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asim_hamza
Community Member

Client scammed me and Upwork punished me for it.

Two weeks ago, a client contacted me regarding a project she needed to be done in a few days. We got into an hourly contract. I started the work with the Upwork timer ON. The next day, the contract was suspended and the client told me it was because of some payment method or so. She said she will create a new contract from her boss's account. The next day new contract started and Upwork suspended it too after a few hours of work.

 

She used two more accounts and I made sure I don't work without an Upwork timer. Eventually, Upwork suspended my account, saying that I was doing some sort of fraud. I told them about the whole thing and they restored my account.

 

Long story short, after 4 contracts I worked for a full week through Upwork Timer, and eventually, at first Upwork suspended my account, and then one after one they refunded the amount back to the client.

 

I don't understand, why I was punished for a client's fraud (if there was any). Upwork has to ensure freelancers' safety, especially when they are not contacting clients outside Upwork, and not logging manual time.

 

Your comments and suggestions are welcome to avoid any such unpleasant incident in the future.

 

Thank you.

15 REPLIES 15
iwan-spillebeen
Community Member

Ok, if a clients account gets suspended for payment issues that means that UpWork doesn't have a valid means of receiving payment from them.  If they then move you to another contract under another account ... that should be a HUGE red flag for you.  They are trying to scam UpWork by using their hourly payment protection system to get work done for free, by creating new accounts each time that can't pay the bill.

 

You have to admit that for you to do so 4 times in a row would look absolutely suspicious to UpWork; it definitely looks like you are working together with them to get money out of the UpWork hourly payment protection system.  So I'm not suprised that after 4 times they suspended your account, I'm surprised they didn't do it earlier.

 

If a client gets suspended by UpWork for payment issues, DO NOT engage with that same client on another account, period.  Let them sort out the payment issues and wait for the contract to be reinstated (which likely would have been never in this case). The moment you do engage on another account, while you know that there is issue with the client, in essence means you are knowingly or unknowingly committing fraud.  This, after the first contract was suspended, is on YOU, not on UpWork.

I would be very surprised if this wasn't a breach of the Terms of Service that you signed when joining UpWork for which you could be permanently removed.

 

Chalk it up as a lesson learned, and a warning for others, and don't expect any payments on this.

TL:DR they are not punishing you, you violated the TOS and count your blessings they didn't ban you outright.

I agree with you. I should have stopped when 2nd account was suspended too. 

Honestly, no, you didn't read that correct.  There is no reason for a client to try to move you to a second account if the first one is suspended.  You should have stopped as soon as they suggested that, I have had clients with suspension for payment issues and I simply wait for them to sort it out, not to start a different account. Payment issues (if real) can be resolved quickly enough and a legitimate client will understand that you wait for it to be fixed.

 

Anyone pressuring you to move to a different client / contract because it needs to "be done urgently" is lying, it is a problem they caused and as such their problem to fix, not yours to commit fraud on their behalf.

lysis10
Community Member

The first three client suspensions didn't give you a clue?

It never happened to me before. And I agree it was very stupid of me. However, I was focused on following the Upwork timer policy and I thought as the client said, it was because of the payment method or her card that causing the issue.


Asim H wrote:

It never happened to me before. And I agree it was very stupid of me. However, I was focused on following the Upwork timer policy and I thought as the client said, it was because of the payment method or her card that causing the issue.


If you were paying attention to payment protection rules, you casually skipped the part about contributing to fraud. They don't pay frauds and criminals. Did ya read that part?

I genuinely thought it was some issue with their payment method. My Mistake.


Asim H wrote:

I genuinely thought it was some issue with their payment method. My Mistake.


I mean...hiring freelancers with no intention paying IS an issue with the payment method - as in it never existed.

erinvega2016
Community Member

$20K in earnings and a member since 2019?? 

 

"Desperation is like stealing from the mafia: You stand a good chance of attracting the wrong attention." - Douglas Horton

Can you please elaborate?

 

1. $20K in earnings and a member since 2019?? 

Is this a good profile or a bad profile? I actively started working on Upwork in May 2022. 

 

2. Any tips to avoid this wrong attention?

$20k or thereabouts for first year of regular activity is somewhere between decent and good, I think. Of course, I'm biased bc I'm around $25k since I started in (coincidentally) May 2022.

attorneysergei
Community Member

some recommendations:

  1. Verify Your Clients: Before agreeing to any contract, make sure to check the client's history and reviews on the platform. Clients who are new to the platform or have negative reviews may present higher risk.

  2. Communication: Keep all communication with your clients on the Upwork platform. This provides evidence in case of disputes and protects you against fraud.

  3. Use Hourly Protection: It seems like you were already doing this, but it's crucial to use Upwork's Hourly Protection, which includes using the Work Diary to record your hours. This protects you against non-payment as long as you meet the Hourly Protection criteria.

  4. Report Suspicious Behavior: If a client's behavior seems suspicious, such as using multiple accounts or continually suspending and restarting contracts, report this to Upwork immediately. Their team should investigate the matter.

  5. Stick to One Contract: It's a good practice to keep all work for a single project within one contract. If a client suggests creating multiple contracts for the same project, this could be a red flag.

Very useful recommendations.

The last one is too true. Please allow me put it in the Reddit thread about staying safe in Upwork. And i would add 'Don't let be pressured'. the clients can insinuate that fixing the contract which was suspended would take so much time (for their supposed rage) so they open a second account. they don't knowe limits... and their supposed rage and one's own needs substracts about 80 IQ points.

dunk
Community Member

Upwork makes a ton of money from both sides of a contractual equasion.  Yes, the terms and conditions are there to protect us all, and Upwork from liability.  

I think most are giving Upwork a free pass.  It is there duty and primary function to provide a safe marketplace contractors and clients and detect scaming on either side should be thier top priority!  

If all Upwork is marketplace and payment system, then they are charing far to much for thier services.  They hold the keys, and should be able to put better protections in place. 


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