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Can't say I've heard of this exact method before, but it's definitely a scam. Any offers to pay off platform are scams and should be reported.
If they really did have permission to do something like this, it sure as heck wouldn't be during the "ongoing negotiations" phase.
In short, report and block.
If you have more information about this client, please report it to me, or to the Customer Support Team directly so that they can take action against this client's account. Any client who suggests to pay you off platform should be reported as it is a violation of the Upwork User Agreement.
Please check the freelancer resources we compiled and tips for avoiding questionable jobs, for more information about working safely through Upwork.
I'd say there's a 99% chance they're just trying to scam you.
They're probably not even in Germany.
The other 1% chance (if everything they say is true) is they're trying to scam Upwork by recruiting Upwork freelancers and paying them off-platform.
If you got caught participating in that, your account could be suspended or terminated.
So either way, stay way.
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