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Community Member

Client wants partial refund through Paypal/Payoneer

Hi, I have a client who accidently paid for the whole contract ($380) instead of just releasing $32 for our first milestone. I initially told him that I'll contact Upwork customer service to try to fix it but he said to keep it first and he'll get back to me on more work since he liked the output of our first project.


After a few days, he e-mailed me stating that they had some problems on their side and have to postpone the project. He wanted me to refund the remaining amount to him via Paypal/Payoneer (he said his card doesn't work well with Upwork) which of course is not allowed here in Upwork. To be honest, I didn't think much of it at first since the payment has already been released to me but I don't feel comfortable about the situation. I don't want to get ahead of the situation but I've read some stories here on Upwork very similar to this and it ended up being a scam. 


I'm apprehensive on how to go about this and have tried to reach Upwork Support but haven't received any response yet. I'm also worried that he might leave me a negative review if I don't abide by his requests so I've put off replying to him for now. Would really like to ask for help on how to proceed with this. 

Community Member

Overpay scam. 

Community Member

This is not a client but a thief. The whole plan is to steal your money. Most likely, the card he is using is stolen and its rightful owner will take back the money in a few days. He is hoping to get cash from you by pretending he overpaid you by mistake. So you would lose the $348 that you paid him if you did what he asked.

Community Member


Community Member

It is a scam.  There is another thread just like this.


Tell the thief you will only refund the money via upwork.  The thief will do a chargeback anyway. 

The "overpay" scam is not one we saw or talked much about in the Upwork Community Forum until recently.


But it is actually the most popular scam seen in YouTube videos posted by scambaiters and anti-scam vigilantes.


The overpay scam is highly developed and there are entire criminal businesses set up, with offices and support staff and dedicated computers and software, to facilitate the scam.


Those YouTube videos typically show people getting scammed after responding to emails, text messages, or direct phone calls. Often in association with fake "tech support" services.

Community Member

Redirect to the other recent similar case:
Re: New type of fraud that I faced on Upwork - Upwork Community

Alfredo M. wrote:

By security PayPal allows 2-3 days of "secure" escrow, many scammers send you money and then report you as a scammer rejecting the transaction they made to you 2 days later, so you end with nothing.

It look like that scam, so at least wait 3-5 days and that $380 will disappear.

I see a possible connection of "coincidences" in recent posts, I am thinking it might be the same issue:

  • There is a constantly spam job repeating over and over, about the same pdf/image to word data entry job.
  • Some posts talking about PayPal scam.
  • Some posts talking about client trying to pay them out of the platform.
Community Member

Paola:  if you pay by PayPal or payonner you will lose twice.  Upwork will Take back the money from your account in case of chargeback and chargeback will happen.


Community Member

Close the project immediately and flag the message in which the client asks for money via PayPal. Do not withdraw the payment because you'll need to pay it back to Upwork - they'll put your account on hold until you do. Don't worry about a bad review, because a review from a client who has been banned for scamming isn't going to affect your JSS.


If anyone overpays you by hundreds of dollars again and tells you that it's fine and you can keep it, follow the steps above. Repeat as needed.


Hi! Thank you, I've been worried about how this will affect my JSS since the "client" has been threatening me in my messages. I've flagged the job posting already. Unfortunately, I had just withdrawn my Upwork balance a few days prior. I hope there will be a way to pay it back securely to Upwork.  Will make sure to be more cautious next time. Thank you again!

Community Member

Hello! Thank you all so much for your help! I've been worrying about this especially as I've just recently acquired my JSS. I've flagged the job posting already and awaiting action from Upwork to hopefully suspend the "client." Thank you!

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