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ยป Forums ยป Freelancers ยป Client scammed us on upwork with $250.
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gurtejsingh11
Community Member

Client scammed us on upwork with $250.

He asked us to purchase domain for him and he gave us $250 as bonus for it.

We purchased it on our credit card and after that he started asking for crypto so we have rejected that we don't deal with him and asked him to talk about project that we were offered. But in the morning we checked that his account was suspended. And our bonus was showing pending.

Now in the evening we checked that your team has refunded the fraud client his money back and we hardworking developer got scammed and lost our hard earned money in a day. I have also screenshots of all the chat and domain invoice for the same domain he asked for.

Kindly help us with the same and I suggest to verify clients with more strict process.

 

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

40 REPLIES 40
spectralua
Community Member

You cannot buy anything for client with own cost. I think noone will help you with.

Read ToS, forum carefuly before you will take next job.

You cannot buy anything for client with own cost.

 

This is just not true. Upwork has an "expense reimbursement" option built into the payment process. 

I was actually looking for that yesterday. It's permitted via the structure, but I cannot find any button for submitting a reimbursement request. AFAIK now there is not a formal method, so the FL must submit the request informally via messages.

 

the client had paid me a bonus of $250 through Upwork's payment system. The next day, I was surprised to find that the client had been suspended by Upwork, and my bonus payment had been refunded to the client's account without my confirmation.

karun0832
Community Member

Hello Gurtej S, I also face the same issue. In this case, the client hired a freelancer and add money to escrow as well also offer many amounts for small work but beware of these kinds of fraud and flag that post if you see it anywhere.

 

Thanks,

Arun

I invite you and  other members of the Upwork community who have faced similar experiences to join me in raising their concerns and advocating for better protections for freelancers on the platform.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

prestonhunter
Community Member

Gurtej, I absolutely understand how this all seemed to make sense.

And I know that you are feeling disappointed now.

 

But you need to understand that you made a mistake.

There may be nothing that Upwork can do to help you.

 

The proper way to handle a situation like this is to help the client spend his own money.

Or be certain that you have already been getting paid enough from the client that you can absorb some expenses.

 

These are principles that come not only from Upwork's stated rules, but also from thinking logically.

 

Hopefully others reading this thread will be able to learn from your experience.

Yes. ! But the client already paid me a bonus in advance and asked me to purchase a domain for him. I was in the safe zone because of an upwork platform where clients already send bonuses and it's secured from the upwork end. That's why I purchased the domain. So it's my mistake that I trusted upwork paymeny sequrity ! 


Gurtej S wrote:

Yes. ! But the client already paid me a bonus in advance and asked me to purchase a domain for him. I was in the safe zone because of an upwork platform where clients already send bonuses and it's secured from the upwork end. That's why I purchased the domain. So it's my mistake that I trusted upwork paymeny sequrity ! 


No, you were not in the safe zone. There's no payment protection whatsoever for bonuses - Upwork is very clear about that - and there's nothing to stop a bank from issuing a chargeback even months later. Why couldn't the client purchase a domain himself? Learn how to use your criticial thinking skills, or you'll get scammed again. 

PradeepH
Moderator
Moderator

Hi Gurtej,

 

I checked the job post you were referring to and it appears that it's already been taken down because it was in violation of Upwork TOS.


Please check out this course for more tips on staying safe on Upwork and please use the flag option found on each job post or message anytime youโ€™d like to report a violation.

 

Thank you,

Pradeep

Upwork
tlsanders
Community Member

I'm confused about your "hard earned money." Were you expecting to be paid $250 for the 3-minute task of purchasing a domain, or did you do other work for this client?

The client had hired me through Upwork and had requested me to purchase a domain for them. In exchange for this task, the client had paid me a bonus of $250 through Upwork's payment system. 

 

The next day, I was surprised to find that the client had been suspended by Upwork, and my bonus payment had been refunded to the client's account without my confirmation. This has left me in a difficult situation, as I had used the bonus payment to purchase the domain for the client. I trusted Upwork's payment system to be secure and fair to both freelancers and clients, but this incident has left me feeling otherwise.

I would like to point out that as a freelancer, I rely on the trust and security provided by Upwork to conduct business safely. In this case, I feel that Upwork has not acted in my best interest by refunding the bonus payment without my consent. It is important to note that Upwork takes a 20% fee on all bonus payments pus tax, which means that I had received only $187 for the task.

Therefore, I request that Upwork investigate this matter and refund me the amount of $159 that I had spent on purchasing the domain for the client. It is unfair that I should suffer a financial loss due to the actions of a fraudulent client, and I hope that Upwork will take the necessary steps to rectify this situation.

 

I'm confused too..! Why all you support Upwork will Stand together so this never happens to any one. This is totally Upwork responsibility. Why refund the bonus payment without my consent. Is this a big question ?

 

i Have all the messages, chat Screenshots and domain invoice. 

Please help and support me.

Read up on chargeback fraud, stolen credit cards, and scams in general. For all you know, this "client" was actually the domain seller.

 

Top Red Flags for Scams: From Community Member Wes C 

Scammers Know How To Get Money Transferred TO Them 

yofazza
Community Member

Yes, there was another case here but I found a cookie store with an exact name. In that case you can try to sell the domain to them. ๐Ÿ˜

 

In that other case the domain price was $125. Not sure how much you buy the domain, but I can still see $125 as a reasonable price for an established business (if you found a business with the same name).

So $1 domain was sold for $125 here? Great deal! ๐Ÿ˜


Gurtej S wrote:

The client had hired me through Upwork and had requested me to purchase a domain for them. In exchange for this task, the client had paid me a bonus of $250 through Upwork's payment system. 


So in other words, you didn't do any "hard work", and expected to get paid $250 just for purchasing a domain? It didn't occur to you that there was something fishy about this?

ashrafkhan81
Community Member

Just be careful in the future. Nothing can bring that money back to you.

 

 

8d7eaa13
Community Member

The same this happen to me as well can someone tell me is there anyway possible to get my money back? 

No.

Read ToS and forum before you will apply to next job. Or you will be scammed again or banned for ToS violation.

re: "The same this happen to me as well can someone tell me is there anyway possible to get my money back?"

 

You will not find success if you look backwards.

You need to look forwards.

 

Let go of all desire for that money.
Learn from your mistakes and move on.

abdulquadir77
Community Member

Thanks to this article, the same thing was about to happen to me. The client sent me an offer and asked me to purchase a domain. They offered me $25/hr for a 50-hour job and said that I need to create 2 pages. Upon hearing this, I felt something fishy because the client was offering me a high pay for just 2 pages. I searched on Google to check if anyone else had faced a similar issue, and after checking, I found these threads. I realized that this is a fraud, and thanks to this, I managed to avoid getting scammed. Now, what should I do? Should I reject the offer after already accepting it? Will this have any effect on my Upwork profile?

 

I have a doubt about how we can tell which clients are genuine and which are not. There are some clients who ask us to purchase hosting and a domain, and after the job is done, they actually pay. On the other hand, there are clients who scam us. How can we differentiate between the two and know who is genuine? In this case, I checked the client's job here and found that they had already hired three people. That's when I felt something fishy. Then I came across this article and managed to avoid it. So, do you have any pro tips on how to avoid such situations or how to deal with clients?

job link: **Edited for Community Guidelines**

Hi Abdul,

 

I checked the job post you were referring to and shared with the relevant team to take further action. Please check out this course for more tips on staying safe on Upwork and please use the flag option found on each job post or message anytime youโ€™d like to report a violation.

 

Thank you,

Pradeep

Upwork

Hi Pradeep,

Thank you for your prompt response and for taking the necessary steps regarding the job post I mentioned. I appreciate your attention to this matter.

I will definitely look into the course you mentioned for more insights on staying safe on Upwork.

 

Once again, thank you for your assistance, and I will make sure to utilize the flag option whenever I come across any violations in job posts or messages.

I think that many freelancers get scammed because they're behaving in a greedy, unethical way themselves; they think that a client is stupid and doesn't know how much something should cost, so they try to take advantage. Or, they know perfectly well that a job is fishy, but they think that because they're using the time tracker or the money is in escrow, they'll get paid and Upwork will take the fall for them.

 

You knew that a 2-page job wasn't going to take you 50 hours, so why would you accept an offer like that in the first place? And I'm sure that the OP in this thread must have known that $250 was too high of a bonus for a few minutes of easy work, but they went ahead with the suspicious gig anyway. People see dollar signs flashing in front of their eyes and it causes their brains to malfunction. If something sounds like it's too good to be true, it's almost always a scam - that's the number one rule that you can use to avoid being robbed.

If you withdraw an offer before it is accepted by the client, or reject his/her offer, there are no consequences on your profile.

If the client has accepted your offer, or you have accepted his/her offer, but no money has been paid as per yet, you can politely close the contract with an excuse and leave your feedback to alert other freelancers. If you close the contract  the client is not obliged to provide a feedback. If he/she provides a negative feedback, the impact on your JSS should be minimal or non-existent as there was no money spent. The impact of feedback on JSS is (also) calculated on the value of the contract.

If you added work hours in the system already, you can cancel them before the end of the week and then close the contracts as per above. The result will be the same as per above.

If a payment has been already registered in the system, you can still proceed as per above. If you have flagged the client as a scammer and open a ticket with Support about that feedback and explain the situation, there are chances that Upwork will suspend him/her as well as cancel any negative feedback from your profile and its consequences. 

In a nutshell: I believe that cancelling such contracts is always a good idea. 

deborah-ponzio
Community Member

I am not into IT services and am not 100% sure of what it involves however, in general, if an online stranger asks anyone to undertake a purchase on their behalf, it is a red flag and has to be avoided. Anyone can personally purchase anything online or remotely these days and there is no legitimate reason to hide behind someone else's name. What can reasonably be done is facilitating a client in identifying and accessing a service or product, understanding its costs and conditions, and helping them proceeding with a purchase on their own and utilise their own payment methods. If a client raises excuses and refuses to do so, there's something fishy there. It can be different with a trusted and ongoing client with a project that involves local expenses. 

You are right. But greedy freelancers want to buy the service cheap and speculate for extra profit. This is what the scammer need. The lover of easy money is always easier to deceive.

53caa551
Community Member

This is entirely Upwork's fault. This happened to me three days ago, and the amount is still pending in my transaction history. I had a client who hired me and sent a bonus amount. I received a notification, and I checked the invoice in the transaction history, but it has been three days, and the amount is still pending. I haven't received any response from support. I have been working for a while, and I have bought domains and hosting for clients multiple times, and this is normal. The question is, why did Upwork create an invoice? If Upwork created an invoice, it means that the payment should have been received. If that's not the case, then it's a fault in Upwork.

Hi Hafiz,

 

I'm sorry to hear about your experience. Please note that manual payments, like a bonus, become available after a five-day security period. If you look at your "Pending" tab in the Reports Home Page, you will see the date the amount will become available. If there is no date, it means we could not charge the client's payment method, and the funds will remain pending until the client resolves this issue on their end. 

~ Luiggi
Upwork
53caa551
Community Member

Thanks Luiggi,

When the client sent me the bonus amount, it appeared in my transaction history, and I received a notification. I checked the official Upwork invoice, and the date was shown as pending, similar to how dates used to show as pending before and would be updated the next day. However, that amount is now appearing in the pending amount, as per the link you sent me. After the job was assigned, when I purchased the domain, it showed as suspended on the contract after 6 to 8 hours. I checked the client's reviews and found this forum link. My question is simple: when an invoice is created, Upwork is responsible, and Upwork should have a loop in place that scammers are taking advantage of. You should impose restrictions beforehand when the client verifies their card. When a freelancer withdraws their earnings, it takes 3 days for account verification, but there are no restrictions for clients?

Ever heard of stolen credit cards or chargebacks?

 


Hafiz Mahmood A wrote:

My question is simple: when an invoice is created, Upwork is responsible, and Upwork should have a loop in place that scammers are taking advantage of. You should impose restrictions beforehand when the client verifies their card. When a freelancer withdraws their earnings, it takes 3 days for account verification, but there are no restrictions for clients?


There are not. Putting hurdles in the process of creating a Client account, posting jobs, and hiring Freelancers may stop some scams, but it will also cause many real prospective Clients to go to other platforms because they don't have those hurdles.

 

Part of the issue that you have is that not all automated processes move at the same pace. Upwork's automation for invoice creation upon job completion is very simple and fast because it is all internal. In contrast, automations regarding banks and card servicers are not as simple and are slower because most of that is external to Upwork. In the USA, Automated Clearing Houses (ACH) transactions routinely take days to complete.

danicanialouwe
Community Member

Today, I'm also a victim, I don't know how I ended up here. Being a freelancer in upwork for a long time. But just like others here, I thought upwork will protect me, the domain payment was sent through via bonus. I thought this client was just busy and needed a hand in buying the domain. That's why I am okay to help, plus the domain payment was sent through upwork, so I thought I'm safe. Good thing I saw this post, because this fake client asked me to purchased another domain. Rule of thumb, if it sound/feels fishy at the beginning, IT REALLY IS. I refunded the fake bonus and ended the contract. I also reported this fake client. I also requested a refund for the domain I just purchased, I hope I'll get my money back. 

THIS KIND OF SITUATION, IS A WASTE OF TIME!!! I HOPE UPWORK CAN UPDATE THEIR BONUS PROTECTION BECAUSE IT'S BEING USE BY SCAMMER NOW!!!

I'll try to help by posting some ideas that I acquired from my experience working 13 years at Upwork (previously Elance). Upwork has changed, there are fewer invitations and fewer jobs, a lot of new freelancers, more connects required to apply, a lot of SCAMMERS, and even when you flag them, Upwork is not helping.

 

It seems that Upwork is doing its business selling connects, that's why there are jobs that require 16 connects and they allow people to boost their bids with 50 connects or more (especially the new freelancers).

 

Some suggestions to find real jobs and avoid scammers:

 

  • Don't search jobs only directly at โ€œFind Workโ€. Go to the โ€œSearch for jobโ€ space to apply โ€œFiltersโ€.
  • One of them is โ€œPayment verifiedโ€ (although today there are scammers with payment verified and Upwork is not checking it, it could help).
  • Other Filter is โ€œClient historyโ€. Check if he posted other jobs, if he hired other freelancers, feedbacks, etc.   
  • Check the Date since the client is a member. Usually the scammers are members from the same day they post their jobs, and they didn't hire anyone. 
  • DON'T BID for jobs that ask for +20, +40 languages translation, or they publish a list of 15 languages, or invitations too good to be true, even when they have their payment verified. They verify their payment from different countries every day. 
  • APPLY TO JOBS THAT FIT YOUR SKILLS. Don't apply to 100 jobs, wasting connects and money.
  • ALWAYS CHECK THE CLIENT'S PROFILE before sending a proposal, even when it fits my skills.  
  • DON'T APPLY and don't contact if they publish a link (telegram, mail, skype, etc.) outside Upwork.  
  • DON'T start working or deliver any work if the contract didn't start for Upwork, and until the client has his payment verified and/or the money funded (specially if it's your first work with this client). 
  • DON'T BOOST YOUR BIDS. If you do it, you are paying to Upwork for finding a job instead of earning money from your work. Serious clients will find the best options according to your skills and not according to the amount of bids you use.  
  • I suggest NOT paying for a membership. Just use the 10 connects they give you for free and buy 10 more ($1.5) ONLY when you find a good job for you. 
  • I suggest your Profile to be visible to Upwork members and not Public outside Upwork. This way you avoid people outside Upwork (for example, scammers) to find you and enter for posting a job or inviting you. 

Yes, this procedure is 100% correct!

How have you been using Upwork for a long time and failed to learn that bonus payments are never protected? 

 

Your rule of thumb is a good one, but an even better one is learn how the platform works before you use it.

Yup, thats right.


In my case, I simply didnt have any bad experience with payments if its through upwork. I have always trusted the platform since then for fixed, hourly or bonuses. It always came in with no problem.

 

UPDATE: I just received my refund.

I just wanted to share that I'm glad I got my money back today. Luckily, I used PayPal during the purchase because they were the ones who approved it after I filed a dispute.  From Paypal: "We reviewed the case you filed on 26 July 2023 and have decided in your favor. We've issued a refund of... "

When I contacted GoDaddy to request a refund, they informed me that aftermarket domains are non-refundable. From Godaddy:

"Unfortunately, aftermarket domains are non-refundable. However, the verify payment team will review the transaction to determine if payment fraud has occurred and provide you with the next steps and options. You will need to contact their team to complete the process."

I hope my experience will help others prevent similar situations. This was a waste of my time and energy, but I learned my lesson.

7433c7e4
Community Member

Lucky Me,  I came across this post on the community, I almost fell victim to the same scammer today !! 
I was just lucky to seriously have a rethink of the whole thing and decided to stall him.
**Edited for Community Guidelines**

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