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Scammed By Upwork Freelancer

I am trying to report

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

**Edited for Community Guidelines** claimed to be skilled with WP Bakery Page Builder. During the job, he showed very little understanding, deleted pages to cover his mistakes, and cost my business several thousand dollars in client refunds. He talks a good game, but after a good performance on the first job, he took the deposit money and outsourced to unskilled "staff." When asked to correct his mistakes, the work got even worse. Many excuses. Very little performance. He will tell you not to report him to Upwork, and that he has problems in his personal life. He is perfectly capable of doing the work, but outsources instead. Our projects feel behind and we lost significant business because of trusting **Edited for Community Guidelines**. I am looking for someone from Upwork Trust and Safety to investigate this scam.


**Edited for Community Guidelines**

Community Member

I don't see him asking you not to report him in that screenshot. Yes, he makes excuses, but he also says he wants to reach a solution. Of course you can report him, but in the end it sounds like you need to end the contract and move on to a different freelancer. I'm sorry you had this experience, but you have a choice to continue working with this freelancer or move on. You can also request a refund or raise a dispute/go to arbitration if you need/want to.

how does one initiate arbitration?

Community Member

Miya C wrote:

how does one initiate arbitration?

First you need to ascertain if you even qualify for a dispute, which is the step before any possible arbitration. 

  1. Is the contract hourly or fixed rate?
  2. If hourly, when were the hours logged which you want to dispute?
  3. If fixed rate, is there money in escrow, how much is it (relevant because arbitration would cost you $291)? 
  4. If no money is in escrow, how long has it been since the last milestone was released? How much has been paid (relevant because arbitration would cost you $291)?


Community Member

Matthew, sorry to hear what happened and hope you get some redress. Moderators are going to shortly remove the name of the freelancer and the screenshot because that violates Upwork rules, but I saved them both. The freelancer doesn't even mention WordPress or WP Bakery in his profile, so it's obvious to me that those are at best sidelines to his main area of expertise, which is graphics design. I see he also has two WordPress jobs in progress, even though he probably has no business working on those. There are hordes of freelancers specializing in WordPress in general, some of whom also specialize in WP Bakery builder, so it's unfortunate you chose him for some reason.

"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce
Community Member

re: "I am looking for someone from Upwork Trust and Safety to investigate this scam."


You really do not want to go that route. Stop putting this undeserving, underperforming freelancer first. Stop wasting your time with him.


Please: Put yourself and your project first.


Stop working with that freelancer. You should have stopped doing so a long time ago. Wasting time with Trust and Safety, or any Upwork people, in order to continue to focus on this freelancer is just continuing to throw good money after bad.


As a client, you should make sure that your project manager is managing your project thoughtfully and proactively. One of the best ways you can do that is resolve that you will never get involved with disputes or refunds or arbitration. You will never think that there is a magic reset button, because there isn't. You will always manage your projects and freelancers yourself (with your PM). You will never rely on Upwork to do so, because that is not something they do. Your PM should regularly review, test and archive the work submitted. When a freelancer is underperforming or submits work that is below the level of quality your project needs, then your PM has you close the contract on that freelancer.


These are the resolution and practices of effective successful clients.


re: "Our projects fell behind and we lost significant business because of trusting..."


This is factually incorrect. Your projects fell behind and you lost business because your PM was negligent.


Your PM should have fired this freelancer a long time ago and only continued to work with the members of your team who were providing you with the most value, and who were really moving your project forward in a professional, highly qualified way.


re: "He will tell you not to report him to Upwork, and that he has problems in his personal life."


If a client sees himself as a mentor, or a father figure, or as some sort of pastor or rabbi, then the client may wish to to continue helping out a freelancer, or the client may wish to ask for the freelancer to be investigated, or a client may wish to persuade the freelancer to "balance his karma" or "do the right thing." Sometimes we see clients who want to "teach the freelancer a lesson."


But I urge clients to resist these impulses and save such altruism for their local communities and congregations. On Upwork, clients should put themselves first, rather than focusing on a freelancer who doesn't deserve any more of their attention.


Don't even waste your time trying to "report" this freelancer. Just close the contract and leave accurate and appropriate feedback. You are not obligated to spend your valuable time doing more than that.

Preston, if a freelancer scams a client, he absolutely should be reported. It's only right. This whole "pay the freelancer and block them" thing that you propagate only works if you're extremely rich and if you're extremely forgiving. This is not true for the vast majority of people.

OP, dispute the transaction and report the freelancer. Include all the proof you have. (Make sure you actually have proof before doing so.)

Edit: I also forgot to mention that outsourcing work without the client's explicit permission is a violation of the ToS. This isn't your average dispute, it's straight up fraud.

Varun: I am not asking the client to forgive the freelancer.


I am suggesting that the client put his own needs and his project first.


And my advice is intended for thrifty clients, not rich clients.


I said that the client should not have paid so much money to this freelancer, and should not continue working with this freelancer. This is about saving time and money.

Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Matthew,


I'm sorry to hear about the bad experience you had. One of our team members will reach out to you directly to assist you further.


Thank you.

~ Aleksandar



Please contact me regarding scam with my freelancer.   I'm a new client and my freelancer is scamming me (fake attorney).  He's not licensed anywhere he claims to be, and refuses to provide me with his license # for the bar.   Your website is very  confusing and I can't figure out how to safely close my contract, and get my money back.


re: "Please contact me regarding scam with my freelancer. I'm a new client and my freelancer is scamming me (fake attorney). He's not licensed anywhere he claims to be, and refuses to provide me with his license # for the bar. Your website is very confusing and I can't figure out how to safely close my contract, and get my money back"


It is possible that somebody from Upwork will contact you.

But you don't need to wait for that.


You may ask questions right here in this thread, and you are likely to get answers faster if you do so.


re: "I'm a new client and my freelancer is scamming me (fake attorney). He's not licensed anywhere he claims to be, and refuses to provide me with his license # for the bar."

You already know these facts about the freelancer.

So the only reason you are discussing this with us must be that you want to HELP OTHER PEOPLE. But you should understand that, as a new client, you may want to focus on YOUR OWN NEEDS first. There are still things you need to learn, before you can begin helping other people.


So if you want to help other people, then definitely don't forget about that. But focus on helping yourself first.


re: "Your website is very confusing and I can't figure out how to safely close my contract"


It is easy to close a contract.

Go to the "Jobs" or "Contracts" listing within your client-side user interface.

Find the specific job that you want to close.
Click on the "Three Dots" icon.
Choose the option to "close" or "cancel" or "end" contract. It doesn't matter what word you see. All of these do the same thing.

It is safe to close a contract.

As a client, you may close a contract at any time.


re: "and get my money back"


There are circumstances under which it is possible for clients to get money back, and there are circumstances under which getting money back is highly unlikely.


Can you tell us more about why you think you should get money back? If you provide us with more information, we can help you maximize your chances.


Was this an hourly or fixed-price contract?

How much money have you paid to this freelancer, in total?






Hi Miya,


We’ll have one of our agents reach out to you via a support ticket to assist you with this report. 


Thank you for reaching out to us. 

~ Bojan



Could you tell us if this was an hourly or fixed-price job and what the time frame is. 

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