I Bitch-Slapped An Upwork Scam Away
Alek, nice try buddy.
Over the last two years of pandemic, I’ve learned quite about of coding languages. I gravitated towards the remote WFH life, and gravitated towards the common start on Upwork and Fiverr.
A proposal caught my eye that seemed perfect. Paid Intern, Data Analysis, for a digital media company. Right up my alley! I submitted a proposal and got a response.
Kara asked me to log onto Skype, and message a guy named Alek with a candidate number, code number, and be available for an interview. It was my first RED FLAG gut feeling that something was wrong, but I followed the steps regardless, and I am so glad that I did because I uncovered a very common scam. Upon research, it all made sense, and after posting on LinkedIn, Alek happened to be doing the same thing, to others.
The red flags that got me:
- All communication and contracts are supposed to go through Upwork, so why was I going outside to Skype?
- Why was I messaging this guy via Skype, and not on call or video? Hmmm…
- He messaged me a questionnaire and asked me to fill it out. The questions were numbered 1–10, but the first nine were 1’s, 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. and then finally 10.
- Alek took my questionnaire and said I was under review and to wait about an hour for response. So he started telling me about the job… and at the end of one of his lengthy messages was, “do you agree to these terms?”
- My Upwork proposal was for $25/hr and he offered me $50/hr.
- On the “acceptance letter” was a section about purchasing my own equipment through a third-party vendor for the job. Headset, computer, and monitor.
- Alek asked me what bank I used to that he could prepare a check for me, so I could purchase said equipment.
- Alek didn’t know what bank the company used for their finances and he didn’t know, and got testy at me.
- He kept asking me to wait and wait and wait for a check to be made, so that I could make a mobile deposit and buy the equipment.
From the moment I say the first response telling me to do these weird Skype steps, something felt wrong. It was clearly a scam, and once I researched the issue, it was indeed a scam where they get your bank information once you buy the “equipment” and pull money from your account.
Allegedly, some victims have never recovered thousands of dollars stolen. I was lucky, and have a new cautious eye out. You should to.