If you are a freelancer, you may already know Fiverr and Upwork is the top leading freelance platforms on the Internet. But there are many other freelance platforms such as People Per Hour, and Freelancer. Due to the competition between freelance platforms and freelancers, there are many scams on every freelance website. Those scammers use different methods to steal your email passwords, damage your data or ban your account from the platform.
On Fiverr, there are many scammers due to the high volume of freelancers. Anyone can create a Fiverr account and start buying at once without any identity verification. But yes, Fiverr has an identity verification process, but it’s not at the beginning. So anyone can buy until Fiverr ask them to verify the identification. (This is not about email verification)
On Upwork, it’s more secure than Fiverr but still has some scammers who are trying to scam in many different ways. We will talk about the facts you consider to identify a scammer in later.
As a freelancer, you may have a long journey and a valuable client base. Would you like to lose your years of effort in a few seconds?
Definitely not. That’s why you must know these scams before you lose any single information from your sensitive data. Before that, you must know how to identify a scammer.
How to identify a Scammer on Fiverr
First of all, check his reviews by other sellers have given. You can see the rating from the right side of the message panel.
Signed in date
If you cannot see any reviews, then check when he/she has signed in to Fiverr. So you can get an idea about the experience of the client.
And checking the geography also will be helpful to identify a scammer because many scammers use VPNs to hide their real location. In that case, Fiverr will show the location as unknown.
Furthermore, you can check the profile picture if it looks weird or not. If the one is using a celebrity or a branded logo for his profile, he could be most likely a scammer.
Clients who offer over budget for their projects can be scammers because then they can get more attention from many sellers. It will make their purpose easier and probably they will provide some phishing links or viruses to you to open.
To find the client as a genuine buyer, you can simply get into a better conversation with the client because the above things may have in a new client too. Also, Fiverr has labelled many buyers as “Business Clients” and “Fiverr Select” based on their previous activities. So you can directly trust clients with those badges.
Fiverr Business Clients can offer on going works and big projects.
Fiverr select buyers are selected by after ordering 10+ orders and spending over $500. So, you can trust them directly.
And people who send the same message to many sellers results to get banned from their accounts. If you have received spam, you can see them in your spam section in your inbox. We can consider those buyers as spammers and probably some of them will be scammers.
How to identify a scammer on Upwork
The first thing ever you must do is check the reviews. If the buyer has a good profile with positive reviews, there is nothing to worry about. But as before, if you cannot see any, there are many other things to check.
The number of jobs Posted
As we mentioned, Upwork is safer than Fiverr; so there are many details that you can see from the client’s profile. After the location, you can see the number of jobs posted.
Below that, you will see how a percentage of jobs have been done by hiring. It’s an important detail because some spammers post jobs frequently without hiring. Also, you can see the open jobs from the right side which helps you to get an idea about how many job posts are still open.
The total amount has spent
The amount of money the client has spent is important to identify if that job post is for a real purpose or a scam. You can trust a buyer who has spent more money on the platform.
Date of Signed in
Another important detail to check is the date that client has signed in. And you can compare how long he has been on Upwork and how much money spent in the meantime. If he is new and has spent zero, it’s fine.
8 scams in Fiverr and Upwork
So now you know how to identify a scammer. Let’s disclose some scams on Fiverr and Upwork that you must avoid as a freelancer.
1. Asking to pay outside of the platform
According to many freelancing platforms like Fiverr and Upwork, taking payments outside the platform is considered a violation. They have clearly mentioned that on their TOS.
On Fiverr, they have mentioned for buyers that you may not offer direct payments to sellers using payment systems outside of the platform.
And Upwork has mentioned the reasons also about this.
How to avoid:
- Teach about the TOS to the buyer( Maybe the client can be new to the platform)
- If he didn’t agree with that, report and inform the CS
2. Sending emails by similar names
Many scammers use similar domain names to create business emails that look like professional emails from the platform. For example, a scammer can use something like [email protected] or [email protected]
And these emails can be spam that consists of phishing links and maybe viruses. If you download or click the links, you may have some trouble.
How to avoid:
- Always check the domain name of the email service provider. It should be always similar to the exact site name of the platform.
- Identify those spam mails and mark them as spam
3. Asking for a refund after giving 5 stars
Some scammers are trying to get the jobs done for free, like above. So these people make the order first and leave 5 stars review with positive feedback but eventually ask for a refund. Whether on Upwork or Fiverr, there is no option to give a refund after completing the order. And yeah, it’s not essential because the project timeline is enough to decide if the order needs to cancel.
Freelancers know the effort they put into completing a project successfully but how about asking for a full refund after completing the order? It’s not fair at all.
How to avoid:
- Check if the buyer is genuine or a scammer before getting the order.
- Ask the reason and consider it.
- Make an agreement before getting started on the project.
- Agree to give a half refund if you are confident.
- Contact CS and ask for justice.
For Buyers: There are 3 Quick ways to get a refund from Fiverr
4. Sending Malware and Viruses
This is the most common tactic of scammers. Malware or viruses can defeat your computer data and mess up all things. Each freelance platform like Fiverr and Upwork has its own scanners on its websites, but they are not responsible for any corruption that occurs by downloading and installing viruses or malware.
Scammers send them as an essential file for the project, so they force you to open the file. Most likely it will be a zip or RAR file because scanners on websites are not capable of scanning those kinds of compressed files.
How to avoid:
- Keep your virus scanner up to date.
- Don’t open any suspicious files.
- Keep your personal and sensitive data in backup and safe.
- If you detected that you are under attack, stop all online activities like online banking.
5. Asking for unlimited free samples
Many people like to buy anything for free. So on these freelancing platforms, scammers tend to ask for free samples. For example, if you are a logo designer, they ask several times for free logo designs to get an idea of your talent or choose the one they like between them. But the truth is they use it all for their purposes.
Most likely, new sellers get into trouble with this scam because they always try to make the buyer satisfied and get the order.
How to avoid:
- Check the client’s reviews first. (Zero reviews will cause one to consider a scammer)
- Keep a pre-created portfolio according to your service.
- Put watermarks(if it’s designing or video editing service)
- Inform the limit of free samples initially.
Tip: Include all the rules and regulation in your gig description when you are creating your GIG for SEO.
6. Leaving Negative feedback even if 100% satisfied
These people can be scammers or competitors. Most likely, their main purpose is to decrease your rank on the platform and make your gig or profile banned from the site. As we know, reviews/ feedback are the main factors for winning the client’s trust. So negative feedback will negatively affect your profile. On Fiverr, your gig might disappear from the search result due to the many negative reviews. As well as on Upwork, your job proposal most likely will be rejected.
How to avoid:
- Check the client’s review before getting into the deal. (Scammers will have zero or negative reviews)
- Ask him why and try to get edited feedback from him.
- You can reply to the feedback publicly by explaining the situation.
- Contact CS and ask to delete the review/feedback.
7. Asking for logging into phishing websites
Phishing refers to a fraudulent activity that steals confidential user information such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers and private keys.
Phishing websites are almost the same as the original freelance website. Even Fiverr has included a screenshot of a phishing site on their community posts.
But Fiverr has mentioned that they do not responsible of unauthorized actions on your account.
Also, Upwork has mentioned that they are responsible for recovering your Upwork profile with data when an attack on your Upwork account. But your personal data on your computer is still at risk.
Scammers will tell you that you must log into Fiverr or Upwork through the link to join our team or get project updates or whatever that makes you log in. Be careful!
How to avoid:
- Do not click suspicious links
- Always check the domain name and site security (HTTPS)
- Use strong passwords and keep them safe
- Use two-factor authentication
- If your account has been stolen, contact CS as soon as possible
Note: Sometimes it can be Pyramid Scheme that trying to steal your money as pretending like an investment.
8. Referring things for a third purpose
Many freelancers over respectful of their clients, so clients tend to take advantage of it by scamming. They send YouTube channels to subscribe to and watch videos for their project purpose, but the actual purpose is to get subscribers and watch hours on their channels. And some are trying to get more downloads for their apps or games.
For example, he can say “We are hiring expert digital artists who can design characters for our game but to get an idea about the game you must download the game first”. It’s not essential at all to design a character because they are able to send the current character designs or a demo video.
So basically they have a third purpose instead of hiring you for the job. It will waste your time and data.
But sometimes, it can be a real reference like a video effect that the client needs from YouTube. So you have to go and watch the video to get an idea about the effect he needs.
How to avoid:
- Ask why you should watch/ subscribe/ download
- Explain the process clearly if he is in the wrong mind
- Use the report option or mark them as spam
The online world is open to everyone in the world due to the internet. So you have to be careful in what you do and keep your data protected. As we said, your years of effort can be ruined in a few seconds. Always make sure to protect your data as your career is freelancing. We have listed all the scams on both Fiverr and Upwork platforms that you must know as a freelancer. Hope the tips and tricks to avoid them will be helpful and we will definitely update the article when we found additional scams or security issues. Feel free to leave your experiences with scams that you faced as a freelancer in the comment section, so it will be very helpful for others:)