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b64a2954
Community Member

Upwork needs to do a better job vetting potential clients

Don't waste your time responding to a "payment method not verified" client. Why Upwork allows potential clients to be unverified in the first place is beyond me. Upwork needs to start doing a better job vetting these scammers. Freelancers have limited time as it is, so we don't need to waste more time chasing a lead that goes nowhere.

ACCEPTED SOLUTION
tlbp
Community Member


Katy K wrote:

Okay, point taken then, thank you Jennifer. How do we fix this on both ends to make the Upwork platform work for both clients and freelancers?


Charge a fee to join the platform and a monthly fee to access it in order to cover the costs of  additional vetting. 

View solution in original post

76 REPLIES 76

I keep getting reeled back in, lol, but I feel compelled to reply to your comments, Phyllis:

- It was just a question. I've never participated in this forum before. I just want to end getting responses sent to my inbox. I'll rephrase the question: Does anyone know how to turn off responses from this thread sent to my inbox?

- I wasn't ending the conversation because I disagreed with the comments, I love public discourse and welcome all opinions! I just have work to do, lol, and this issue appears to be bigger than all of us, or else the conversation would have died out by now.

- Some comments were ill-intentioned, it's the essense of social media, unfortunately. 

- I can see why you would have assumed I was a newbie, but this is my second time on Upwork. The first time, I cracked the code, so to speak, and found some satisfactory success and return on my effort. This time around, it feels completely different. Something has changed. 8 proposals that I had taken the time to reply to were closed in less than 24 hours, that's closed, not that I wasn't selected for the work. So from my perspective, in the two years since I last dabbled on Upwork, I see cracks in the platform. I haven't changed, my product and process haven't changed, so I can only assume Upwork has lost control over letting scammers proliferate.

- Good point on the "target-rich environment," but again, that kinda makes my point for the need for change.

- Good point on expecting pushback. In any struggle for change, pushback is not only expected but necessary for open dialogue.

Thank you for listening!


Katy K wrote:

I keep getting reeled back in, lol, but I feel compelled to reply to your comments, Phyllis:

- It was just a question. I've never participated in this forum before. I just want to end getting responses sent to my inbox. I'll rephrase the question: Does anyone know how to turn off responses from this thread sent to my inbox?


Yes, click on your pic next to your name on the top right hand corner of the screen and you can sift through a variety of preferences for forum notifications. 

 

- I can see why you would have assumed I was a newbie, but this is my second time on Upwork. The first time, I cracked the code, so to speak, and found some satisfactory success and return on my effort. This time around, it feels completely different. Something has changed. 8 proposals that I had taken the time to reply to were closed in less than 24 hours, that's closed, not that I wasn't selected for the work. So from my perspective, in the two years since I last dabbled on Upwork, I see cracks in the platform. I haven't changed, my product and process haven't changed, so I can only assume Upwork has lost control over letting scammers proliferate.

 


This is very confusing to me. Upwork users are only allowed one account ever per the TOS. You cannot close accounts and open a new one. If you were here 2 years ago, why are you not using that account, which would show the jobs you completed 2 years ago. Obviously I don't know the details of why you have a second account, but I highly recommend, as others have, that you re-read the TOS and potentially reach out to support to address the two account issue so you don't have any issues related to that. Again, obviously I don't know the details, just giving you forewarning in case you need to deal with this and have not. 

 

Regarding what has changed, it's not just you or Upwork changing. The world has changed dramatically in the last two years. Even if you and Upwork each have not, the global environment in which we are all living and working HAS changed. Upwork has made a lot of changes to TOS in the last two years to try and protect freelancers as much as it can. I would suggest that you consider the changes in the world the last two years and consider the changes you need to make to your products/services/business model to keep up. Times changes, and we all have to adjust. 

This is great information, thank you Amanda!  No idea why I wasn't able to keep the same account, that certainly would have benefitted me to have a work history on Upwork. Thanks for letting me know, I will follow up with Upwork.

And yes, the world has changed, which again makes my point about Upwork stepping up to meet those changes. Best to you!


Katy K wrote:

And yes, the world has changed, which again makes my point about Upwork stepping up to meet those changes. Best to you!


Upwork HAS stepped up to meet those changes, and to protect freelancers like you, to the detriment of many of our businesses. Example 1: the new TOS rule, enacted in 2020 that we cannot communicate with clients or share outside contact info prior to a contract on Upwork being in place. Many of us now lose clients because we cannot email with them to negotiate or use Calendly to set up appointments and simple things like this. So I had to adjust MY business to deal with Upwork changing to protect freelancers like you and making it harder for many of us to do business. But that's fine, because I can change with the times. 

 

Upwork has been changing. And you are missing the point, which is that you need to look at your business model and shift accordingly. Upwork no longer operates how it did 2 years ago. You cannot continue to operate however you did 2 years ago and expect it to be the same. 

Katy, 

You have clearly not read the terms of service. If you had, you would see that by adding your website URlL and contact information to your profile, you are also violating Upwork's rules and regs. 

 

Thank you for reviewing my profile Nichola! I have removed my website url, thank you. I don't think I have any contact information listed, unless I'm still missing something? Any other input would (I'm completely serious here) be greatly appreciated.

tagrendy
Community Member

Scammers don't hurt Upwork, in fact freelancers waste connects on scammers, there is a symbiotic relationship there. 


Tatevik G wrote:

Scammers don't hurt Upwork, in fact freelancers waste connects on scammers, there is a symbiotic relationship there. 


Scammers do hurt Upwork.
Scammers make customers mistrust other freelancers and the platform.
Freelancers, Upwork has more than enough here, what is needed is more clients (real, not scammers, of course)

If you're referring to scamming freelancers, sure, agree. And since I haven't used Upwork to hire, I don't have experience with that to have anything to say on how much more vetting Freelancers should go through.

 

Scamming clients is what I was referring to, since the OP seems to refer to them as well. There is absolutely no vetting for clients, and most freelancers here don't seem to even support the idea of having some vetting, and put all responsibility on the freelancers to know enough not to get scammed.

moonraker
Community Member


Katy K wrote:

Don't waste your time responding to a "payment method not verified" client.


I love this advice.

Unverified clients are an absolute gold mine and the more people who keep clear of them, the better it is for me.

We'll have to share.  I've found some of my highest paying and most loyal clients among those who were initially "unverified." 

That is an excellent point.  

Doing that would help freelancers more than clients, so not gonna happen.

pgiambalvo
Community Member

Okay, I'm done. Flagging and complaining to no avail is taking up way to much of my time. If Upwork doesn't care about all these scams then either do I. I'll check back in a couple of weeks and see if anything's changed.

b64a2954
Community Member

Because I feel the need to beat a dead horse. And because I flagged the scammer's proposal as inappropriate and contacted Upwork days ago, but still have received no response from Upwork. And because after all the comments on this thread, I'm curious. Freelancers, would you have responded to this:

Graphic designer needed to create engaging content
We are looking for an energetic graphic designer to create brand designs and guidelines for existing ongoing business immediate projects include website design and layout, collateral materials including sell sheets, presentations, print materials, social media aesthetic. A good UI/UX intuition is desired.

I should also mention they were listed as an "Upwork Plus Client" (what does that even mean and how does a bogus client get that designation anyway?). Payment not yet verified, located in the US, 0% hire rate.

Thank you in advance for your responses!


Katy K wrote:


I should also mention they were listed as an "Upwork Plus Client" (what does that even mean and how does a bogus client get that designation anyway?). Payment not yet verified, located in the US, 0% hire rate.


Upwork Plus Client โ€“ Upwork Customer Service & Support | Upwork Help

Thank you Sophie!  From the link you provided, I'm reading that "Clients pay a monthly membership fee of $49.99 along with a payment processing and administration fee on their transactions for Upwork Plus. Select clients receive a free trial."

So theoretically, Upwork should be able to track these scammers down? Are they able to pay one month and then skip out on the membership? What is the point is having what appears to be a status designation if it doesn't mean anything in the end?

Most importantlyโ€”since I haven't yet heard back from Upwork on this issue, not even a "we're working on it" responseโ€”does Upwork even attempt to track them down and, ultimately, address the VERY BIG issue of scammers on this platform?

petra_r
Community Member


Katy K wrote:

does Upwork even attempt to track them down 


No. They couldn't be tracked down, so any attempt would be a waste of time.

 

If you don't violate the terms of service, you don't get scammed by those people, so it's easy enough to avoid being scammed by them.

 


Katy K wrote:

 Are they able to pay one month and then skip out on the membership? 


They never paid in the first place.

b64a2954
Community Member

True, about the ToS.  But the point I'm trying to make PRECEDES that, it's that Upwork needs to do a better job VETTING potential clients in the first place. Freelancers have limited time. We don't know when we're in the process of APPLYING or RESPONDING to a proposal if the potential client is legit or not. I had 8 proposals closed within a 24-hour time period...that's CLOSED, not that I wasn't selected. Am I making sense to anyone here?

As for the "Upwork Plus Client" designation, if the supposed client didn't pay in the first place, then why call out what appears to be a status identifier on their post when it's completely meaningless. I stand by my original statement, that Upwork needs to do a better job vetting potential clients.

petra_r
Community Member


Katy K wrote:

then why call out what appears to be a status identifier on their post when it's completely meaningless.


I've never considered it as a "status identifier"

 

Upwork need to do more to check job posts - A LOT of the scams could be filtered out for manual review super easily. If that was done, plus flagged hob posts addressed much more quickly, the number of scam job posts would be reduced to a fraction of what it is at the moment.


Asking clients to verify before they post a job is not the way forward because it would turn off way too many genuine new clients too and none of us want that.

 

b64a2954
Community Member

Thank you for your reponse, Petra. 

It is a status identifier, or else it wouldn't be bold and blue. 

GREAT solution for manual review to filter out a lot of the scams!  I hope Upwork is listening.

Apparently, SOME of us do want to ask clients to verify before they post a job (I've gotten 4 Kudos on my posts in the last 5 minutes). How hard could this be?

petra_r
Community Member


Katy K wrote:

Apparently, SOME of us do want to ask clients to verify before they post a job


You want less paying clients, less won contracts, less income?

On behalf of all freelancers on the platform?

I don't. I also don't want Upwork to go out of business.

 


Katy K wrote:

(I've gotten 4 Kudos on my posts in the last 5 minutes).


**Edited for Community Guidelines**


It's not "hard" to verify clients before they are allowed to post a job post. Expensive, of course, but not hard as such.

 

The reason why it is an exceptionally bad idea (and incidentally why none of the other similar platforms do this), is because too many prospective clients (who cost a lot of advertising Dollars to attract) will not do this and will instead vote with their feet and hot-tail it out of Upwork and to the other platforms where they don't have to jump through all those hoops just to post a job.

 

For very much the same reason why shoe shops don't demand your passport and a verified payment method before they let you into their shop, let alone try on a pair of boots.

b64a2954
Community Member

That's 4 out of the 8 people responding on here, lol, so I'd say those numbers are pretty good. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Just because something isn't done on other platforms isn't a reason not to do it. In fact, it would make it more selective for both clients and freelancers.

Shoe shops analogy? Not following...  But you do need a passport to board a plane and you do need to be approved for a credit card before using it, so....


Katy K wrote:

That's 4 out of the 8 people responding on here, lol, so I'd say those numbers are pretty good. ๐Ÿ™‚

 


You are not the first person to suggest this. Search the forum and you will find threads from other people (most of them who haven't earned a dime on Upwork) suggesting the same thing and you'll also see the numerous (far more than 4) freelancers responding what a terrible idea it is. 

 

You are stuck in the idea that what is good for you in particular is good for the rest of us. It's not. This has been discussed extensively here in other threads, and yes, there are always a few misguided freelancers who think it will help them while the vast majority agree that we don't want to make any more barriers to entry to clients hiring us. 

 

As I said previously, Upwork continues to make more and more changes to prevent freelancers from getting scammed, many of which have negatively impacted earning, successful freelancers who understand how to do their own client vetting and due diligence. I don't need Upwork making it any harder because people can't use common sense. 

Thank you for your reply Amanda.  Just curious, what exactly is a "Community Guru"?  Does Upwork pay you or provide you with credits or other benefits to be an admin in this forum?

re: "Just curious, what exactly is a 'Community Guru'?"

 

The Forum system that Upwork uses, which was not necessarily created by them, but was installed and modified, has rankings based on the number of posts that a person has made. If one participates regularly in the Forum, one will soon accumulate enough posts to be classified as a "Community Guru."

 

re: "Does Upwork pay you or provide you with credits or other benefits to be an admin in this forum?"

 

No.

 

In fact, someone who is a Community Guru is probably spending time in the Forum that they could otherwise use doing something else, such as earning money.

 

Also: A Community Guru is not technically an "admin" in the Community Forum. There ARE admins. Those are "Forum moderators." They have an Upwork logo next to their name/profile photo.

Thank you Preston.  So do the "rankings" then benefit you on this platform in any way?  If not, why spend so much time in this forum if you could be spending the time earning money (I'm asking myself the same question right now, lol)?

Amanda gave you an extremely thoughtful and accurate response.  You take issue with anybody who disagrees with you -- even those of us who are high earners and have been on Upwork for years. Why not consider her helpful advice rather than beoming suspicious that she has ulterior motives, and looking for ridiculous ways to discredit her?

 

No, Upwork isn't paying us or giving us "credits" to post in the forum.  What a silly suggestion. 

petra_r
Community Member


Katy K wrote:

 So do the "rankings" then benefit you on this platform in any way?


No. Of course not.

 


Katy K wrote:

 If not, why spend so much time in this forum


Seriously?

 


Katy K wrote:

 If not, why spend so much time in this forum if you could be spending the time earning money


We earn plenty of money working with Upwork clients. This is why we don't want Upwork to take measures that will lead to us (and all other freelancers) earning much less money.

 

We spend time in the forum during breaks to exchange ideas with our fellow freelancers, interact with our forum friends, discuss matters and help others who are willing to be helped.

 

Many of us have been here for many, many years.

re: "So do the 'rankings' then benefit you on this platform in any way? If not, why spend so much time in this forum if you could be spending the time earning money (I'm asking myself the same question right now, lol)?"

 

I refer to this as "forum addiction." I believe there is a neurochemical response generated by participation in the Forum that subtly influences people such as myself to gravitate to the Forum and spend time there.

 

These are the same principles of addiction that are at the heart of the business models for social media companies generally, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.


Katy K wrote:

Thank you Preston.  So do the "rankings" then benefit you on this platform in any way?  If not, why spend so much time in this forum if you could be spending the time earning money (I'm asking myself the same question right now, lol)?


If you really want to criticize how other's spend their time, let me educate you: I am disabled. I work plenty of hours and make plenty of money. I also like to give back by contributing in the community forum. In addition to that, my retired service dog is dying. So while he sits next to me on the sofa and I watch him breathe, I distract myself by contributing to this forum. 

 

So no, I'm not being paid. And no, I'm not wasting time. And yes, I do land plenty of work, both on Upwork and through other channels. Upwork has very limited customer support, so many of us spend time here answering questions, in service to the community. It doesn't mean we have nothing to do, don't have lives, or don't have work. 

 

I hope this clarifies things for you. 


Katy K wrote:

Because I feel the need to beat a dead horse. And because I flagged the scammer's proposal as inappropriate and contacted Upwork days ago, but still have received no response from Upwork. And because after all the comments on this thread, I'm curious. Freelancers, would you have responded to this:

Graphic designer needed to create engaging content
We are looking for an energetic graphic designer to create brand designs and guidelines for existing ongoing business immediate projects include website design and layout, collateral materials including sell sheets, presentations, print materials, social media aesthetic. A good UI/UX intuition is desired.

I should also mention they were listed as an "Upwork Plus Client" (what does that even mean and how does a bogus client get that designation anyway?). Payment not yet verified, located in the US, 0% hire rate.

Thank you in advance for your responses!


Work per hour or fixed? Budget?
It is not my field, but in principle I could bid for something similar.


Actually, if I haven't missed it, have you told us what the problem is? Just that the payment is not verified or did you have a problem in the interview or something else?


For many of the jobs I bid on, the payment is not verified.
And, as I have said before, the only problem with a payment that I have had so far was with a client with verified payment (it was an hourly job and Upwork paid me)

 

AND the job was just renewed 47 minutes ago!!!  Wow, way to go Upwork.  Be careful out there.

 

Can you confirm what issue you had down the road to confirm it was a scam?

Asking me to sign a contract to use their specialized equipment for the project, which they would send to me and then provide funds at the end to return it when the project was complete. Sounded like I would be signing a lease agreement for equipment that I don't need. I've been doing this a long time and my own equipment is more than adequate. I've never been asked to use a client's specialized equipment with "monitoring software." What do you think?

Thanks, you are the expert in your field, so you know best what looks good and doesn't!

kochubei_valeria
Community Member

Hello Katy and others,

 

Thanks for sharing your experience and suggestions. While I'm not currently aware of any plans to start requiring clients to verify their payment methods before posting their first job, our Trust & Safety team is continuously working on improving their processes to identify and address potential scams. For more information please, refer to this blog post by Senior Product Manager with Upwork Trust & Safety.

I  won't be able to share details about another user's account status, however, rest assured the specific job post and account in question have been reviewed.

I will be closing this thread to further replies since the arguments have been exhausted and the conversation is moving into an unproductive direction. I'd like to thank all participants for their valuable input.

~ Valeria
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