The global network connecting people with skills, knowledge and time
to the people who need their help. Everything in one place.

Financial Scams: What To Look Out For

Tips September 07, 2017

Fraud can come in many shapes and sizes, and can have devastating effects on your finances, personal safety and business success. The best way to prevent financial scams is to recognize the warning signs and to take necessary precautions.

To help you stay safe when using online platforms, we’re sharing a fictional scenario that highlights a common scam and the key red flags to watch out for.

The Scenario:

James, an experienced cleaner, wanted to earn some extra cash on weekends, so he signed up for an online talent platform. Soon after, he received the below email.

The Email:

Hi James!

I’m looking for home cleaning services for the next 3 months. My husband got a temporary job transfer to NYC, so my family is in the process of moving from Philly to NYC. We’ll travel home to Philly every weekend, so want someone to clean our NYC apartment on weekends.

We’re willing to pay $900 per week and would love for you to start next weekend. We’re happy to send you your first payment in advance – if you can provide the below mailing and banking info, I’ll get a check in the mail right away.

  • Full name
  • Mailing address
  • Phone number
  • Bank account number
  • Social security number

Let us know if this all sounds good, and we’ll send you our address and instructions for getting into our apartment. If we’re happy with your work next weekend, we’ll proceed with drawing up a 3-month contract.


The Result:

James agreed to Mary’s offer. He sent her the requested information and received a fake check in the mail a few days later for $1,500. Mary apologized for the error and asked him to send her $600. James did so.

While James was waiting for Mary to follow up with her address, the bank voided the fake check. James not only lost the $600 he had sent to Mary, he was also accused of fraud by the bank.

The Red Flags:

  • Payment by check.
  • Payment scheduled for after the agreed upon work is completed.
  • A salary that is much higher than what is standard.
  • Request for personal and bank account information.
  • No binding agreement or contract outlining the work terms.

The Best Ways To Avoid Scams:

  • Always communicate with other users directly on the platform, not offline.
    • On, our instant messenger makes it easy to communicate with the people you want to work with. We also use sophisticated algorithms to monitor chats for fraudulent activity.
  • Always send and request payments through the online platform, not offline or using a check.
    • On, our secure payment system makes it easy to send or request funds. We also use complex fraud detection algorithms to ensure safety.
  • Clearly outline the scope of work and timeline for any project, and never pay for a service before the agreed upon date.
    • On, our transparent instant messenger makes it easy to negotiate all the details.
  • Never share any personal or sensitive information.
    • On, our user profiles feature all the information needed to successfully work with others. Additionally, all personal information on our site is protected.
  • Always do your due diligence.
    • On, it’s easy to research the people you want to work with. We feature evaluations of past work experiences and links to personal websites and social media accounts so you can verify they’re the real deal.

Always remember: if something is too good to be true, it just might be. By taking a few simple steps, you can avoid scams and take advantage of the broad range of benefits that online platforms offer. If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, email us at