People who turned to Upwork to find freelance gigs say they've lost thousands of dollars to scams
Chris O'Reilly, 28, turned to the freelancing website Upwork when he lost his job in March after the country went into lockdown to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. After applying for a handful of job postings, he was invited to a Skype interview for a proofreading and editing job at the pharmaceutical company Sanofi.
Things were looking up. A few days later, he got an offer letter on what appeared to be an official Sanofi letterhead and an emailed check to buy supplies that his new employer said were for his home office.
O'Reilly deposited the check, and, once it seemed to have cleared, he used the funds to send money to accounts listed on an invoice sent to him by his new boss. He sent one payment, which he thought was for office supplies, through the money transfer app Zelle and a second via Venmo.