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Sharing personal information upfront

Active Member
Michelle P Member Since: Oct 26, 2015
1 of 2

I'm new to this process, but it seems odd to me that a new prospective client is insisting that I forward a W9 (with my social security number on it) and a copy of my Driver's license before any assignments have begun. I understand a W9 is part of the payment process, but I said I'd be happy to send the documents after I was given an assignment. The employer has no previous records with Upwork. Am I being paranoid? Is this normal?  

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 2

Michelle, this is NOT normal, and it is NOT appropriate. The client does not understand Upwork.


I don't think your client is a scammer, necessarily. They might simply be uninformed, and they are asking for the same kind of paperwork they normally ask of employees. But you are not an employee, and Upwork handles those details.


It is no more necessary for you to provide those details than it is for a cable TV installer to provide you with his social security number before coming to your house. Not an exact analogy, I know. But the point is that Upwork clients are purchasing a service through a company which has already collected that type of info and already is vouching for your identity. Individual clients don't need to ask for it.


After doing 71 jobs on Upwork, I have never once had any client ask for my drivers license, social security number or W9.


The final decision is yours to make about what you do, but if it was me, I would not provide this information. I don't think it is worth the risk.


I would send a polite note stating in no more than two sentences that clients purchasing services through Upwork don't require this info, and she can contact customer service if she has questions about that.