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Freelancer Has False Identity

mike_newton
Active

I recently posted a job on upwork and identified some freelancers who appeared to have the skills I was seeking. Over the next 24 hours, I was approached by 2 more people expressing interest in the job. One in particular appeared to have the perfect skillset, even though they had not completed any work through Upwork.

 

I told the freelancer that I wanted to speak with them as I wanted to explain some of the details of the job. The freelancer refused to have a verbal conversation by Upwork, Skype or Phone and would only communicate by message. This aroused my suspicions and I quickly discovered that the person did not appear on Facebook or LinkedIn. Furthermore, they scored max on the English Test, but could only communicate in broken english. Their profile said they were in the Netherlands.

 

On two subsequent days they contacted me by Skype message. On both occassions it was after midnight in the Netherlands, but it was early morning in Bangladesh/India. I suspect that this person resides in Asia and created a false ID in a European country so that they could negotiate higher rates. 10/10 for ingenuity, but 0/10 for integrity.

 

It is unfortunate that people with identical skills are expected to work for lower rates just because they live in a non-western country, thus giving rise to this sort of understandable deception. I did alert Upwork of this series of events, but they elected not to take any interest unless I provided them with (and I quote)  'documentary evidence of the deception'.

 

Anyway, no harm done, but just be aware that if someone will not communicate with you by voice and particularly if they will not give you a phone number, then they are probably not who they seem.

14 REPLIES 14
kochubei_valeria
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Mike,

 

It's unfortunate that you came across a freelancer that seems to misrepresent their identity and skills. Upwork team realises that such problem exist and has recently launched some initiatives to verify freelancer's profile and make sure the information on them is real. You can read more about it in Garnor's post here.

 

If it's not difficult, could you please click on my name here and send me a private message with a link to the freelancer's profile? I would like to check this for you and have the team take actions is needed.

 

Thank you.

~ Valeria
Upwork

Hi Valeria,

 

The contractor that I strongly suspect has a false id is **Edited**. I also suspect that **Edited** is another. Both refuse to have any voice contact. 

 

Thanks for taking an interest.

 

Regards

 

Mike

Anonymous User
Not applicable
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@Mike N wrote:

Hi Valeria,

 

The contractor that I strongly suspect has a false id is **Edited**. I also suspect that **Edited** is another. Both refuse to have any voice contact. 

 

Thanks for taking an interest.

 

Regards

 

Mike


 You can report them and/or flag their profiles. Both of them use a time zone that does not fit to their location and the second one definitely uses a stock photo instead of his own portrait.

Thank you, Mike. I found the profiles of the freelancers you are referring to and send them to the team for a review.

~ Valeria
Upwork
versailles
Community Guru

Fake identity, fake profiles, cheated tests, stolen portfolios are a plague on Upwork. I wonder what is the impact on Upwork's business but I suspect that the company is losing clients on this.

 

I hate to say but Upwork is sometimes lax on this.

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless

Mike,

 

I take issue with one point you made: "It is unfortunate that people with identical skills are expected to work for lower rates just because they live in a non-western country, thus giving rise to this sort of understandable deception."

 

A freelancer who cheats on tests and falsifies his location is just as likely to misrepresent his skill set. Conversely, there are many successful freelancers from non-western countries who do not work for bargain basement rates.

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

Mike, many of us who communicate regularly with clients and potential clients do not give out a phone number. Many of us are more than willing to use Skype but a personal phone/cell number is an entirely different thing.

 

There is absolutely no reason to ask for a personal number.  If, for some reason you don't use Skype, there are alternatives that can quickly and freely be installed.

 

Phone numbers; Google Hangouts and some others are rife with problems.

That was my point Wendy. When a freelancer refuses or says it it technically impossible to connect on skype or hangouts, then the only alternative to verify id and location is a phone number. Refusal to accept any voice contact should be regarded with suspicion.

 

~ Mike

Hi John,

 

I am not prepared to condemn everyone who bends the system... I try to apply a modicum of understanding to the factors that motivate them to do so. That doesn't mean I condone it. I trust you do not 'take issue' with that.

 

That is the ground I stand on.

 

Regards

 

Mike

I think Mike has a very good attitude about all this.

 

He understands what is going on. He is spot-on correct that these people who mysteriously can't connect via any kinds of voice medium are just fakers.

 

But he also doesn't think it's his job to police all of Upwork, and he isn't letting these fakers dissuade him from trying to use the site in a way that benefits him.

Mike wrote, "I am not prepared to condemn everyone who bends the system... I try to apply a modicum of understanding to the factors that motivate them to do so. That doesn't mean I condone it. I trust you do not 'take issue' with that."

 

No, I don't take issue with it. By all means use your discretion to overlook infractions you consider harmless.

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

Sorry, I'm a bit confused. You seem to be saying that you think it's okay for someone to lie about their location and cheat on their tests, but of they won't communicate by voice then *that* is the last straw for you? If I'm not correct in my interpretation, please do clarify Mike, because I'm genuinely interested in your reasoning.

 

I have been managing freelancers through oDesk/Upwork for 4 years, spent over $100k, and currently have a team of 16 freelancers (over 30 hired in the past 4 years). I've never spoken to any of my freelancers. I have no idea what any of them sound like. I only know what they look like from their profile photos.

 

There's plenty of legitimate reasons why someone might not want to have a voice call of some sort - difficult timezone? Anxiety? English not their native language so it's hard for them to think on their feet in English? Prefer to keep all communication written so there's a written record? I'm sure there's more. Sure, there's nefarious reasons too, but they're not the *only* reasons.

 

What are the legitimate reasons for lying about location? Or for cheating on tests?

Hi Jennifer,

 

You seem rather confused about what I am saying and then resort to 'putting words in my mouth'.

 

If you read my post again 'carefully', then I think you will get the logic.

 

Regards

 

Mike


@Mike N wrote:

Hi Jennifer,

 

You seem rather confused about what I am saying and then resort to 'putting words in my mouth'.

 

If you read my post again 'carefully', then I think you will get the logic.

 

Regards

 

Mike


 I was referring specifically to your later post:

 


@Mike N wrote:

Hi John,

 

I am not prepared to condemn everyone who bends the system... I try to apply a modicum of understanding to the factors that motivate them to do so. That doesn't mean I condone it. I trust you do not 'take issue' with that.

 

That is the ground I stand on.

 

Regards

 

Mike


 Combined with your original post, where you stressed the fact that they refused to do a voice call with you as your primary reason for determining them to be a scammer, and seemed accepting of them lying about their location, it seemed like the voice call refusal was the last straw.

 

Like I said, if you read my post "carefully", I'm interested in your actual logic, if it differs from my interpretation of your posts.

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