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Unauthorized refund
Hi, I recently finished a contract with a client on upwork. Things went ok, client got what they asked and finished my contract. Today, coupole of days after the contract was closed I receive an email stating “I refunded” the client money. I haven’t authorized such thing, all hours were under the terms of the contract and logged using the time tracker... I have no idea what just happened.


Hi Ayas,


It seems like you already have an open ticket with the team, and one of our agents is already assisting you directly. Please allow some time for the team to check and provide you with an update on the same ticket. 

~ Joanne
Community Member

Did you buy cryptocurrency for someone?

Yes, I bought for client and he paid, but today I got message that due to fradulent activity of client he is on hold and money has been refunded.


Ayaz M wrote:

Yes, I bought for client and he paid, but today I got message that due to fradulent activity of client he is on hold and money has been refunded.



I hope for your sake that it wasn't a big trade because this is a very common scam. And you're llikely on the hook for the full amount of the trade because the client may have paid with a stolen credit card.

Doing a crypto trade for someone you just met online is a bad idea to begin with, but if you do it on Upwork, you also run the risk of having your account shut down because it's a violation of the Upwork Terms of Service. 

You're going to have to develop good judgement if you want to continue working online.  One place to start is reading the legal terms for this site so that you can understand your responsibilities as a freelancer. Upwork does not vet clients, so you have to make sure that what you're doing sounds reasonable before you accept a contract.

The legal terms on these pages are what you agree to every time you accept a contract on Upwork.

https://www.upwork.com/legal#terms-of-useScreen Shot 2022-06-16 at 9.41.18 AM.png


This is also good information to have:



The reality is that I have lost....

Again, so sorry this happened to you here. What more could've been done to warn you before it did? Were you warned when you signed up about how to spot scams and what is and is not allowed here?

I don't like to be the person who delivers the bad news, but it's like Alpers was saying, you need to think of yourself as a business and do what you can to protect your business

. It's unfortunate that a lot of freelancers on Upwork don't know about credit card chargebacks. I used to think a chargeback could only happen up to 60 day after the payment. Someone told me recently that if someone pays on PayPal, they could request a chargeback six month later. So you really need to think about what you're accepting.


Community Member

You were scammed and will never get your money.

Upwork must not refund the money once client has paid, it was in escrew for 5 days mean freelancer amount is save and with the Upwork, it will automatically be credited into freelancsrs account after 5 days.

The word refund is misleading. The client's money was never really there and they never really paid, even though it looked like they did, That is how crypto scams work.  Plus, you broke the rules by buying crypto for someone. Complain all you want but you'll never get it back. Sorry this happened to you.

Peter in this case that's not true. The money was in escrow but likely with a fraudulent card. 

Ok, but if so, why wasn't the card discovered as being fraudulent when the money was put into escrow, and also not until after the contract was closed?

Because the rightful owner didn't immediately notice and report the card as stolen. Do you check your bank statements on a daily basis?

No, fair point. But -- and I promise I'm not being sarcastic -- it is coincidental that it wasn't until after the contract had been closed that it was discovered.

Peter G wrote:

No, fair point. But -- and I promise I'm not being sarcastic -- it is coincidental that it wasn't until after the contract had been closed that it was discovered.

Yes, it's coincidental. I didn't notice for a few days once that someone had fraudulently charged things to my credit card back in 2019. How fast you notice depends on how often you check your statements or if you have spending alerts set up. 

They didn't choose to refund for no reason; your client didn't pay. There is absolutely no payment protection when you choose to participate in an activity that's against the terms of service that you agreed to abide by when you signed up (which you either ignored, or never read in the first place).

Community Member

Unfortunately upwork is no mother/father figure that protects us from all the wilderness. I'm not even being sarcastic here because the mindset to understand we are small businesses on our own is very important for success. You have to read the aggreements, terms, know the game and develop your strategy as well as do your accounting pay your taxes etc. I think you have purchased yourself a good lesson and i hope this helps you in your career going forward. You are not a finance broker, you are not a bank. You can't simply buy crypto for someone else and collect their money. This is wrong on many levels. Maybe it's also beneficial to understand what crypto is with all the potential strengths and weaknesses of it. It is not an easy world we are living in...

Alper, you are right, I have got good lesson from this.

I think Upwork must have that level of AI like Fiverr's. 

Community Member

Crypto scam is vary common on upwork marketplace. You will get the milestone done, you can see you money at processing, you can give and get a good review and end the job. All the process looks so clean that it would be very hard to doubt.


Then in one fine morning you will get email warning and will loose everything from that job.


Scams are real, but this is super fine to catch at the first place.

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