Is Upwork Legit & Worth It
for Freelancers?

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Trying an online platform that requires a lot of personal information can feel sketchy. Especially if you’re new to the freelancing world. You have a lot to lose when you put yourself out there to find new clients. Many people suggest using an online marketplace like Upwork to find freelancing jobs, but is Upwork legit? I’ve been a freelancer for many years, so let me break it down for you.

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Is Upwork Legit?

Short answer: Yes, Upwork is legit! I have found clients using the platform, worked with agencies who use it as their primary marketing source and worked with agencies who have hired great people from Upwork.

It’s a great resource, but there are some flaws with it. Unfortunately, these marketplace platforms can be a “race to the bottom dollar” and tend to hire people with the lowest rates, no matter how talented you are.

There are also many scams on sites like Upwork that can make these companies feel sketchy and untrustworthy. The good thing is that we can learn about these scams to be prepared and stay safe on freelancing sites.

Upwork Scams

There are so many different Upwork scams, but once you catch on to the red flags, you can spot a fraud listing from a mile away. Here are four various and common scams that you can find on Upwork.

Payment Scams

This is a common deception that you will find on Upwork and other related freelance marketplaces. A client may hire a freelancer for a job, and once the work is complete, they refuse to release payment or claim that the work is unsatisfactory.

To avoid this, always use Upwork’s payment system, and be cautious if a client asks you to accept payment outside the platform.

Fake Job Postings

Some scammers create fake job postings on freelance marketplaces to collect personal information or ask for payment for supposed background checks or application fees. Don’t ever share personal or financial information upfront! 

I also recommend that you only contact your clients through the Upwork platform. If a potential client requests that you use another contact method, that’s a red flag!

Phishing Scams

For this method, people might send phishing emails or messages posing as Upwork support or a client. They may ask for your login credentials or payment information. Always verify the authenticity of any communication and avoid sharing sensitive information outside the Upwork platform.

Be sure to check who sent you the email or message. A lot of times, the email will have a typo, an unnecessary special character, or it will be a lengthy address. It’s most likely not a legitimate notification if they have these characteristics.

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Overpayment Scams

This specific trick is common throughout freelancing and even shopping, like on Facebook Marketplace. A client may send a freelancer a check or payment significantly more than the agreed-upon amount and ask the freelancer to return the excess. The initial payment is usually fake, and once the freelancer sends back the excess, they realize the payment has bounced.

Checks are already discouraged throughout the freelance industry, but it’s essential only to take payment through the Upwork platform if you want to avoid this situation.

How To Avoid Upwork Scams

I touched on this briefly while mentioning the scams, but there are lots of ways to educate yourself and to quickly notice red flags. Because I’ve been a freelancer for many years, I’ve been the go-to person when my friends or clients can’t decipher if something is a scam!

So, to avoid Upwork scams. . .

  • Only use Upwork’s payment system for transactions to ensure your financial security.
  • Check client profiles and look for well-established profiles with positive reviews and ratings. Avoid new profiles with limited information.
  • Keep communication within the Upwork messaging system to maintain a record of conversations and limit the possibility of giving away personal and vital information.
  • Trust your instincts! If something seems too good to be true or feels suspicious, trust your instincts and report any suspicious activity to Upwork’s support team.
  • Always looking for a red flag.


So yes, while Upwork is legit, there are still many scams to be aware of, and you can easily avoid them if you know what you’re looking for.

What Other Sites Are There Besides Upwork?

There are so many sites like Upwork! Each one has its pros and cons, so make sure you research every platform and figure out what works best for you and your goals. Every platform also has different fees, so be aware of that. 

Other sites like Upwork include:


There are even more! But let’s just stick to these right now. Some are for general freelancers, some are for specific industries, some are free, and some aren’t. So, do your research and decide what works best for you.

Upwork Fees

Upwork has many fees, unfortunately. And they can quickly add up! To apply for jobs, you need to use “Connects.” It’s almost like Upwork’s currency. But to get Connects, you need to pay for them. One Connect costs $0.15, so it’s not much, but it can quickly add up. Especially if you’re applying to many different listings a day.

Upwork also takes a percentage of all your earnings. As a freelancer, 10% of your earnings are taken as a service fee.

You can also “boost” your proposal to be the first viewed by the potential client by spending more Connects. I’ve once seen someone spend over 100 Connects on a single listing. I personally haven’t noticed a difference between boosting and not boosting, but you can test if it works for you.

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Are There Other Ways To Find Clients Besides Upwork?

Yes! There are so many different ways to market yourself that will allow you to keep all the money you earn from a client, unlike most freelance marketplaces. 

You can:

  • Reach out to family and friends
  • Create and market on social media
  • Join Facebook groups in your niche
  • Attend virtual or in-person networking events
  • Join your local Chamber of Commerce
  • Give a referral incentive to clients
  • Always have business cards on hand!


So, if you’re wary about Upwork, you can be assured that there are many other ways to find clients besides that platform.

So. Is Upwork Worth It?

Honestly, it depends on the person, their goals, and their situation. I personally haven’t found Upwork to be worth it for me, but it’s vital for many of my friends. I have found more consistent success with the other marketing methods listed above.

Play around with Upwork or other sites that I mentioned above. But make sure to be on the lookout for red flags in listings.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at

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