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Has anyone been scammed on this website?

Active Member
Margie R Member Since: Dec 16, 2016
1 of 12

I was sent a counterfeit check that I deposited into my bank and I deposited the money into another bank account for the people that scammed me. I don't blame Upwork. I just want to know if there are anymore scams out there that I should look out for.

Community Guru
Pat M Member Since: Jun 18, 2016
2 of 12

@ Margie R.:  There's "tons!"  If you search for "scams" in this Community, you'll gain a wealth of information regarding many of them.

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


Probably thousands of people have been scammed here with exactly the same check scam that you described.


I'm sorry this happened to you. I'm glad you have a positive attitude about it and don't blame Upwork.


I don't point this out to be critical of you personally, because I know you're a good person and a good freelancer. But unfortunately, here's the truth: Every person who was scammed with the check scam was personally violating Upwork's most important rule: "No money is exchanged except through Upwork."


When you use Upwork as a freelancer, you only get paid through Upwork. That's the main rule. So the people who were scammed... I'm not saying they deserved it. But they did all break Upwork's main rule by accepting a check.

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

re: "I just want to know if there are anymore scams out there that I should look out for."


Yes. There are other scams. But you already experienced the main one.


From here on out, it is easier and easier to identify scams. If you read the ToS, you'll know enough to be very safe.


The main things are:

- Don't accept any payments except from Upwork.

- Don't do any work unless you have an official Upwork contract (listed on your My Jobs page)

- Don't do any hourly work for a client unless they are "payment verified"

- Don't do any fixed-price contract work unless the milestone you are working on is fully funded.

- Don't do a big fixed-price contract with somebody you don't know and trust; start small, with a contract for $100 or less, or less than 2 hours of work.


If you follow these tips, it is pretty rare to get scammed.

Active Member
Pamela B Member Since: Dec 17, 2016
5 of 12

        I am also a newbie and have had a job offered to me.  You say that Upwork should pay us, well Upwork states on their website that you can either contact the client through Upwork or talk to the client direct.  I took this to mean we (meaning freelancers) are supposed to take care of the assignments, personally.  


        Something else Upwork tells its freelancers is to create a Hangouts account with the customer.  This can also confuse the freelancer into thinking that they are to deal with the client personally.  I thought that the client would pay Upwork their share of the agreed upon payment, then pay us within the agreed upon time schedule.


       The client then gave me the instructions to await a check in the mail and deposit it to my bank account, the  money would be available in 24 hours, then I was supposed to pay the software vendor for the software and other tools I would need.  This sounded suspicious so I told the inteviewer that they were a fraud.  The name of the company (FYI) is called **Edited for Community Guidelines**.  I disconnected my  discussion with the company's spokesperson.  But the next day she was back online telling me she was sorry our communication had been abruptly cut off.  I am going to wait for the check then send it to whatever agency who will help me put these companies out of business.


I really suggest though, that Upwork thoroughly screen their clients, so that the newbies (or anyone else) cannot be scammed.   Attached is the entire conversation between me and Upwork's client business.  Any suggestions on how someone can safely contract their skills and/or services out? 


P.S.  By the way my State ID is a bogus number.  I did this until I was for sure the company was legitimate. :0

Valeria K Moderator Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
6 of 12

Hi Pamela,


We'll have the job you are referring to reviewed as soon as possible. Please, note that offering and accepting payments outside of the platform is a violation of ToS and is a common sign of scam. Upwork Team takes these kind of violations seriously and takes actions accordingly.

~ Valeria
Valeria K Moderator Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
7 of 12

Hi Margie,


I'm sorry to hear you were a victim of a scam. I see that Preston has already shared good advice for avoiding such situations in the future. I'd also like to direct you to this post where Lena compiled most common warning flags. If you come across such jobs, please flag them so the team could take actions.

~ Valeria
Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
8 of 12

People come here, don't spend a minute reading the help section so they understand how this site works before using it, or worse they willfully accept this kind of offers to circumvent Upwork.


And they end up scammed.


I am moderately sorry for them. Very moderately.



"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
9 of 12

Upwork gets accused so often of greed. But some freelancers (if one can call them that) are so blinded by their own neediness and the dayglo dollar signs, that all commonsense is thrown to the winds.


Anyone who has spent any time at all on the internet  must surely be aware of this type of scam? It is certainly not exclusive to Upwork.   

Active Member
Pamela B Member Since: Dec 17, 2016
10 of 12

        I, for a fact know that there are scams out there, and I was not trying to circumvent Upwork.  The reason I joined Upwork was, I believed they were a company that was set up to provide legitimate offers to their freelancers. Companies such as Kelly Girl (an employment agency) that I used many years ago provided their workers with viable assignments from legitimate companies.  You could depend on the fact that this is what Kelly Girl was set up for.  At the same time this is what I assumed Upwork was about.  You, meaning Upwork employees and gurus do not take responsibility for any problems a new freelancer might have.  And what I mean by this is instead of you trying to help the newbie with his of her problem, you tend to criticize and berate them because of their trust in your assignments. Your website is not transparent, nor is it user friendly (providing ways to get in touch with them, etc.).  

     I will continue to use this site, but your website needs to be a little more informational than what it is.