Upwork client scammers who fly under the radar
WFFH: Part 2 of 2: Troubleshooting problematic freelancing contracts
Writer’s note: This post was originally published on Medium’s “We Need to Talk” on June 3, 2022. (“Work Fluently From Home,” or WFFH, is a series within “Window Shopping” geared toward entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, gig workers and startups.)
My car radio is set to NPR whenever I turn the ignition on. In the past few months, there’s a 99% chance I’ll hear about the Great Resignation — more than 4 million Americans have quit their jobs every month for 11 months straight in the past year. Even before the worldwide health pandemic from coronavirus happened, I understood why employees wanted to work remotely. In just about every tech-dominant job, it’s pointless to go into anybody’s office so a boss can watch you type away on the same kind of laptop you would be using from home.
I’ve been self-employed since the fall of 2018 and have zero desire to ever work in Corporate America again. While an independent contract here and there pays a bill, my client base is largely on Upwork — 6-digits earned; 192 jobs (including 2,284 hourly work); and a member since 2014. Upwork is the sole reason I can pay my mortgage on time.
With the rise in the Great Resignation, I expect there to be even more people joining freelancing sites and doing other remote work. The more, the merrier. This also normalizes working from home and may lead to more interested companies.
What new freelancers may not know is the Upwork timer also keeps track of all the websites a person clicks on.
Unfortunately, with the rise in remote work also comes the rise in hackers and hustlers — who are trying to figure out how to take advantage of new remote workers who don’t quite understand remote job platforms such as Upwork. If you’re new on the site, here are four frustrating lessons I learned the hard way — even after dodging these six alarming Upwork clients.
Take the emotions, compliments, bonding with a grain of salt
When clients send invites for a job with bare minimum interest in your actual qualifications, be careful. I’ve lost count of the number of clients who sent job invitations to me, and emphasized it was because I am black and a woman. For very specific jobs, I fully understand. Diversity, multiculturalism and a massive amount of news topics often need a woman’s touch — and especially someone black to look it over to make sure there is no casual racism in the content.
But if the client solely talks about how great it would be to work with someone who is [insert race, gender, culture, religion, sexuality] but has no real goal of the job, understand that you’re talking to the equivalent of a car salesman. The idea is to flatter and guilt you into taking a job — with limited structure. One client even went as far as asking me to pray via audio call before the assignment started. Shortly after, expect them to ask for a “deal” on your hourly or fixed rate, or ask for extra work because you two are “the same.” Your price is your price. They can take it or leave it.