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Be careful, my first experience with Upwork and it was a scam...

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Active Member
Meg S Member Since: Jan 14, 2017
1 of 19

This is my first experience with Upwork, and what I thought was an interview, turned out to be a scam. I was contacted by a legitimate business, (**Edited for Community Guidelines** - which I researched on the internet before responding to), they contacted me via your Upwork message center.  So I had no reason to believe that this was not normal.  Here is what they wrote on the Upwork message center:

 

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

So, during what I thought was a legit interview on hangout, I realized that the interviewer was asking me for information I didn't want to share on the web.  I happened to keep a copy of the interview if anyone would like to see it; the questions seemed like legit interview questions and it lasted over 1 hour.

 

My concern, and where I would like feedback, is what is upwork doing to protect its freelancers who are honestly trying to use its site?  How did these scammers get my information from Upwork?  How were they able to contact me via the Upwork messaging center? Why has Upwork not shut this scammer down (i see they did the same thing to someone in Dec) Why cant Upwork software scan messages and flag those that direct freelancers off its site to communicate?

 

Shouldn't Upwork focus on protecting its freelancers?  People looking for work are already vunerable enough

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 19

re: "I was contacted by a legitimate business, (**Edited for Community Guidelines**)"

 

You were not contacted by a legitimate business. You were contacted by a scammer who copied the name of a company from the Internet.

 

re: "which I researched on the internet before responding to"

 

This is a common newbie mistake. Don't do this. The scammers WANT you to research the company names they feed you.

 

Real clients who will pay you money don't care if you research their names. Often trying to google their names will yield no results. The names scammers give you always yield impressive results. That's the scam.

 

Don't use google when applying to Upwork jobs or when responding to interview requests.

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
3 of 19

re: "you are to add **Edited for Community Guidelines** via google hangout"

 

Whenever a newbie is asked to interview via Google Hangout, it is a scam. You don't need to read further. You can stop communicating with the scammer immediately when you see that.

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
4 of 19

re: "the questions seemed like legit interview questions and it lasted over 1 hour."

 

An hour?!

 

A real interview should never last that long. I have hired over 50 freelancers on Upwork. I rarely even interview them.

 

A real interview just needs to ascertain that you have the skills you proclaim to have and you are who you really are. Should not take more than 15 minutes.

 

If an interview lasts longer than that, then it has probably turned in a consultation, and the freelancer should be getting paid to consult with the client about their project.

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Active Member
Meg S Member Since: Jan 14, 2017
5 of 19

Sounds like this happens often, If the verbiage is so common, I suggest Upwork's programmers scan messages for this string, and when they find it, they flag it as possibly "scam".  That would be helpful to all users, not just newbies.

 

Could this solution possibly work?

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Active Member
Meg S Member Since: Jan 14, 2017
6 of 19

Appoligies for being a newby, but they did contact me via the Upwork messager, so they are a scammer operating within the Upwork application, correct?  And Upwork is aware that this is happening and has not been able to stop it? Prerhaps there is an opportunity here for Upwork to do a better job of warning gulible newbies such as myself?  Just want to bring it to others attention, as well as providing Upwork with feedback from a newby user.

 

How many times have you found yourself explaining this to users?  just curious if I am just unlucky or it happens often?

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Community Leader
Claudia B Member Since: Jan 12, 2017
7 of 19

Meg, it happens all the time, and I wonder why clients don't have to verify their identity to Upwork like freelancers do.

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
8 of 19

re: "they are a scammer operating within the Upwork application, correct?"

 

Yes. This is normal.

 

Scammers routinely target newbies, especially those in entry level job niche categories.

 

Scammers never contact me. I'm experienced, and scammers know it is a waste of their time to contact me.

 

Most newbies are contacted by the same scammers, using the same scam, starting with Google Hangouts.

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Active Member
Meg S Member Since: Jan 14, 2017
9 of 19

Thanks Claudia for an honest answer.  Now I dont feel like such a newbie idiot. 

 

Yes, it seems there is room for improvement, now we have two Voices of the Customer:

 

One, do a better job vetting the clients, so your freelancers dont get scamed and their info is protected,

two, add programming to scan and flag messages that might be directing a freelancer off-site.

 

Does anyone know how I can submit these to the Upwork Product Manager?

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Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
10 of 19

@Meg S wrote:

Appoligies for being a newby, but they did contact me via the Upwork messager, so they are a scammer operating within the Upwork application, correct?  


No need to apologize for being a newbie.

 

Scammers don't operate within the Upwork application. Scammers post fake jobs on Upwork. Upwork hunts them but their business is so lucrative (because many are so naive that they fall into their tricks) that they always come back.

 

They prey on newbies.

 

And Upwork has protections in place that every freelancer should get familiar with before starting to seek for jobs.

 

Other than providing payment protections, there is not much that Upwork can do. On the Internet, and Upwork is no exception, you cannot suppose that people are who they say they are.

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless