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Community Member

How can I be sure some client won't torpedo me outside of upwork?

It's been a while since I've been active but I'm back. What I've noticed is that basically every single client is asking to have video/audio chats outside of Upwork. I tried to use the built in, provided tools but of course they don't work. I had a very awkard chat with a client where his Mic worked and I had to type. I use my mic every day so I know it's not me, but I digress.

I read over some community posts where officials say it's ok to chat outside of Upwork, just make sure $ and contract chat stays inside of Upwork. Great. However, I also once was accidentally CC'd on a support email where Upwork permanently banned someone because the client simply made the accusation that payment was requested outside of Upwork.

I obviously have no choice but to go with the client's preference to chat outside of Upwork, but how do I protect myself? While most of my clients have been great, not everyone is a saint, and I don't want to risk my ability to work and eat. What's the process when such an accusation is made? How do we freelancers protect ourselves from malicious accusations? That accidental CC made it pretty clear that Upwork didn't even care to hear the freelancer's side of the story.

Community Member

Does the client seem legitimate?

If so, go ahead and do it. A lot of clients want to speak directly with their freelancers. I just did a Skype call the other day and the client and I got on really well. I got the job 🙂

If you have a bad gut feeling about it, don't do it. Bit some clients just prefer phone calls and yes Skype does function a bit better than the Upwork calls, so that's legitimate reason for him to ask for a call.

A huge red flag would be that after the initial call he won't answer messages through Upwork's message feature and only wants to talk outside of Upwork. But, even then, they aren't always scammers.

Make sure your clients Payment method is verified and that you submit all your work through Upwork. That's the best way to protect yourself. If it's and hourly job, use the tracker and write memos. If it's fixed price, make sure your milestone is funded before you begin working and again, submit your work officially through Upwork if it's fixed price, hit that green "submit" button. If it's hourly, send your work through the messaging system.
Community Member

Another safety precaution you may use is when the request comes gently insert the phrase that,"I will be happy to talk on whatever, but the actual contract with the financial terms will have to come through Upwork channels".

Community Member

You can't, Jesse.


Fortunately, very few clients are bizarre enough to randomly make up a claim that you asked to go outside the platform for payment. And, if one did, you would of course have your own correspondence to demonstrate what had really happened whereas the client, if you happened upon one of the handful of mentally disturbed sorts who goes around making things up about people on the Internet, would have no supporting evidence.

Community Member

I require every client to have a chat with me, method of her/his choosing, to explore a fit. That's in my response. None has yet availed him/herself of UW's tools. I prefer chat with audio, so I can type and save a record of the conversation. I offer to turn on my video if the client needs to confirm that I am fat, old, and ugly, but it's a waste of bandwidth.

Community Member

Hi Jesse,


Thanks for sharing your concern.


Our friends have shared great advice on this topic, please concider those. You may also review the ToS here to confirm both, your client and yourself, are always in compliance.


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