re: "I paid with Paypal. Do you think Paypal can help me through buyer protection?"
PayPal probably won't do anything.
Upwork billed your PayPal account.
If you get PayPal to rescind money from Upwork, then you will be in violation of Upwork ToS, and Upwork will terminate your account. And they will stop helping you with this situation.
For your website/shopify matter, I can understand the frustration however there is a possiblity that you are able to get it back.
Step 1: Make sure your email account, domain, shopify store, cpanel is secure (all login credentials are not compromised anymore )
Step 2: Reach out to your hosting provider and ask them to restore to a previous instance. Usually speaking it is a free service and good quality providers keep a periodic backup. The only downside will be that any productive work done after the previously stored instance will be lost.
My advice will be to act fast on this, you might be able to restore it completely or something atleast while you can persue actions against this freelancer seperately. Best of luck
I was of the impression that it was hosted elsewhere. Shopify for some unknown reasons claim that they do not create server-side backups which theoratically does not make any sense or atleast they do not provide access to clients for that data, maybe they just want to have hassle-free operations at their end.
However you can still try your luck, a store/blog can be rebuilt/recovered using search engine cached version or the local cached files from your machine as I believe you must be visiting it regularly before everything was taken down. This will be slightly more complicated so I would suggest you should find an appropriate freelancer for this job or as suggested earlier to start it from scratch with a new freelancer.
I am sorry that you had to go through all of this.
I have decided to go into arbritration , but now for almost a week, moderator has been silent, no response to any of my communication.
How do i pay for arbritration?,
still nothing. I have just sent another private note to the Mediator, and it is still silence on their part. I am getting very frustrated with this.
All i want to do is get the arbritration going, and i want to pay for it.
re: "Looks like my freelancer does not want to go to arbritration, and i want to go. so what are the rules and what happens if he refuses."
Arbitration is used to determine which side receives money in escrow.
But in your situation, there is no money in escrow. All escrow finds have already been released to the freelancer. I am not an expert on this subject. As a client, I do not utilize dispute or arbitration processes. But based on my experience as a freelancer and frequent reader of the Forum threads, I believe that the only thing Upwork can offer you now is "mediation." This means that an Upwork-employee mediator can encourage the freelancer to send you money, but has no binding authority. The freelancer chooses for herself whether to do do. If my understanding is correct, then your decision to go forward with arbitration does not mean anything because arbitration is not an option. If I am wrong about this, I hope that someone will provide additional information.