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Chris Dunne
Chris Dunne

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Don't use

After being scammed out of hard earned money on the Freelancer platform, I did some digging; here is what I found.

I decided to do a little work on Freelancer, I had some spare time and wanted to use my skills to build something I maybe didn't get the opportunity to in my day-to-day. I'd also considered the possibility of one day becoming a full time freelancer, and it was an opportunity to dip my toe in; without having to make any major commitments.

After setting up an account you are constantly bombarded with sales pitches and promotions on how to spend money, even if you're solely there to improve your finances. This in itself is simply an annoyance, as it's overly monetised to the point it feels like a scam before you even begin; you are however placed at a significant disadvantage if you disregard these "benefits". Regardless, I'd seen the 5 star rating on Trustpilot with nearly 4k reviews and I'm ready to get a piece of the pie.

Bid Count Image

The bidding is rough; there are so many freelancers from countries where the labour costs are so much lower than where I'm located, and the bids are heavily restricted if you don't give them money upfront. I learned fast how to customise my pitch, and make the most of the limitations placed upon me. I received my first job, updating some old code to make a few API calls. I was then employed by the same person to carry out another job, which was another API based task relating to Twitter. I earned around €100, which after Freelancer's cut was reduced by around 10%. The payment came through to my account, the jobs were marked as completed, reviews were left highlighting the positive experience we both had working with each other.

Withdrawl Notice

I decided to withdraw my funds, I still felt off about the site and wanted to confirm everything worked end-to-end before committing myself to any other projects. Upon navigating to the withdrawal section I'm greeted with the message above, this is a bizarrely long period of time and it wasn't mentioned at any point prior, but I continue blindly.

It turns out you can't withdraw in Euros, so this needed to be converted to Dollars; of course you're getting the worst exchange rate known to man for the inconvenience. Once you've converted your earnings to Dollars, you're left with your reduced amount to withdraw after waiting for 15 days.

You're not getting your money

After 18 days I received an email, "Unfortunately we were unable to process your withdrawal request: Funds originated from an account that is currently under review."

At this point I reach out to the person who employed me, who is also a freelancer, who told me they are in the same boat, except the site is holding back closer to $1,000 for him. I'm equally pessimistic with regards to the employer and Freelancer, the money is in my account this makes no sense? I reached out to Freelancer through their online chat feature and was cut off, this has never happened previously when discussing topics other than money. I'm in limbo.

I navigated back to the Trustpilot page I impatiently scanned over at the very beginning of this journey, and I noticed 11% of the reviews are 1 star and filled with serious allegations of fraud. Another review site SiteJabber painted a much bleaker picture, of the 12 reviews on their site 12 are 1 star all of which provide details of serious issues with regards to the freelancing platform. Another site with hundreds of reviews, where you will struggle to find any positive experiences, is highya.

Google, Twitter, Reddit, etc are littered with further examples of people not being able to withdraw their money. There is something seriously wrong with Freelancer. It may work for some, but for a huge number of people it's simply a con. I have no idea if I'll see my money for the work I carried out, but on discovering the significant number of people in the same position as me I had to try and find some version of the truth. Others may not have the same level of financial stability as me, and they are being taken advantage of. I have no idea if any of the positive reviews on their TrustPilot page are legitimate, as I've not been able to speak to anyone who has had a positive experience using the platform. Please let me know your experiences in the discussion.


More examples of similar issues will be added here:

Top comments (26)

realalbeano profile image
Childish Albeano

Just saw this article as it came up within the first page of google if you search for
All I have to say is everything in this article is 100% true. I tried my hand at, they took lots of account fees and project fees from my bank account just so I could get started but, after I had completed a few jobs and wanted to get paid, all of a sudden it was impossible for to give me my money.
Earnings from projects were often locked in my account so I couldn’t withdraw.
And, worst of all, if an employer does not pay, will do nothing.

joe1994 profile image
Youngsuk Kim

I also second that is a platform to be avoided. I finished a task on more than a month ago, and I'm still not getting paid for my work. The freelancer staff kept blaming me for the delay of my reward not getting processed, but it later turned out to be their fault. I will never use the platform again.

brigittahoffma1 profile image

I have had problems with them also, as a freelancer. I have been on the website for a month and I could see at a point that scammed jobs are keep popping back during the days. So pretty much if you a month ago have seen a job, you will see it in a few days, posted two or tree times. Ow, and the funny part is that I am blocked for 3 times, not being allowed to bid on a time frame of 5 minutes. :) saying that my bid is not following the rules (amn, i will say that i am copy pasting obviously the same info, just you know, giving a few details if necessary regarding the specific job.

what else? well i have been posted for a month and applied for jobs, the people are not verified(employers) the same jobs being reposted again and wtf you would repost a restaurant website that you need to be done fast, as you sustain there, and repost it 3 times (meanwhile you have 90 bidders there, the website says...?), well probably a scam. I have received 2 emails back from two employers, regarding 2 different websites, with 2 totally different be honnest exactly the same email have been sent to me back (the same word by word) on my personal email.

Ow, and the cherry is that i could take a $150 letter project for someone, apparently from hungary (not who knows where from the shadow it is, so special this people, not to mention) so nothing checked, no identity...i overtake the job (he needs the stuff fast also?! :))))) and i am charged 10%, me...cas he doesn't have the bank details registered...I am finishing the job...and sending the email back with the project on the platform...and what you think? no money, like ever. I asked for the 10% back, and I had to wait 20 days, or so...a month maybe.

So all in all a super fun website, with many probably obviously the jobs are keep repeating with different unverified people. And if you wrote about the problem, they say...amn...they can not do anything, as the person doesn't have his identity and bank details registered. :D

So wtf even the website? amn, let me help you, to take your money probably, the $10/month or so, (it is generating a site like this a few bucks at list, for who knows what student mood person:))))) You know, i have done $100, by building a scam website like this, type of attitude. I have done the research today as it was something fishy after a point, and it seems like it actually is. So, that means that we can close the subscription and live the right feedback to them :).

brigittahoffma1 profile image

two examples for two different jobs emailed to me:

  1. Thanks for your quick response,Here is the job details below...

mauritzdup less
Wed, 22 Apr, 19:00 (4 days ago)
to me

I just open a new Indian Restaurant which i run now and i need a
website for my business to grow, So i need you to go through this
example but i need something more
perfect than this if possible, I will like you to get back to me with
an estimate and the estimate should include hosting and i want you to
understand i want the same page as the example site i gave you to
check and I want only English language and i want you to know you will
be updating the site for me. I want the site up and running before
ending of next month and i don't want a shopping cart in my
reservation page also i don't have a domain name yet and i will
prefer: KAITINDRESTAURANT.COM, My budget is $750/$1,500 for the web
design, i have a private project consultant, she has the text content
and the logos for the site with the image artwork,so please go ahead
and check the example site and get back to me with an estimate also
will like to know if you are the owner or the manager and do you
accept credit card as payment

Khalen Richard
Sun, 12 Apr, 06:33
to me

Message reeived, My budget is $650/$1,300 for the web design, I just open an Indian Restaurant and I need a website for my business to grow, I want the site up and running before 3 weeks, So I need you to go through this example link site: but I need something more perfect than this if possible, I will like you to get back to me with an estimate and the estimate should include hosting and I want you to understand I want the same page as the example site I gave you to check and I want only English language and I want you to know you will be updating the site for me. And I don't want a shopping cart in my reservation page also I don't have a domain name yet and I will prefer:, I have a private project consultant, she has the text content and the logos for the site with the image artwork, so please go ahead and check the example site and get back to me with an estimate also will like to know if you are the owner or the manager and do you accept bank cashier check as payment

jayeen83 profile image
Jayeen Bin Alam

Are they scam?I have got same offer.

fairyland0926 profile image
fairyland0926 • Edited platform is very very bad !!!!!
As soon as $1000 entered my account, freelancer closed my account.
I will never use again.

talenteddolphin profile image
Talented Dolphin • Edited

I used for earning money but I think it is not good for all developers. In last week, I earned 600EUR from the client and that money was in my freelancer account. I tried to withdraw money for two days but I got a mail like this "Locked money by freelancer" from
I tried to contact freelancer stuff.
In a live chat, freelancer staff told me that should wait to solve this issue for 2~3days. I waited for a day but my freelancer account was blocked in next day.
as a result, I lost 600EUR from
Very Terriable Job site...

alexalexei profile image

Did you close your account yourself?
Or freelancer closed your account?

fairyland0926 profile image

freelancer closed my account.

spiritupbro profile image
spiritupbro yeah me too my man and im scamed of $2000 by them they only help resolve the one who deposited to them but other people who want to work there they make it look like garbage

ghernandez_a profile image
galo hernandez

It is worst than you can imagine. You see those "freelancers" with 5 stars reviews? I found out that most of them got their reviews in less than 6 months. We are talking about like 40 or more projects in some cases that were completed in 6 months!?!? I think there is a network of fake providers that contract fake works to fake freelancers in order to appear like steve jobs!

pzxdld profile image
Robert Lipscomb

Hi, I'm new to freelancing and decided to try Freelancer. I've been on less than a week and I'm going to close my account based on my experience so far and based on feedback like I'm reading here. I estimate more than 75% of the jobs being posted are scams. And their wording is so repetitive, a reputable company should be able to develop algorithms to block them. I got chats for 2 of the jobs that I bid on that seemed less sketchy ... and both of them were scammers lol. I have bid on a few jobs but my bid has not been accepted on any of them (it sounds like that's lucky for me!). Their customer support sucks, too.

mussawerrehan profile image

i got conned too.
the employer reverted his payment after 16 days.
the work was complete
we gave each other ratings and goodbye but after 16 days i got an email that my 800 dollers are no more in my account , i was happily waiting for the money to come as they needed 15 days to process but this is unacceptable.
freelancer can take money from my account after 16 days and give it back to the employer even he gave me 5 star ratings.

j90w1 profile image
j90w • Edited

Hello, Chris!

Thank you for your post. I would ben happier If I would search for "why is bad". So let me share my experience. I'm a DevOps, that is were passioned about DevOps and that likes to create and automate several processes. So I registered in I provided all my information and also I started to search for freelance jobs, but the issue was that the price that Indan people are offering wasn't the best match for my time and experience it was to low for me and I wouldn't like to spend 1-2 days for 13 USA dollars. Since in my country, I make 13-15 Euro per hour working on companies in my country. So I understand it is not just worth it, but then I found one interesting part, that one hosting company ( ) is offering 50% from each client, that I bring them and the client takes service, so I was thinking ok need to try since I have a connection with several clients so I tied. I got around 25 clients and earned up to 200 Euro. Both sides with the work were happy and then I wanted to cash out, but freelancer site didn't pay me till this day so in 1 month time I haven't been paid, when I opened a ticket I got a response, that they will transfer the money, but if it doesn't arrive I should contact paypal so I contacted paypal and they balled me back to the freelancer. So at the end freelancer told me to hold on for 1-2 months and then I will get my money, and I understand that is rip off since the money should be paid in 15 days due to there conditions.

I contacted the hosting company and they also confirmed, that they have an issue with the freelancer and that they cannot get back the money, that they have deposited it is arround 3 000 Euros, since they see more benefit from google and other ads instead of Freelancer. Ok, I lost a 200 Euros, that I think I will not see any more that I earned, but due to fact, that I was happy with the hosting provider and I found that they also offer partnership without freelancer I decided to work with them directly so now when I bring them, new clients, under my referral I get 50% of what the clients pay every month and I get payments each month without any issue.

So my opinion on freelancer is that the website is made and hosted in India and money is paid only to Indian freelancer and the rest of the world are like a scam. So I wouldn't recommend others to use, but to find freelancing Jobs directly or another way.

Actually, thanks for your entery that was 1 on google and that confirmed my theory and also for bringing me to this site where are a lot of interesting things to read up on.

Thanks for your attention

ruffle1986 profile image
Tamas Fodor

Wow! That's tough man! I'm sorry for your situation and thank you so much for sharing your case!

nwagboprincei profile image
Onye Oraifite

Registered on the site for more the 6 months now but had to stop visiting it because I was getting scam emails from people, now I want to take the money I deposited during bank verification but have not been able to that.

sejimf profile image
Колодько Максим • Edited

Same here, as i am beginer web developer, registered at site to make simple things for expirience and litle money, ended being scumed, employer have made contract, i have paid fees, he got his project, i got bag of preblems couse he had no bank account conected to profile. And i can't take my earning money, and nearly lost fees. Support have gave me back the fees, but said it was the first and only one time, so, if i will fall again on scumers, they will take my money complitly.

Big NO to this web site.

P.S Sorry for my english;

stratis63 profile image

Hi All, I am on the opposite, I try to hire a developer to develop a site and I fall on a invasion of people that know nothing especially in freelancer.
What site do you recomend, I have a small project somthing like airbnb.

brigittahoffma1 profile image

and also, the thing is that if you have less than $30 on the account you can not retract it :) great.