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Re: Avoiding the pitfalls of circumvention

Active Member
William L Member Since: Aug 18, 2017
11 of 23

I received this today:

It is If a project/job is canceled without forming a contract or if the client is suspended due to fraud we may refund the connects spent on your application. Please let us know which clients/proposals you are referring to so we can investigate and proceed. 

Active Member
Lucie M Member Since: Jan 17, 2020
12 of 23

I am new to Upwork.  I was solicited for a job, applied and was accepted. They asked me to send my personal email address to communicate the details.  I am reluctant to open their email or click on the attachement.  Is this customary?



Joanne Marie P Moderator Member Since: Nov 26, 2017
13 of 23

Hi Lucie,

You can communicate using the Upwork messenger. You are also allowed to use your personal/work email, Skype, or other methods of communicating if that is what your client prefers. Thank you!

Active Member
Lucie M Member Since: Jan 17, 2020
14 of 23

Hi Joanne,

What initially made me leery was that they said I would be required to give them my passport number in order to issue a legal invoice for payment.  I'm not willing to do this, and will only accept payment through the Upwork platform. Perhaps this is how they pay their in-house translators, or they may be confused.  Should I report them?


thank you,


Active Member
Renata M Member Since: Mar 15, 2017
15 of 23



Excellent article Mr. Garnor! I didn't know about this! It is really helpfull for me that is just sign in UPWORK and, in general, I still feel very insecure to start the work, due to the difficulty with the language. I imagine that read this tip and look for others like this will be the best thing to do at this moment. Thanks a lot!!


Best regards,


Active Member
Cory S Member Since: Oct 28, 2017
16 of 23

On another similar site, I am regularly contacted by "employers" that want me to be the virtual assistant for an art gallery. They try to lure me to only communicate through email and get paid through PayPal. The first time, I fell for it, but investigate the info sent to me very thoroughly, and was able to find a lot of evidence that it was a scam. I found stories from a lot of victims. Of course, when a second job offer came that was identical, it was obvious something was wrong. Thank goodness I followed my instincts. When I insisted the employer only communicate and pay through the website, and that he place money on the website in advance, he stopped bothering me,


I was amazed though, how many people have contacted me with the exact same scam. Four in 3 days! I was unsatisfied with the other site's customer protections and responses (lack of responses) when I tried to get help, which is why I am now trying this site out instead.

Active Member
Bryan M Member Since: Nov 29, 2017
17 of 23

This did happen to me with a client. I went to the Upwork web site and quoted the specific documents regarding circumvention. I am still being paid through Upwork.

Community Leader
Alan H Member Since: Nov 23, 2014
18 of 23

A request to circumvent can be a very bad signal. 


I would say about one in ten clients proposes to take the job off of Upwork. I can read people pretty well. Sometimes they are asking because of their prior experiences with other freelancers, who have requested this.  I always request to be paid on-platform.


A recent client, who invited me to an hourly job, but turned out to be problematic very soon in the relationship, suggested very strongly that it would be in my interest to earn more by taking the payments off-platform.  I told him I preferred to stay on platform, and he could not understand why. I reasoned that I have built a career here, and to do my own marketing would cost me a good bit more than the 10% or 11% average commission I pay to Upwork. I did not mention the payment guarantee for hourly work, but this was certainly top of my mind, when pressured so strongly to circumvent. 


In hindsight, I should have taken this signal as a strong warning and declined the offer entirely. Soon into the contract he began to fire off emails ranting about paying me for my time in a meeting with him. He was frustrated about his computer, and seemed to feel that life was unfair if he had to pay me while he was having these issues. He did not seem to know about the work diary or the time tracker.  When his unprofessional behavior continued, I could see no possibility for a positive outcome, and I ended the contract with a full refund. 


I lost seven or eight hours on this client. The next time someone proposes to take payment offline, I will decline to work for them and report their behavior to the support team.


Honestly, what other marketing vehicle costs just 10%? I could not hope to drive full time work to my consulting practice so cost-effectively, not to mention the additional hassle of chasing clients for payment.


Clients who want to pull you off-Upwork are suspect, and the freelancers who encourage this behavior are short-sighted. 

Vladimir G Moderator Member Since: Oct 31, 2014
19 of 23

Hi Alan,


Thanks for sharing your feedback and experience. If you haven't already, please take screenshots of the client's request to take payments off Upwork and report them along with the contract ID to Customer Support, so we can review and take action. Thank you.

Community Leader
Alan H Member Since: Nov 23, 2014
20 of 23

Hi Vladimir,


Thanks for your reply. They proposed to circumvent over the phone, not in writing. I do not record my calls, so I have no proof.