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lepperrachel
Community Member

Upwork employee referred me to a company and ended up in handcuffs: Direct Pay International.

I have trusted Upwork for the past year and made some great connections in my freelance career. I was asked to apply for a job that an Upwork employee had connected me with. I had an interview, checked the company and the employees out online, they even have a Linkedin account. Upwork even verified this company. They go by the name **Edited for community guidelines**. I was arrested today at the bank because of this company and thankfully, they let me go after an hour. Has anyone else been employed with them, have an experience with this type of thing? I feel totally clueless and freaked out. 

17 REPLIES 17
reinierb
Community Member


@Rachel L wrote:

I have trusted Upwork for the past year and made some great connections in my freelance career. I was asked to apply for a job that an Upwork employee had connected me with. I had an interview, checked the company and the employees out online, they even have a Linkedin account. Upwork even verified this company. They go by the name **Edited for Community Guidelines**. I was arrested today at the bank because of this company and thankfully, they let me go after an hour. Has anyone else been employed with them, have an experience with this type of thing? I feel totally clueless and freaked out. 

 

Sorry to hear about your ordeal. Was a Talent Specialist involved in this, and what were you arrested for? Were you by any chance arrested for trying to deposit or cash a fake check?   

 


 

 

First of all, you need to treat all clients as carefully as each other.

Whether they come via a talent scout or not is irrelevant.

Upwork does NOT "verify clients" as such, just whether their payment method can be changed.

 

Googling people is pointless as scammers pretend to be real people. You were probably (by the looks of it) money laundering. NEVER EVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES use your accounts (bank / PayPal / eBay etc etc) to process anything that isn't your own. It is almost invariably and 100% certain to be dirty or stolen or non existing money / goods. Just because you were not arrested before does not mean it wasn't illegal. It just means you were not caught previously.

 

PLUS

 

Rachel L wrote:
I was told money from business was being sent to my account, which wasn’t unusual because I’ve had other contracts do this and then find that clients Bitcoin account.


Surely you know that that is a serious violation of Upwork's terms of service? (Partly to protect you from scammers like that?)

You could lose your Upwork account for accepting money off the platform for whatever reason at all. There is no circumstance where Upwork permits you to receive funds any other way than through Upwork.

Quite apart from the long arm of the law catching up with you again....


 

Yes, talent specialist connected them with me. No, I was not making any deposits. I was hired as a CS Agent for Merchant Services, a job I am familiar with. Nothing seemed unusual about the company. I looked into them and did some research before agreeing to the contract. They were sending me funds and I was transmitting them into Bitcoin currency. I have another contract that is similar but never had anything going on. The bank flagged my account yesterday and told me to unblock my card I had to come in. When I went in to get a new card that is when 7 squad cars showed up and I was handcuffed. When I reached out to the contract they then stated it must be a mistake and that they would get back to me with info and what to do next. 

 

Very disturbing situation and I'm sure you will not trust an Upwork Talent Specialist again. But, it is worth noting for others that even when Upwork refers a freelancer to a job, there is no guarantee that the job or the client is legitimate. 

Hi Rachel,

 

I'm sorry to hear about your unpleasant experience! I will share this with our team for further investigation!

Please know that actions have been taken against the client's account for violating the Upwork Terms of Service. 

Please, check out this post for more tips on how to avoid questionable jobs. Here's the help article for more information on how to use the flag option found on each job post or message to report any suspicious or inappropriate content. Thank you!

~ Bojan
Upwork
kochubei_valeria
Community Member

Rachel and others,

 

I'd like to circle back to this issue that we've investigated with the team and confirm that the invite wasn't sent by Upwork Talent Specialists but was sent by the client. Additionally, I'd like to reiterate that actions have been taken against the client's account as it was in violation of Upwork ToS.

 

Please, familiarize yourself with Upwork ToS as well as best practices in the post Bojan shared earlier on this thread. If you come across a suspicious job or invite, please report it to Upwork team as soon as possible for investigation.

 

Thanks!

 

 

~ Valeria
Upwork

Wow. OP really threw us off by saying the invite came from a Talent Specialist. What a mess! Thanks for the update. 

re: "I had an interview, checked the company and the employees out online, they even have a Linkedin account."

 

In my opinion, it is always a mistake to do this. Especially for newer or less-experienced freelancers.

 

Scammers often intentionally give company names and employee names to freelancers - names that they found on the Internet. Scammers WANT freelancers to Google these names and look on LinkedIn.

 

I never Google the names that clients give me. By dealing only with the information available on Upwork - including a client's history and the details of their contract or job posting - I am able to stay safe and avoid getting tricked by scammers.

dc090715
Community Member

Thank you so much for sharing, I just spoke to these people today and something seemed a little off. You have saved me from making a big mistake. If you want to report them here is the site https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx - given to me by glass door when I taken by someone on there.

I've been here numerous years but don't recall seeing the words "ended up in handcuffs" and "I was arrested today at the bank" ever showing up in a thread. Then we find you are using your own bank card, converting things to bitcoin, and erroneously blaming Upwork for putting you with this top flight client.  

 

You win. This thread should be preserved forever. 

You obviously don’t know the situation or the contract. I wasn’t using my own account I truly guess unless you were in my situation you would not understand. I’ve been in contact with a lawyer and this is actually really common. Upwork should screen clients, and make sure they have accountable contracts. I get paid through Upwork to my direct deposit. I believe this is common for freelancers.

If I was someone else then it could have been worse for that person. Like I stated before, the contract was similar to jobs I’ve performed and it changed into something else. It’s a tale to watch out for people. You judging doesn’t make it any better or any worse.

Hi Rachel, 

I'm not sure what you meant when you said you weren't using your own account. But since this is a public community, and for the benefit of other users who may be reading this thread, I would like to note that users are not allowed to use another person's account on Upwork as it is a violation of the Upwork Terms of Service. Account owners should only use their own account. 


~ Avery
Upwork
kfarnell
Community Member

She's talking about her bank account. Not her Upwork account.

I'm confused: 

Did she violate TOS by asking client to pay her directly?  OR, was she paid through UW - then transfer to bank account - then have the problems?

 

Either way, it seems that your story is not entirely truthful, and more than a little fanciful sounding - you did read the UW response stating that you were NOT introducted to this client through their placement specialist --- yes?  You read that?  If so, is this the case?

 

Further,

7 squad cars at a bank b/c you, apparently innocently, attempted to deposit questionable bitcoin?  As cousin Eddy would say: "I-I-I-I don't know about that"

 

Further, Further,

Were you attempting to either deposit or claim bitcoin from this client?  If so, then I do not beleive that you were initially paid through UW as I do not think that UW support the payment to freelancers with bitcoin.

 

Either way: IF you were really arrested - and you did nothing criminally wrong, I'm sorry you endured that --- but I really have a sense that you attempted to make some "coin" on the side, and your bank said no --- in order to make yourself appear to be the victim, you thought you could be arrested - and then blame the cuff walk on UW. 

You see where I'm going here I hope: you should perhaps just stop now, while you still have your UW account.

sam-sly
Community Member

Wow! Thanks for telling your story. I do think it is helpful for newbies to read about what to watch out for.

 

Rachel, here is what is confusing me about your situation. You said you didn't take any payment other than through Upwork, right? If so, how did the client get associated with your bank account? Did the client have you purchasing things for them? If it wasn't incoming transactions, it sounds like there must have been some outgoing transactions that turned out to be trouble.

 

I am just trying to understand. 


@Samantha S wrote:

Wow! Thanks for telling your story. I do think it is helpful for newbies to read about what to watch out for.

 

Rachel, here is what is confusing me about your situation. You said you didn't take any payment other than through Upwork, right? If so, how did the client get associated with your bank account? Did the client have you purchasing things for them? If it wasn't incoming transactions, it sounds like there must have been some outgoing transactions that turned out to be trouble.

 

I am just trying to understand. 


 I'm just guessing here, but maybe she was paid through upwork to convert cash into bitcoins at her bank? Some sort of money laundering?

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