There are many scams on the internet that can easily fool people into thinking they are legitimate opportunities to earn money. There are sites that often promise to give you work, but they ask for money upfront, or they ask you to pay more than what is advertised on the site. Upwork is different from these scam platforms because it doesn’t require any upfront payments, and it has a clear pricing structure that includes the fee that both the freelancer and employer will pay.
Upwork is a legitimate platform, and most jobs posted on Upwork are legit. Upwork is a safe place as long as you take sensible precautions while dealing with clients. Like any internet platform, there are scams in Upwork, but they can be easily avoided if you know what to look for.
Are Upwork Jobs Legit?
Most jobs on Upwork are legit. If you do the job well according to the clients’ requirements, you will get paid and also get a good review from the client.
I have been working on Upwork for the past two years and have earned thousands of dollars in the fields of writing and digital marketing. I have met my fair share of scammers and now have a good idea about how to identify scammers. When compared to freelance sites like Freelancer, scammers are not very common in Upwork. This is because Upwork has a strict policy, and its team is constantly on the lookout to prevent scams on the platform.
How to Identify Scams in Upwork?
In Upwork, you will meet mainly two types of scammers: those who post fake projects in public and those who directly message you in your inbox. The latter is, of course, more dangerous because they are targeting you personally. Here are some tips on how to identify scams on Upwork:
The Pay is Too Good to Be True
The first red flag of a scam is the payment. If the pay is too good to be true, then it probably is. For example, if someone is ready to offer you $500 to write a 1000-word article, then there’s something wrong with this offer. The screenshot below is a job I just saw on Upwork.
Of course, if you are not sure about this type of offer is real or not, you can always apply for it. But it will waste your connects on Upwork. In this type of offer, scammers usually offer a huge amount of money for a small task to attract the gullible. Once you apply for this type of job, they might extract your personal information and try to use you for nefarious activities like phishing and click bating.
Requesting Account Sharing
If a client asks you for your Upwork username and password and offers to pay to access your account, beware of this client. Of course, they will sound very genuine and offer you big money. But once they have access to your account, they can lock you out of the account and steal the money you have earned. They can even use your account to scam others. So always keep your Upwork profile details to yourself. In fact, your profile details should be as private as your bank information.
Asking to Contact Them Directly
Sometimes, clients also ask you to connect outside of Upwork and send you their email addresses, Telegram links, and WhatsApp numbers. Here’s an example of a job publicly posted (top) and a message I recently received (bottom).
Once you connect with them outside Upwork, it’s easier for them to get your personal information or commit fraud. Even if the client seems genuine and wants you to complete a legit project for him or her, you won’t be protected under Upwork payment protection. So there is no guarantee that the client will pay you the promised amount.
Asking for Unpaid Work (Free Samples)
It might be reasonable for a client to ask for a sample of your work before hiring. But it’s not fair to expect an entire design, article, or artwork without paying anything for it.
Sometimes, a client may interview multiple freelancers and ask them to write different sample articles. Once they collect all the samples, they will have good 30 – 40 articles without having paid anyone. Newcomers are usually vulnerable to this type of scam.
If the client is genuine, he or she will usually ask you to do a paid sample. In fact, this is what Upwork usually recommends.
Asking for a Security Deposit
Some clients will ask for a security deposit, which they will claim is refundable, i.e., they will promise to pay back this money once you complete your project. This is a common fraud in some freelancing job sites. The clients usually claim that it’s part of their company policies and it ensures that freelancers don’t leave the project halfway. They will even send you legal-looking documents as proof. For example,
Don’t get fooled by these claims. Always remember that you don’t have to pay to get hired for a legit job.
Read more about what Upwork has to say about staying safe on the Upwork platform.
How to Stay Safe on Upwork?
If you are new to Upwork and have trouble distinguishing between genuine clients and scammers, these are some tips for you.
Filter Jobs by Client Info
When you search for jobs, filter the jobs using the ‘payment verified’ classification. This means that the client has connected their payment method to Upwork.
Look at the Client’s History
You can see certain details about the client from the job offer itself. Upwork lets you the location of the client and know how much he has spent on Upwork.
If you click on the job, you can see a brief description of the client: when he has joined Upwork, how many jobs he has posted, the number of reviews he has, etc. If the client has worked with other freelancers before, you can also scroll down the reviews he has given and received.
Research on Google
If you receive an offer from a company, you can google the company name to see if it’s a legit name. If it’s a legit company, you might also be able to see the reviews of past employees and get a good idea about the company.
Conclusion: Upwork Jobs are Legit
Upwork is a legitimate platform for freelancers to find jobs. It has a well-designed interface and is very transparent about the fees that you will be charged. You can earn a good income by working on Upwork as long as you avoid scams.