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Advice needed on how to deal with a fraud

Active Member
Alina T Member Since: Sep 28, 2019
1 of 16

Hi, Upwork community,

 

I am a freelancer managing a website development project for a client. 

 

Our freelance developer has completed the first milestone and then her account got suspended. We gave her time until Sunday to recover it, and if she couldn't, we would hire another freelancer because we are not willing to work outside of the platform. 

 

Today, her account has got permanently deleted and the payment for the 1st milestone was returned to the client's account. 

Now the deleted freelancer keeps sending us messages asking to pay her the refunded amount and offering to continue working on our project outside of Upwork. 

She is offering to send her money via Paypal and this is how I know for sure that she is a fraud. Her Upwork location says Ukraine, and it is impossible to receive money via Paypal in Ukraine, it is simply not working there. 

 

The thing is that we can not even report her profile because her profile page says "the profile is no longer available".

Also, for some reason, she still can send us messages in Upwork and she already took it to the level of "i have a diseased mother" and "didn't I create your site".

 

We don't know what to do and we do not want to pay or work outside of Upwork. But it seems impossible to give a refund back.

 

What should we do in this situation?

Thanks in advance.

 

 

Community Guru
Sergio S Member Since: Dec 19, 2017
2 of 16

Obviously you should not even waste your time with that person or give her money. If the account was permanently deleted there must be a reason, probably a ToS violation. Look for some other freelancer to continue the job. How is this user sending you messages? Through the messages tab inside Upwork? If so, you can block the user clicking on the name and choosing the appropriate option.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
3 of 16

Agree. Just block her.

You have nothing to gain from communicating with that person.

 

The money was returned to the client. Just don’t talk to this freelancer or use her work, and there will be no moral / ethical complications. No obligation to even try to pay her.

 

re: “...and she already took it to the level of "i have a diseased mother"

 

LOL. I have read about that ruse being used many, many time by fraudulent freelancers. People like that have an unlimited supply of dying relatives.

Community Guru
Antun M Member Since: Jan 27, 2018
4 of 16

Preston H wrote:

Agree. Just block her.

You have nothing to gain from communicating with that person.

 

The money was returned to the client. Just don’t talk to this freelancer or use her work, and there will be no moral / ethical complications. No obligation to even try to pay her.

 

re: “...and she already took it to the level of "i have a diseased mother"”

 

LOL. I have read about that ruse being used many, many time by fraudulent freelancers. People like that have an unlimited supply of dying relatives.


"Dog ate my homework", adult version.
So dark.

Active Member
Alina T Member Since: Sep 28, 2019
5 of 16
Thanks Preston.
Well, this person has completed a first milestone and we have a website running.
So my client has some moral complications.

But as a freelancer myself, I totally think that there is something very very sketchy there.
Active Member
Alina T Member Since: Sep 28, 2019
6 of 16
Thanks for you replies, guys
But she has actually completed the first milestone and we have a fully functioning website created by her.
So my client is not sure about ethical solution in this case.
Yep, the user is sending messages via messages tab.
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
7 of 16

Oh.

That is a good question... You actually have the work that the freelancer did for you, and it is good work that you like. Upwork reversed the funds, not you.

 

So when the freelancer is asking for payment, for the work that she did... she actually has a valid point.

 

This would have been so much simpler if the freelancer had done little or nothing for you.

 

I am not comfortable with the idea of me hiring a freelancer to do some work, and then actually receiving the work, and then Upwork taking the money from the freelancer and refunding it to me. But I also know that I am dealing with a system which has as its cardinal rule a strict prohibition against off-platform payments.

 

I am offering no advice. I am interested in what others to say about this.

Active Member
Alina T Member Since: Sep 28, 2019
8 of 16
Well, what bothers me the most is that this person is asking to PayPal her money. Her profile says that she is Ukrainian based in Ukraine and there is no way she can receive PayPal money in such situation. PayPal is simply to send money for Ukraine-based users.

And also, paying her outside of the platform means violating Upwork ToS. And no way I would do that.

Yeah, let’s see if any Upwork representatives have anything to say about this.
Community Guru
Sergio S Member Since: Dec 19, 2017
9 of 16

I understand the ethical thing. However, it looks like this freelancer was not as moral as you and the client are. Upwork suspend and close accounts only when there are valid reasons, mostly ToS violations, such as impersonation, circumvention, account sharing, etc.

 

You are right feeling bad about using the website she made without paying her. So in my opinion the only solution would be refrain from using what she made and say that to the freelancer. Then find some other freelancer and start over. It may sound absurd since you already have what you needed, but at least it will be morally fair and equal.

 

I will flag this post so that a moderator can take a look. Maybe there is another solution or the account was closed by mistake. Who knows... They will probably ask you for more details to research.

Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
10 of 16

Alina T wrote:

And also, paying her outside of the platform means violating Upwork ToS. And no way I would do that.

It might be possible for the client to pay you and then you pay her (minus the Upwork fee); that wouldn't be circumvention, since you're allowed to subcontract on fixed price projects, and Upwork would still get its cut. But hopefully a moderator will be able to provide you with more assistance. 

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