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"We have taken appropriate action"

Community Guru
Hanna N Member Since: Jun 17, 2015
1 of 17

I had reported a job to UpWork yesterday because I was sure it was unethical, if not illegal. 


It was a job I was invited to apply for the second time. A different company, but the name of the man who sent me the invitation was the same. Last time I accepted the invitation, so I have spoken with this person, and what he was interested in was my eBay account.


Yes, not my eBay experience, but he wanted me to tell him my eBay account. When I only linked him to my eBay page and asked him what my personal account would be needed for (insinuating that I would not use it for a client, though I have no problem managing his account if it is legimate), he never replied.


Now he has opened a new account, claiming that he owns a pawnshop in the UK. I would put good money on this being a lie.


I flagged the job, but as I saw the amount of interviews was skyrocketing, I also contacted the customer support yesterday and explained to them why this job that seems to be a good job at a glance is actually a very dangerous scam. I explained that the reason why I contacted the customer support is that as more and more people are applying to this job and more and more of them are being interviewed, it needs to be closed down as soon as possible to make sure nobody ends up being scammed. I also explained that it only is revealed as a scam in the interview stage, when the client starts to ask about eBay. I was thanked for bringing this to their attention.


Later I received an e-mail saying they have taken "approriate action" and I was nicely told that next time I can just flag the job.


I still had the job open on a tab, and so yeah, I checked. Apparently "appropriate action" means that the job is now invite-only.


Marketplace Qualitity team, are you serious? You think it is fine to have people fall into this scam, as long as it looks legimate on the surface? I am seriously disgusted by this! 


UpWork, you really need to start doing better.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 17

Not everything that I regard as immoral, illegal, unethical, etc. will be grounds for Upwork to close a job or penalize a client.


As a practical matter, sometimes we need to report and just let it go.

Community Guru
Hanna N Member Since: Jun 17, 2015
3 of 17

Preston, if I had received a reply from the team saying that the job does not actually violate the TOS and UpWork is fine with clients that are here to get clean eBay accounts for their dirty eBay business (and possibly/probably scam freelancers on top of it), then that's fine, lesson learned and I won't waste my time even flagging the job next time. 


However, if UpWork finds nothing wrong with this job, why did they hide it, and why has the client made a new account, posting the exactly same job again?


The thing stinks and now it's lingering to UpWork as well.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
4 of 17



I have no idea.


I appreciate your efforts to make Upwork a better place for all contractors.


There are lot of things that Upwork does that I don't try to figure out.


I DO report jobs that I feel clearly violate Upwork TOS, and I DO wish there was a way that automatically told me if Upwork did or did not close a job I reported. In my experience, when I have reported jobs I have seem them removed pretty quickly. So I trust there is a system in place that more or less works.


Why some jobs and some clients remain and others don't, I don't know.

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
5 of 17

Hanna, some hours ago, I reported a blatant request for college work (architecture). The attachment displays exactly what the student is required to do. Not only that, the "client" has had at least ten course projects completed. The job, is of course, still up.


That eBay job you describe sounds extremely dodgy to me and a perfect set-up for selling stolen goods or laundering.


What I can't understand, is why does Upwork bother to have these regulations when they do nothing whatsoever to uphold them.



Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
6 of 17

Hanna send a PM to Valieria and let her triple check


I had that conversation with the Marketplace Quality team once and had to get a higher level involved before action was taken.


It is actually most likely that freelancers are asked to sell high value items through their Ebay account and then send the money on. The items never arrive (because they do not exist) and then the freelancer has PayPal coming after them for the money


Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
7 of 17

From eBay, who not surprisingly know about those scams:





The Scam: Deceptive Double Whammy

eBayer with PayPal account gets email from total stranger located overseas. Stranger says he cannot handle PayPal because of his location, but wants to sell to people who use PayPal. Stranger offers eBayer a deal: eBayer will receive a percentage, if eBayer accepts funds from stranger's auctions in his account. eBayer is asked to wire money to stranger, after the PayPal deposits are made. eBayer accepts, on the condition that money will be sent only AFTER copies of tracking numbers are sent to eBayer.

The scam can go in any of several directions at this point.

  • The auction winners pay with fraudulent funds. PayPal notifies eBayer that the transfer has been cancelled, AFTER the eBayer wired funds to the stranger. eBayer is unprotected, because he is not the seller of record or for another failure to follow seller protection rules. eBayer loses all the money. eBayer cannot recoup money that was wired from his bank. eBayer loses real money equivalent to the value of the auctions plus Western Union fees.


  • The winners pay with money from hijacked accounts or other illegal gains. eBayer wires money to overseas stranger, thus laundering the money for the scammer. eBayer enjoys his percentage, until tall men in trenchcoats knock on his door, with federal warrants.


  • The stranger ships a brick. Buyers complain to PayPal. PayPal agrees a brick is not a widget, and reverses the payment. Seller again out the money he wired to stranger, in trouble with PayPal, and may be in trouble with the buyers and eBay.


  • The stranger ships a counterfeit or stolen widget. Buyers detect fraud and complain. eBay, PayPal and local police pound on eBayer's tender head, after extracting real money from his account to reimburse buyers. eBayer loses double the auction value (since he already wired the money to the stranger), and may find himself talking to a judge.


  • Stranger and buyers are in cahoots. Buyers claim nonreceipt of widget and stranger says wired money never arrived due to eBayer's fault. Buyers complain to PayPal and eBay, and win their case. eBayer owes buyers a refund. Stranger tells eBayer that Guido and Salvatore will visit eBayer at next opportunity, unless eBayer wires the money again. eBayer pays again. eBayer loses triple the money and double Western Union fees.


Do not pretend to be an escrow service. Do NOT wire money to strangers. Do NOT get between two possible sharpsters.

PayPal says:
Do not use your PayPal account to collect and transfer money for someone else, or to list or purchase goods on behalf of someone else on a shopping site (e.g. eBay). These types of activity are often conducted as forms of money laundering or mail fraud, and may result in significant criminal penalties.

If someone contacts you with any of the above requests, you should deny the request and Contact Us immediately.

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Remember, there are many variations of these scams.
If the message you receive is at all similar to these, be wary!
Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
8 of 17

I have to add here too, I have just received a notification from CS saying the academic job has been removed - and it has. Or at least, the job is still very visible, but is "no longer available", which is not quite the same thing, but it is better than nothing.

Community Guru
Hanna N Member Since: Jun 17, 2015
9 of 17

Nicola, that suggests to me that this job indeed was "dealt with" by changing it to invite-only. *facepalm* 


Meanwhile, I went through my messages history to check the job the same client sent me an invitation for under a different account last time (that I also flagged), and guess what? It's still open! With over 600 applicants, no less, and apparently the client has interacted with the job post last time 2 days (!) ago.


So I did what Petra suggested and PM'd Valeria. 


When I compare these two job descriptions, I see that the client is honing his craft, as the one I got an invite for 2 months ago did seem too good to be true straight off the bat - this second one is less OTT when it comes to budget. 


This is a really, REALLY dangerous sort of scam, as it is getting more and more subtle. It only rang alarms in my head because it sounded so similar to the one I had been offered before.


Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
10 of 17

Who remembers the girl I tried to help a week or two ago?


Who fell for it, used her ebay account, buyers never got their stuff,  and who now has PayPal coming after her for 1400 and she is a student and fears being deported?


Also, Hanna, there are thousands of scammers, all operating along similar lines, some being smarter than others. It's unlikely to be the same one