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Cheated on my first job

Community Guru
Kathy T Member Since: Jul 17, 2015
11 of 18

It's a shame that new freelancers don't take the time to find out the procedures and do's and dont's of a site. They just jump right in, and forget that they are dealing with strangers in different countries that they met on the internet. They don't take the time to find out about the safe procedures that are implemented on this site. At time they don't even use common sense. They send money to these clients, they accept checks and send the excess back, they buy loptops and give personal information to these strangers. They eagerly do jobs, samples, tests without payment. all in the "desperation" of getting that first job. I won't be surprised if a client told a freelancer to run around the block naked at the hieght of the rush hour and they will then give the job to the freelancer (with promises of lots more work in the future.) and the freelancer will eagerly do as told.


To be perfectly blunt, these clients are laughing at ALL the newbies they have scammed over and over again with the same old scam. Look at just this one post and see how many have been scammed, ... just this one post.


Speaking personally, I would NEVER accept a check from anyone never mind someone from who knows where that I met on the internet. I won't even accept checks in person from anyone if I'm selling something. Cash Only.


I would never give someone on the internet my address never mind any other personal information. Why would they need that. I'm here just to do a job and nothing else.


I don't do tests or samples. I upload samples of my work. That's all they need to see to know if my "style" fits their requirements. 


I don't start work until funds are somewhere. And I will look all around the site to find out where. And if I can't find it, BEFORE I start working I'll either read the help section or Q&A section, ask a questions as to how to know if I'll be paid or contact customer service to find out.


I don't go blindly into something that I know nothing about. But then again, that's just me.



Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
12 of 18


I totally understand where you are coming, and I don't disagree with anything in your post.


Is it a "shame" that newbie freelancers do this? Yes.


But it is also a reality that they do this.


This reality of newbie freelancer behavior, which we know is commonplace based on the many posts about it in the Forum, is something l blame on the freelancers themselves as well as Upwork. If Upwork was more aggressive and proactive about newbie freelancer training, then this kind of thing could be prevented.


But ultimately this does boil down to freelancer behavior.


One thing that has not been discussed much (or at all) is ramping up penalties for the freelancers who are involved.


Posing a general question (not to Kathy but to everybody):


Do you think Upwork should continue to "go easy" on newbies who violate Upwork rules and work without a contract? Or do you think there should be stricter penalties? For example, if a freelancer is caught working without a contract, he would get a three-month suspension to allow him to study Upwork rules more thoroughly before being able to send more job proposals?


Or... if Upwork REALLY wanted to cut down on "client" scammers, Upwork could do this:


Upwork could ITSELF automatically send "check scam" job invitations to all newbie freelancers. Any freelancers who agree to participate would then be suspended for six months. Of course, Upwork would not ACTUALLY send fake checks. It would only be checking to see which freelancers agree to get paid off-platform, and penalize those who do.


Of course Upwork is not ACTUALLY going to do this. But I don't think anybody can honestly say that it wouldn't cut down on the problem.

Community Guru
Mary W Member Since: Nov 10, 2014
13 of 18

Even easier than Preston's suggestions:  Make all new freelancers past a somewhat rigorous test on how the platform works before they can bid.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
14 of 18


Absolutely, yes, you're correct.


That's the first part (and the "realistic" part) of my suggestion: Upwork should be "aggressive and proactive about newbie freelancer training."

Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
15 of 18

@Preston H wrote:


Absolutely, yes, you're correct.


That's the first part (and the "realistic" part) of my suggestion: Upwork should be "aggressive and proactive about newbie freelancer training."

 I suspect that I'm going to be widely reviled as "elitist" for saying this, but I think that if Upwork were a bit more stringent in terms of freelancer credentials, experience and profile quality, that problem would take care of itself. I know no seasoned professional who would think "Oh, great! A complete stranger is buying me a computer so I can do low-level work that anyone could do for a great rate of pay!"

Active Member
Drazen V Member Since: Mar 10, 2017
16 of 18

I agree with you - newbies must be more careful.


However, in my case it's not that I didn't prepare for potential frauds (I read about it) but I just wanted to check how it all works for a few days and see what Upwork clients demand from freelancers. Anyway, I am only into regular contracts now. 


On the other side, one thing does bother me - how come Upwork sets up video interview with me as son as I start applying for jobs but it nevers checks potential employers the same way? It could be a very good way to prevent frauds like this. 



Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
17 of 18


Why would Upwork need to do video interviews to verify the identities of clients?


Clients do payment verificiation, which is what we freelancers care about.


Freelancers don't care if clients' photos are legitimate. Most clients don't even have photos on their profiles.

Community Guru
Jess C Member Since: Feb 18, 2015
18 of 18

Clients don't even really have profiles.


If they had to go through even a modicum of screening, that would prevent the ones who open multiple accounts posting the same scams over and over and over again. There are a few who use the same exact wording every time: always a new account with no payment verification, always their very first job posting, always the same key phrases, usually looking for a weird number of freelancers (11 is popular), always a scam. They get reported, the job is taken down and that account gets closed, but the same person slips through the system again with five new accounts posting the same thing - and all because there is no meaningful screening for clients.


The job listings are cluttered with these, and they do get reported and removed, but wouldn't it be great if they were unable to post in the first place? Freelancers who have been around for awhile learn to recognize the hallmarks, but the sheer number of bogus postings drags the whole platform down. We get story after story of naive newbies still falling for the same things, and the scammers keep posting them because they WORK.