The new starter's guide to being safe and successful on Upwork

Welcome! We're really glad you've chosen to grow your business on Upwork.

For you to thrive, our work marketplace needs to be a safe and trusted place to do business.

That's why we ask you to follow a set of rules called our Terms of Service, or TOS. And it's why we encourage you to let us know if you suspect someone isn't doing the same.

This article tells you the main things we expect you to know and do.

How our Trust & Safety team will help keep you safe

Trust is a two-way street. Our Trust & Safety team identifies and deals with anything or anyone that could damage trust in Upwork (whether the target is you, other users, or the platform itself). The team also runs programs to educate customers and give you a great experience.

7 ways to stay within the rules

1. Be who you say you are

Nothing you post should be fraudulent or misleading. That means your profile picture should be you. The address you provide should be your business address. And the name you use should be your real name (and verifiable, should we ask). The same goes for your skills, experience, education, business, etc.

2. Avoid circumventing Upwork

Occasionally, a client and freelancer meet on Upwork, agree to work together, and then attempt to take that project off the platform by managing payments outside Upwork.

By doing that, they "circumvent" our fees and our protection—and it's bad news for everyone. Fees are how we recoup the costs of running the marketplace and invest in improving it for you. Also, we're only able to protect you and your money while you're on Upwork. So if—as is likely—the offer to take your relationship elsewhere turns out to be a fraud or scam, we can't help you.

3. Only give or ask for feedback on real projects

One of the ways Upwork builds trust is by giving an accurate record of a freelancer's contract history. But sometimes, a freelancer opens a client account just so they can hire themselves. Or they set up a fake project with a client so they can build a job history and get a good rating.

This "feedback building" creates biased or fraudulent reviews that undermine trust in Upwork.

4. Stick to one account

On Upwork, you’ll have one main account. Within that one main account, you can have both a freelancer and agency profile (to offer your services), as well as a client profile (to hire other freelancers).
You should never have more than one freelancer or agency profile on Upwork. If you operate multiple businesses and need to hire separately for those, you can create multiple client profiles. However, keep in mind those need to be created under your main Upwork account. If there is a special reason that you need to create a separate account for another business, please reach out so we can help; we want to make sure it’s approved so your account isn’t suspended.

5. Keep your username and password confidential

Your account is yours alone and can't be shared, so don't give anyone else access to it.

6. Communicate in a clear and honest way

Make sure your profile and job posts are complete and contain real information, not gibberish or unfinished content. (Remember, only certain kinds of jobs can appear on Upwork.) And be professional and honest in all your communication, whether it's a proposal, an invite, or some direct contact.

7. Be professional and polite

Upwork is a marketplace for professionals, so we expect you to behave in a professional way. That means we won't tolerate language that's defamatory, profane, vulgar, threatening, unlawfully discriminatory, or harassing. The same applies if someone is abusive to others.

What to do if you slip up

Don't worry—we're here to help.

If we've already spotted the issue, you'll get an email from our Trust & Safety team. It'll explain any action we've taken and anything you need to do to fix things. So read carefully, follow the steps it sets out, and complete any actions we've asked you to do.

If you have questions about the email, or believe you didn't do anything wrong, just reply with your reasons. The T&S team will work with you to sort things out.

Sometimes, you might realize you've made a mistake before we do. In that case, do whatever you can to correct it on your end. If you aren't sure what steps to take, get in touch with Customer Support and they'll pass your question to the right people.

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