Recently, I came across a job posting which said something along the lines of: remote part-time work, $1K to $2K, located in Europe or America, collaborative work etc.
Being curious, I responded expecting some sort of a part time development opportunity. But what I heard back was a little bit different 😃
Basically, I was told that the person who posted the job — let’s call them OP — was representing a group of people who had been finding remote development work on places like Upwork, but that they were being discriminated against by potential employers because of their geographic location. So OP wanted to find people in Europe and America who would allow OP to use their profile to respond to jobs and get new jobs as if OP (and his group) were based in Europe or America.
That part might (or might not) be OK depending on how you look at it. I can understand the discrimination since I’ve seen that in action, but again, pretending to be from somewhere where you aren’t also doesn’t solve the problem and seems a bit dishonest. But the rest of the job requirements was even stranger ….
You had to have your computer on at all times and allow OP to access your computer via a remote access program such as TeamViewer so that OP could respond to jobs as you. Their reason? Because Upwork apparently blocked people if their listed geographic location did not match the location they were posting from.
For doing this, OP promised that whoever who took the job would get 10% (or more) of the profit from all jobs. In fact, payment would come to your account and then you were supposed to send 90% of the money on to OP (or his group) and keep 10% for yourself.
At this point, alarm bells were going off in my mind.
The first thing to always keep in mind when you come across deals that are too good to be true, whether on the Internet or in real-life, is: TANSTAAFL — There Ain’s No Such Thing As A Free Lunch 😃
If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
Plus, something which leaves room open for you to be greedy and grab a larger share of the pie (or all of the pie) for yourself, probably counts on you being greedy. So, saying that I would get all the money and could transfer 90% on sounded very suspicious to me.
I do acknowledge that there is the possibility, however slim, that this person was legit. So I didn’t want to insult them by calling them a scammer. But I was curious also as to what the end-game might be if they were in fact, trying to scam me.
So I told them that I didn’t feel comfortable giving them access to my computer 24/7 since I had confidential data on it — which is true, I do have confidential data from many clients I’ve worked with over the years.
OP’s response was that we didn’t have to use a remote access program, but that we could simply set up a VPN so that OP could access Upwork via my machine since then OP would be posting from my IP and Upwork would not suspect anything.
Again, this didn’t sound kosher to me. If all OP wanted to do was to appear as if they were from Europe or America, they could have used a VPN themselves and simply picked a European or American server — there was no need to pay me 10% of what they made, or have run the risk of me running off with 100% of what they made …
I simply refused the offer at that point and moved on. But if you see a similar offer and are tempted, here are some things to consider:
- If you allow someone remote access to your computer, it is possible that they can do anything on your computer — set up a web server to serve any kind of content, for example. Or, they could simply steal your private data like passwords, banking information etc.
- If you give someone access to your IP via a VPN, they could be hacking other sites, or doing any number of things using your IP which could result in the authorities coming after you since it looks as if you were the one doing these things.
- Even if none of the above is true, if you set up an Upwork account and it was used for the purposes that OP mentioned, if something were to go wrong (or you had to pay taxes on your earnings), it would be you on the hook for everything, not OP.
- If you are an existing Upwork user and have an account with a reputation that you’d built up painstakingly over the years, do also note that if something were to go wrong and Upwork were to block the account, it would be you who’d lose the reputation you’d built up.
So, as I said, TANSTAAFL — there’s always a price to be paid for things. So consider what the price might be before you jump in with both feet 😃