Most employers on our site are legitimate and we go to great lengths to protect our freelancers from scams. However, from time to time dishonest actors will pose as clients, flout our terms and conditions and attempt to deceive or scam our freelancers.
In the rare case this occurs, there are some very easy ways to protect yourself. Here are two of the most common scams and how you can spot them.
The “client” asks you to send them money as a security deposit.
Real clients don’t want to waste precious time hiring a freelancer who later quits without notice, and that makes sense. So fake “clients” will take advantage of this concern, and ask you to send them money (via wire transfer, PayPal or method other than the Freelancer platform) as a way to prove you’ll stick around.
This scam is not hard to spot, because if you accept a job on the Freelancer platform, you are not required to pay the employer any amount of money at any time. Another giveaway is that they’ll ask you to make the payment off-platform.
All legitimate payments are handled through the Freelancer platform, and there are built in mechanisms to protect the employer from disappearing freelancers. One of these ways is by Freelancer charging you, the winning bidder, your project fee upon acceptance of the project.
If a client asks you for money, ignore their message, do not send them any money and reach out to our support team for assistance.
The “client” wants to purchase your Freelancer profile
Some new freelancers find it harder than others to build up a presentable portfolio, high star rating and a collection of favorable reviews. So, they’ll pose as a client, post a project and wait for high-quality freelancers to submit their proposals.
When they see a freelancer with an attractive profile, they’ll award that freelancer the project and then instead of giving the freelancer any work, they ask to buy that freelancer’s profile to call their own.
Not only does this go against Freelancer’s terms and conditions, but it’s also a huge risk to you, because in many cases the only way one of these dody “clients” can make this work for the long term is to require that you give them ongoing remote access to your computer. Otherwise, we’d easily recognise they were logging in from a completely different location and ban them.
There are a couple of ways to spot this scam. First, the project posted will be very light on details. It might say “Blog writing” as the title, and have “Rewrite 3 business-related blog posts” in the project description - and then nothing else.
Of course, that isn’t enough to completely come to the conclusion that it’s a scam. The real evidence comes when the so-called “client” asks you to take your communication off of the Freelancer platform - usually asking you to meet up on Skype or other similar service. They'll usually send their request via an attachment.
This alone is against our terms of service, let alone buying and selling profiles.
If a client ever asks you to take your communication off of the Freelancer platform, or to sell you your profile, just ignore them and contact our support team for assistance.