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099d863b
Community Member

1st Job - Got Robbed - No Help from Upwork

Hi Everyone,

 

I completed my first job today, I was paid in full by the client as she approved my work and released the payment.

After one hour I got the following email from upwork: 

 

"Our team invests heavily to ensure a safe and trusted environment for the community. Recently, we found compelling evidence of fraudulent activity by a client youโ€™re working with, and weโ€™ve taken action to protect you and other freelancers. In this instance, the action includes reversing the payment from your client back to the billing method on file.

 
I realize this is unexpected and apologize for the disruption to your work. We have reviewed this contract and found that it is not eligible for Upwork Payment Protection at this time. Unfortunately, fixed-price protection is not available when the client is removed from the marketplace for fraud.
 
We are very sorry you had a poor experience with this client. Thank you for your understanding in this matter.
 
Regards,
Upwork Trust & Safety Team"

 

Than the amount was refunded immediately to the client account who was possibly committing a fraudulent activity according to upwork.

 

I am confused, what did I do wrong? I did all the legit work, mentioned all the details and nature of job while accepting the offer, followed all the guidelines from upwork for trust and safety. Moreover, in between offer was put on pause by upwork (Means contract was already reviewed by upwork), so I stopped working, than upwork resumed the contract and asked me continue working, so I did and submitted the work on for a active contract (not paused). After completion of one and only milestone and work submission, approval it was put on hold by upwork and I was informed by above mentioned email. 

Upwork support didn't replied me on this ticket and continued with refund, client stopped replying. 


I am extremely disappointed on completion of my very first job. 

I need guidance from all of you to how to proceed in this situation when I am not getting any support from platform via tickets and even feedbacks.

I feel like I am being robbed by the client silently with the help of someone in support team. 

Ofcourse I'd like to get back my hard earned amount for the hectic and honest job I did, your valuable suggestions are most welcome.

 

thanks,
 

24 REPLIES 24
renata101
Community Member

Hi Bilal,

Sorry you had such a weird experience for your first contract. I'd be confused too if this were my first job on Upwork. I don't work for Upwork, so I can't tell you exactly what's going on. The fraudulent activity on the client end may have involved use of a fake credit card to fund the fixed-price contract that you did. If the credit card was stolen, the money may have been returned to the card's owner rather than the client.

I don't think you (knowingly) did anything wrong; however,  scammers really target new freelancers on Upwork because they are unfamiliar with the way things work, and not aware of scams and jobs that sound sketchy. There may have been a few red flags you missed because you didn't know what to look for.

Wes, one of the other freelancers who works on Upwork, put together this article about recognizing red flags for scams. I think everyone who signs up should read this before they do any work on the platform.

https://community.upwork.com/t5/Community-Blog/Top-Red-Flags-for-Scams-From-Community-Member-Wes-C/b...

What exactly was the job your were asked to do?

Thanks for your message and example, I did consulatation service and than later helped the client to buy a flippaed Amazon seller account from from another escrow protected platform., which is a legit business and many people are following Amz account flipping business model.

 

from sites like **Edited for Community Guidelines**

 

 

i have read the examples post and than also found that client is busy Buying **Edited for Community Guidelines** resources with the help of some freelancers.

 


Bilal C wrote:

Thanks for your message and example, I did consulatation service and than later helped the client to buy a flippaed Amazon seller account from from another escrow protected platform., which is a legit business and many people are following Amz account flipping business model.

 

from sites like Flipempire.com or flippa.com

 

i have read the examples post and than also found that client is busy Buying PUBg game resources with the help of some freelancers.

 


Was the cost of what you were buying built into the contract amount? Is that how the client was paying for the account? And was the account in the client's name?

Also where was the client?  I think PUBg games are illegal in a few countries. I wonder if that's why this person was asking freelancers to buy these.

Yes, contract Cost included the cost of buying the account, yes that how client was paying for the account , and she paid too, 90% of contract amount was cost of buying new account.

 

New flipped account was shifted on client email, name and phone number (might belong to  someone else).

 

Upwork told me client is being thrown out of marketplace, but I see her hiring more people for different projects like buying game resources and spending more.

 

Support team closed the ticket after refunding back and told me its not payment protected? Unbelievable, it was included in payment protection as fixed payment contract when I accepted the offer and submitted the work.

90 percent of the project cost was buying an account for the client? Why couldn't they buy it themselves? 

 

Any client who wants you to buy something for them should be treated with suspicion by a new freelancer like yourself. It makes no sense that a real client would want you to do that, because they have to pay for whatever you're buying, plus compensate you for Upwork's service charge. (Even if they say that something is banned in their country - which is usually a lie - you'd be helping them do something that they're not supposed to do.)

90% (excluding upwork fee), thanks for your input but On other platforms, clients pay for consultancy, purchase  and initial management for such flipable accounts.


Bilal C wrote:

90% (excluding upwork fee), 


How do you figure that? Upwork charges commission on the project total, so there's no way to avoid having that cut come out of the payment. That means that if something costs $340, the client will have to pay $425 unless you want to lose money to Upwork - why would any sensible person want to pay more instead of buying something directly?

 


Bilal C wrote:

On other platforms, clients pay for consultancy, purchase  and initial management for such flipable accounts.


They can do that here too, but if they're using a stolen credit card or they do a chargeback, then you're going to lose your money as well as your time. It doesn't sound like you're okay with taking that risk.

Exactly, upwork let's you know about the fees cut, and I pitched the client keeping in mind the upwork fee, also communicated about it with client.

 

Clients pay all the fees (including upwork) because they aren't professionals to do the job.

 

for example : I inspected the account health and checked all indicators for client which she couldn't have done without proper knowledge hence she hired as a balanced approach to invest.

If upwork verified the payment method, I have no other tool to verify if client is paying from stolen card or any other illegal way. Hope so you understand the core issue here. 

I hope you understand the core issue here - it's very risky buying things for clients (and in some cases against the ToS), whether their payment method is verified or not. Upwork doesn't vet clients, we're supposed to do that ourselves. I still don't understand why you couldn't have provided the same consulting services, but told the client to make the purchase with their own credit card.

re: "I still don't understand why you couldn't have provided the same consulting services, but told the client to make the purchase with their own credit card."

 

Or the freelancer could have set up a screen-sharing session with the client.

The freelancer could have watched the client's screen and told the client exactly what to do, walking him through each step.

 

Or the freelancer could have even taken control. Tools such as TeamViewer let the client share his screen, and allow a freelancer to do the steps. The freelancer only needs to relinquish control while the client types in his credit card or financial account number and password.

 

That way the client does not need to share his private account information... there is now way for the freelancer to see it, and the freelancer does not put his own funds at risk.


Anybody qualified to be working with crypto or the like knows these things and it is impossible to scam them out of any money through an Upwork job.

Well I already understand, if you don't know or understand flipping business model or my service type , please keep your two cents and not advise me to start providing consultancy services of do's and dont's. 

Do you understand that despite any and all of your logic and explantions, you are never going to get your money?

I do now sir, clearly logic has no value here. Right? 


Christine A wrote:

Bilal C wrote:

90% (excluding upwork fee), 


How do you figure that? Upwork charges commission on the project total, so there's no way to avoid having that cut come out of the payment. That means that if something costs $340, the client will have to pay $425 unless you want to lose money to Upwork - why would any sensible person want to pay more instead of buying something directly?

 


Bilal C wrote:

On other platforms, clients pay for consultancy, purchase  and initial management for such flipable accounts.


They can do that here too, but if they're using a stolen credit card or they do a chargeback, then you're going to lose your money as well as your time. It doesn't sound like you're okay with taking that risk.


I have the feeling it's not necessarily okay to make a purchase that amounts to 90% of the contract budget. Someone posted about buying something for a client a while ago (I think it was a musical instrument). This is what's stated in the TOS.


Screen Shot 2022-06-16 at 9.41.18 AM.png

Dear Renata S, 

 

Thanks for Sharing this. Your answers have really helped me understand where I went wrong. Much Appreciated 

Hi Bilal,

One thing that's important to know is that Upwork doesn't vet clients, so freelancers need to be really careful about deciding what jobs they accept and which clients they want to work with.  Unfortunately clients can post jobs they're not allowed to hire for on the platform, and the posts stay up until someone reports them.

The rules for using the platform are in the Terms of Service and User Agreement.  The section I posted can be found here: https://www.upwork.com/legal#unfairtreatment. I think that this particular rule may be in place to prevent issues like money laundering and crypto scams. With crypto scams, a client with a stolen credit card convinces a freelancer to buy cryptocurrency for them; the client includes to the cost of the cryptocurrency in the fixed-rate contract. Then when the card's real owner reverses the charges for the job, the freelancer who did the crypto trade loses whatever money the client paid them in addition to being on the hook for the cost of the cryptocurrency they bought for the client. People have posted some spectacular losses with crypto trading contracts without ever realizing they're not allowed to do these jobs on Upwork in the first place. And then they post stuff like this:

https://community.upwork.com/t5/Freelancers/Upwork-Made-me-loss-2086-For-no-Reason-How-can-this-be-f...

Has Upwork removed this client and her all of her posts yet?

No, her business is still on. 

pgiambalvo
Community Member

Upwork couldn't get the money from the client, so you can't get it from Upwork. You're not protected here unless you use the time tracker. There's nothing you can do to get your money and you never will get it.

Thanks for your message Peter, it was a fixed amount contract. And upwork had it in escrow and they released to me and than again refunded back to client, client is still active but not responding.

mwiggenhorn
Community Member

I suspect that the payment method was fraudulent. The payment wasn't technically refunded to the client because it was never a real payment after all.  Does that make sense?  Not sure why the client is continuing to be able to hire but I believe Upwork will catch up with them soon.

Yes it could be the scenario, but for me client payment method was verified, and amount was funded to escrow and than released to upon completion of milestone and client approval, than a hour later upwork put it on hold, and refunded the amount from my pending earnings.

 

Client is still hiring and spent more than 6000$ after my incident, Although as mentioned in above mail I was told that because client is being suspended hence the payment refund, but client is active and only I have suffered for doing the legit job.

thanks for sharing your thoughts.

re: "Client is still hiring and spent more than 6000$ after my incident, Although as mentioned in above mail I was told that because client is being suspended hence the payment refund, but client is active and only I have suffered for doing the legit job."

 

Only you?

Isn't it more likely that this scammer has defrauded other freelancers?

 

Perhaps both with this current client account, as well as while using previous (now discarded) and future (yet-to-be-created) client accounts...

For me client did nothing wrong and payed me too, only upwork marked it as fraud and took back my earnings and told me they are suspended client account which never happened, so it looks like only I got the hit.

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