I received an invite through Upwork for a job. Interviewed. Person requested resume and cover letter. Sent. Next thing I know I get a personal email offering me a job outside of Upwork with benefits, etc. There were links in the email to accept, decline, etc. I did not click on the links as it is understood this is not something you should do when receiving an email from unknown person(s). The email was suspicious anyway. I suspect this email came through the person who gave me the job invite. Now I'm very uncomfortable answering any invites. I now have another invite and I am too leary to accept. It could be an opportunity. However, it has an unverified payment. So, besides spending hours reviewing jobs, checking things out, etc. etc., and clicking "verified payment" only on my filters, I have to worry that any job could be a scam. Does Upwork vet the clients as much as they vet the freelancers? I tried to find someone to discuss this with to no avail.
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re: "Person requested resume and cover letter."
That's a red flag. COULD be a newbie client who doesn't know how to use Upwork properly. So COULD be a legitimate client. But usually only scammers and identity thieves ask for résumé.
re: "Next thing I know I get a personal email offering me a job outside of Upwork with benefits, etc."
That means it's a scammer.
Benefits = scammer
job outside of Upwork = scammer
re: "Now I'm very uncomfortable answering any invites. I now have another invite and I am too leary to accept."
Me, personally: I get legitimate invites pretty much every day if I unblock client access to my profile page. So I usually keep myself blocked. Because I have significant experience on Upwork, and work in an in-demand niche. Newbies who are entry-level workers DO NOT receive legitimate invites. You could safely ignore all invites right now. Focus only on jobs you carefully select and send proposals to.
re: "Does Upwork vet the clients as much as they vet the freelancers?"
No. Upwork essentially doesn't vet clients at all.
re: "I tried to find someone to discuss this with to no avail."
You found us.
Elma, the first thing you need to do is read the information UW provides for new freelancers, about how the platform works and how to operate safely here. There are lots of scammers who prey on new freelancers who have not taken the time to get informed about how to avoid them.
Some of my best projects have come from client invitations, however, when you are first starting out it's unlikely you'll receive viable opportunities that way. What you will get are the scammers. You'll need to seek out your projects until you build up enough of a track record that clients will find you.
Don't rule out clients with unverified payment methods. All that means is that they haven't hired here before and so haven't verified their credit card yet. Most don't bother with that step until they find a FL they want to hire. That said, once you accept a contract, do NOT begin work until the client's payment method has been verified.
Your reading will tell you, among other things, that you don't need to send resume to prospective clients here. That's what your profile and portfolio are for. You have yours set on 'Private', so I can't see what you do or what any of that looks like. You may want to consider setting it on 'Upwork Users Only' isntead, especially if you are seeking advice here.
Another random tip: anybody offering you a job with benefits is a scammer. This is a freelance platform, not a job market. Clients don't come here looking for employees, they are looking for skilled professionals to execute specific kinds of work.
Go do some homework, and good luck!
re: "Do you think I’m correct then that the situation was a 'bait and switch'"
You can call it a "bait and switch" if you want to. I suppose it is such, in the sense that the posted job isn't really what you're getting.
But the "bait and switch" aspect of this is kind of irrelevent, because it's just a straight-up scam. The job you saw was somebody trying to steal your money and/or identity information.
We typically reserve the term "bait and switch" for a job that is posted by a REAL client who wants to pay you REAL money, but the work they want you to do is not the same as the work described in the job posting.
Every job posting and every freelancer profile page has a link in the top-righthand side of the page for reporting.
Click on it. Use the form to submit your report:
Upwork does investigate these reports. And Upwork removes clients who are found to be posting scam jobs, or othewise violating Upwork ToS.
Unfortunately, scammers just create new fake client accounts. But at least reporting them and getting their accounts removed prevents them from building up a convincing profile that makes them look more trustworthy.
Phyllis G wrote:
That said, once you accept a contract, do NOT begin work until the client's payment method has been verified.
Better yet, don't accept the contract at all until payment is verified. Less risk of ending up with a contract on which nothing is ever paid.
Are you sure you need to screen out clients with unverifed payment mechanisms?
Just tell unverified clients whose jobs you apply to that you'll be happy to start work once Upwork verifies them. Good clients new to Upwork may not realize how important verified payment is to smart freelancers.
Elma B wrote:
I suspect this email came through the person who gave me the job invite. Now I'm very uncomfortable answering any invites. I now have another invite and I am too leary to accept.
You can report the email to Upwork Support.
Accepting an invitation simply allows potential clients to contact you. They can't scam you just by talking to you. You don't have to commit to anything at that point.