Voice Over artists keep an eye out for this.
Freelance pros, how do we identify these scams?
"Employer will provide funds via Check to Employees for the equipment which includes; a laptop(11th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-11800H, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, NVIDIA RTX 3050) that will come with pre-installed software (an advanced anti-malware software program, MXL 2006 condenser microphone, Behringer MIC500 interface, our official data entry application, CRM software), a scanner and headset. Employee will purchase equipment with the aforementioned software preinstalled from a third-party vendor as explained during the briefing."
The contacts represent themselves as **Edited for Community Guidelines**. This is a Scam.
UpWork - Do better. Protect the people who keep you in business, my goodness. Use some of the fees we pay you to implement some actual security protocols.
**Edited for Community Guidelines**
The first line of the ad tells you everything you need to know. You don't need Upwork to tell you this is a thief who is about to steal your time and money. No legitimate client is going to behave in such a manner. Why would a freelancer need to buy equipment? Upwork is jobs, not selling and buying equipment. It is a scam, always has been a scam, and always will be a scam. After doing research, I discovered this was a scam used in the pre-Internet days through magazine and newspaper ads. Then it was to buy a certain kind of paper, ink, typewriter, etc. The scam probably goes back to sea shells or dinosaur bones.
You are new here, so you will be a target for the scams. Go to the introductory section and read everything you can. Read this https://community.upwork.com/t5/Community-Blog/Top-Red-Flags-for-Scams-From-Community-Member-Wes-C/b...
The TOS will guide you in contacting a client outside Upwork and other critical behaviors. Read it several times.
You did the right thing by severing contact.
You don't need to do anything further than saying "no" and notifying support. Once Upwork verifies your information your connects for the interview will be returned. However, if you went off the platform to speak to the supposed client, that is a TOS violation and can get you banned from Upwork.
Should Upwork do more to get rid of the obvious scams? Some scams are ridiculously easy to filter out, such as contact information. If the filters work in the other parts of Upwork, why not in the job search? Other types are not as simple, but if the freelancers can create searches that include a basic Boolean filter, Upwork could easily do the same.
And then there is the whack-a-mole game which is a different breed because the thieves constantly repost, changing the ad, location, money, etc. This scam is much more challenging to identify on Upwork's side because no one looks at the job ads unless flagged. I believe a simple step like verifying the new client's email is reasonable and not going to deter any real client. Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen. Where else can you make an online business transaction with not even a verified email?
However, you must take responsibility for yourself, no one or business will protect you. Freelancers are on their own. It's no different from going to a random chat room. Even if Upwork were doing a wonderful job getting rid of scams, some would still make it through. You have to be a detective. Anything that sounds too good to be true - is. If you are not comfortable vetting your clients, freelancing online may not be for you.