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Re: Fake Chinese Freelancers

Active Member
Ethan E Member Since: Jul 4, 2018
1 of 57

Dearest Upwork -


I am a premium employer and between my two accounts, I easily spend 400k a year.   I have found that my support as a premium employer has become non-existent.  I have always had great account managers but now they all seem to have disappeared and I have no direct point of contact at Upwork.  I cannot imagine any other business having a client who spends as much as I do and not providing them direct access to an account manager.  But that's not what I am writing about.  


My bigger concern is the rampant and OUT OF CONTROL issue of phony freelancer accounts.  I recently tried to hire for a job and out of 5 interviews, all 5 were not in the country they claimed to be from.  Some claimed to be in East Europe and others claimed to be in Canada or the United States.  I voice verified with them and they were all Chinese.   I have been reporting this issue for years, yet Upwork seems to not want to do anything about it.  It seems like it would be pretty simple to weed out these fakes, given that I found 5 of them on ONE job post.  I think that Upwork is turning a blind eye to this problem because they are still getting paid on work these phony developers do.  This is a total disservice to people like myself who depend on Upwork.  By ignoring the issue you are allowing employers to get scammed, the very people you depend on for your business.  


At any rate, here are a few of the fake Chinese Profiles for my most recent job posting.  Notice that ALL these profiles say rising talent or top rated:


**Edited for Community Guidelines**



Goran V Moderator Member Since: Mar 24, 2017
2 of 57

Hi Ethan,


I apologize for the bad experience you had with the freelancers you interviewed and reported. To confirm that we have a procedure to check this type of freelancers and take proper actions towards but reporting them also helps us in investigating them faster and taking proper actions. One of our team members will reach out to you directly so that we can provide you the support needed and also to send us more details about this freelancers via ticket, so we can check if proper action was taken based on your earlier reports. Our team will also investigate why you weren`t able to contact our customer support and assist you further with this as well. If you have any additional questions feel free to post them here, thank you!

Active Member
Ethan E Member Since: Jul 4, 2018
3 of 57

I don't buy it.  As a company you have known about this issue for many years and I cannot believe that you are taking any steps to control the problem because it has become 10x worse.  

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
4 of 57

This is frankly a distressing report.


And it is unfortunate. I have worked with Chinese freelancers - individuals who live in China and say they live in China. I have great respect for the quality of their work and their professionalism.


I worry that a relatively small number of dishonest freelancers masquerading as someone they're not could permanently damage the reputation of a large group of people.


Claiming to be from somewhere else is not only dishonest and against TOS... it is also totally unnecessary. And potentially very harmful.

Active Member
Luis Fernando S Member Since: Mar 12, 2020
5 of 57

how can i report this account? I fell into this

**edited for Community Guidelines**

Avery O Moderator Member Since: Nov 23, 2015
6 of 57

Hi Luis, 

Could you please share more information about the freelancer you noted on your post so that I can assist you further?

Active Member
Luis Fernando S Member Since: Mar 12, 2020
7 of 57
Hi, a freelancer of china contact me because his account was erased for problems with You country and he told me if i could create one and use My PC to take Jobs because he needed work.
But then i see this and i don't want to risk myself ir others.
Active Member
steve r Member Since: Nov 2, 2018
8 of 57

Yes Luis I started this thread a long time ago, unfortunatley I dont think upwork has gotten rid of the fake freelancer problem, where they report to come from Europe or even russia, but end up being chinese freelancers....once again.

Community Guru
Charles K Member Since: Mar 6, 2017
9 of 57

Hi Ethan,


I'm a freelancer but I get your frustration, I really do. This affects everyone.


My very first long-term contract was for a native English editor and started with the client apologetically requesting a Skype call to verify that I met that description because the previous two she had hired did not.


There's a lot that Upwork could do to improve this situation. Believe me, I'm no apologist for the site; I've certainly been vocal about many things here in the past. But at the same time, I do think they are working on it. I see more and more comments (mostly off this forum) from people about video verification requirements, and often from people who were flat out denied entry to the site. This latter policy is fairly recent -- a couple of years ago, they took all comers.


I always believe in looking at the incentives. Here, Upwork has no incentive to let scammers flourish and every incentive to ensure clients like you are happy. For that reason alone, I don't think this is being ignored.


I just think this is one of those cat-and-mouse things, like hackers and antimalware software providers, where there never will be victory by either side, just constant adjustment and adaptation. It's annoying but just part of the "joy of the Internet."


The scammers play games by using shill accounts to pump up their stats, but there are usually still tell-tale signs that they aren't what they say they are. Obviously, the longer the track record of the freelancer, and the further they are from the "budget range," the less chance of a problem.


If you ever have a concern or want an opinion on anything you're considering, feel free to drop me a PM. I'd be glad to help if I can.

Community Guru
John K Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
10 of 57
Before condemning fake Chinese freelancers, let’s distinguish between Chinese freelancers with fake locations, photos and names, versus freelancers of Chinese ancestry who live outside China and provide real names and photos. Upwork seems to require video verification, which should detect obvious fakes, for all new freelancers after they complete one job, but perhaps video verification should also be required for a rising talent badge. Finally, there seems to be a market for selling Upwork profiles, but there’s no program to prevent this practice that I know of.
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce