Many people want to avoid commuting to work and just work from home instead, so they find any way to make this dream a reality. Even going so far as to look for an app that allows you to work from home easier since there’s an app for everything. One app that has gained popularity is Upwork, and with its popularity comes numerous scams.
Scammers love taking money away from their victims, especially when they can also get them to do free jobs as well. They will go to whatever lengths they can to plague every single app with scams. They use intelligent tactics to get everyone on Upwork to think they are a legit company and go as far as to “company-fish” their clients by posing as other companies.
The Steps of Performing Upwork Scams
- Scammers will set up an interview that is either super long or over instant messaging. If a scammer wants to interview you outside of the Upwork app and on an instant messaging service, they are probably a scammer. Most people want to meet their virtual future employees over video chat or a phone call to get to know them better. However, scammers won’t care about getting to know you since they just want to steal your money. Also, scammers will have a long phone or video chat interview with you to get banking information, so if that ever happens to you hang up and block them.
- Once you get the job, they will offer you a paper check to get “work supplies” or for payment. This is most likely a scam since Upwork employees get paid through the Upwork app. Paper checks cost employers money to print, and they want to be as money-efficient as they can. They are also a hassle to deliver to your house, and they have to pay for postage stamps to send it to you. Therefore, do not accept a paper check from anyone on Upwork, since it is against their company policy to get paid outside of the Upwork app.
- In order to get you to believe them, they will pretend to be a well-known company. They will make sure that the company they are pretending to be has a legit website. This makes it easier for victims to research the company and think they are preventing any scams, but really the scammer doesn’t belong to the company at all.
- Even though they pretend to be a certain company, their email addresses don’t match up. If someone claims to be from a particular company but their email address doesn’t have that company name in it, then you are probably being scammed. Almost every company requires employees to have professional email addresses with the company’s name, so that when they contact clients or future employees they know what company they are contacting.
How Freelancers Can Avoid These Scams
- DO NOT accept any paper checks from Upwork employers. This is the 20th century, and many companies have stopped paying their employers using paper checks, especially work from home positions. Paper checks cost money to these companies since they have to pay for paper, ink, stamps, and postage to send it to you. They would not send you a paper check unless they were trying to take your money. It is also against policy to accept payment outside of the Upwork app since it is equivalent to getting paid “under the table”.
- BE CAREFUL when messaging someone outside of Upwork. The Upwork staff highly recommends that you keep conversations (instant messaging and video chatting) within the Upwork app so that the staff can review your messages and report scammers. If you take conversations outside of the app, it is not against policy but you still need to be careful of potential Upwork scams.
- DO NOT give anyone on Upwork your personal information. Scammers on Upwork can use this information to steal your funds from the bank, give you a faulty check, or commit fraud. To avoid getting your funds stolen from you, do not give your Upwork clients any personal information. If they keep insisting on wanting to know something personal about you, block and report them.
- LOOK OUT for email addresses that don’t have their company in it. If Upwork clients give you their personal email address, that is fine. If you need reassurance to see if it is really them, you can always reverse search their email. However, if they say they are from a certain company then you should make sure the email address has their company within it. ex: email@example.com
- For interviews, make sure they are over a phone call/video chat. Also, make sure that they don’t interview you for a ridiculous amount of time while asking you personal questions. If someone only wants to interview you over instant message, then they are not as interested in getting to know you. Also, if they ask for financial or other personal information over your interview, do not give it to them since all payments need to be over the Upwork app.
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