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Reporting tricky freelancer

Active Member
Mathilde M Member Since: Aug 29, 2019
1 of 7

Hello UpWork community!


Brand new on UpWork, I created 15 days ago my first job offer as a sourcing agent to locate producer or companys for 3 different products. I invited a freelancer with an interesting profile, good experience and references in this kind of job.

He accepted my invitation right away and after a nice chat, we agreed about a fixed price of $100 for the mission. I was very excited having found the perfect guy for the job so I hired him. But just after getting hired, he ask me to send him a deposit directly on PayPal for his expenses, saying he will refund it to me later. Why not on the website? He said it would take ages for him to get the money and the researches had some costs. So I accepted because I thought that with all those good references and working since such a long time on Upwork, he deserved I trusted him!


He was supposed to send me pictures of the products on Whatsapp and finish the work in the next 3 days. Well, I guess you know what happened next... Of course he never send any news neither pictures. At the end of the contract I asked him how his researches were going on and he finally replyed he had to go on some more markets to look for better prices.

No news still and then 3 days later he required the payment on UpWork, attached to the work report a document with a few pictures of products obviously picked on internet, with a few prices. The products where not corresponding to my research and he gave me no company or producer name.

I said I was not satified with the result but he claims he made the work and that the products I look for no longer exist. (Wich is wrong as I order them regulary to a local retailer...)

I understood he tricked me so I asked him nicely to refund my money on PayPal. And if not I would have to report him. He replyed I was threatening him, so he won't refund no money but accept to end the contract on Upwork.


I give you all the details so you understand the process of the trick. Obviously his goal was to get 50$ by PayPal, without making the job and without consequences on the website! He gives a false proof he made the work and I am the bad insatisfyed one who don't want to pay... But he is so nice that he accept to end the contract for nothing... So I cannot leave any bad feedback denouncing what he did. So he stays clean to the eyes of UpWork community and is able to keep riping off other beginners like me. Very smart!

This need to stop. So I will report him and hope UpWork take the necessary measures against this person.


Thank you for reading my story! Any advice or comment are welcome!

Best regards, M. from France

Goran V Moderator Member Since: Mar 24, 2017
2 of 7

Hi Mathilde,

I`m sorry to hear about the bad experience you had with your freelancer.
Please send me a PM (click on my name) with screenshots/evidence of the communication along with the contract title. I will escalate it to our team to investigate it further for violation of our TOS and take proper actions.


Please keep in mind that offering or accepting payments outside of Upwork is a serious violation of our TOS.

I would also suggest to check out our resources the threads below and learn more about Upwork:

Client Tutorial Videos and Client Webinar Getting the Most Out of Upwork
If you have any additional questions let me know, thank you.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
3 of 7


It was kind and thoughtful for you to take the time to report this incident, even though you already knew that Upwork can not help you get your money back, and even though you knew that by reporting this, you risked being suspended from Upwork.


I would like to strongly encourage Upwork to show leniency and NOT suspend Mathilde, even though paying money outside of Upwork is a serious TOS violation. The original poster is new, and will not make this same mistake again.


The original poster is clearly someone who wants to do the right thing and will only be a positive benefit to the platform.


I hope that Upwork will do everything possible to identify and eject the scoundrel freelancer who tricked the original poster and took money off-platform.

Community Guru
Robin H Member Since: May 28, 2019
4 of 7

I'm so sorry you were tricked.  That's an awful first experience on Upwork.  While there are a lot of great, honest freelancers on this platform, not everyone should be trusted.  You've learned a lesson from this experience and hope you continue to use the platform as a more informed client.  


Good luck to you!

Community Guru
Kelly B Member Since: Jan 1, 2016
5 of 7

I agree with leniency.


I also think it's kind of ridiculous to spend that amount of time and effort for $50. Imagine the money he could make if he just used his skills legitimately.

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
6 of 7

I guess we know what the chinese scammers are doing with the rented accounts.

Community Guru
Olga Q Member Since: Sep 5, 2012
7 of 7

Jennifer M wrote:

I guess we know what the chinese scammers are doing with the rented accounts.

And Japanese, Serbian...