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Community Member

Scammers getting "smarter".

Up to now, it was rather easy to tell a scam from a real job offer. The quickest way was to see whether the "client" had ever hired anyone.


I just came accross 2 job offers that look like scams, except that the "client" has already hired someone and paid the freelancer $10.


So now, you also have to beware of scams where the scammer has paid a small sum (and given excellent feedback).


Besides, I'm sorry for the freelancer who accepted this "job". The  freelancer's profile is easy to find. It's a good profile. So why would a freelancer with a good history accept to be involved in a scam?

Community Member

Yes, the smarter scammers (although it's a pretty low bar) now have verified payment methods and hire a few people for small sums in order to get good reviews. They can also use AI to generate their job posts and sound more legit now (thanks to Upwork for making that easier). But the best ways to avoid a scam haven't changed - invest some time in learning how to use Upwork before you send any proposals, don't break the rules, don't believe everything a stranger tells you (especially what company they claim to work for), and don't think that you can make improbable amounts of money for doing easy jobs.

Community Member

Yesterday, I found another variation of scam. The scammer had copied a previous job offer word for word. There where two differences, thought. The original job description had included a document, the scammer hadn't. Both offers came from clients in the same town. However, the scammer was using a VPN and the time did not match the real time of that town. 


Finding out whether a job offer is a scam or not is getting quite entertaining!

Community Member

Hello Luce N!


Sorry for butting in, but since you work in the same field (translation) as me, I wondered if you had come across the following type of scam, which I experienced twice in the last two weeks:


1. Someone asks for proof reading AI created translations on a website - in quite a few languages, but nowhere near the usual 50+ scams, which would stand out and ring alarm bells.


2. Freelancers apply for their language pair, and the customer responds, asking 'if you've seen any mistakes' on a particular part of the website. It's not too much of text, but still takes a little bit of time out of your workload, and you tell them, because you want the job. Then comes - nothing. 20+ interviews, not one hire.


3. The next day, the job ad appears again on the job offer flow. The same procedure continues - until the entire website is proof read - for free by hopeful applicants who expect a job following the interview. He obviously always gives a new part of the website as a 'test'.


Sadly, it's especially German clients who use this method (I am German and quite obviously offended by this type of freeloading). Looking at it, it's quite probably not even a scam - but a way to get work done without too much hassle and without having to pay for it. I can't even report it.



Petra B wrote:

I can't even report it.

Sure you can - go to the job page and select "Flag as inappropriate" and say that the client is asking for free work. They're not allowed to do that.

Yes, this is an elaborate "asking for free work" scam. Best thing to do is to flag it and specify that the client is asking for free work.


Community Member

I did flag it and to be fair to Upwork - by the third round I've seen (there might have been quite a few before I spotted the job ad), it disappeared from the job flow - by then the entire website was proof read, or at least in the languages I speak. However, here we move into the shadowy realm of 'test tasks'. When is a test task no longer a test task, but a job? 5 minutes, 10 minutes or, as in this case, 15 minutes? Especially if the test task is supposedly asked for to ensure the applicants are 'truly native speakers'? I don't think there is a concrete answer for this - and someone got a free ride, and will do so in the future.


BTW, I only did it the first time. By the second time, with a different website, I did not even answer the request, but still lost valuable time to write a job application. I got my Connects back, so I can't complain about that. And the ads are always seemingly trustworthy, individually created and without AI content.


And thank you for answering.

If you are a true translator, my advice is to not even think of correcting an AI created translation : this is the weapon AI is using to destroy translation and our jobs.

I know. I am already standing shame-faced in the corner. And yes, I have worked 20+ years in translation and know I shouldn't do it (especially since it even after corrections still sounds like - AI created content), but sometimes, very rarely, even I need to make a quick buck - Ryanair is getting quite demanding with travelfares and my daughter lives in Denmark - and, well... I promise not to do it again. Speaking of which - I've seen you are a French translator. I am German/Norwegian/UK English - but as I live in France I get quite a few invitations for interviews in France, despite my profile clearly stating German, Norwegian and British English only. Most are for writing, and some even serious. I speak French, but not on translator level - so would you mind if I use the 'Suggest a Freelancer' option and refer them to you? On the other hand, you might already receive the same invitations.

Petra, I know how it is. I have proofread AI translated content without meaning to.... up to now, I'm happy to see that human translation is still better than AI translation. 😉 And I do understand that sometimes we freelancers just have to accept a job that's not quite what we would want - only for financial reasons.


Thanks for offering to refer clients to me. That would be very nice! I have done some writting jobs and love to write, so that would not be a total scam!

OK. Thank you. You can have all my French. I just wish they would send me more Germans, or Norwegians, or British instead but I suppose that is the famous algorithm thing - you live in France, so you must be able to translate French... But I always thought it was kind of a lost opportunity not to refer the French language requests to someone who actually can do them. 

Algorithms are not smart enough to know the difference!

Community Member

Scammers always getting smarter. But also peoples getting stupid so very simple scam works great. I see an 10 posts daily where newbies getting scammed with same way. It is described many times here but it works again and again. Noone will read ToS and forum so it is preddictable.

I totally agree with you. Sometimes, I feel sorry for the poor newbies that get scammed. But sometimes, I just think this is how they'll learn to read what is written about scams on Upwork - not to mention the ToS!

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