Yes, all communications go through Upwork. I just had one try it with me this morning. Wanting me to interview in a Google Hangout. Absolutely not. I advised this person that this is not permitted and to contact me via Upwork chat or call. I'm hearing crickets! LOL Imagine that.
No problem! Your account can be closed for not following the rules. Any chats, messages, calls...etc. MUST be here on Upwork. Otherwise, you have no payment protection. You can apply for work with someone who has not verified payment, however, I always ask them to do that. I don't usually go for the ones who don't have verified payment. You can if you want to, but always ask them to place payment into escrow and please chat here on the site. If they don't want to, or they get pushy, don't go for it. I report them immediately and withdraw the proposal. You have to protect yourself and these scammers go for new members.
Hi Leah and Susan,
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I've checked and confirmed that both jobs have been taken down due to violating Upwork TOS and actions have been taken on the clients' accounts.
Please check this help article for more information on how to use the flag option found on each job post or message to report any suspicious or inappropriate content. Also, check out this post for more tips on how to avoid questionable jobs.
Yes, the communication needs to be through Upwork until you accept a contract. After it's whatever you agree on with the client.
What you're describing is a common lead-in to a scam attempt.