Fiverr Community Forum

Near miss on suspicious buyer request

Hi Fiverr community! I’m a new seller, and am sharing my story to help others avoid falling for potential scams.

I was contacted by a buyer who asked about my rates for a large/long-term order. It was clear from their message that they hadn’t really looked at the basic details of my gig or packages. Nevertheless, I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt, and asked a few questions about their request. Instead of directly answering my questions, they referred me to their site where they wanted the work done. Although this was suspicious behavior already to me, I checked out the site anyway. As I’d initially suspected, the work didn’t fit what my gig was offering, but it seemed straightforward, and easy to complete. So, I laid out the terms of an offer that I expected them to negotiate a little bit on, or at the very least ask some questions about.

They promptly said ok to the unofficial offer, however, and told me to choose the work I wanted from their site, and that they’d move forward on the offer if “everything goes well.” This was very vague, but I took it to mean that they wanted to see what my work was like before officially accepting an offer, especially since they were also not asking me to actually create an offer. For me, this marked the end of the conversation because I’m not willing to put in work for no return, especially on a gig platform.

Not long after, Fiverr notified me that the buyer can no longer be contacted (see attached screenshot). Fiverr also erased the record of the buyer’s side of the conversation.

sus

I think I got lucky, and didn’t get scammed in this case. But if I had continued to ignore the warning signs I was getting, and Fiverr hadn’t stepped in in time, I would’ve fallen for it as a new seller trying to create a customer base. Some red flags I will now always pay attention to when contacted by potential clients:

  1. Unwilling to answer basic questions about the work they’re requesting.
  2. Mismatched request especially on gigs that have a narrow scope.
  3. Offers or accepts offer terms that are too good to be true.

These are probably just common sense rules of thumb anyway, but I learned that it’s very easy to ignore small misgivings sometimes, so hopefully this helps you stay safe!

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The biggest warning sign was the person referring you to an outside website. If they were serious, they would just tell you straight up through Fiverr messenger what the job was. That’s incredibly risky behavior and simply following the link could have exposed you to potential spyware/malware/viruses.

“Choose the work I wanted from their site.” That’s a ridiculous task. They never intended to place or accept an order through Fiverr, and only used Fiverr as the means to contact you.

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I have been contacted many times by reputable and high-spending clients who asked me to choose the work I wanted from their site. This has been when they have operated as online publishers or article brokers and some of these companies have hundreds of pieces per day to offer for editing.

This means it is better for freelancers to select the work they believe they can do best, instead of a client offering us work that may not be as well suited to other articles they have on their roster. Then if a client sees me doing a certain type of article repeatedly, they will usually offer me all of that work.

There are many leading online publishers that work this way, by editors claiming preferred articles. The last one I worked for was netting me more than $5k a month just editing a few articles here and there, and they paid $75/hour.

Of course, it still all has to be done via Fiverr, usually by batching the projects via custom orders. But there is no reason why these clients cannot allow you to select your own work. It is also essential to see their site so you get a feel for the tone of the brand and how each article will sit alongside others.

A quick message to customer support has always given me permission to work with such clients in whatever way they wished.

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A seller pick and mix assignment buffet? That doesn’t sound appealing to someone who prefers clear orders with defined guidelines and expectations.

In the OP’s particular case, the “buyer’s” unwillingness to divulge info is a portent of bad news. There have definitely been instances of malicious phishing conducted through Fiverr messenger and sending mostly new and naive sellers through harmful links to outside sites to scam them or compromise their computer or account.

This happened to me half an hour ago. :unamused: I was so uncomfortable with the external site demands. Honestly, it seemed kind of click-baity. To be fair to the customer, though, the articles had multiple grammatical and spelling errors.

I ended our chat by requesting he send his articles in a word document. Maintaining a professional tone was the priority.

Still, it was shady enough that i ran my malware cleaner in my phone and laptop.

Thank you for this post.