I am new to Upwork and this type of situation just happened to me today. I received a message through Upwork saying to contact the hiring manager through Google Hangout and when they asked for banking information I replied that payments are made through Upwork so it wasn't necessary for me to provide the information.
They replied saying I should hold so they could forward my info to the "Head Dept" and after 15 minutes I logged out.
Should I flag the job posting as inappropriate?
I'm glad this community is here - thank you so much!
Do scam clients typically set up phone interviews? All my phone interviews have been actual, legit customers. Most of the scam clients I have heard of want chat interviews through platforms outside of Upwork like Google Hangouts.
The main thing is do not give any personal information that they don't need (bank details, social security number, etc), do not agree to accept payment outside of Upwork, and do not do any work without an Upwork contract in place.
I am not sure why the suspicion about not-for-profit organizations. Most of my offline work was with not-for-profit organizations. They do hire people. They usually don't pay as well as a for-profit enterprise would (this is a valid consideration). A true not-for-profit is under a lot of scrutiny as they generally have to file paperwork to keep their tax-free status (so there is a public record) and are accountable to a board and donors.
However, there are fraudsters on this platform (and all over the Internet). I do think the OP should listen to his instincts about the inconsistencies he noticed. Fraudsters frequently pose as representatives of legitmate organizations. That is why it is so important to follow Upwork's terms and conditions and to be wary of scam clients who may attempt to phish for your financial and personal identity information. Also, you should not have to buy anything from a potential client in order to do a freelance job.
re: "I'm more concerned about the fact that the person posting the job (and requesting my contact information) does not appear to be on the staff of the non-profit, and is located in a different state from this non-profit"
None of that matters to me.
I don't look at client's web pages.
I don't look at their staff pages.
I don't consider where they live.
I don't try to match up what they tell me to anything that can be found on the web or researched.
I deal only with the information the client presents me via Upwork, and the information Upwork has about that person.
If this was a scammer, then you almost certainly WOULD HAVE been able to find the client's name on the staff page. That is one of the main tricks scammers use. Scammers copy the names of companies and their employees from the Internet, and they feed those names to freelancers. Then the freelancers Google those names are tricked into believing the scammer's story. The fact that you did NOT find the name makes it more likely that this is NOT a scammer.
re: "I am new to Upwork and this type of situation just happened to me today. I received a message through Upwork saying to contact the hiring manager through Google Hangout"
Your situation is not the same as the original poster's situation.
As soon as the "client" you were dealing with mentioned "Google Hangout," you should have stopped communicating with them. Clients who invite Upwork newbies to interview using Google Hangouts are all scammers. They're just trying to steal your money and waste your time.
Re the original poster's comment: "My main concern is that I'd be giving my contact information to a third party who is not on the staff of the organization for which the work is to be performed. "
I don't know whether this is legitimate or a scam. I don't necessarily think that them asking for a phone interview, email address or even the third party are proof of a scam. There are legitimate reasons for all of those things and legitimate examples of real clients doing those things. Some not-for-profit organizations hire fundraising, event planning, web development or other consultants. Some of these consultants might hire freelancers for some of the work on a particular project.
I would still suggest the OP proceed with caution and suspicion if interested. I would be wary of more typical scam activity like phishing for financial information, suggesting you accept payment outside of Upwork, requiring you to buy something, asking you to transfer money, asking you to post sales listings on your own Craigslist or eBay account, etc. I would keep most of the interview within Upwork; the exception might be a telephone interview. Most of my clients through Upwork required a short telephone or video chat conversation. I think that was there way to confirm I could communicate in English and to get a feel for whether they trust me. Those conversations are typically short (about 15 minutes more or less).
But at the end of the day, if it feels wrong to you, trust your own instincts. Some scammers use the phone (like those fake IRS scammers) but many prefer text based chats as it may be harder for them to stick to their scam script when speaking with you.
@Bakhtiyar Y wrote:
Can anyone explain why Google Hangouts has such a reputation? Is it just pure statistics or there's something to GH that makes us vulnerable?
It is experience. I have never known a genuine client suggest Hangouts.
The scammers love it because they can run automated scripts which auto-respond to keywords such as "OK"
So 1000s of hapless victims have "interviews" with bots that just move through a script every time they see "OK"
In addition to what Petra said about the scriptability of Google Hangouts:
When entry-level newbie freelancers are invited to interview using Google Hangouts, the "client" purely uses text messaging. This means that they are using functionality that is already available within Upwork messaging.
Why are they using a completely separate tool to communicate with freelancers? Why make things complicated?
The reason is because they want to conduct their nefarious scheme outside of Upwork's ability to monitor. They are trying to avoid getting caught.
Learn more about our awesome Community member Lisa!Learn More
Virtual Talent Bench enables you to easily discover and connect with talent. Learn more about building custom lists of talent, adding tags, notes, and more to move your business forward.Learn More
Loom addition in messages provides more ways to easily communicate and share information on Upwork!Learn More
Beginning Your Freelancing Journey on UpworkLearn More