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Community Member

Scammers on Upwork

I just signed up on Upwork, answered 2 ads, and received this response from the first ad I responded to.  Did some research because it had red flags, and found that yes, this type of response is a typical scammer response, phishing for info. This doesn't give me much faith in Upwork.  


Does upwork have any protocols for vetting their job posters??


This was the response:


**Edited for Community Guidelines**

145 REPLIES 145
Community Member

Kumar wrote, "My first priority is to win clients. This means I will not be reading terms and conditions until unless I run into some trouble." Then maybe you should change your priorities. You're not winning anything when you work and get nothing for it. You also wrote, "Now, established clients don't hire n00bs. And n00bs don't get clients." If you believe that, why are you still here? If you want a cliche, then every freelancer started out as a newbie. How did I first get hired when I started long ago at oDesk? By applying for jobs that were unattractive to experienced freelancers, such as jobs offered by first time clients and fixed price jobs with low budgets. Good luck with your next job.

"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce

Thanks so much for your advice!! It's perfect!!

Community Member

100% agree John! However that catch 22 is true. I have been bidding for projects, landed just one. TBH, this particular case where I got skimmed has made me sour.

re: "this particular case where I got skimmed has made me sour."


And it has made you wiser.


You learned a valuable lesson and you didn't even need to read the manual. You can be grateful for the experience and move forward with more confidence when you work on your next job.

Community Member

Yeah, lesson learnt. I just want others to be aware of this particular client.
Community Member

Ugggg, I'm brand new to the UpWork platform. I just completed my pprofile, portfolio, and verified US, and got pulled into one of these this morning!  Not knowing how thiswhole thing works, I was in the Google chat for 45 minutes, feeling a bit odd.  Them saying the want to take the project off UpWork, and me asking for them to fill in the details on the platform.  I didn't give them anything but my email address.


Every so often the English would be a bit odd, though the picture of the person in the chat matched the person on LinkedIn.  I asked if they worked for the company, got yes, and asked why they were using a gmail addy.  They said, it was just for this interview process and wanted my contact information.  I quickly called the person they were claming to be at the companyand left a message for them.  I told them in the chat that I just left a message for them and that they could call me back to discuss the project.


She called back within 15 minutes.  Of course, it wasn't her.  


Bad people suck.  


I feel so stupid that I wasted 45 minutes.  Thank goodness UpWork provides this platform a community and discussion board so we can help each other out.

re: "I feel so stupid that I wasted 45 minutes."


The time was not completely wasted.


Now you know that you should never respond to, communicate with, or waste time on any client who invites you to use Google Hangouts (Google chat) before you have an actual contract with them.

Hi Kim,


I see our team already removed the job post and client from the platform for violating Upwork ToS. In order to work safely on Upwork and avoid fraudulent jobs, please follow the advice shared here and review our freelancer resources. Note that users are required to work on the platform, all payments have to be processed on Upwork and freelancers should never pay in order to be hired or start working. Please check the notification in the first message room created in Messages and stop communicating with that client, since they are no longer allowed to use Upwork.


~ Vladimir
Community Member

I was just scammed!!! But didnt give any bank info but they got my address and phone #. And was asked to go to money gram and get a senders form!! What to do with that dummy check and it got cleared in my bank???

Hi Shekinah,


I'm sorry to hear you accepted payment outside the platform and got involved in this scam scheme. If you already deposited the fake check and sent the payment to the client, contact your bank in case they can still take action and prevent the payment from being received. 


Never accept a payment outside Upwork and report a client for offering direct payments. Please review the safety tips we included on this thread, along with other freelancer resources, and pm me the link to the job post so I can confirm our team took action on it.



~ Vladimir

I just got an offer too good to say no so I did a little research while completing the interview. I knew it was a scam but I was so pissed I wanted to know this person's name and location. Please see attached pic of his last message.



**Edited for Community Guidelines**

Joselito, did you flag the job as a scam? Please do if you haven't already. 

Yes. I just did. Thank you.



high five gif.gif

Hi Joselito,


Thanks for reporting. The job and the client you reported have already been actioned as they violated Upwork ToS.

~ Valeria
Community Member

Hi Vladimir
I didnt send the payment to the client and i will call my bank now
Community Member

My bank already took care of that fake check thank God!!!

yayyy I got an invite from another one. I'm waiting if I'm accpeted by their HR department and then I'm gonna get them to send a check and watch them rage when I won't go to the mailbox.


Fun bored times over here.

I got a scam today. Flagged it a couple hours ago but the ad is still up. Hope other newbies aren't falling for it.

Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Michelle, 

I have followed up with the team regarding your escalation and the job has already been cancelled. One reason why you still have access to the job is because you have a direct link to the job post.

~ Avery
Community Member

Company Profile Design
Thanks for flagging!
**Edited for Community Guidelines**



Contact's name (supposedly) is **Edited for Community Guidelines** representing a company called **Edited for Community Guidelines**
It was proposed that "they" were supposed to send a MacBook Pro laptop loaded with graphics software along with a check.  This check was to be deposited into my bank account to pay some mysterious "certified vendor" for all of the programs installed on the laptop.  What??

At any rate, after an exhausting, text only, vetting process via Google HANGOUTS, the project went in a totally different direction from what was initially proposed.  Long story short:  too many fishy smells to deal with around the bin. Keep faaaaar away.

Hi Vince,


I checked and the job you've reported has already been removed by Upwork team.


Thank you.

~ Valeria

I was wondering if this is the same Job invite that I recieved? It sounds very similar and was taken down. I asked the guy why his job was closed on upwork and he said it was because he made a small mistake and so it was flagged and taken down. Please let me know. Thank you!

re: "I was wondering if this is the same Job invite that I recieved?"


Maybe. Maybe not. It does not matter. There are a relatively small number of scam templates that are used over and over again by thousands of individual scammers and also by organizes scam companies.


What matters is that you recognize and avoid the scams. The fake names they use and which one of them posts which particular scam job posting is immaterial.

Hi Joyce,


If you communicated with the client on Google Hangout but the proposal or interview has already been cancelled and archived by Upwork, it most likely means it's a scam. It's a good practice to keep communication with a client on Upwork while you are discussing the contract and always make sure all the payments are made via Upwork.


Check out this post for more tips on how to avoid questionable jobs.

~ Valeria

Hi Valeria,


I am new to Upwork and needs enlightenment. 


I have recently received a message that I needed to upload a government id. Is it really necessary to upload such and a CV?






Hi KiCoi,


You shouldn't provide your personal information to clients on Upwork. All the necessary verifications can be done via the platform itself. I believe I found the interview you are referring to and we'll have the job reviewed as soon as possible.

Thank you!

~ Valeria
Community Member

Hi all, I see you are well aquaintanced with detecting scammy postings. I just received a message offering a job to "pick up documents" (http://bit.ly/2xUX8hp). Client's account has been created today and has no verified payment method. I'm very doubtful. Anyone else thinks this might be a scam?


Hi Martin,


On site jobs are allowed provided there is an active contract on Upwork and and all payments are made on Upwork as well. If the client requests you to work without a contract or accept payments outside of Upwork, please report them.


Thank you!

~ Valeria
Community Member

Hi there,


I received this message offer and had not known about the Hangouts or outside platforms warning as I thought it was just going to be a video interview which I can understand some companies having a preferred platform for it. However, I believe this might be a fraudulent posting as my entire interview was done via text and they wanted to send a check to me to cash for software expenses. I raised the issue that this seems suspicious and immediately they declined my proposal and this was after initially "offering" me a position with them.


The message on upwork was:


The HR Department has reviewed your resume in reference to our AD posted on www.upwork.com we believe you are capable of handling position of a Writer you applied for on UPWORK and has been forwarded to the Hiring Manager.

Your resume was shortlisted for an online interview with one of the HR Manager Mr. Edward Malott and he would like to conduct an online interview with you as soon as possible to discuss more on the pay scale, benefits, and Job Position that you are yet to occupy.

Set Up a Screen name with gmail.com and download a Google Hangout online at (www.google.com/hangout) to your device (PC or Phone) if you don't have one and instantly add up and message him on Google hangout, His ID is Edwardmalott365@gmail.com to your buddy list. Add Him up to commence your Briefings and Interview he will be online waiting for you.

Your Requisition code is "RHP4395", this would serve as your identification number throughout the online hiring process.
Interview Schedule: Online 9/26/2017
Interview Time: 9:00 AM(EST)ASAP
Training is Available...



The ad was not very clear however when I did the "interview" but I received more info in the "interview". I think people need to beware as I am new to upwork and didn't know the protocols that companies used looking for online contract workers.

A big flag is that they talked about benefits and stuff. Those are for employees, not freelancers. If you haven't read Upwork's guidelines on avoiding scams, it sounds like you probably should.

Community Member

"your resume was shortlisted blah blah blah..."

Scam. Always. Every time.
Community Member

I am new to Upwork and needed some enlightenment...


Do we really need to upload CV's? Isn't the profile enough? 


I have recently been messaged by a client and asking for a government id. Is it really necessary?




Community Member

Easy trick for avoiding most scams: never engage off-site until there is a contract with verified payment. Once you're hired, feel free to talk to them in whatever way works for them.

I have one client who uses a teamwork app to hand out assignments. We discuss it there, and they set up a benchmark here.

But never engage outside without a contract.

@Randy S wrote:
Easy trick for avoiding most scams: never engage off-site until there is a contract with verified payment. Once you're hired, feel free to talk to them in whatever way works for them.

 That's a nice idea, but different fields have different norms. In many, a significant percentage of clients will never offer a contract without first "meeting" the freelancer via a telephone call or video chat.

Community Member

I also received one. Saying they need to interview me via facebook messenger. And ask me before starting the job, I need to pay for working permit in Bosnia around 33€. And I did not accept the job

Community Member

I unfortunately just fell victim to one of these scams, and now two people potentially have my full name, address, and phone number. I wish I would have read this thread before I provided the information, but something seemed a little bit off when they asked me to email an address that didn't match the company name. And then the interviewer asked me to retype what I just emailed. So that lead me to here after idiotically complying.

My brain must have just been seeing the dollar signs, but luckily I didn't go any further with the 2 hour interview. My first mistake was going on Google Hangouts in the first place! I blocked the person from messaging me further after giving them a piece of my mind and flagged the job, which has since been closed. I feel like an idiot and embarrassed that I let these people take advantage of me and waste my time!

Community Member

Some scams are more subtle than flat out phishing attempts, and these are the ones I'm more wary of. 


I've found it's quite common to for posters to advertise projects with large budgets and interview experts... however, there may well not actually be a real job in mind, and it's basically a scam to get free consulting.   


There might be some good clients on this site, but experience has led me to believe these are few and far between.  "Free consulting" scams like the one I described, as well as low-budget projects with lofty expectations, are much more common.  Experience as a freelancer helps you weed them out, but sifting through these "opportunities" to find the occasional good one can be a marvelous waste of time compared to connecting with new clients at networking meetings or conferences.


@Paul S


There are good clients on this site and not so few and far between, but snagging them is not quite so easy!


But I do agree about the "interview" scammers (I don't mean the Google Hangout scammers) and they are not exclusive to Upwork. You will find them on all the job platforms. I was invited, on another site, by a writer to "read and edit" his novel, to which the client gave a link in the offer. The first interview was through the site, and then a discussion on Skype, which went something like this:

Client: Nice to  to talk to you and I like your style.

Me: Thank you!

Client: So what do you think?

Me (cautious): Well, it is as I said in my proposal, that I thought your book needed some editing, but nothing that can't be fixed.

Client: So you liked the story?

Me (lying): The story is great, but some editing is required.

Client: Could you tell me exactly where?

Me: Well, this could take some time. Do you actually want me to edit your work?

Client: Yes, I do but could you tell me where I have gone wrong.

Me: I wouldn't call it "wrong" exactly, just a few tweaks . . .

Client: OK, I tell you what, would you write a report on the book, and then I will hire you to edit?

Me: I can certainly write a report, but we need to set up a contract and agree a price.

Client: For a report - a small report? I don't have a large budget.

Me: Make an offer and I will see what I can do.

Client: OK well thanks for your time. I will get back to you.


Right . . .

Community Member

I know there are loads of tips on how to spot scammers, but how about a compilation of what we can do with our profiles to try to not be spam-bait?


Obviously some things can't be altered - for example, many scammers seem to prey on the new, hoping they won't know the actual rules of UW yet, and if you're new, you're new - but here's the thing. RARELY have I been approached by an outright scam. I have been asked once to go on Google Hangouts, and I have been asked once for a "free" test "just to be sure" I was the writer the person wanted; that's it. Other than that, even brand-new I just didn't have the scammers on my back. 


I do get approached plenty, but the jobs are pretty obviously legitimate. I choose among those and I work them; I get paid; et voila, all done.


Is it possible that for people who say they keep getting approached, there's something about how they present themselves that could be kicked up a notch so that potential scammers think "Oh, never mind"?


I'm not victim-blaming or anything, just trying to help people out if this is an ongoing, prohibitive problem.


Obviously this doesn't include when the freelancer approaches the scam thinking it's legitimate.


I would start with the following...I am just guessing here:


1. Look AS PROFESSIONAL as possible on your profile. If you seem to know what the hell you're doing, that should waylay at least a few scams.


2. Don't offer a pittance rate. I think that's good practice anyway and yeah, I get that in various countries, X amount of dollars go much farther than in other countries, but if you're not somewhere mid-range with your parallel freelancers (IMO), that can seem like desperation, and desperate people are more likely to try "just anything" that comes along.


3. Get a second pair of eyes to look over your profile for typos or gross grammatical errors.


4. Show some backing in your work history, one way or another. I have seen profiles that pretty much say "I am new to writing but am SO interested in it. I have always been the one to type resumes for my friends. I would be so happy to learn more here on Upwork and write something great for you!" Nope. Lead STRONG. Have some backing that's solid. If you don't, then get some, if you can. If you are just brand-new, period, still be strong with your area of studies (if applicable), samples of any work you may have done and so on. Just...try not to look green, is the bottom line.


I can't think of any more right now. I just thought I'd put this in as I have heard people here say they're constantly approached by obvious scams. Yet for others of us, that's just not happening. And it's no secret that people trying to take advantage of other people, no matter what the scenario, will tend to target those they see as the easiest prey. So maybe there is a way to help keep this all down to a dull roar, anyway. Hope any of this made sense at all and perhaps helped some.

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