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78b61c0c
Community Member

Unsure if Job Opportunity is Legitimate

Hello! I have a question about a job I was contacted for, as it doesn't seem legitimate. 

I responded to a job ad for a one-time task, and less than 24 hours later someone responded to me asking where I was located and requesting an email address to send over additional information on a job that they had available in my area. This was not for the job I applied for. I provided my email and the job description asked for my address so they could send me a postcard to verify that I was in the company's "service area", as it was a "delivery business". They stated that the job would be compiling a Google Directory and that I would be paid via Upwork in two separate payments. I found it strange that they didn't provide the name of the business, and that they asked for my personal address. I am new to Upwork so I'm assuming I'm easy prey for scams. 

Has anyone experienced anything similar, or is there a chance this is actually legitimate? Any feedback would be appreciated. 

ACCEPTED SOLUTION
petra_r
Community Member


Kara E wrote:

Hello! I have a question about a job I was contacted for, as it doesn't seem legitimate. 


It's a scam or an attempt to cheat Google local searches, and you violated Upwork Terms of Service by giving them your Email address. 

 

**ALL** communication before a contract is established can only happen on Upwork.

View solution in original post

20 REPLIES 20
petra_r
Community Member


Kara E wrote:

Hello! I have a question about a job I was contacted for, as it doesn't seem legitimate. 


It's a scam or an attempt to cheat Google local searches, and you violated Upwork Terms of Service by giving them your Email address. 

 

**ALL** communication before a contract is established can only happen on Upwork.

78b61c0c
Community Member

Thank you for letting me know. I will disregard the email in that case. 

BojanS
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Kara,

 

Thank you for reporting this to us. I'll be sure to share this with our team for further review.

 

A client or freelancer may only share an email address if it is for the sole purpose of giving the other party access to a system that allows them to scope the project in advance. This allows freelancers to review a project prior to a contract so they can determine if they have the needed skills, how many hours it will take, etc. Please see this article for more information about the sharing of contact and other information.

 

Thank you!

~ Bojan
Upwork
78b61c0c
Community Member

Hi Bojan, 

 

Thank you for your reply, and I greatly appreciate the information. I'll ensure to follow these guidelines going forward. 

 

Best,

Kara

tlbp
Community Member

Interesting scam and one I'd not seen before (although I'm sure it is common). 
For those not familiar with Google My Business...
A business can only register with GMB and appear in related local searches if it has a local address. Google confirms that the business has a local address by sending a postcard to the address the business attempts to register. This scam would make the freelancer's home address the business address for a company not located in their area. The company then appears in local searches in the area, gathers emails and phone numbers from people looking for local services (such as a lawyer or a plumber) and sells that contact information to an actual local service. 

OP, be sure to check out the New to Upwork section of the Community Discussions to learn about all the other types of scams to avoid.  ๐Ÿ˜‰


Tonya P wrote:

Interesting scam and one I'd not seen before (although I'm sure it is common). 
For those not familiar with Google My Business...
A business can only register with GMB and appear in related local searches if it has a local address. Google confirms that the business has a local address by sending a postcard to the address the business attempts to register. This scam would make the freelancer's home address the business address for a company not located in their area. The company then appears in local searches in the area, gathers emails and phone numbers from people looking for local services (such as a lawyer or a plumber) and sells that contact information to an actual local service. 

OP, be sure to check out the New to Upwork section of the Community Discussions to learn about all the other types of scams to avoid.  ๐Ÿ˜‰


Follow up question - so how does sending a postcard verify an adress? If the adress does not exist, for example, or the person does not exist at this adress, the postcard will disappear into some pile of undeliverable mail, I assume, because postcards don't have return adresses?


Martina P wrote:

Tonya P wrote:

 The company then appears in local searches in the area, gathers emails and phone numbers from people looking for local services (such as a lawyer or a plumber) and sells that contact information to an actual local service. 


Follow up question - so how does sending a postcard verify an adress? If the adress does not exist, for example, or the person does not exist at this adress, the postcard will disappear into some pile of undeliverable mail, I assume, because postcards don't have return adresses?


The postcard includes a code that is then fed back to confirm it is a valid, local address and the postcard was successfully delivered to the supposed "local" business.

 

re: "Interesting scam and one I'd not seen before (although I'm sure it is common)."

 

I can only think of one other thread in the Community Forum where I have seen this mentioned. (A few weeks ago.)

 

Theoretically, cautious clients could be utilizing Upwork by hiring "virtual assistants" or other entry-level freelancers "under the radar" and not setting off any flags. This would still violate Upwork ToS by virtue of violating the ToS of Upwork's "corporate neighbor" Google.

ncw4
Community Member

Thank you for that response. I also received the same email and thought it was very fishy.

ncw4
Community Member

I have been reading through the community posts regarding scams and I'm a little confused. Are you not allowed to give your email address if the employer needs to send information? Or is it only allowed after a contract has been accepted? Are you allowed to do interviews or pre screening before a contract has started? 

You are not allowed to share any outside contact information with clients until after you are officially hired through Upwork. Upwork provides quite a few onsite options for freelancers and clients, so interviews can be conducted via ordinary messages, zoom (from Upwork)  and chats (from Upwork).  Once you have a contract in place, then you can communicate any way you like, provided you are always paid via the site. For clients you don't know, or who don't have an established track record, it is probably better to communicate on site. 

 

BojanS
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Nicole,

 

Could you please click on my name and send me a PM with more information about your report. I'll check that for you and assist you accordingly.

 

Please note that all conversations before a contract is started must be through Upwork Messages, where you can send messages, have video calls, and more. 

~ Bojan
Upwork
417ef022
Community Member

Hi!

 

I know this is a super old post, but I recently got a job offer dealing with GMB and I am not sure of whether it is safe or not. The payment method is verified, but after reading this community post I got a bit worried. It's not exactly the same so I was wondering if I could get some advice on this matter.

 

They require that I create a business with a specific name, fill in the address details they give, state no deliveries, fill in the phone and website details they give, and if it requests verification, stop. If it does not, you have succeeded and they will proceed to send me more businesses to fill in.

 

It's mainly the last part that makes me trust them because they do not request my home address (from my understanding). However, I just wanted to make sure here before attempting anything, as I am not sure if it is even legal or not.

 

Since the job has nothing to do with the services you provide, it is a hugh red flag.

My internet hates me today so I cannot search, but you should read more about scams and the ToS before you seriously consider working as a freelancer.

petra_r
Community Member


Dhannya M wrote:

It's mainly the last part that makes me trust them because they do not request my home address 


 

Ask yourself whether it is OK to litter the Internet with fake businesses which will be used to mislead (at best) or scam people?

 

Or do you only worry if you get scammed and not when your work misleads or scams others?

 

Think about it logically... just for a minute or two...

417ef022
Community Member

Oh sorry! Woah, I didn't actually think they would be giving me fake details. I assumed they were real businesses and wanted me to input the information to add into the job listings server. What I read up on Google was that anyone can add to the Business Listings and it was why some businesses would be setup on the internet, but the business would remain unclaimed. 

 

I do admit that my research was quite lacking, though. Sorry, this was super naive of me.

Total scam. Report them and stop all contact.

Will do! Thank you.

 

I am very unlucky here with regards to scams.

re: "I wanted to ask about flagging/ reporting; what if the job post I flag ends up being legitimate and I incorrectly flag it as malicious?"

 

Don't worry.

 

Nothing bad will happen to you.

Nothing bad will happen to the client.

 

If you report, then Upwork personnel will check out the job and the client. If you were mistaken, no action will be taken against that client.

Thank you for the clarification! I read the UpWork guide/ ToS after posting that and edited that question out because I found what you confirmed.

 

Sometimes, I feel it's very hard to determine whether a client is trying to withhold information due to it being classified (which I understand because I'm possibly tasked with a small section of a potentially larger business) vs just scamming (which is rough). I find myself second guessing what to say in my message responses to their task because I don't want to offend them (if they are an honest client), but I don't want them to just freely scam others as I ignore a potential issue (if they are not an honest client). I have a lot to learn.

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