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Scammers on Upwork

Active Member
Justen W Member Since: Jan 2, 2018
71 of 145

Good morning,

I too signed up with UpWork and the next day I had a job offer.  

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

Did the interview and things were really looking up.  This morning I started getting texts with poor grammar, which concluded just now with him wanting to send me a check to cash and buy almost $2,000 worth of WalMart merch.  

When asked about funds all being monitored through UpWork they said a contract was in the mail. 

This would be my first job with UpWork and I'm rather skeptical.  

Hopefully bringing the job offer to UpWork's attention can help take care of this one offer.


Community Guru
Nina K Member Since: Nov 29, 2017
72 of 145

Hi Justen,

Thank you for reporting this. We are investigating the job posting and you can be assured that the approriate actions will be taken against any users found to be violating the Terms of Service. Please note that you should only begin working once you've secured a contract through the Upwork platform and the client with whom you want to work has a verified payment method.

You can check out this post for helpful tips on getting started on Upwork and also this thread for tips on avoiding suspicious jobs.

Community Guru
Kat C Member Since: Jul 11, 2016
73 of 145

I belong to another "job posting platform" who claims they do "vet" the posters.


Every single job I've applied for through their "vetted" clientele has demanded free samples. I SOOOO want to make a list right here and now of the companies who do this--and I'm not talking a simple, small sample...we're talking HOURS of FREE training in their "editing" process along with a three-hour UNPAID "editing" test. Um. Nope. Unless you're one of the HUGE TECH companies offering me a hefty salary, I'm not playing the free sample game for peanuts. Buh bye. 


Additionally, I've yet to secure a project on that platform (and my profile is the same, the jobs are directly aligned with my expertise -- yes, I've analyzed the language carefully for each posting). However, in this "wild west" of not vetting clientele, my experience is exactly the opposite.


While this doesn't completely VOID the "vetting clients" argument, it does point in the direction of "client vetting" as not necessarily correlating with *better* job opportunities (or the ability to attract better clientele, or even to successfully land a project). Indeed, it may prove the opposite--which has already been discussed at length in other threads?


There are many ways terrible clients can filter through a vetting system.


As it is, there is a percentage of clever clientele who post one thing on the job boards, and then play bait and switch, or GOTCHA when you enter a contract with them (YOU'RE MINE NOW YOU PEON FREELANCER, once false move and I'll MANGLE your JSS--ok this is slightly dramatic).


Certainly, if Upwork wants their version of CIA/FBI personnel to sift through sketchy job posts, I'd be glad to do it for them Smiley Happy (however, it can't be done for free, sorry guys--which would also increase Upwork's cost, and they would most likely have to pass that along to you and me, yes???). 


So, it's up to us, as business owners, to put clients through an additional vetting process as you would do with any other client (at least I hope you would) outside of Upwork. 



Community Guru
Gerry S Member Since: Nov 23, 2014
74 of 145

Good catch.


Yes, indeed. I'm seeing a lot more "fishing" (for info) expeditions out there. Symptons:


1) High invite rate

2) Extended periods of open jobs (when the average for "real" jobs is a day or 2)

3) No payment method

4) Long time client with 0 hires / 0 $ / 0 hours

5) Never closes a job

6) Asks for "proposals", samples, tests, estimates while providing very little "commitment"

7) Talks too "techie" for a "client" (i.e. is sub-contracting)



You need to be an industrial psychologist these days to survive.


At the same time, it makes the whole process more "interesting".



Community Guru
Mary W Member Since: Nov 10, 2014
75 of 145

Another good one to look for is clients looking for a huge number of freelancers.  This are certainly spam/ scam.  I report every one I see.  Also jobs where the time zone/location are bogus.  I've learned to look at that early on.

Active Member
Lynnette D Member Since: Feb 2, 2016
76 of 145

I just got scammed by a woman with the name of **edited for Community Guidelines**.  I spent hours on her project, sent her all of my files and when I woke up the next morning, lo and behold she closed the account, stealing all of my work and I never got paid.


What can I do? I reported her to Upwork, still waiting.

Avery O Moderator Member Since: Nov 23, 2015
77 of 145

Hi Lynnette, 

It is unfortunate that this contract didn't turn out good. As per the Hourly Protection for Freelancers, you should qualify for payment protection if the following are met:

  • An hourly contract
  • A client with a verified billing method
  • An account in good standing
  • To log your hours with the Upwork Desktop App
  • To be visibly working on a contract-related activity in your Work Diary
  • To annotate your Work Diary with memos or activities labels that adequately describe the activity performed
  • To maintain adequate and fair activity levels
  • To stay within the contract's weekly limit

 Please take note that I edited both your posts because it is a violation of the Upwork Community Guidelines to include names of persons or companies (or other identifying information) in an accusation of misconduct, incompetence or other wrongdoing in your post. Please be mindful of the guidelines when posting in the community. 

~ Avery
Community Guru
Kathy T Member Since: Jul 17, 2015
78 of 145

@Lynnette D wrote:

I just got scammed by a woman with the name of **edited for Community Guidelines**.  I spent hours on her project, sent her all of my files and when I woke up the next morning, lo and behold she closed the account, stealing all of my work and I never got paid.


What can I do? I reported her to Upwork, still waiting.


If this was an hourly contract you will get paid by Upwork as long as the clients account is verified and you used the Time Tracker to record the hours you worked, and entered notes for the screen shots that were taken.


If this was a fixed rate contract, and the client's account was verified, and escrow was funded, then any funds in escrow will be released to you in 14 days.


If either of those statesments don't apply, youire only other option is to let this client know that since you weren't paid, and until you are paid,  the copyrights still belong to you, and if you find any of your work published online, you will contact the site's host provider with a DMCA notice and have your work taken down.


And search every now and then (copyscape, google, (free) and other services (for a price)

Active Member
Kumar C Member Since: Apr 5, 2017
79 of 145

Hi Kathy,


Thanks for the info you have mentioned. In my case, I am new to Upwork and Indian. Lot of cliches already attached. And as a new comer to this community I just want to get started. My first priority is to win clients. This means I will not be reading terms and conditions until unless I run into some trouble. Happened with me. If it was me trying to spend time in interviews and failing them I would not mind. I would consider it as a cost in my business and move on. In my case, I spent not only time, but money as well, solved problem for the "potential" client and the guy just disappeared. No response. Nothing. And upwork only has one option for me, flag the job inappropriate. :-(


Now, established clients don't hire n00bs. And n00bs don't get clients. Catch 22.

Avery O Moderator Member Since: Nov 23, 2015
80 of 145

Hi Kumar, 

If you still haven't flagged the job post, please share more information to me via a private message about this client so that I can share with the team. 

~ Avery