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Upwork Never paid me

 I got accepted to do a job for someone and i completed the work in 14 hours. But the following 2 days Upwork suspended my account and made me do all kinds of verifications and explain why i got the job etc... But they reversed the payment and it was almost $500. I basically worked for free and that guy ran off with my work for FREE. I am highly upset i worked for free and had my account suspended. Upwork says fraud is not covered by payment protection. So hgow does upwork protect their freelancers against fraudulent clients??? This is complete BS and they are going to lose me as a freelancer. How can i get my money. There is scrrenshot of me doing the work and working for 14 hours. I could have sworn i would get the money since it is covered by payment protection the guy has previous freelancers do work for him and he had a verifired payment. So basically we have to flip a coin on if we should do work for clients. That does not seem right at all..

Community Member

what was the job?

It was designing  25 posters. I followed the terms of service. Everything was done through upwork. I never talked to anyone outside of upwork. I did the work. My account isnt fraudulent they gave me my account back because i am a legit person doing legit work. But they didnt give me my money.

What was the hourly rate that you were charging for this job?

Community Member

You want to make sure to follow all Terms of Service—if your account is flagged as fraudulent, then Upwork doesn't want the client to potentially take a risk. It's all about safety. 

I followed the terms of service.. I have my account back. So why did they not pay me when it is covered by the payment protection.

The whole point of payment protection is to protect the freelancers getting their pay. It was my second job. Even if i get flagged as fraudulent i proved that i am not doing anything fraudulent and they still didnt give me my money.

The TOS clearly say that payment protection doesn't apply in cases of fraud. I agree that's a massive hole in the payment protection, but it shouldn't be coming as a surprise. If, for example, the client paid you with a stolen credit card, what would you expect Upwork to do? Pay you out of its own pocket for work you accidentally did for a criminal? Or charge the stranger whose credit card the criminal stole? 

Thats the reason i will no longer use upwork. They should have better security for fraudulent people. Cause wasting time is something you cant refund. Upwork should be held asccountable so yes they should pay out of pocket. Cause how can the freelancer be accountable for not knowing they are working for a fraudulent client. If i got scammed so did loads of other people. I didnt realize it is a thing to scam people on upwork till after i got scammed. Upwork will need to fix the issue cause people are loosing a lot of money due to criminals operating on their website. Such a shame Upwork is run by idiots.

Unfortunately, many new freelancers jump into freelancing without looking or reading the rules, much less following them. I'm sure if you just start applying for jobs, things are gonna be tough. You didn't realize scams were a thing because you didn't take freelancing seriously and as a business. It's one thing to ignore the Terms and rules when you are playing an online game, but quite another when you are having financial transactions for your business.

Community Member

Ok, picture this scenario: your wallet gets stolen, including your credit cards. The thief uses your credit card to pay a freelancer on upwork. You notice a charge from upwork on your credit card bill. 

By your reasoning, you would do absolutely nothing, and let the freelancer that was paid with your stolen card keep your money. You would not report the fraud and get your money back. 

See, that's the other side of what happened. 

And no, upwork does not pay in cases of fraud, why should they? You get paid 100% of the time when the client pays upwork. If they are a scammer and don't, well this happens. 

Makes no sense when upwork should have better security to prevent fraud and if they dont they should be held accountable. Plan and simple you do work you should get paid for it. You cant eat for free. 99% of the time the bank covers the fraudulent charge. Banks offer payment protection against fraudulent charges. Upwork should be held accountable to protect the very thing that makes them the money in the first place... THE FREELANCERS. FREELANCERS make upwork all their money and they dont protect them when something fraudulent happens so your scenario is invalid. That is the very reason upwork should be held accountable.

If you comply with all terms of hourly payment protection - use TimeTracker properly with regular use of mouse / keyboard, clear explanations of how time is spent working, etc..


Something is missing in your situation. Hourly payment protection is a real thing; I have benefitted from it multiple times over the years.


And no matter what others here may say, hourly payment protection does apply to fraudulent use of other people's credit cards by a "client" you had no way of knowing was not the authorized credit card owner. 

Exactly... It was my third job. Maybe thats why? I am pretty upset somebody got away with my work.. There is clear evidence of me working. I have verified my identity multiple times with them and did everything they asked of me. Only to have them slap me in the face and say be careful of people doing fraud and dont accept jobs that are fraudulent... How am I supposed to know. That guy seemed real and i was happy to get accepted to work fro somebody and make money.

"How am I supposed to know."


You are supposed to know by reading the Terms of Service, everything onsite about scams, how to find clients and this excellent advice from Wes. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Never do anything outside of Upwork including talking, signing contracts, or accepting money before an Upwork contract is in place. Check out the client. Unverified or verified makes no difference. The important thing is to get a contract in place before you do any work. No contract - no work - no excuses. Listen to your instinct; if it feels off, or just not right, be very careful. Learn about hourly and fixed price jobs and what they mean. If you have questions or concerns, post to one of the forums.

HOW CAN YOU KNOW SOMEONE IS FRAUDULENT. Do you hear yourself? I clearly thought it was legit. I am not brain dead and i have common sense.  Everything about the job was covered by payment protection. and if the freelancer has nothing to do with the fraud then the freelancer is covered by the protection. Everything was done through upwork. The whole conversation was done trhough upwork. Everything was documented on Upwork. Again EVERYTHING I DID SHOULD QUALIFY ME FOR UPWORKS PAYMENT PROTECTION.

Hourly Contracts > Fixed contracts 


Tracker Recorded hours > Manually Recorded hours 


Clients with history > Clients without history 




lmao what?  The client had payment verified. 3 other jobs and 2 hires. $1k spent. Seemed really legit to me.... So what you saying. Ashraf

Community Member

Is this the crypto logo job? You made 25 posters for $35.00? To the best of my knowledge, if you did everything correctly with the automated hourly tracker, you should still be able to recover those particular hours. However, if anything was done wrong: a few less keystrokes, not enough mouse movement, and so forth, you will not get paid. Or if there was a problem with your account.


I know there is disagreement on this, and if you look at different parts of Upwork it emphasizes different aspects.


There is something missing from your account. If the client did a chargeback, Upwork would have notified you as if you "refunded" the client. Instead, Upwork said the problem was with you, and shut your account. Upwork has problems, but they don't outright close down a freelancer without a reason.


Only Upwork can tell you exactly what the problem is in your situation.

No it was a different one. That client didnt like my work and cancled the job. I got hired for another one and worked 14 hours on the posters. I am scared to accept any other jobs. I have 4 active proposals but i dont even want to accept any until I know forsure i wont be screwed over.

You need to educate yourself. I'm not being mean, I'm giving you the best advice I can. Please read my other post on how to avoid scams. Knowledge is power to control your situation. You need to talk to Upwork to find out what happened. It may be something you did or the client. If it was a mistake, Upwork should tell you that as well.


You won't feel secure until you understand what happened.

I did research on the restraunt the guy was trying to do the posters for. It was alegit restraunt. Everything seemed legit. I really would like to know why but upwork just says the client was fraudulent and that i shouldnt do work for a fraudulent client. But i will keepmaking support tickets until i get my money. They have to because I am not a fraud. This is me I am a graphic design freelancer. I did the work I have proved I did the work. Thank you all for reaching out to explain I appreciate all the responses.

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