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Wordpress developer stole my website files

Active Member
Janet A Member Since: Nov 7, 2016
1 of 34

I hired **Edited for Community Guidelines**  to update my wordpress site. I did not give him FTP access because I have had bad experience before. So, what he did is he uploaded the "file manager pro" plugin and he made a back up of my website files which included previous backups done by me through c-panel and then after for no reason he cancelled the contract so that I would not give me the bad review that he stole my website files. I already put a fraud claim on upwork. What are my other options regarding this? I am at a huge loss because I cannot use that site and he most likely will use my website files to use my site for his own use. So, what are my options here on regarding fraud?


Thanks for any information provided. Freelancers should not be allowed to cancel contracts. I think this would prevent fraud since they would be concerned that if they commit fraud everyone would know about it when the client posts the review. I have attached a screenshot where he admits he made a backup of my site without my permission.

Valeria K Moderator Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
2 of 34

Hi Janet,


I'm sorry to hear about this freelancer's actions. I see that you already shared the situation with our customer support and your concern has been escalated to the team that will investigate and assist you further. If you have any more information to add, please add it to the open ticket. I have also shared this post with the team.

~ Valeria
Community Guru
John K Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
3 of 34



I'm sorry to hear about what happened, but why do you say that "I am at a huge loss because I cannot use that site"? Unless the freelancer also sabotaged your site, it should still be accessible.

"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce
Active Member
Janet A Member Since: Nov 7, 2016
4 of 34

I am at a huge loss because obviously he has a copy of my site and he can use the copy of my site as his. It is an e-commerce site. All he has to do is upload my website files into his server. Also, there could be some security files he placed in my server. I actually see a quarantine file that was uploaded by him when he made the backup. I have not deleted it because that is evidence that I need to show to upwork. Contractors like should be permanently deleted from upwork and I hope his account is deleted.

Community Guru
Virginia F Member Since: Feb 15, 2016
5 of 34

All due respect Janet, there are fraud clients on this site as well - freelancers need to be able to cancel contracts for the same reasons as clients need this function.

Active Member
Janet A Member Since: Nov 7, 2016
6 of 34

Why would a contractor be at a loss at not being able to cancel the contract? The client is the one who pays not the contractor. How do clients commit fraud by contractors' not being able to cancel contracts? Obviously, the clients are at a disadvantage just like what happened to me. A lot fraudulent contractors steal website files and then they simply cancel the contract. I will not take this lightly and I have submitted to upwork all the evidence about what this contractor did.

Community Guru
Christy A Member Since: Dec 30, 2015
7 of 34

Certainly no one is asking you to take anything lightly.  I'm sorry you had this experience.


However, we occasionally hear of less than honest clients who take steps to sabotage freelancers.  Scope creep, changing escrow payouts, feedback manipulation and more.  


The system is in place to allow clients and freelancers the flexibility to manage their businesses the best they can.

Active Member
Janet A Member Since: Nov 7, 2016
8 of 34

None of those issues you mentioned would be resolved by the contractor cancelling the contract. It is actually to the contractors' advantage to keep the contract open. Allowing contractors to cancel contracts definitely makes it easier for contractors to commit fraud like in my case.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
9 of 34

There is nothing Upwork or anyody else can do to make it so that this scrammer freelancer doesn't have your files.


The best thing you could do would be to not worry about the fact that he has your files and to move forward.


Those files are not your site.


You still control your domain name, which is key, and you control your actual site.


That freelancer is not going to use the files to create a replicate website.

Active Member
Janet A Member Since: Nov 7, 2016
10 of 34

Yes, there is something that can be done. His account needs to be permanently deleted. He does not belong to the upwork community. All developers and clients who commit fraud THEIR ACCOUNT NEEDS TO BE PERMANENTLY DELETED.


AND YES, I BELIEVE HE WILL CREATE A DUPLICATE OF MY SITE. I did not post this question here on the support forum to get a negative response.**Edited for Community Guidelines**