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Has anyone been scammed on this website?

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Active Member
Margie R Member Since: Dec 16, 2016
1 of 21

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.

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Community Guru
Pat M Member Since: Jun 18, 2016
2 of 21

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

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
3 of 21

Margie:

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.

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Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
4 of 21

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.

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Active Member
Pamela B Member Since: Dec 17, 2016
5 of 21

        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

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Moderator
Valeria K Moderator Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
6 of 21

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
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Active Member
Monique M Member Since: Feb 28, 2020
7 of 21

Thank you, Pam, for your review!  Your review helps me to make a decision before attending a Google Hangout interview with a potential client. One of my greatest skills is to read between the lines of one's email. As a newbie on Upwork, I am being extra cautious about working with clients. I noticed there were 50 proposals and only 20 were interview. Second, the position has been posted for quite some time which does not line up with the number of interviews. Last, the payment method was not verified. I will begin selecting clients that are payment verified however I believed Upwork should mandate all companies to verify payment method. This does not exempt us from being cautious about violating the TOS for they exist to protect us.

 

Again, thank you, Pam, for being transparent!

 

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Community Guru
Mary W Member Since: Nov 10, 2014
8 of 21

Most of my clients are first-time posters with unverified payments.  When I accept the job, I let them know that I cannot begin to work until their payment method is verified.  It has never once been a problem.  If they don't verify, don't work.

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Active Member
Alex S Member Since: Jun 6, 2020
9 of 21

Thank you lots for the help and advice! Smiley Happy

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Moderator
Valeria K Moderator Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
10 of 21

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
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