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"University" requires banking details?

I was invited to estimate cost for an academic editing job. The description of the job was notably, though not in itself suspiciously, generic.

 

The red flag was the assertion that the scholar's university required banking details to know "to whom" they should make payment.

 

Not knowing whether this might be an error in good faith, I did not report this request as a violation. I explained that payments on an Upwork hire could only be made to Upwork, and so my banking details were both unavailable and irrelevant.

 

If they come back all compliant, we can continue the conversation. If they double down on paying me directly, they're going to get reported.

 

I usually scoff and pass by posts about requests for banking details. I decided to post about this one because I haven't been aware of anyone using a cloak of institutional respectability to advance a scam—if that's what this turns out to be—in my field.

 

Anyone else?

 

ACCEPTED SOLUTION


David S wrote:

I wouldn't give a second thought about reporting such clients requesting bank details when they actually met me on the Upwork platform. Spotting a Red Flag isn't that difficult because when a client gets to the hiring stage, they'll be required to verify their payment method. Why are they not verifying their payment method and let Upwork do their part?


If the job seems otherwise legit, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and explain the process. I'd only report them if they persist in insisting on off-platform payment.

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8 REPLIES 8

I wouldn't give a second thought about reporting such clients requesting bank details when they actually met me on the Upwork platform. Spotting a Red Flag isn't that difficult because when a client gets to the hiring stage, they'll be required to verify their payment method. Why are they not verifying their payment method and let Upwork do their part?


David S wrote:

I wouldn't give a second thought about reporting such clients requesting bank details when they actually met me on the Upwork platform. Spotting a Red Flag isn't that difficult because when a client gets to the hiring stage, they'll be required to verify their payment method. Why are they not verifying their payment method and let Upwork do their part?


If the job seems otherwise legit, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and explain the process. I'd only report them if they persist in insisting on off-platform payment.

pgiambalvo
Member

Hmm, interesting. I also have recieved a couple of responses recently that I thought were fishy and so withdrew my proposals. The jobs were soon removed. Usually, I'm able to spot the fishy ones before I apply.

In this case the second thought seems justified. The prospect got back to me this morning, and further detailed their university's process, and their misunderstanding as a first-time user of how payment works.

Peculiarities of payables requirements from universities is not uncommon. I'm going to jump over to the support thread to follow up on whether Upwork can accommodate this particular prospect and their institution.


Douglas Michael M wrote:

In this case the second thought seems justified. The prospect got back to me this morning, and further detailed their university's process, and their misunderstanding as a first-time user of how payment works.

Peculiarities of payables requirements from universities is not uncommon. I'm going to jump over to the support thread to follow up on whether Upwork can accommodate this particular prospect and their institution.


Please update us. I work with many universities and this can be a perceived problem for some of them wanting to use the platform. 

I have some hints from Wes in another thread, suggesting a way I can proceed. I'll get back to the client with a proposal to walk them through the process, and when it works – or fails – I'll report back here.

Good luck. Dealing with university finance departments can be ... interesting.

wescowley
Member

I've had a few requests like this from institutional clients and it usually gets cleared up once I explain the process. The only time it didn't was with a long-term client whose university would no longer reimburse them but required paying me directly. I had to walk away from that one.