This issue is happening to us as an agency that is looking to hire software engineers via the Upwork platform .
This issues is becoming an epidemic and should be handled in a strategic level by Upwork.
Way too often we encounter a scenario in which a profile claims to be a person from Russia/Ukraine/Belarus , uploads an image of a person who has an Eastern European look , has passed many tests on upwork , has an informative profile and overall looks very promising.
With that when asking to conduct a verbal interview over Skype he's reluctant to do so. When we insist , it takes up 10 seconds, just by hearing the accent that this person has nothing to do with Eastern Europe.
If it would have been a single case, every now and then , I would have accepted it , but this is becoming a serious issues as we get many such candidates.
Kindly do not ask me to specify names for you to start investigating each individual case. Kindly think of a solution in a strategic level that will reduce if not terminate this non desired phenomenon.
Upwork is clearly aware of this problem.
And they are actively doing something about it.
Just a few days ago they announced that they are beginning to require new contractors from certain regions to be verified by phone AND to send in scans of an official government identification document, such as a driver's license or passport or national identity card, before their profile can be approved.
Obviously they will be beginning by focusing on verifying contractors from the regions you are concerned about.
This is a pilot program, and it may eventually include all contractors. Upwork's announcement mentioned that they may eventually require this of some or all already-established contractors, as well.
So this is a move in the right direction toward establishing better trust and confidence in the platform.
Having said this, let's be clear that this doesn't mean every contractor on Upwork is (as of right now) who they say they are. Most are, but many are not.
If the nation of residence of your contractors doesn't matter, then don't worry about this.
But if you need to be sure about who you're dealing with (perhaps because you've been burned by too many low-quality or identity-faker freelancers from a certain region before), then a quick Skype chat or phone conversation is an excellent, reasonable way to go. You should probably avoid dealing with contractors who won't cooporate.
I have a high job score and a long-established work history, and I even have an introduction video on my website, and I still have occasional clients who want a phone call or Skype call in the beginning to verify who I am. This is not unreasonable.
If you feel like you need to post a fake photo and fake identity because clients don't trust people from your country, then you're part of the problem and you're part of the reason people don't trust people from your country.
No matter what country you are from, you are doing yourself a disservice by posting fake identity information. You will never be able to establish a truly professional profile if you are not honest about who you really are. There are great contractors from your country who are successful while being honest about who they really are.
Rather than pretend to be somebody you're not, you should make sure you are 100% honest and make sure you stand out from the pack by having a high-quality profile and consistently doing high-quality work. This is true whether you are from Tempe, Arizona (my place of residence) or Faisalabad.
re: "Asian people pertaining to be engineers from Eastern Europe"
Just to clear some things up and spell things out...
Aviad (Evi) means people are "pretending" (not "pertaining") to be engineers from Eastern Europe.
The reason some contractors are pretending to be engineers from Russia, Ukraine or Belarus is because programmers and software engineers from these countries have a reputation for being highly skilled and highly professional in their work, while charging lower rates than counterparts from the United States and Europe. They have a reputation for doing high-quailty, original work which they understand, and not for just writing spaghetti code or copying-and-pasting other people's work.
This reputation is specifically for software engineers, programmers, etc., This doesn't apply to contractors in general for other fields. By that, I mean if you are hiring an artist or a writer, there is no particular reputation (good or bad) associated with this region.
Does this mean that EVERY Ukrainian programmer or engineer is excellent? Obviously not. But the odds are in your favor.
From personal experience, the two times I hired Ukrainians to deal with complex networking/configuration issues... let me just say: WOW! They blew my mind. Very, very much the real deal.
And when Aviad says he is having a problem with "Asian people" faking identities and pretending to be Eastern Europeans, he is not referring to ALL Asian people. The identity fakers are centered in China, with some people doing this from India, Pakistan and Bangledash. Presenting fake photos, names and countrie of origin is actually relatively rare even among contractors from these countries. It is certainly an "exception to the rule," but when contractors are presenting fake identities in this way, these are the countries seen most prevalently (but not exclusively).
I am curious if there is any followup on your end on whether the feedback of a job well done is actually legitimate?
Whether it be EBAY or VRBO it is not always comfortable dealing with the new person on the block without feedback. It takes substantial about of positive feedback before you buy or rent in a blink of an eye when you see that GOLD status. Anyone with a few feedbacks, or none at all, and you are thinking either they are legit or they had their freinds come up with bogus sales to boost their feedback.
So to follow my quetions here is a possible suggestion
Since it is always difficult for someone to take the risk with person without feedback or limited feedback would it be reasoable that if there was a certain level of screening on your end, or if a person looking for jobs goes above and beyond to be honest about who they are and their level of experience with you, provides you with the documentation you suggested, should that give them a thumbs up to help them on their way and start their freelance career off right and make those hiring them more comfortable? (And to add to that hopefully you more profitable!)
I've been "googleing" about this problem, which I'm sure Upwork will handle finally.
The scheme is simple:
- asians create accounts on platforms like **Edited for Community Guidelines** and post a translating job, requiring native Romanian, Russian... East European, you got the point
- after the freelancer post their bids they are getting contacted by the "employer", claiming that Upwork restricted the access of asian members and asking us to create a fake account on Upwork and land them on it. (I've been contacted by a chinese and a japanese member). They offer $50 to 200 or 250 monthly for that.
- some people accept and that's why Upwork is full of East European members that are actually asians.
Hopefully this helps.
re: "Is there an Issue with Asians having Upwork accounts?"
re: "I'm hearing from multiple sources that Accounts held and maintained by Asians are being suspended without notice or cause. Please bear in mind before replying, I am not pointing fingers of accusation..."
Don't worry. I don't think you are trying to do anything untoward. You are just curious. It is a legitimate question. There is no problem with Asians having Upwork accounts. But Asians - like anybody else - are subject to rules that apply to everybody else. The number of Upwork freelancers who are Asian probably exceeds the number who are of any other racial/ethnic background. So if there are so many more Asians than people of other backgrounds, you might see a trend. Think of it like this: If you were a doctor living in China, you might see LOTS of Asians who come into your office with a sprained ankle. But that doesn't mean that Asians are more prone to getting a sprained ankle. It just means that there are more Asians in the source pool.
re: "What this thread is not discussing is why are Asians Needing to fraud themselves out?"
I don't know for sure. I guess you would need to ask the Asians who are pretending to be somebody else. From what I have seen, most Asians do NOT pretend to be non-Asians. Some do. People pretend to be all kinds of things that they aren't. I always tell my family that I'm ten years older than I really am. They know exactly how old I am. But I say it anyway. Go figure.
re: "Last week I had to send Upwork a copy of my passport and bank statement for verification. I was happy to do it."
In their announcement last week, they said they're thinking about making these new steps for identity verification a universal requirement.
If people want to work anonymously or using fake or "alternative professional" identities, I have no problem at all with that. Just don't do it on Upwork. There are other places for that.
Upwork clearly emphasizes genuine identities, real names, real photos, etc. for contractors, while allowing clients to have more leeway and flexibility. If any of these things are something a contractor can't accept, then they should look for a different platform that better suits their needs.
Others have posted solutions that are in the works medium-term, e.g. identity verification by Upwork. In the short term, as a workaround solution my suggestion is you build it right into your job listing: "please indicate in your proposal availability for a short Skype video interview". Anyone who shys away from that you likely don't want to be working with anyway.
I frequently have potential clients asking for Skype calls, sometimes video. As a freelancer I consider it a plus because it allows me to better assess the client, to establish an initial rapport, and to enter into a positive dialog about the project.