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eastbayba
Member

Fraudulent Freelancer Profiles

I have very serious concerns about offshore freelancers creating and using flaudulent profiles that were supposedly verifiied by Upwork. The last two offshore freelancers I hired created fraudulent profiles and I am trying to understand the process Upwork uses to verify a freelancers identity.  I lost over $500 to one of those freelancers and Upwork refuses to terminate his profile.

 

When I confronted the second freelancer, he responded by saying he was a verified freelancer already had done video call with Upwork to verify his identity. I have strong evidnece to the contray and I can prove inconclusively that both of these freelancers profiles are fraudelent. I reported by of these freelancers to Upwork and both freelancers are still active.

 

Upwork may be unaware that unscupulus offshore freelancers have figured out how to get around the freelancer verification process. But I am struggling to understand why Upwork refuses to take action after I have reported these freelancers and provided evidence of fraud.

 

I am left with the impression Upwork simply doesn't care because enforcing it's terms of service regarding freelancer profiles would result in lost revenues.

24 REPLIES 24
kochubei_valeria
Community Manager
Community Manager

Sorry to hear you feel this way about Upwork, John. We take reports and evidence of ToS violations seriously. That said, unfortunately, we can't share details about another user's account status or actions that are taken against them for privacy reasons. 

I will check on your ticket and make sure that proper actions are taken.

 

Thank you.

~ Valeria
Upwork

Upwork has done absolutely NOTHING in response to my complaint. You guys temporarily suspended the profiles of the two freelancers that created these fraudulent profiles and then REACTIVATED THEM! I can't believe you guys did that. Why???

 

Why are you allowing offshore freelancers to continue doing business on Upwork after I proved both of their profiles are fake? Why won't you believe what I'm telling you? Sending money to unknown entity or an individual in a forgein country is not something I'm willing to do. The process you're using to verify freelancer identities is not working .

 

I am convinced now more than ever that your organization simply does not care.

Hello John,

 

We're sorry to hear about your experience. Please note that our team carefully reviewed the account and had already taken the necessary action. Unfortunately, we can't share information about other user's account. Thank you for understanding.


Untitled


@John E wrote:

Upwork has done absolutely NOTHING in response to my complaint. You guys temporarily suspended the profiles of the two freelancers that created these fraudulent profiles and then REACTIVATED THEM! I can't believe you guys did that. Why???

 

Why are you allowing offshore freelancers to continue doing business on Upwork after I proved both of their profiles are fake? Why won't you believe what I'm telling you? Sending money to unknown entity or an individual in a forgein country is not something I'm willing to do. The process you're using to verify freelancer identities is not working .

 

I am convinced now more than ever that your organization simply does not care.


 _________________________________

 

You would not have to send money to unknown entity or individual in a 'foreign' country if you pay through Upwork,so this should not be a problem for you wherever a freelancer resides. 

If a freelancer requests payment outside Upwork, then report them and keep on reporting them, because this type of freelancer will simply keep on opening new accounts. Similarly, there are clients who do exactly the same thing and it is difficult to keep up with them.

 

What do you mean by "offshore" freelancer?  

Well Upwork is not a Interpol.  They do not have the ability, capacity, talent, and money to verify each and every individual on planet and do the background checks.  Just like they do not know if the buyer is fake orr scammer.  Most they can do is kick those people from their house. They connect people and then it is up to them to develop the mutual trust and define their working relationship.

I disagree. Upwork Global Inc. is headquartered in Mountain View, CA in the heart of Silicon Valley and I am confident they have sufficient resources and the technology to verify freelancer identities ( at least with reasonable accuracy). The current process they use to verify identities is so lax , flawed, and easy to manipulate, it's almost non-existent. The point I am trying to make is this. Unscrupulous freelancers have learned how to outsmart and get around the system. Upwork is aware of this and is refusing to take steps to protect clients. 

 

I would venture to guess a majority of US clients that hire offshore freelancers have no idea the profile they're using to make a hiring decision on may be completely false. Upwork clients should not have to worry about freelancer identities, nor should they find it necessary to perform their own verification.

I have never hired on Upwork although I have been a freelancer here for some years.  It's relatively easy to Google a freelancer's image.  It's also easy to Google part of their profile to see if it has been copied from someone else's.  If I were to ever become a client, this would certainly become part of my due diligence before hiring.


@John E wrote:

I disagree. Upwork Global Inc. is headquartered in Mountain View, CA in the heart of Silicon Valley and I am confident they have sufficient resources and the technology to verify freelancer identities ( at least with reasonable accuracy). The current process they use to verify identities is so lax , flawed, and easy to manipulate, it's almost non-existent. The point I am trying to make is this. Unscrupulous freelancers have learned how to outsmart and get around the system. Upwork is aware of this and is refusing to take steps to protect clients. 

 

I would venture to guess a majority of US clients that hire offshore freelancers have no idea the profile they're using to make a hiring decision on may be completely false. Upwork clients should not have to worry about freelancer identities, nor should they find it necessary to perform their own verification.


 _______________________________________

You really have got the meaning of an offshore freelancer a bit muddled. However, it is true that many profiles are fake, as many clients' profiles are fake. However, it is entirely the client's responsibility to do a duedil on a potential hire.

Your rather sweeping statement that all "offshore" freelancers are money launderers and thieves, and accusing Upwork of condoning this, is bordering on the defamatory. 

 


@John E wrote:

I disagree. Upwork Global Inc. is headquartered in Mountain View, CA in the heart of Silicon Valley and I am confident they have sufficient resources and the technology to verify freelancer identities ( at least with reasonable accuracy). The current process they use to verify identities is so lax , flawed, and easy to manipulate, it's almost non-existent. The point I am trying to make is this. Unscrupulous freelancers have learned how to outsmart and get around the system. Upwork is aware of this and is refusing to take steps to protect clients. 

 

I would venture to guess a majority of US clients that hire offshore freelancers have no idea the profile they're using to make a hiring decision on may be completely false. Upwork clients should not have to worry about freelancer identities, nor should they find it necessary to perform their own verification.


 I had posted this earlier, but my post disappeared.

 

Allow me to take some liberties with you post and see if it makes sense when the internet business is not equipped to be a law enforcement agency for every humans on he planet.

 

I disagree. Facebook. is headquartered in Melno Park, CA in the heart of Silicon Valley and I am confident they have sufficient resources and the technology to verify their user identities ( at least with reasonable accuracy). The current process they use to verify identities is so lax , flawed, and easy to manipulate, it's almost non-existent (yes we saw that during the last election with Cambridge Analytica and Putin cronies). The point I am trying to make is this. Unscrupulous Facebook Posters have learned how to outsmart and get around the system. Facebook is aware of this and is refusing to take steps to protect clients. 

 

I would venture to guess a majority of US electorate  have no idea the rumor spreading poster's posts they're using to make voting decision on may be completely false. Facebook visitor's should not have to worry about freelancer identities, nor should they find it necessary to perform their own verification.

 

In terms of resources Facebook revenues are about 575 time that of Upwork (41,000 million vs 70 million).  Reading the posts on the forum it seems that 'New' freelancers are more suceptible to scamming buyers.  The buyers who are looking for moon at rock bottom prices are more suceptible to scams by Freelancers.

 

The freelancers are crying for more scruitinized identities of buyers.  The Freelancer's go through a much involved process than buyers.  All buyers need is an e-mail address and whatever name that pleases them.

 

 

I didn't say anything about paying a freelancer outside the Upwork system. Please Google "offshore" for a definition.

 

The money a client pays a freelancer is deposited into the account used by the freelancer. Upwork deducts their commission and functions as a conduit for those funds. So Upwork serves as a pass-through. Ultimately, funds paid by a US client are in fact deposited into an overseas account if the freelancer is not located in the United States. 

 

My concern is with serious flaws in the process Upwork uses to verify freelancer identities. The last two freelancers I hired on Upwork falsified virtually EVERYTHING in the profiles; names, genders, locations, photos, college credentials, etc. It's not just money. This is a major concern for me because when you hire a freelancer to do IT work, sometimes you have to give them administrative level access to your system so they can complete their work. I don't know anyone in their right right mind that would give a complete stranger access to their system. The risks in doing so would simply be too great.

 

 I have a background in financial services and I am used to compliance with anti-money-laundering (AML) laws and regulations. The first step in compliance with AML is to know your client. While I understand hiring an offshore IT contractor is not the same as a financial services transaction, I want to know where my money is going. I would venture to guess the Department of Homeland Security may also have concerns with US money being sent to unknown overseas individuals or organizations for obvious reasons. 

 

I my opinion, Upwork clients (those that hire freelancers) are completely unaware of the serious flaws in Upwork's freelancer verification system and the lack of protection and guarantees when they use Upwork. In my experience, freelancer verification on Upwork is pretty much non-existent because it's so easy for freelancers to manipulate the system. My experience with these freelancers is a perfect examples of just how flawed and useless their verification system is.

 

After carefully reviewing Upwork's terms of service, I was disappointed to learn Upwork offers no guarantees on anything. Upwork takes an arms-length hands-off approach and they offer no guarantees regarding freelancer work or identity. They also reserve the right to respond to complaints regarding  freelancers. So even if a clients complains, they reserve the roiSo in my view, it's now up to me to verify freelancer identity, skills, education, location, etc. 

 

So my concerns regarding offshore freelancers are well-founded.


@John E wrote:

I didn't say anything about paying a freelancer outside the Upwork system. Please Google "offshore" for a definition.

 

The money a client pays a freelancer is deposited into the account used by the freelancer. Upwork deducts their commission and functions as a conduit for those funds. So Upwork serves as a pass-through. Ultimately, funds paid by a US client are in fact deposited into an overseas account if the freelancer is not located in the United States. 

 

My concern is with serious flaws in the process Upwork uses to verify freelancer identities. The last two freelancers I hired on Upwork falsified virtually EVERYTHING in the profiles; names, genders, locations, photos, college credentials, etc. It's not just money. This is a major concern for me because when you hire a freelancer to do IT work, sometimes you have to give them administrative level access to your system so they can complete their work. I don't know anyone in their right right mind that would give a complete stranger access to their system. The risks in doing so would simply be too great.

 

 I have a background in financial services and I am used to compliance with anti-money-laundering (AML) laws and regulations. The first step in compliance with AML is to know your client. While I understand hiring an offshore IT contractor is not the same as a financial services transaction, I want to know where my money is going. I would venture to guess the Department of Homeland Security may also have concerns with US money being sent to unknown overseas individuals or organizations for obvious reasons. 

 

I my opinion, Upwork clients (those that hire freelancers) are completely unaware of the serious flaws in Upwork's freelancer verification system and the lack of protection and guarantees when they use Upwork. In my experience, freelancer verification on Upwork is pretty much non-existent because it's so easy for freelancers to manipulate the system. My experience with these freelancers is a perfect examples of just how flawed and useless their verification system is.

 

After carefully reviewing Upwork's terms of service, I was disappointed to learn Upwork offers no guarantees on anything. Upwork takes an arms-length hands-off approach and they offer no guarantees regarding freelancer work or identity. They also reserve the right to respond to complaints regarding  freelancers. So even if a clients complains, they reserve the roiSo in my view, it's now up to me to verify freelancer identity, skills, education, location, etc. 

 

So my concerns regarding offshore freelancers are well-founded.


 __________________________________

I am well aware what "offshore" in financial terms means. A freelancer is self-employed and in effect runs his or her own business. If a freelancer chooses to go "offshore" (and they would have to be mighty successful to do this), it is entirely their own business, and they are not necessarily money laundering. If a freelancer chooses not to declare their earnings ( a dangerous practice) it is their problem not yours or Upwork's. 

 

If you don't like Upwork's business model, which is global not confined to insular concepts, don't use Upwork. Or confine your search for freelancers to the United States only (if that is where you are from) and this way you can avoid those annoying "foreign" workers. 

I posted my concerns on this forum to bring to light what I consider to be a serious defect in Upwork's business model that may put unsuspecting clients at risk. As a reminder, I lost $500 to a freelancer that used a fraudulent profile that was allegedly verified by Upwork. I am raising awareness because I want Upwork to re-evaluate the verification process and  take appropriate steps to eliminate or minimize fraud.

 

I have a major problem with the misrepresentation of Upwork's freelancer identity verification process. I am a long term client of both oDesk and Elance and I never had problems with offshore freelances prior to their merger with Upwork.

 

Lastly, while I mean no disrespect to anyone in this forum, I am not seeking consensus or approval from this community. What I want is for Upwork to acknowledge the existence of this problem and to take corrective action.

Nobody is looking for your approval on the forum.

 

What sort of "corrective" action do you suggest? 

I don't have time to respond to all of the comments on this topic. But I would like to make one clarification. I am a client in the United States and any freelancer I hire outside of the USA is offshore to me (geography speaking). Based on my recent experience and in the public interest, I do want strongly caution US based clients seeking to hire offshore IT freelancers.

I recommend US clients seeking to hire offshore IT freelancers exercise extreme caution in their hiring decisions. There is a chance the freelancer you seek to hire may not be individual you see in their profile. It is important to note that Upwork does not guarantee the identity, skills, experience, or education of freelancers on their site. Some unscrupulous freelancers have been falsifying their profiles and there is no recourse, refunds, or remedies available to clients upon discovering a fraudulent profile.

 

Also, Upwork may or may not take action against a freelancer upon notification of a fraudulent freelancer profile. US clients hiring offshore freelancers should weigh the risks before hiring IT freelancers outside of the United States.


@John E wrote:

US clients hiring offshore freelancers should weigh the risks before hiring IT freelancers outside of the United States.


I'm French. Would you recommend the same thing to me? I'm hiring US freelancers from time to time. They are geographically offshore to me. Should I be wary of them because they are outside of France? Is there a risk in hiring US freelancers?

 

I'm starting to get really concerned now. Can I trust those offshore freelancers from the US? They live in a remote country after all, who knows what strange customs they abide by. They may be cannibals. Oh gosh, John, you're really scaring me.

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless

 

Hi Ryan,

 

Could you please send me a PM (Click on my name) with more details about this? Our team will investigate it further, take proper actions and assist you further. Thank you.

~ Goran
Upwork
versailles
Member

Upwork is under siege by freelancers using fake or stolen profiles. The huge majority of freelancers on Upwork are legit and honest people, but the minority who are not are undermining the whole system. Many freelancers who post here do spend a lot of time reporting fake profiles and Upwork actually takes measures to ban offenders. But not always. There are loopholes and Upwork could do more, on that, I do agree.

 

In any case, for any serious project, especially in IT, a client should schedule a video call with their freelancers. This way you can see if the person you're talking with is the same as the person on the photo. This is true when hiring on Upwork, but this is true also when hiring off-platform.

 

Also a side note, what's the issue with offshore? What does the word offshore even mean on a global B2B platform? The last freelancer I hired was an offshore freelancer. He was located in the USA, a country far away. So what? What's the issue?

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless

Rene is right.


Even if "offshore" IS the right term to use... It is kind of an odd term to use in this context.

 

It makes me think of hiring people who live on oil rigs.

Living in Hawaii as I do, I'm literally offshore to every other place on earth, even though I have a US location.

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

$500 for an IT project is a bargain basement freelancer price.  Preston wouldn't even APPLY.


@Preston H wrote:

 

It makes me think of hiring people who live on oil rigs.


 What would you do when they come home?  They usually follow 2 wks on 2 off schedule.

 

And what should we call those 'offshorean" people?

pdanjoux
Member

I do not know if this can be a reply to your query, but I already have been contacted twice via other platforms by people advertising a job offer: when I showed interest, I was asked whether I knew about Upwork. Next, I was offered money if I let those people use my profile for doing their own activities.

 

I turned down both offers, of course, as the principle of someone using my name is at the least dodgy and legally risky. But this might explain some strange things happening...


Philippe D wrote:

I do not know if this can be a reply to your query, but I already have been contacted twice via other platforms by people advertising a job offer: when I showed interest, I was asked whether I knew about Upwork. Next, I was offered money if I let those people use my profile for doing their own activities.

 

I turned down both offers, of course, as the principle of someone using my name is at the least dodgy and legally risky. But this might explain some strange things happening...


__________________________

 

Lol!  Nothing more dodgy than using a portrait by Géricault as your own profile picture! (Upwork doesn't really like that.) You should read the ToS before talking about "principles" and other  "legally risky" practices.  

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