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New job; freelancer did not want to share Zoom Video (audio only)

Umm, a new contract worth around $3000, so I wanted to meet the person briefly on zoom and go through the website redesign.  Also, opportunity for me to visually verify the person from their profile photo.


After hiring, I sent through a zoom invitation for an agreed time, which he accepted.


At the beginning of the meeting, he said he could not share a video. 


This left me, feeling somewhat uncomfortable and, on reflection, I wonder if he is who he says he is.


or perhaps it's common for people in developing countries not to have reasonable download/upload speeds .... That doesn't make sense for an IT person. Even a mobile phone lets you filter the background so that shouldnt be an issue.


Is it quite common for freelancers to pretend to be someone else? I.e. someone else does the work from a freelancers profile /login.

Community Member

re: "I wonder if he is who he says he is."


He might NOT be.

You aren't required to care.

You ARE allowed to care.


Many clients care. Many don't.

re: "Is it quite common for freelancers to pretend to be someone else? I.e. someone else does the work from a freelancers profile /login."


This would be completely against Upwork rules.

Is this common?


A freelancer is NOT required to appear on video in a Zoom call with you.

You are NOT required to continue working with a freelancer who won't appear on screen during a video call.


Community Member

If I were you I would hire another.  Many scamming freelancers don't want to show their faces. 

Community Member

I personally never activate video for zoom calls - its just a preference.
I do appreciate clients who tell me that they would like a video call - as i am not always up for it for whatever reason
So maybe you can tell your freelancer that you would be more comfortable working with someone you can see as well and go from there.

Community Member

The freelancer may not have a cam on their desktop computer. Or maybe they had technical problems with the cam. People don't always enjoy being on video. If they are pretending to be someone else they will soon come undone. 

Community Member

I never turn on the video. Most of the time I also avoid audio as my spoken English is not good enough. But that doesn't mean that I'm not who I say I am. I successfully perform work through text communication.

I'm sure the video is useful if you're a stripper, TV presenter or rock star. Some professions do not require it at all.


These are all great points.


I'm sure many excellent freelancers don't use video at all.


While I totally respect any client who wants to use video or other means to verify a freelancer's identity...


I personally fall into the category of clients who don't care.


Every client can choose for himself what he will require. And every freelancer can choose what they offer.

Community Member

There are freelancers who pretend to be someone else. And as Preston stated, this is against Upwork's TOS. But not appearing on video doesn't mean the freelancer is pretending to be someone else.

Like Mykola said, some freelancers avoid video/audio because they're not comfortable with their spoken English. I know several freelancers who don't activate video because they're uncomfortable being seen. They might feel awkward when conversing with people they don't know, or they simply don't see a reason to interact because the job doesn't require video interaction. I also know several "techies" with social anxiety disorders. They're great at what they do, but they rarely want to be seen or interact with others, and do so only when necessary.


Quick story: I'm not shy or timid at all, but my interaction with other humans is often based on how I feel during any given day.  😂  When I started freelancing 20 years ago, I took on mostly tech-based jobs (i.e., web development, application development, database design, graphic design, etc.). I never had social anxiety issues, but as one of those "techies," I had no desire to interact verbally with any clients. I only needed them to shove a list of requirements under my door, then leave me alone and let me work on it. I soon realized I needed to be a more open about in-person and video/audio communications. But my lack of desire to interact was never reflected in the quality of my work.


I think you have to listen to your gut; if it feels like the freelancer is a scammer, he could very well be. But avoiding video doesn't always mean they're scammers.

Community Member

Well it is one of the red flags and when you investing thousands - $3,000 to be exact, why take a chance

Aside from all that... Of course no serious Upwork client would set up a $3000 milestone with an unknown freelancer.


That would be ridiculous and very risky.


When hiring a freelancer the client has never met before, the client needs to use an hourly contract, or a small fixed-price milestone. Such as $50 or $100 at most.

Once the freelancer demonstrates that he can do that work and be trusted, then the client may set up larger milestoes.


Remember: When you fund a fixed-price milestone, you should plan on NEVER GETTING THAT MONEY BACK.


If you hire a freelancer to do a task, and you HATE the work that he does... You don't get that money back. That money is gone. It is better to risk $50 than risk $3000.

Community Member

perhaps it's common for people in developing countries not to...

I don't think there's a definite answer.


I don't like video and voice calls either, I tell clients that it's hard for me to understand spoken English. I have decade-old clients who haven't seen my face.


But if they insists, I'll do it. I've told them the risks, if they still want to see/hear me then I'll be the one who'll feel uncomfortable if I deny the request.



I wonder if he is who he says he is. Is it quite common for freelancers to pretend to be someone else?

If I 'sense' it's about 'verification' then I'll comply without thinking. Especially when I know that 'pretend to be someone else', among other things, are not too uncommon here.

Community Member

I wouldn't hire a freelancer who avoids video calls. I'm not interested in finding that one unique freelancer who delivers great results but doesnt like video calls. Online freelancing is all about trust. Appear, dress clean, have a proper background, speak the language, get the job. But thats just me. 

Wow, and what do those of us who don't speak English do?
I've only had one interview, voice, and it was in Spanish, because the client said she understood it.
I can't say how funny it all was.

When I have raised my linguistic problem with clients who wanted a video call, I have never had a problem.

Community Member

I always meet the client on video or audio as per their requirements.

You should hire someone else who is willing to have a video call.


Community Member

I think. You May find a new one who will be share the video with zoom.

Mainul Islam
Community Member

As a freelancer myself, I understand the value of clear communication and trust-building with clients. While not all freelancers have access to a webcam on their desktop PCs, there are alternative ways to connect, such as using a mobile device for video calls. Verifying a person's identity can be done through work history, reviews, and portfolio. While it's uncommon for freelancers to pretend to be someone else, it's important to thoroughly evaluate their credentials and reputation. Video calls should not be avoided when explicitly requested by the client. Trust can still be established through alternative communication methods.

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