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Fraudulent worker who scammed me

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Brandon C Member Since: Feb 1, 2018
1 of 19

I have a fraudulent freelancer who scammed me out of over $3500. (Basically, she logged hours without doing any work at all.) I talked to her, and she admitted to scamming us. However, then she edited her messages to say that she did not scam us.

 

I have tried filing a dispute, but Upwork is unresponsive. Is there anything I can do?

 

Below is a screenshot of the original messages where she admitted scamming us, and asked us to allow her to refund the money. Now, however, she is saying in the dispute that *we* are scamming her (although in the messages to us, she tells us she is trying to refund, but having technical issues).

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Stanley K Member Since: Jan 18, 2017
2 of 19

Oh dear!!! 
That is a lot of money to lose. What type of serious freelancer does this type of thing? I can tell you that this is not an upwork thing. It is already impossible for these type of people to even register on the site. 
I wonder how she was even hired... that grammar is... is... oops, can't find the word.

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Brandon C Member Since: Feb 1, 2018
3 of 19

Yeah, this was for foreign language translation work (which is why her bad English wasn't an immediate red flag; also, her English is fine on her profile, it's only in the messages that it's bad, where I wasn't really paying attention). I now believe the "reviews" left on her profile (two 5 stars) are actually fraudulent as well. (They're very short, left in the same time frame, and the wording seems suspicious based on other reviews I see.)

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Vasilii P Member Since: Jul 29, 2016
4 of 19

Hey Brandon!
Really sorry to hear things like this. Don't understand why she tracked hours and didn't work??? As I understand she tracked five weeks, 40h/week. Why didn't you see the results of the work? Why didn't you follow up on that? It does not claim. I just want to understand.

Maybe do you a newbie on Upwork? In client's cabinet, you can see every tracked hours by all your freelancers, and you can see all activity. Also, you have one week for approvement.  If you think that freelancer tracked more hours than needed, you can tell him about it and not to pay for some hours.

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Brandon C Member Since: Feb 1, 2018
5 of 19

Yeah, this was definitely my mistake as well. I didn't understand how Upwork worked, and was on vacation part of the time, so did not notice she was logging hours.

 

Basically, I had 30+ contracts for different languages going on at the same time -- I had a lot of foreign language translation work. So I was checking the work that appeared in the spreadsheets that I had open to make sure people were doing a good job. But I did not think to check that there would be people logging hours without submitting any work at all.

 

Also, this particular freelancer manually submitted hours, without using the time tracker. (I did not know that was possible.)

 

So I did not know I need to check for fraudulent logging of hours, and did not notice until this last week that it was happening. I wish I had noticed earlier. However, this particular freelancer did not even have access to the spreadsheet she was supposed to translate!, she can provide NO evidence that she did any work (while I have proof she did not have access to the spreadsheet), and she admitted to scamming us. So I don't have much faith in Upwork, but I'm hoping something can happen. I was stupid to use Upwork for this.

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Vasilii P Member Since: Jul 29, 2016
6 of 19

Brandon I really sorry to hear that. 
You need to open a dispute and refund all your money. 
You can find bad people everywhere, and on Upwork too. But this platform is the most reliable in the world, and it always tries to BAN users like you freelancer. Do not wait for her click to refund your money.
What the last week she tracked?

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Brandon C Member Since: Feb 1, 2018
7 of 19

Thanks for the advice! Yeah, I opened a dispute 4 days ago, but the Upwork dispute/mediation team hasn't replied at all yet. And when I try to chat with customer service, all they say is to tell me to keep waiting. So I guess there's nothing I can really do unfortunately :/

 

I didn't notice that hours were being fraudulently logged for 5 weeks for a few reasons: I'm pretty new to Upwork and find the UI really confusing (I didn't even know there was a place to see hours), I *was* tracking the work that was appearing in my spreadsheets (but didn't think that Upwork allowed people to log unworked hours -- I was naive), I thought I had to manually approve work at the end of the contract (one of my co-workers has used Upwork before and that's what he told me), and in general this was hard to track with so much going on. I guess I was really hoping Upwork would be a good solution.

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Stanley K Member Since: Jan 18, 2017
8 of 19

If this is a recent thing... as in that is a chat you had yesterday with her... You can salvage the last week's payment since it should still be under review. 
You should get a project manager to help you out here on upwork if you are too busy.

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Vasilii P Member Since: Jul 29, 2016
9 of 19

Believe me, Upwork system is the absolutelly clear solution. 
If you already open a dispute and click on the refund, I think all is fine. Also, you can message to Upworkhelp on twitter.
I hope she still didn't,t take the money from Upwork. 

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Stanley K Member Since: Jan 18, 2017
BEST ANSWER
10 of 19

Brandon, of all the freelance sites I have been on, I assure you, upwork is the safest you could ever use. You are given a 5-day review period to assess the work done and time logged. 
You can also disable manual time to keep the freelancer from adding false work hours. If a week hasn't passed since the time log was created, you can easily get your money back. I am not sure what upwork can do after the funds have been made available on her account, but I'd advise you to dispute the payment ASAP.

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