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Hello everyone!


I am new to Upwork and wondered if you have had trouble with scams?  I have had THREE invites in one week and they all want me to go offline to chat regarding employment.  I don't trust them as I was taken for a scam in the past and ended up filing bankruptcy!  What's the safe way to talk to possible employers?  Thanks much, and have a great weekend!





One flag for me is when they claim to be in the US and ping me at 1am. I have 1 customer who is totally legit and works weird hours, but he's obviously in the US even though he pings me in the middle of the night.


But, broken English, claims to be in the US, the name is "John" or some american sounding name and hits me up consistently when I'm sleeping? Yeah, he gets bozo binned.


It seems that the scammers love to target the newbies on this site. I had a few encounters with them when I first started her. But I didn't just fall off the turnip truck. I just used common sense.


There is nothing wrong with talking with potential clients offsite. In fact I will say half the clients I work with prefer to communicate offsite whether by personal email, Skype, etc. Do not give them any passwords, social security numbers, financial information or heaven forbid take checks outside of Upwork to buy equipment, or get paid outside of UpWork period. 


If it's too good to be true, it probably is.

Okay, so it's pretty normal for them to want to chat in Google Hangouts?  That's where I'm feeling uncomfortable. Where does a potentail client want to talk?  Thanks again, everyone.

I would be cautious in using Google Hangouts. It seems that the scammers have been using that site as of late.


Mine usually want my email address (if you are not comfortable with using your main email address you can always create one for this site only) or chat on Skype.

@Monica H wrote:

Okay, so it's pretty normal for them to want to chat in Google Hangouts?  That's where I'm feeling uncomfortable. Where does a potentail client want to talk?  Thanks again, everyone.

Google Hangouts seems to be their favorite place.


If you're contacted by an HR manager or they specify that it's a work from home position, don't bother.


HR doesn't get involved with contractors unless they are working onsite. 

Alert Upworkers.  


The client sent me to their corporate website.  I checked employment opportunities under Customer Service, HR, and Professional Services.  The size of corporation indicated there ought to be employee churn. 


There is no position announcement under any of those three. 


Identifying characteristics.


Invitation to interview contained directions to add  XXX@gmail.com to your Google+ Hangout. XXX is not the name used, it is the email domain that is important.  Then, there was an immediate request to add corporate sounding email to move to their hangout.  


Also another email address change on their side. This one had the XXX@outlook.com format. 


An interview was immediate.  Used Google Hangout IM, and seemed to be a robot with my answers triggering response.  


I was hired. 


They asked for my bank as I indicated I preferred to be paid direct deposit.  Then, they asked how long did I have an account at my bank.  I know some banks use this to establish ownership of accounts. 


The street address I gave them is one digit wrong.  I did that because that will conflict with my bank records and I'll likely still get the mail.  



Epic Optimism,


Dutch Driver




It was good to come here but just realize by agreeing to have that check mailed to you, you have just broke the number one ToS rule. Don't ever take payment outside of the platform.  The check will bounce.  They do target newbies because they know they don't read the ToS and other rules of the site.  

"Fairness is giving all people the treatment they earn and deserve. It doesn't mean treating everyone alike-Coach John Wooden"

I think anyone who is is new to online freelancing should be very, very careful of any demands for Skype interviews or hangouts. If they are on a work platform such as Upwork, it would be better to stick strictly to the on-site message system, with perhaps an email back-up if there is a site glitch.


Once a freelancer can recognize this sort of scam (and they are not always that obvious), then Skype interviews with new clients, or hangouts with regular clients are absolutely OK!




All real clients that have communicated with me have done so on Upwork's message system, and two or three of them have used Skype or email for different reasons. 


Remember that you never, ever need to fill out any forms with your social security number and address! And you don't need any checks! Upwork payment is always handled through Upwork. 

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