Spotting Scammers – It Can Be More Difficult Than You’d Think

I recently started working full time from home.  I have spent 13 years blogging and doing odd freelance work, mostly to pay for my horses.  Now, I am home full time and accepting clients in hopes to be there for my family’s needs as well as still earning a solid income from home.

You see, I have a Masters Degree in Business Administration and have always felt that I can spot most scams.  But alas, I got caught.  Thankfully, it has only resulted in a loss of $1,300 but when trying to build a business that is far too much to be losing.  After spending 24 hours completely beating myself up over this I am going to move forward and use this as an experience to share with you.

Many scams we have all heard of:

  • The IRS will never call you demanding money
  • Microsoft will not reach out to you by phone
  • No your warranty has probably not expired
  • No you likely don’t have student loan debts
  • You son, grandson, nephew were not arrested and in desperate need of bail

When it comes to looking for work online the world can be scary.  So last week I applied for a job on Upwork as remote office assistant for a company.  I was so excited to be interviewed and consequently hired as an independent contractor.  It wasn’t clear to me that Upwork doesn’t really vet the opportunities that are posted there – mistake number 1!

I was asked to start work immediately and was given two research assignments.  It was so amazing to be learning about a new niche (industrial recycling) and I dove right into the research.  Within 2 days I was asked to start the bookkeeping portion of my tasks.  Don’t get me wrong, alarms were ringing immediately but I really wanted to believe this was the real deal.  He sent me $1,300 in checks to deposit and then had me pay them out by Zelle.  As soon as I did it he wanted me to “front” a payout.  Now the alarms were screaming.  I immediately called Bank of America to cancel the Zelle payments that were still “processing” but there was no way to stop them and they transferred me to multiple fraud units.  The deposits still show as cleared in my bank account but I am now 100% sure that in a couple days the funds will be removed from my account and I will be out $1,300.

This is devastating to me and my family.  I wanted so badly for this to be the perfect work – but it clearly isn’t.  And no sooner did this happen and the second client that I had (note the past tense) started trying to do the same thing.  Yeah I am not falling for that again.  They start by asking for some legitimate work but then claim this transfer of funds is part of the position.  The second company is so angry they message me nonstop that they are charging me some sort of “fine” for not following through and damaging the reputation of their business.  Really?!  Still not falling for it.

So now the two major clients that I thought I had wasted my time; not only have I not been paid but I am sure I will be at a $1,300 loss.

Moral of the story – during the interview process it isn’t just about the prospective client interviewing you but you need to interview them just as thoroughly.  I thought I had, but clearly I hadn’t.  As the saying goes – if it seems to good to be true, it is!



  • gloria patterson

    WOW I feel for you! Every one has fallen for something at one time or another. But a lesson learned will never be forgotten

  • Sarah L

    Bummer for you. Yes, if it seems to be too good it usually is.
    I agree with the scams you posted. The IRS will NEVER call.

  • Sue E

    Scammers have been out there for years! 15 years ago, it was not as wide known as it is now. I was scammed out of $1,000. But it was for a product from a company that didn’t exist- along with the product! The invoice looked professional! With shipping and handling & taxes fields for your state! UGH 😱
    All those scams above have been used on me.
    Except the one for the son. I don’t have one 🤪. These scammers are really talented and know the ins and outs of transferring funds through bank accounts! And don’t ever let one of them take control of your computer!! Unless the person is truly technical support for your computer, your credit cards your bank accounts, etc. Thank you for sharing this important information!!!

  • Chris L

    I need to forward this to my mom. Despite everything we tell her, she is always falling for phone and internet scams.

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