I needed a freelancer to do some work on a very technical and somewhat complex database. Since I had a need for an expert in the field, I hired whom i believed to be was a top-notch programmer with excellent credentials.
This programmer went by the name of **edited for Community Guidelines** and claimed to have a masters in computer architecture scored top 10% on many language tests and 1st place on Django.
His first job on oDesk showed that he logged a substantial amount of hours and received 5 stars. He also had other minor projects also with 5 stars.
As this is a complex project, I expected it would take some time to review the code prior to proceeding. After the 1st week I was surprised that he had no questions after the orientation. Very odd for me but developers work differently and some tend to ask lots of questions up front while others tend to explore the system for themselves.
Anyway, week 2 comes by and he makes one false promise after the next promising me that he will be alpha testing soon and he will have something for me to test by the end of the week. That never happens. He makes one excuse after the next without any results.
I paused the contract and then he told me he emailed me the source code over the weekend through oDesk. That was a lie.
Here is where the plot thickens:
I audited my server and noticed his iP is from a province in China near the North Korea border, not anywhere near his native Finland as he claimed. He acted confused and refused to explain. A computer expert can't explain why his IP is coming in from China instead of Finland?!
I filed a dispute and then he told oDesk that he posted the source code to GitHub. He's telling me one thing and oDesk a totally different story!!
He used oDesk to create a fake profile and boost his credentials by taking oDesk's tests. I have one question for oDesk:
Were payment to him sent to China or to Finland? This is something oDesk will not share with me yet has that information within their possession.
A warning to anyone hiring out of oDesk: Scrutinize EVERYTHING. Assume the profiles are fake, assume the exams mean nothing. Videochat with the candidates on Skype and watch their IP logs like a hawk because oDesk will be very passive towards you.
With rampant fraud going around, oDesk has a duty to maintain the integrity of their platform.
Have you ever considered that he himself might have just outsourced your job again to someone from China? This would also explain his stalling tactic and him not being able to keep his promises as he wasn't working on the project himself.
This of course does not explain or excuse the blatant lie of claiming to have delivered the sourcecode when he did not.
I am sorry to hear about the negative experience you have had with your freelancer, Irina. Rest assured that his account is currently being reviewed and investigated by our Team and the proper actions will be taken. They will keep you updated through the open support ticket.
We appreciate your patience!
I'm not at ease since oDesk doesn't even allow me to mention his name. CLEARLY, he committed a fraud, yet his name (which is false anyway) cannot be mentioned in my post?
Just who is oDesk working for? Why does oDesk go out of its way to wrongfully protect the interests of the criminal freelancer by concealing his identity?
Why isn't oDesk concerned about protecting my identity since I am at risk for retaliation?
Our policy is not to share user or job details in the forums. We have a structured process for reporting violations and a team which will help in resolving your issue.
1. Does the client any "protective recourse" from Upwork?
2. Does Upwork take any responsibility it being the conduit for fraudulent work?
3. In a nutshell, if a worker bills for work that is never delivered, does the client have a reasonable expectation of getting their money returned in a timely manner?
About the IP:
Freelancers are not tied down to their country. I know a lot of fellow expats who are from western countries but are currently in Asia. Their freelancing profiles may reflect where they registered the account, but not always their current location.
I registered my account in the Philippines, because I consider it my home and it is where I am based. Will it be fraud if I go to Indonesia and access my oDesk account from there and log-in time at the oDesk app?
The freelancer in this story obviously did some things wrong (according from the OP anyway) but please, IP means can mean a lot of things in the world of online freelancing!
Just because someone's IP doesn't reflect their birth country doesn't mean they are a fraud. Online freelancers can be digital nomads.
The problem is this sort of abuse is rampant now on Upwork. Many accounts claiming to be from Western Europe are in fact created on Western European VPS's. I have caught several people from China now doing this. So I believe the original poster here experienced the same thing. I was able to get the person to admit they were from China on Skype.