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Freelancer Fraud?

Active Member
Ron W Member Since: Jan 28, 2020
11 of 14
Thank you everyone for your replies. I’m posting this out of respect for the community and having the ability to get input as I have in this situation, which is valuable. But, this will be my last posting on this topic, and I sincerely hope it brings closure for all who read it.

I was the Client in this situation and it was a humbling lesson for me; “focus, don’t go so fast”. As I stated, I was new to the platform, and made a simple mistake of clicking “Hire” instead of “Invite”. Unlike what some have suggested, I actually do recall it being that simple, and I don’t recall there being multi-steps and clicks involved beyond that. No excuses, totally my mistake, and when the Freelancer pointed that out in his first contact back to me, I admitted it and apologized; he recommended I leave the status as “Hired”, saying if I changed it, it would somehow hurt his rating. I certainly didn’t want that, since it was my mistake, so left it as that.

We initially had a nice dialogue, and then spoke directly on the phone. Near the end of that call, we agreed that he would submit a simple proposal estimating his time, fees, and deliverables. In my more than 20 years of owning a company, I’ve always operated that way, almost never just saying “yes, let’s do it”; I want to understand timelines, deliverables and costs first. The following day, per his request, I sent him some of our background materials to review.

Then, I didn’t hear from him until I received a system email from UpWork that we had been charged more than $1,000. Surprised by that, I tried contacting him immediately; he was initially not nearly as responsive as during our first contacts. When he finally did respond, via text and not through the UpWork system, rather than address the issue directly, he deflected, and immediately starting call me names, accusing me of hiring people in India for $5 (I have absolutely no idea where that came from), and threatening lawsuits and splashing our company all over the press as disreputable and unethical. Whoa. He seemed unstable, and because the conversation was not productive or going anywhere positive, I blocked him on my phone.

Thanks to this community’s input to my message, and UpWork’s great and quick-to-respond support team, I figured out how to submit a dispute through their platform. Ultimately, a full refund was issued, and we are very happy with the outcome. Again, the initial clicking of the wrong button was completely my fault, I have no excuses. I do agree with the gentleman who suggested adding a click or two to confirm that clients actually intend to “Hire” someone would be very helpful and prevent this in the future, and I hope UpWork read that and will consider it.

Thank you again to the community for being there, for the input you gave, and the perspective on this situation. It all has helped me know how to better handle things going forward.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
12 of 14


Thank you for returning to share more about what happened.

This kind of insight and additional perspective benefits all of us.


For what it's worth... Clicking the Hire button to immediately hire somebody rather than invite them to interview may be relatively rare, but it is an allowable action. And it is never an excuse for fraudulent behavior.


I have hired over 100 different freelancers on Upwork, including direct hires. I have never had any experience like the original poster described. So I like to think that something like this is rare. But I know (due to my reading of Community Forum threads) that things like this happen. All of us (especially freelancers) benefit when we can remove bad apple freelancers from the platform.

Community Guru
Amanda L Member Since: Jan 23, 2018
13 of 14

Richard W wrote:

Amanda L wrote:

Was this an hourly contract or fixed price? It seems odd that you sent a contract instead of a message. As a client I have done both, and I'm not even sure how you would mistake a contract for a message.

As a freelancer I've had several clients, new to Upwork, who've clicked the Hire button instead of the Invite button, and so they've sent me a job offer immediately. Since the default job type is Hourly, these have been hourly job offers. And I believe the default time limit is 40 hours. So if I was unscrupulous I could have immediately accepted the offer and clocked up 40 hours on the time tracker before the end of the week, and before the client was aware of what was happening. I suspect this is what happened to Ron.


P.S. I think clicking the Hire button should bring up a warning screen telling the user they are about to enter into a contract, and that it's usual to invite the freelancer to an interview first.

I like this suggestion too. 

Avery O Moderator Member Since: Nov 23, 2015
14 of 14

Hi Ron, 

It looks like you already have an open ticket regarding the same concern. While waiting on an update from the team handling your support ticket, you may want to pause the contract and discuss this separately with the freelancer. I feel that this may have been a miscommunication between you and your freelancer. Just the same, I'll follow up with the team so that they can reach out to you sooner. 

Since you are new, I definitely recommend that you read up on the client section of the resources we have compiled to help you familiarize yourself with Upwork. 


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