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289bb8cf
Community Member

Fake ** Freelancers

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**

 

 

129 REPLIES 129

Hi Michael,

 

I'm sorry to hear about your experience. It would be best to work with the team assisting you now as they are the right department to resolve your concern. I followed up with them to make sure that they get this message as well.


~ AJ
Upwork
edwardgichina
Community Member

I am a new freelancer in Nairobi, Kenya and this is distressing to hear. There should be KYC with ID and address verification. The account identity verification should happen altleast annually.  

It would also be critical to have a form of client verification. This affect freelancers as well. 

paywell
Community Member

This is bad news for honest Freelancers and Clients as well. 

 

 

The culprit, in my opinion, is:

  1. Lack of client verification - everybody can become his own "client" and hand out jobs with good feedback, becoming a fake 100% JSS, fake Rising Talent machine.
  2. Lack of "test job" category (low budget jobs, the completion of which doesn't influence your profile) - the result being, jobs like "create a website copy of Upwork.com from the ground up" with $5 USD budgets can be posted by "clients", without raising suspicion

 

 

Projects should have a ballpark price range, if the budget should be $1000 but is $5 instead - the job posting should be red flagged and the "client" and his "freelancers" put under scrutiny.

 

I have stumbled upon whole profiles, with hundreds of jobs completed, and the total spend amount under $1k, meaning all the jobs were under USD. And all of them were complex jobs, demanding a high budget.


What also got my attention, was that the jobs posted all had 5*Star reviews for client and freelancer.
Very unusual, very "fishy"!

 


The Client, posting this thread, is a victim of this practice.
As a result, Freelancers are unable to get through to their clients, who are buried in a heap of scam-spam. They are victims too.

 


With all that said, I am sure, that the Upwork team is working on a solution as we speak.
May their efforts be fruitful, we are all counting on you guys!

gilliad
Community Member

I understand verifying client and freelancers are important, however red flagging clients who hire freelancers for less than 1000 a job is a BAD IDEA, budget is limited and not every Job require 1000 dollars payment...

prowriterusa
Community Member

When I listed my profile here, I was asked to verify and send in my ID etc. Perhaps the site should use the blue checkmark or make us freelancers more visible to jobs instead of buying connects to get noticed when replying to jobs. I  see that many people that hire here look for cheaper candidates outside the USA and sometimes end up with sub-par work. Hiring someone based on a low budget diminishes the value of your project and then you have to spend more money to get it right again. It's not about how much content you produce, it's about the quality of the content and how your customers react to it. Any candidate for example should be able to show the value they bring for that specific project and why. Your content only gets one chance to make a great impression. Hire wisely.

evesion
Community Member

I am a freelancer and I get constantly questions if I am really from Europe. To be honest I would pay Upwork a small fee if the Vetted me and give me a badge to show that I am really who I am.

I wouldn't mind paying a fee to be vetted provided Upwork put an end to geoblocking, which encourages people to use VPNs to lie about their whereabouts. 

tscheven
Community Member

We just had someone try what appeared to be a really bad deep fake. 

 

After too many bad experiences with voice calls and the person having a very heavy, noticeable accent from somewhere other than where they say they are, we've resorted to video calls. 

 

Today, the call started without the freelancer having their camera on despite the fact that I specifically asked them in our messages if they'd be open to doing so and they responded to the affirmative.

 

When they turned their camera on, an image of a young, white male appeared but there was something odd about it. It didn't move, I mean, at all. And it didn't blink either, which was creepy as hell. When it talked, its lips barely moved and the person behind it said very little so as to not give away their heavy accent. 

At first, we thought it might be a glitchy connection, but after several minutes, it was clear it wasn't. I called them out on it and said their video looks weird and they haven't blinked in several minutes. I asked them to turn their head to the left and they pretended not to understand, then the mic muted. I asked one of our team members who were on the call to speak to them in Portuguese (The interviewee was supposed to be from Brazil) and suddenly, they ended the call.

 

I flagged the account and wrote specific details to Upwork customer service about what happened. 

 

We're long-time users of Upwork and like the OP, have spent several hundred thousand dollars. 

 

As far as I'm concened, there's no incentive for Upwork to change anything with the system. The fake freelancers are still getting hired and Upwork takes a percentage of that. 

 

For what it's worth, we don't care where you are in the world, but if you try to lie and fake your way to getting a job and we catch you, we have no use for you.

 

(Based on what I've said here, I fully expect this post to be removed by Upwork citing "community guidelines", but I hope someone gets to see it before that happens)

I don't know what guideline you would have violated if they do edit anything out. Your post looks pretty clean to me.

AveryO
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Todd, 


I'm sorry to learn about your experience. On Upwork, we have multiple verification processes to confirm a user's identity and location. Freelancers are also randomly verified more than once to ensure that their profile and account information is accurate. It looks like you've already reported this freelancer, but for the benefit of those following this discussion, it's best to report suspicious user activity by following the steps here

You may also send me a private message with the freelancer's details so I can follow up on your report. 


~ Avery
Upwork
37b1974f
Community Member

I just joined looking for freelances and I've noticed this too. I have interviewed 3 frelancers and they all lived in contries that were not as specified in their profile, their name was different and they did't show up in the video. Two of them also asked me to continue the conversation on telegram. Na not good.

Hi Maria T,

1 Ans- I am from Bangladesh, and due to my passport not having dual currency on my visa card, I have not been able to make payment to my Upwork account after several attempts.

I'm Not a fake Freelancer, 

 

 

2 Ans- For my convenience, I read the client's job post, write it separately, then I do the proposal because it takes too long to write the proposal page and I write it neatly, then read it over and over and try to catch mistakes. Then I bring the complete copy and give the proposal. It makes very few mistakes. Because it is better to read again and again.

 

 

I am trying very hard. Trying to apply for a premium plus membership on my account as soon as possible.

I get messaged as a Fake Freelancer because I work fast.

If you think it's a problem, then I won't give any proposals like that again in the future.

 

 

Sorry but I have no idea why you are telling me this.
I don't really understand what you're talking about either, to be honest.

 

1- If you have problems paying (the connects or what do you mean?), you must contact CS. If you're talking about something else, you'll tell us.
2 - I think it's very good that you do that to write the proposals. I do it too because I'm not an English speaker. But I don't know why you're telling us this.

 

By "premium plus membership" do you mean "Freelancer Plus plan"?
Really, you have to pay $15 and I don't think the benefits are worth it.
You can better use that $15 to buy a bunch of connects, I think 100.

 

"I get messaged as a Fake Freelancer because I work fast.", I don't understand this.


"If you think it's a problem, then I won't give any proposals like that again in the future.", and I don't understand this either.

 

What does the screenshot refer to?

I reported the Fake Freelancers, very little has been done to rectify this problem , despite Elance / Upwork reaching out. Anyway there are also plenty or Real Profiles to choose from. Best way to tell is have a voice call with them, Accent is dead giveaway.

crart
Community Member


Steven R wrote:

Best way to tell is have a voice call with them, Accent is dead giveaway.


Excuse me? Personally I don't do phone calls or video chats, it's just the way I operate. And English is not my native language, you're going to dismiss me because of an accent? Ridiculous.


Steven R wrote:

I reported the Fake Freelancers, very little has been done to rectify this problem , despite Elance / Upwork reaching out. Anyway there are also plenty or Real Profiles to choose from. Best way to tell is have a voice call with them, Accent is dead giveaway.


Like Olga, I don't make calls either, just like her I am not an English speaker. Would you report me for that?
It doesn't seem to me that this makes us not good candidates. It seems to me that you could lose good freelancers this way.
I know that English is important, but there are many languages in the world (with many speakers in each one) and not all of us have learned enough English.

d48551e9
Community Member

Hi Maria T,

Please Help me so that I can get a fast job in Upwor. 

 

Thanks

There is no way to help you get a job here. The only way to achieve this is with a good profile and sending proposals. There are no short cuts.
I have no knowledge of your field, so I can tell you little.

 

You must delete your email from "Employment history". This section is not to tell what you do as if it were your presentation, but to list the jobs you have had.
And "Other experiences" is not to repeat the same thing as before.

I agree, its amazing how long this thread has gone, since I originally posted it. As someone who hires Freelancers my original problems was Fake profiles, they were not who they claimed to be. Hard to believe from that point on if anything about them is real or not. You make a good point but also Aim to Exceed Expectations, that will go a long way to develope credibility.

94a81a36
Community Member

I agree with your view.
However, it is not only customers who suffer damage due to their fake profile.

I worked as a freelancer.com for 16 years and Upwork.com for over 10 years, but I lost a lot because of those fake accounts.

My old Upwork account was also locked.

You are looking for real developers and i'm looking for real customers.
Fake accounts are not only disguising themselves as developers, but also as customers, creating countless fake projects every day.

I spent hundreds of dollars to buy "connect" and sent proposals to projects, but I can't seem to get a response and they are all ignored.
That's because there are many fake customers and fake Freelancers.

How can true developers meet true customers?
How can real customers meet real developers?

This is a problem that must be resolved as soon as possible.

You can judge it through video calls such as Zoom calls, but we cannot say that this is a 100% effective and efficient method.
This is because there are countless developers in this world who are not good at or do not know how to speak English.

I think that's unfair to those developers.
We need to find a 100% efficient way as quickly as possible.
This is difficult to do with the power of the Upwork support team alone.
We believe that everyone should work together to solve the problem.

I want to meet real customers as soon as possible.
If they were a real customer, I would be on video calls with them all day long.

If you are a real customer I will work with you forever.

What do you mean by "My old Upwork account was also locked."?
Is this a second account?

yeah, right.

I had to contact support and re-create my account.

Ok, I thought you created a second account ๐Ÿ‘

Why did you think that?๐Ÿ˜Š

Because there are many people who believe that since they have closed an account, they will be able to create another one. Or if the first one goes badly, they can "delete" it and start with a new one.
And then they get into trouble ๐Ÿ™„

๐Ÿ˜ญYes, I lost all my work history, clients, everything.

So, they reactivated your account but you lost all your history?
What did you do for that? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

When I sent the first offer again after not working for 2 months, they suspended my account and suggested I verify my ID again.

After verifying my identity,
they told me that the information was incorrect, my account would be permanently suspended and there would be no possibility of getting back to me.

I was so desperate that I ended up creating the account again 10 days ago and lost all my work history and everything.

Does this make any sense?
Whose fault is this?

๐Ÿ˜

Oops! So you were permanently suspended and you created a new account? I don't know if I'm understanding this right, but if so, be prepared to get suspended on this one too.
What you have done, if that is what I understand, is prohibited. If you are permanently suspended, there is no turning back ๐Ÿ˜•

You misunderstood.

Sorry, I'm not an English speaker and sometimes I misunderstand things ๐Ÿ™

It's okay.
What method do you think should be used to remove fake accounts?

crart
Community Member

First off Upwork should stop creating them for the sake of "movement" on the platform ๐Ÿคฃ

Jokes aside, there should be full profile required for both freelancers and clients. For now only freelancers have their profile requirements set up correctly, with photo, bio, job history, earnings, feedback, portfolio etc. I can't see anything like that on clients side. If people were forced to actually work to create a coherent profile, many would flee and this could remove a lot of scammers and fakes (this would also save my keyboard from spilling coffee on it while I laugh at "do me pic plz pay $5" type of "jobs"). Second thing, no unverified payment method, period. Third - ID verification every 3 months, literally. I don't care how much work it would cost, UW is not doing anything right now to prevent scams and ths platform is not safe to work so they can as well start working for the money they milk from us. Surely that would be a nice change from latest months disasters.

94a81a36
Community Member

Upwork has a series of bugs.
1. When using a client account, the payment has been verified, but when the assignment is posted, the payment verification is displayed as incomplete on the assignment preview screen.
However, if you click on the assignment to view it in detail, payment verification is enabled. This is the first error.

2. When verifying a payment, a certain amount of money must be charged to prevent payment verification from being done with a fake payment account.

 

When Freelancer account.
1. If you have a freelancer or agency account, you must pass ID verification to make a proposal to a project.

Even now, developers without ID verification badges are prioritized on the proposal list.

2. We also need to create two-step video authentication.
In that certification, all freelancers must verify that they are real developers by conducting a video interview with the Upwork team.

Freelancers who pass this certification can send proposals to projects worth more than $20 per hour or more than $1500 fixed.
However, freelancers who do not pass this will be restricted from bidding on projects below that level.
This will greatly reduce the number of fake accounts and fake freelancers.

I think so now.

crart
Community Member


Tomas T wrote:

Upwork has a series of bugs.
1. When using a client account, the payment has been verified, but when the assignment is posted, the payment verification is displayed as incomplete on the assignment preview screen.
However, if you click on the assignment to view it in detail, payment verification is enabled. This is the first error.

2. When verifying a payment, a certain amount of money must be charged to prevent payment verification from being done with a fake payment account.

 

When Freelancer account.
1. If you have a freelancer or agency account, you must pass ID verification to make a proposal to a project.

Even now, developers without ID verification badges are prioritized on the proposal list.

2. We also need to create two-step video authentication.
In that certification, all freelancers must verify that they are real developers by conducting a video interview with the Upwork team.

Freelancers who pass this certification can send proposals to projects worth more than $20 per hour or more than $1500 fixed.
However, freelancers who do not pass this will be restricted from bidding on projects below that level.
This will greatly reduce the number of fake accounts and fake freelancers.

I think so now.


Every time I was verified it was via video call with Upwork staff. So no idea if that changed but if yes and anyone can just send randomly generated ID via email and be "verified", this would explain a lot ๐Ÿค”

I wouldn't advise splitting projects like that. This would move a lot of clients towards freelancers with low prices and leave those with higher rates without jobs. Mostly, I don't say everyone is after cheap crap, some actually need quality and are ready to pay for it, but generally people don't like to pay and what I see at Upwork, it draws mostly those willing to pay nearly nothing and accepting trash they receive in return. I'd call it DownWork because in current shape and form of the platform there is no way up ๐Ÿคฃ

I fully understand your feelings, sir,

I have read many of your reply messages, and this kind of fraud is despicable in any country or place.

I am a business owner from China, and we have experienced numerous scams in the past three years. I myself have also been scammed.

Fortunately, the system and laws have been improved this year. As long as it is confirmed that one has been defrauded of more than $200, the police will directly target the other party by phone and go to the police station to inquire about the situation. His account will also be frozen. In my country, bank cards can only be used by oneself,Report to the police in a timely manner, and the police will help you recover the money you were cheated on      We need to learn to use the law to protect our property

First, your profile should be about you, not a team.
Right now, your profile is nothing.
Police? What will the police do if your client/freelancer is on the other corner of the world?
Are you the same person from the blog?

And the laws are not the same everywhere in the world!

Also, the Chinese are the ones who create the most and the best fake accounts.
So what laws do you have on this in your country?
Doesn't this apply to the police?๐Ÿ˜‚

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