid for my time (which was a few minutes, to be fair). I would never want that client to be banned or anything, even if I never hear back from them. 

On the other hand, I don't  do free tests or endless consultations without being hired. Clients don't expect me to not being paid for my services. 

2c9d6bd6
Community Member

Thanks for the replies, I slept on it and am ok now.. I guess the lesson learned here is not to trust people based on their ratings. I have ways to ruin that person outside of upwork, that may or may not cause to lose money from "its" client (which benefited from what I did)

Don't do anything to damage that client. Is it even legal?

As Martina said, do not do anything to harm the client. Those things never end well. I'm not sure they tried to scam you. Some clients will ask a few questions or more.  It may be annoying when you spend time with a client laying out your plan of action and they don't hire you, but it happens.

jeremiah-brown
Community Member

Just a leeson that a lot of freelancers learn on their own.  Take it on the chin and move on.  Its not really a scam if you are unintentionally providing valuable information that fills the clients needs (instead of charging for it).  You are basically doing some accidental consulting.

Example:
Client: I am looking for someone who can assist me with developing this new product
Freelancer: Sure, I can help!
Client: The project we are trying to finish involves building a random device.  It needs to be made of strong plastic.  Our current plastic is MATERIAL A, but it doesnt seem to be holding up so well.
Freelancer: Well, you found the right person.  I am a materials expert!  
Freelancer continues: Yes, MATERIAL A is probably not a good choice for this project.  I would recommend using something like MATERIAL B or MATERIAL C.  I can definitely help you with this, lets get a contract started!
Client: Ok that sounds great.  Thank you!
Also client: *says to self - that was easy, he recommended material b or matgerial c.  Now I can finish this project for my company or my boss"
Also client: *GHOSTS FREELANCER*

Example. I was approached by a client who allegedly wanted to do a certain job. This is a complex job and requires in-depth knowledge of the process. The client said he wanted to test me and I should first write a complete step by step guide on how I was going to get the job done. The client was not going to hire anyone. The scammer just wanted instructions for free so that he could do the work himself or hire an inexperienced freelancer cheaply. He deliberately lied and instead of creating a work "I want instructions" he tried to cheat me. 

I understand.  Its the same concept.  

You want to demonstrate your knowledge and show the client how you are the best choice for the job.  In doing so, its easy to accidentally disclose information that you should be charging for.   

Consider ALL tests to be red flags.  If you provide any samples, always include a big fat COPYRIGHT through the center of it.

 

In this case, copyright is not the solution. The client didn't know how to do the job and just wanted a free solution. As soon as I said that after the opening of the contract I would be happy to pass all the tests, the client immediately disappeared.

This is some advice for a newbie. Never give a decision before opening a contract. Most likely the job description does not match the objectives. I am sure that client (he has good ststistics, he is not a ephemeral) has repeatedly resorted to this trick with others.

Yes, I know a copyright is not a solution for your situation (submitting written instructions).  When the client asks you for a test, you should have declined and requested a contract.  

Moving on....

ANY client asking for "TEST" work is a HUGE RED FLAG.  

Going forward, if you ever submit samples or images as attachments on your proposals, I highly recommend putting a BIG FAT COPYRIGHT through the center.  This helps prevent theft of your work, prevoius work, portfolio images, samples, examples, etc.

My advice for new freelancers:

Test = scam
Qualify = scam
Telegram = scam
Gift card = scam
Survey = scam
Questionaire = scam
Abnormal amount of money being paid = scam
Things like "turn free x into profit y" = scam
When the job is to purchase things = scam
Client ghosting = not scam, just rude
Client ghosting after helpful suggestions or advice was given = gave away free work
Anything that says "winning freelancer" = very likely scam
Job posts that look like school textbook questions = lazy and unethical college students, FLAG THEM
Fixed rate work submitted, client initiates clawback = could be legit, could be scam
Fixed rate work submitted, client initiates clawback after a long period of time (months) = scam
Interview outside of Upwork = violation of terms of service and could be scam, could be mistake

Here's one that is frequently overlooked...
Interviewing for a job on Upwork's Zoom - if the client discusses all of the work to be performed ****EVEN WITH A PAID CONTRACT****, if you do not provide a WRITTEN scope of work when accepting the contract, you can ****AND WILL**** get scammed eventually.  You cannot prove what is not written for Upwork to review! 

so on and so on.

 

 





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