Scamming is not a recent occurrence. You know, everybody knows. People have been scammed or are getting scammed day in and day out.

Individuals have lost fortunes to scammers who are ever ready to defraud people. As a result, organizations have gone bankrupt because of various scams.

Most people have a specific time heard of scams or have been scammed of their hard-earned money.

The question is, Can you get scammed on Upwork?


Upwork is no different; you can get scammed on Upwork or at anything you do, for that matter.

You can be lured to do specific jobs that are not paid for after that. Clients may tell you to carry out tasks as a trial for them to hire you.

Scams can be put on different clothes depending on the context. If you can not spot them, you will fall victim.

No! To not fall victim is why you read this post; you ask again if you can get scammed on Upwork? Of course, you can. You will if you are not careful.

How can you be careful of Scams on Upwork?

By taking note of some red flags.

These red flags signify danger and should alert you against a potential scam. You should know them very well.

Please put them in front of your mind, not the back. Whenever you see such flags, as you would come to know shortly, you are in a position of being scammed.

Before going through the type of flags to watch out for, a question was posed some time ago on why scammers exist.

Why do scammers exist?

People are naturally lazy and greedy.

They want the easy way out. Working is a big problem.

They want to sit down and expect manna from heaven (This only happened in the previous generation, such as the Moses era).

The same goes scammers.

Some lazy people are trying to reap what or where they did not sow. Unfair to individuals. And unjust to hardworking freelancers like you.

This is why you should read this post: can you get scammed on Upwork to the very end.

Don’t skip any section. If you do, you risk being scammed. You risk working without pay. You risk losing your entire savings if you don’t know the red flags.

Most Upwork clients and freelancers are legit. You have nothing to fear, but there is still a percentage of scammers, though small, out there that precautions should be taken against.

And that’s why this article was written: can you get scammed on Upwork to protect against the small percentage of scammers on Upwork.

Here Comes The List of Red Flags

The Money Flag

Money is the most common deception; the promise of huge returns on investment is enticing and deceptive. No wonder people easily fall for Ponzi schemes, promising huge returns on investment.

Human greed is what Ponzi schemes seem to appeal to, and most clients understand this concept; they know freelancers are desperate to get jobs.

With the huge competition on Upwork, clients can easily be exploited with juicy jobs promising colossal pay.

How To Identify Such Clients

The best way to figure out what clients are after is to ask yourself whether the client is after quality or not.

To know if the client is after quality, look for the following information in the job description.
  • Budget, if set
  • Total amount spent
  • Average hourly rate paid
  • Experience level

Budget, if set

The generous client falls under this category; they happily set a budget of $1000 and above but don’t expect an expert freelancer for the job.

They are too generous; maybe they have too much money to throw away or give inexperienced freelancers.

When you see such clients, the generous client, be careful.

In fact, runaway from jobs with such descriptions these kind of jobs are out to scam you

Total spent

This is also another feature of a generous client, offering to give you juicy payment for your work.

When you look at the total amount spent on their work history, a whopping $80000 is what you would see. If, on the other hand, you check the honest freelancers hired on Upwork, you see only 15 freelancers, and you begin to ask yourself how this is possible.

The sum of $80,000 has been paid to only 15 freelancers on Upwork, and you think it is normal.

These types of clients, the generous client, want to scam you with all these juicy profiles and total amounts spent on Upwork.

It would help if you ran away from such jobs. Don’t be greedy. Don’t allow your greed to get the best of you; otherwise, you may do charity work.

Average Hourly Rate Paid

The generous client’s average hourly rate is meager, but they’ve spent close to $100,000, paying an average of $23 an hour.

You wonder where, or to whom they’ve paid the $100,000.

Definitely not the freelancers on Upwork.

You should avoid such jobs

Experience level

The Opportunistic clients fall under this category.

They want an expert freelancer to do their job. You see so many criteria when you check the job description on their job postings.

You see things like: Don’t apply if you are not a top-rated freelancer; don’t apply if you are not a native English speaker; don’t apply if you’ve not made over $10,000; don’t apply if you don’t have a 90% and above job success score but at the end, you see they are willing to you only $10 for meeting all these criteria.

This is totally unfair to you.

Opportunistic clients are exploitative

You would see a whopping $50000 as the total amount spent, but they want to pay you only $20 for the job.

How sick this is

You wonder how someone can spend above $50,000 by paying $10 for jobs.

Don’t you think something is wrong with this?

If you don’t, it means you are not thinking objectively.

Don’t allow the total amount spent to fool you. Don’t be fooled by the total amount spent by clients who want to pay peanuts to expert freelancers like you.

The Pro flag

Are you still asking can you get scammed on Upwork for a question?

If yes, then sit tight

You would know more ways of how you can get scammed on Upwork and how to avoid scams on Upwork after reading The Pro flag section, and the type of clients that fall under this category

The Pro flag would help you figure out if the client is a good choice to work with.

This, you can know by checking the following information related to the client

  • Clients reviews
  • Job title, Job description, and Requirements

The Terrible client

The terrible client falls under this category.

You know them by the average number of reviews they’ve given.

When you see an average 2.5 start review for the past 10 freelancers hired, this is definitely a terrible client to work with.

Run away with your toes touching the back of your head.

No reviews is sometimes better than terrible reviews

These type of clients would ruin your hard-earned reputation and Top-rated status.

The Fraudulent client

Another type of client found under this category is The Fraudulent Client

This type of client doesn’t give an accurate job description. You don’t know the number of pieces they want you to write, and the timeframe isn’t specified either.

The job descriptions are also vague

You are left hanging

These clients are likely to ask for a sample piece to prove your skills before they can hire you.

Come to think of it. Other freelancers are trying to win the same job as you.

If this type of client, the fraudulent client, can get sample pieces from 20 freelancers, there would be no reason to give out the job again.

You are already scammed. Your efforts and time already in vain.

These are clients you should definitely avoid.

The Newcomer flag

Some freelancers don’t even go for new clients. Instead, they see newbies as a risk not worth taking, not because they stand to lose connects, but because the payment methods of these new clients are primarily unverified.

You can take a chance on a new client. Somebody took a chance on you when you were still new to the game. It’s a courtesy to return the kind gesture once given to you but ensure to do your due diligence.

Go through the job description properly to know what the new client wants and if you can be of help.

How To Spot A Newbie Client on Upwork

An Unverified Payment Method is the first thing you would see. This may be followed by something like this: 5 jobs posted and a 0% hire rate for the terrible new clients.

When you see these things, the client is a newbie.

A terrible new client would have posted some jobs on Upwork but couldn’t hire any freelancer. Either they don’t know how to hire, which is unlikely, or they are just some terrible clients.

Either way, run away from such a new client, especially the ones with a 0% hire rate despite posting a series of jobs.

The Possibility flag

This deals with the chances of getting hired on a particular job posting.

To have an idea, you can go through the following information about the job and client

  • Client hire rate
  • Number of proposals already submitted

You can submit a proposal with a killer cover letter for a job, but if the job has already received more than 50 proposals, your chances of getting the job are low.

You will compete with another 50 freelancers whose proposals might be better than yours.

Before submitting a proposal for any job, review the client hire rate and the number of already submitted proposals.

A client hire rate of 90% means you stand the chance of getting the job because the client usually hires freelancers.

This high client hire rate should be combined with a low number of proposals submitted. This number should not be more than 5.

If the number of proposals is above 50, the high client hire-rate won’t do you any good.

The trick

A high client-hire rate and a low number of already-submitted proposals (less than 5) are what you should be after.

The Location flag

Your client’s location can make a huge difference in job success.

Location determines the level of communication between you and your client. Big differences in time zones can see your clients sleeping while you are working. This would hinder communication, which would, in turn, hinder workflow.

Watch out for the client’s location for two main reasons

  • To know the time-zone
  • The language barrier

Clients from countries with poor communication in English would be a pain in the ass.

Resolving issues would be a problem. You are saying something about the job, but they understand something entirely different.

This is a headache—something you should avoid. A job description with multiple typos is also a wrong signal.

Either the client is not patient enough to go through the job description, or his English grammar is just wrong.

This is again, you should avoid. Save yourself from headaches before they occur.

Now you believe you can get scammed on Upwork.

You’ve read through some of the standard methods of scamming freelancers; all these can be a waste of time and effort.

And time is money; when clients rob you of your time, they are equally robbing you of your money.

Can you get scammed on Upwork?

Again, the answer is Yes!

You can be scammed, either by money or time. But that’s not all.

It would be a great idea if you know some additional tips.

Tips that will guide you when reading job descriptions or in submitting proposals

Additional tips

Expert level

This is an experience level found in job description.

Most freelancers, especially the newcomers, often back down when they see “Expert” as the required level of experience.

Don’t mind these types of clients. Most don’t even know the difference between the levels of experience.

Come to think of it.

If you were a client, would you fill an “entry-level” for the type of freelancer you want to handle your job?

The answer is No

All clients would want to go for the experience freelancers, but in reality, even the “entry-level” freelancers can do as well or even better than the so-called “expert level.”

If you know you can get the job done, go for it. Don’t back out because of a so-called “expert level” experience you don’t fit.

Preferred qualifications

This is another obstacle for freelancers who are new to the game. They see: native speakers; top rated status; must have earned more than $5000 as a preferred level of qualification, then they back out.

Don’t be deterred by these “preferred qualifications”

Most of these clients set unnecessary standards for jobs, standards they don’t even know of.

These types of clients with “preferred qualifications” are most likely going to pay you peanuts($1 or $2)

These are terrible clients, remember!

Clients that take advantage of high competition for jobs and try to reap what they did not sow

The promise of future work

Clients use this to justify their low budget. They don’t want to pay you well, but they promise to give you future work.

You are attracted with prospects of future work.

These are opportunistic clients, telling you it’s OK if they pay you $1 because they are coming back to hire you when you do a good job.

Totally unfair to freelancers

You should apply for such jobs but don’t get your hopes high.

Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get another job from such a client for the rest of your freelancing career.

Have you been scammed on Upwork before? Or have you come across any of the above flags?

If yes, kindly drop them in the comment section.

Ensure you do your due diligence when reading job descriptions and before you submit your ever-so-ready proposals.

Don’t back down just because you see a qualification you don’t have or criteria you don’t meet.

Remember! Everybody started from somewhere.

Don’t allow some inexperienced clients to undermine your capabilities.

You are better than you think you are

You are great.

Stay great and stay blessed.


I specialize in building, managing, maintaining, troubleshooting, and optimizing WordPress Web Design/ or Elementor Pro and WooCommerce powered websites.


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