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Jan 21, 2021
Stay Safe Online: Preventing Fraud

Our mission here at Upwork is to create economic opportunities, so people have better lives. As part of that, we are focused on building relationships so you can focus on the work you love. 

Most people in our community are focused on work, and we want to empower you with more information to make sure that fraud doesn't happen along the way. Let’s take a look at some common types of fraud.


  • Reshipping scams. A fraudster might ask you to receive a shipment, repackage it, and ship it elsewhere.  
  • Phishing. You may receive a message with a link asking you to log in to your Upwork account. Fraudsters could be trying to steal your username and password. 

  • Free work. No client should ever ask you to complete unpaid work. This includes providing the requested work product or portions of it to the client without payment before a contract has started. Note: Some clients may ask potential talent to complete a skills test or a test project that uses a sample to evaluate a professional’s abilities. Make sure you are auditioning for the role with the example rather than completing the work for free.

  • Check-cashing. Clients should never ask you to cash a check, transfer currency, or deposit money orders. Note: Some professionals on Upwork are Virtual Assistants. Those jobs involve administration as a whole, and check-cashing may be a part of the required tasks. If you are in doubt, don't hesitate to reach out to the Upwork support team. We are always here to help. 

Here’s an example of a reshipping scam fraudulent message:


After reading your profile, I am impressed by your experience, I have a job that I think you could help us with. If you are chosen for this role, you will be sent packages of smartphones through the mail, and all you have to do is repackage and send them to another address. All I will need is your address and phone number. If you want to know more about my company, click this link: www.weirdlink.com

Please reply soon,

Suspicious Client ”


What are some of the consequences?

  • Time. Your time matters. If you are spending time engaging with fraudsters, you may be missing out on income. 

  • Financial risk. If you provide your bank account details to a fraudster, you’re at risk of losing money and compromising your financial security.   

  • Account suspension. Your account may be permanently suspended if you engage with a fraudster and violate Upwork's Terms of Service.


How is Upwork helping?

Upwork has always been committed to protecting both talent and clients from fraud. We are continuing to implement and improve the following safety measures:  

  • Trust and safety checks. We have powerful fraud detection capabilities that help us identify and flag high-risk accounts. We also have a 24/7 dedicated investigation team that ensures all users are abiding by Upwork's Terms of Service. 

  • Detection systems and infrastructure. We use trusted security vendors who act as external consultants. We couple those measures with in-house detection solutions to help us identify and address high-risk accounts.


How can you report fraudulent activity on Upwork?

Use a flag if you encounter any of the situations above. It's also important to cooperate with the Upwork team on any investigation that takes place. Our team is glad to have you here, and we're dedicated to working with you to keep you safe on Upwork. In general, follow your instincts and ask questions. If a client’s offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. We all play a role in keeping Upwork safe. 

See more of our Stay Safe series: 

Paid and Leased Accounts.