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6a6fc66f
Community Member

Fake Accounts

Hi,

i am having difficulty finding someone that is actually who they say they are.

I have had talks with 4 different individuals now, all of whom say they are from Canada or the United States, and all of whom have indicated a name that is clearly not theirs.

 

one freelancer has the name Justin Bieber. There are also individuals using images of famous people as their profile picture.

 

Is there a way to verfiy freelance?

 

I am having a hard time believing the freelancer profiles anymore.

42 REPLIES 42
Anonymous-User
Not applicable


@Rajen G wrote:

Hi,

i am having difficulty finding someone that is actually who they say they are.

I have had talks with 4 different individuals now, all of whom say they are from Canada or the United States, and all of whom have indicated a name that is clearly not theirs.

 

one freelancer has the name Justin Bieber. There are also individuals using images of famous people as their profile picture.

 

Is there a way to verfiy freelance?

 

I am having a hard time believing the freelancer profiles anymore.


You can report each profile/freelancer that is fake.

Maybe Justin Bieber is freelancing aside on Upwork when he is short of money... Woman Wink

 

colettelewis
Community Member

Rajen, you should report these freelancers and send the links to their profiles to customer support:

 

https://support.upwork.com/hc/en-us/requests/new

jolash
Community Member

Rajen, It's good you are sharing this but I can assure you that there are real freelancers here too.

 

One thing you might want to do before wasting time is to either ask for help from an UW project coordinator ( I think I have been apporached by a couple of them recently) or where the project needs someone with experience , research the past jobs successfully completed on the profiles.

 

In conclusion , sometimes names are not a guarantee that the freelancer is not legit.

 

There might be a 'Justin Bieber' on the platform for real and  while his talent might not be in the singing arena , he might just be good at what he says he is when  you check his work history.

Rajen:

 

All levity aside, this is a serious matter for Upwork. Your encounter of 4 fake freelancers in a row is not normal, and I'm sorry you encountered that.

 

I would advise you to only work with people whose identities you can trust, because contractors who use fake photos or fake identities are usually scammers who do not care about a client's project. They typically are only using "throw-away" identities and will log time on your bill without actually doing any work.

 

For your first projects on Upwork, you may want to stick with contractors who have an established track record, with many projects completed.

Besides what Preston said, Job Success is something you should look at -- top rated is nice but freelancers drop in & out of that category, and same can be said for rising talent. But Job Success minimum 80% should be a safe bet.

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce
gerrys
Community Member

Say that a "voice" interview will be required on your job post.

 

Eliminates many who can't fake an accent (or not).

 

Bonus: you may find out it's "all" lies.

 

(Though I have seen jobs on UpWork for interview "stand-ins" ...)

 

(UpWork could start "tracking" IP addresses ... like, freelancer is currently "on the road" in [....] while "residing" in Canada / USA)

lysis10
Community Member

Justin Beiber from India. Seems legit.

Let me point out that as a client, I LIKE to work with a mix of experienced Upwork contractors as well as new contractors. I intentionally hire some contractors who have no previous Upwork experience, and sometimes I find great talent among these newbies.

 

But I know how Upwork works. I don't advise a newbie client to start out by hiring contractors without Upwork experience. They both might be well-intentioned, but neither know how to use the interface and they might make some mistakes that can otherwise be avoided. And a worse possible scenario involves a newbie client who doesn't recognize the signs of a scammer freelancer with a fake account.


@Gerry S wrote:

Say that a "voice" interview will be required on your job post.

 

Eliminates many who can't fake an accent (or not).

 

Bonus: you may find out it's "all" lies.

 

(Though I have seen jobs on UpWork for interview "stand-ins" ...)

 

(UpWork could start "tracking" IP addresses ... like, freelancer is currently "on the road" in [....] while "residing" in Canada / USA)


Unfortunately an IP address is a very unreliable way to determine someone's location - very easy to spoof and hard to detect fakes, even with technology specifically designed as "proxy piercing" technology. 

In my real life I am actually Jennifer Aniston. I took to freelancing after Brad left me.

Upwork is full of scammers now. I'm an employer and I'm looking at alternatives. Does anyone know any?

It's such a shame, we have hired some great talent through Upwork before and have spent over a million dollars on here. Now after being scammed by two developers on my project I've had enough. Literally every other profile is clearly fake, I see verified accounts with a clearly fake location. I don't trust any of my previous hires now.

Upwork support is just copy and paste nonsense, j can't even get a phone number or a human response.

Hi Duncan,

 

I'm really sorry to hear your experience hasn't been positive. Would you mind sharing more details about your situation, and possibly the contract ID of the project in question, so we can better assist you? 

~ Luiggi
Upwork

Can you explain why you don't provide phone support for employers? Given that I have spent a not-insignificant amount here on Upwork i.e. into 7 figures, I was shocked to find I was only able to speak to support staff via Zendesk (who only provide copy and paste replies and possibly are bots).

 

I wonder how many employees Upwork actually has?!

 

I'd be more than happy to go through the problems via phone. If you value feedback, you'd welcome the chance. But it looks like Upwork has become another faceless corporate machine who doesn't care about scammers.

vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Rajen,

 

I see you already received good advice from other users, so I'll just point out that you should report freelancers who you suspect are using fake names and profile photos.

 

In addition to advice you received here, please visit our Hiring Headquarters to find all the information and best practice advice designed to help guide you through the hiring process on Upwork. Feel free to contact Customer Support if you need help with reviewing freelancers' proposals/profiles, and our specialized team will assist you.

~ Vladimir
Upwork
makc3d
Community Member

why do you feel the need to know freelancer real name, though? who cares if he wants you to call him Justin, just look at his work history - the important stuff.

lysis10
Community Member


@Maksym Z wrote:

why do you feel the need to know freelancer real name, though? who cares if he wants you to call him Justin, just look at his work history - the important stuff.


You think his work history isn't stolen? You must be new here. 

makc3d
Community Member

and by his work history I mean the jobs he did here at odesk

lysis10
Community Member


@Maksym Z wrote:

and by his work history I mean the jobs he did here at odesk


Obviously never seen the outcome of work done by someone stealing portfolio items. Waste of time and frustrating for a client. You think that client will come back? Prolly not. Hurts every godo provider on the site, so I say burn them with fire Upwork. 

makc3d
Community Member

can I repeat myself, as obviously you did not read the part you quoted? by his work history I mean the jobs he did here at odesk. not portfolio items. get it right.

Maksym: that is fine to do on other sites.

On Upwork, we use our real names as a means if fostering a professional work environment with accountability and transparency.

That used to be true, but sadly Upwork is full of scammers now. I've been noticing a gradual creep of more and more fake profiles, to the point where it's at epidemic levels. Example: I've been employing a (very good) guy in Turkey for years on and off. I noticed recently his location had changed to the UK. I asked him where abouts he lives in the UK as I know it well. To which he replied, he doesn't live in the UK, he has never been there, he just gets more work by pretending to be in the UK. And his account is fully "Upwork Verified" of course, including the location. So just get a PO Box and you're good.

 

And this story is repeated over and over. I don't trust any Upwork profile now unless they're part of an agency.

 

Anyone who thinks Upwork is safe and secure as an employer should check out forums like this:

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

 

There are Chinese people giving a % share to use people's old Upwork accounts.

 

So let's say you have an old Upwork account as a developer that you barely use. You can hire it out to a Chinese guy who will work remotely and pay you 10% of everything he earns. Of course, the account that the employer sees is fully verified and appears genuine, they are none the wiser.

 

As an employer I didn't even realise this was possible. But it has completely shaken my faith in my existing developers that I am employing through here, and I am now asking them to verify manually. These Chinese scammers have a way round verification though, they just tell the actual Upwork account owner to do the verification, if they want to keep getting a free 10% cut, of course they will do it. Why wouldn't they? It just requires them to send through some ID, in return for FREE money every week for doing nothing.

 

How can Upwork crack down on this, it's almost impossible to detect?

 

I tried to contact them and ask, and for them to give me reassurances,  as someone who has spent $1.5m on Upwork so far, but they don't provide phone support, only robots and copy-paste responses via Zendesk and unpaid volunteers on this forum uttering pleasantries... You have to laugh. Some companies don't deserve your custom.

 

Easier just to find someone on here, make sure they're genuine, then pay them privately and save 20% rip off fees. I'm sick of Upwork now!

re: "That used to be true, but sadly Upwork is full of scammers now."

 

It is still true in terms of what Upwork policy is.

 

What you are encountering is people who are disregarding Upwork policy AND evading Upwork's extensive identity verification protocols.

 

I am sorry to hear about the problems you have faced. I appreciate your detailed reports about this situation.

Can you define 'extensive' verification? As an employer I know nothing about what verification is done on here. But it's obvious that it's not working.

re: "Can you define 'extensive' verification?"

 

Yes.

Upwork does more extensive identity verification than any other major freelance work platform.

 

These include:

- Live videoconferencing calls to verify physical appearance matches profile photo

- requiring freelancers to submit government-issued identity such as passport, driver's license

- require submission of documents verifying physical location

- background processes such as matching user-claimed location to IP address-based geolocation

 

The system is not a free-for-all. It is not based on users entering whatever information they want. It is not "trust-based."

 

Duncan: You have described people who have made a concerted effort to evade Upwork policies and protocols. I don't blame you for being disappointed in what you have encountered.

 

I know about Upwork's verification protocols because I have read about them in the Forum, and more importantly because I have been required to go through these as a freelancer. Upwork both systematically and randomly requires freelancers to undergo identity verification and re-verification.

 

I have hired 130 freelancers on Upwork. Based on my experience, I believe that the overwhelming majority of Upwork freelancers are honest professionals who are honest about their name, location, and identity.

 

I do not doubt the veracity of any of the information you have reported.

Thanks Preston. But 3 out of 4 of those are not going to work against this "Chinese remote worker" scam. They can just ask the actual account owner to send them the ID and they will forward it on.  Or ask them to appear on webcam this once, to pass Upwork verification.

 

My suggestion would be, for Upwork to check the IP address and block them if they are using a VPN. If they want to login to Upwork, they can use their regular connection. Google and others already do this well.

 

Plus some other fingerprinting like computer timezone matches their claimed country, etc etc. This is what I have to do myself now - to check that each Upwork person is genuine, asking for their ID is not enough. It's easy to get the real documents from the account owner. Instead I ask them to login to my JIRA where I've setup a custom third-party app that logs their IP address , timezone etc. If it doesn't match then I don't employ them.

Our apologies for the delayed update, Duncan. 

 

We appreciate your suggestions! I'll be sure to share them with our team. 

 

Our executive escalations team reached out to you via this support ticket and will further assist you directly.

 

Thank you! 

~ Bojan
Upwork


Duncan S wrote:

Thanks Preston. But 3 out of 4 of those are not going to work against this "Chinese remote worker" scam. They can just ask the actual account owner to send them the ID and they will forward it on.  Or ask them to appear on webcam this once, to pass Upwork verification.

 

My suggestion would be, for Upwork to check the IP address and block them if they are using a VPN. If they want to login to Upwork, they can use their regular connection. Google and others already do this well.

 

Plus some other fingerprinting like computer timezone matches their claimed country, etc etc. This is what I have to do myself now - to check that each Upwork person is genuine, asking for their ID is not enough. It's easy to get the real documents from the account owner. Instead I ask them to login to my JIRA where I've setup a custom third-party app that logs their IP address , timezone etc. If it doesn't match then I don't employ them.


Private VPNs are undetectable. I mean you can just rent a server located in the desired country and forward your traffic that way.

These scammers do rent the whole PC of the owner using remote access tools so their IP is "legit".

Unless you watch a live stream of the remote worker working there's no way to be sure it's actually them.

There is also a way to turn on not only screenshots with the time tracker but take pictures of freelancers at the same time. You might want to try asking freelancers to use that one but not many would accept (I wouldn't).

Hi Duncan,

 

I am sorry for the inconvenience this has caused. Thank you for following up and sharing additional information. I will send your report to our team for further review and will get back to you as soon as possible with additional information. 

 

Thank you for your patience,

~ Nikola
Upwork

Hi Duncan,

 

I understand it'd be frustrating to learn that a person you hired isn't who they claim they are. We take this issue very seriously and have been taking steps to address it. For more information about our efforts, please see this Community announcement.

 

~ Nikola
Upwork

Well, I don't think there is any way for Upwork to crack down on this because it's almost unnoitceable.

 

Let's say you have an old Upwork account as a developer that you barely use. You can hire it out to a Chinese guy who will work remotely and pay you 10% of everything he earns. Of course, the account that the employer (me) sees is fully verified and appears genuine, they are none the wiser. They will have extensive feedback and work history.

 

As an employer I didn't even realise this was possible. But it has completely shaken my faith in my existing developers that I am employing through here, and I am now asking them to verify manually. These Chinese scammers have a way round verification though, they just tell the actual Upwork account owner to do the verification, if they want to keep getting a free 10% cut, of course they will do it. Why wouldn't they? It just requires them to send through some ID, in return for FREE money every week for doing nothing.

 

How can Upwork crack down on this, it's almost impossible to detect? I don't think they can, and it's obvious they are failing to do so. The only way they can possibly do this is to block proxy and VPNs from accessing the Upwork website - all of these Chinese scammers use them.

 

BTW, the only way I noticed it was because their timezone for Github commits was not matching their supposed location, and they were working at 3am in "their" local time - who does that? But if you don't look into it , you'll never notice it. This is really rife clearly.

 

I tried to contact Upwork support and for them to give me reassurances, as someone who has spent $1.5m on Upwork so far, but I was disappointed to see that they don't provide phone support, only robots and copy-paste responses via Zendesk and unpaid volunteers on this forum uttering pleasantries... I remember the days of RentACoder when you could personally contact Ian Ippolito (that was the original precursor to Upwork, it then became vWorker then Elance, then Upwork).  I've been using them since those early days.

 

Upwork is just another faceless corporation that values shareholders and stock price. Best bet? Find another solution for your employer needs, it's obvious that Upwork doesn't care.

 


Duncan S wrote:

 


Upwork won't do the quality check intead of the client. It is prohibited by the TOS to share you account with someone else but in reality it's almost impossible to track. Do video calls with freelancers, look at their productivity at least on the first weeks.

If you want to reach support just create a topic on the forum and a moderator will create a ticket for you.

In defence of night-owls, I regularly work at 3 am.

6a6fc66f
Community Member

its not about about the name - if the person was genuine then it is fine.

but i have done some skype interviews with people that are obviously not who or what they say they are. that goes to credibility of the person and ultimately this platform.

Let's share our funniest stories of "Verified Upwork" scammers.

 

I had a lady in India bid on my project who was using a photo of a big UK based TV/soap star. I asked her about it, she said it was definitely her and the verification proved it....

 

But I think my favourite is the most recent one: A black skinned guy in Brazil according to his photo. When I asked to meet him on Skype via his webcam, he dithered for ages. Eventually he came on, but had stuck something blurry over the lens. I could tell that he wasn't a black man from Brazil but clearly Chinese. When I asked about it, I was told not to worry about it.

 

You have to laugh  - naturally he was "Upwork Verified". LOL!

b5d6e904
Community Member

I noticed a year later that the "Ukrainian" guy I reported to Upwork (actually in China) is still active on Upwork and still bidding on contracts!

 

I have reported him so many times. But Upwork don't even give me the courtesy of a reply - another automated process I suspect, doubt any humans review them. Look at how many actual Upwork staff have replied here.

 

Only way they will start to act is if it this gets more widely known and starts to hit their share price.

 

a01478c7
Community Member

Hi Rajen G.

Pls next time you do encounter a supposed "Fake Freelancer" pls don't immediately dismiss the person. Try to ask for a pre work sample to see if the person can actually do the work. 

 

Many Freelancers register their accounts with countries they are not from, talk less of ever being being to that country before because of the discrimination they will face if they are not US, Canada or UK citizens. There's an ongoing big time discrimination going on on upwork. With Africans and indians having the worst of them all.


 

yitwail
Community Member

Scholard, Rajen posted that 6 years ago, so I doubt he'll see your message. Anyway, while it's unfortunately true that some clients discriminate based on location, that doesn't justify falsifying your location in my opinion, and when someone is caught doing so, it reinforces the stereotype that freelancers from certain regions are less trustworthy, which hurts all the honest freelancers from those regions. 

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce
17e529a3
Community Member

I really hope Upwork decides to force location verification through photo ID / passport. It's can be a huge waste of time as a company that has spent over 100k on Upwork to have to interview people who don't meet our language requirement + time zone. But seeing as it's been 7 years since this forum was started I don't think Upwork plans to ever fix this issue. Even the regional requirement filter is just a suggestion for job posts and doesn't filter out the regions you dont include. 

arslanriaz46
Community Member

It can be challenging to verify the identity of freelancers on Upwork, as the platform allows for anonymity. However, there are a few ways to increase the likelihood that a freelancer is whom they say they are:

  • Check the freelancer's profile for reviews and feedback from previous clients. This can provide insight into the freelancer's work ethic, communication skills, and overall quality of work.
  • Review the freelancer's portfolio and samples of their work. This can help you to gauge the freelancer's level of expertise and experience in their field.
  • Verify their skills and credentials through Upwork's platform by using verified skills, which are skills that have been verified through a test or certification process.
  • Communicate with the freelancer and ask for additional information or references that can help to verify their identity.
  • Check the freelancer's ID verification. Upwork offers ID verification, which is a process that verifies the freelancer's government-issued ID.
  • Finally, if the freelancer's name is suspicious like Justin Bieber or any famous person, it's safe to assume that this profile is not real, and you can report it to Upwork's support team.

It's important to keep in mind that even with these steps, it may not be possible to verify the identity of every freelancer on Upwork. However, by doing your due diligence, you can increase the likelihood of working with a legitimate freelancer.

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