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RE: Freelancer Fraud - Very Upset

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Active Member
Roger Y Member Since: Aug 1, 2017
1 of 18

Hi Everyone!  I need some advice...

 

I've been a very active client over the years ($80K+ on freelance services to date so I have a very active account). 

 

I hired a freelancer for some data entry week way back in 2018... We did a small amount of work, and then the project was put on hold, but the contract remained active.

 

I was doing an audit recently and went through my active contracts, and saw the contract for this person was still open.  There was no activity for almost a year, and then all of the suddent, with no communication they started maxing out the approved hours every week a few months ago - and it was for a small amount ($80) so it flew under the radar.

 

Well this added up, and now it's $4,800 in fraudulent billings, and I'm not sure what to do?  I requested a refund for each billing as a first step.  I looked at the work diary, and they were just essentially logging in and doing nothing to max out the time...

 

I'm in disbelief and can't believe someone would do this...your advice is very appreciated, thank you!

Kind regards,

Roger

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Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
2 of 18
I agree that it's shocking how many dishonest freelancers are on Upwork these days, and I'm sorry you were treated this way. But you should have received weekly notifications that this freelancer's work diary was available for review; did you not get these notifications?
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Roger Y Member Since: Aug 1, 2017
3 of 18

Hi Christine,

 

I work with several freelancers, some of them for years, so I'm used to always seeing a balance in the weekly email without feeling the need to do an audit or review the breakdown and trusted the hours submitted were accurate.

 

I understand what you are saying - but it doesn't mean it was right for me to have someone steal almost $5,000 from me over a 2 year period.  Upon reviewing their "work diary" they would just login, and it appears have a bot click on the keyboard to represent activity and leave it on the same page for hours at a time just to max out the weekly hours.

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Heather H Member Since: May 9, 2011
4 of 18

I am sorry to hear you have been scammed. Anytime an hourly contract is not in use, as a client you should put the contract on pause. There is a specific function exactly for this reason. It allows the contract to stay open, but it prevents any form of billing until you unpause the contract. 

 

The freelancer was wrong in this case, BUT, you could have prevented this, and as mentioned earlier, you get a weekly billing report, at most I can only imagine you were unaware for two weeks. 

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Roger Y Member Since: Aug 1, 2017
5 of 18

The freelancer was wrong in this case, BUT, you could have prevented this, and as mentioned earlier, you get a weekly billing report, at most I can only imagine you were unaware for two weeks. 

 

I understand what you are saying - I just didn't think I could or would be taken advantage of this way.  You said you could only imagine that I was unaware of this for two weeks?  I'm not sure what you mean by this... please elaborate. 

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Heather H Member Since: May 9, 2011
6 of 18

What I mean is that I can understand not reviewing a billing statement the very same week it came in, or even for two weeks if you happen to be very busy, traveling, or not feeling well. As a regular adult, not even taking being a business owner into account, it makes sense to review any billing, be that a credit card statement, personal bill, or a business invoice at least once every two weeks knowing you have all manner of recurring charges that will be coming.in. 

 

I really hope it works out for you, and I really hope the freelancer gets kicked off the platform. 

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Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
7 of 18

Heather H wrote:

What I mean is that I can understand not reviewing a billing statement the very same week it came in, or even for two weeks if you happen to be very busy, traveling, or not feeling well. As a regular adult, not even taking being a business owner into account, it makes sense to review any billing, be that a credit card statement, personal bill, or a business invoice at least once every two weeks knowing you have all manner of recurring charges that will be coming.in. 

 

I really hope it works out for you, and I really hope the freelancer gets kicked off the platform. 


In an ideal world he would be kicked off AFTER refunding the money. If this has been going on for months obviously all the money has been withdrawn and when it has been withdrawn, it can not be clawed back, unfortunately Smiley Sad

 

The only way to get the money back would be to allow him to continue on the platform (which I would consider to be questionable because he is a proven fraud so allowing him access to other clients may not be wise) so he can pay it off in weekly installments... 

 

I am not surprised the OP is very upset... 

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Andrei T Member Since: Aug 30, 2016
8 of 18

There's always two sides to a story, I wouldn't be so quick to label the freelancer as a scammer and the client as the naive, unsuspecting victim.

 

The account is not just hard to believe, but there are many jobs where the freelancer might perform tasks offline, etc. and be instructed by the client to log time as described in the OP. The amount spent in total by a client is not necessarily a sign of high moral standards. If that was the case, such a client would just eat the loss and learn the lesson, which is far more important.

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Roger Y Member Since: Aug 1, 2017
9 of 18

There's always two sides to a story, I wouldn't be so quick to label the freelancer as a scammer and the client as the naive, unsuspecting victim.

 

The account is not just hard to believe, but there are many jobs where the freelancer might perform tasks offline, etc. and be instructed by the client to log time as described in the OP. The amount spent in total by a client is not necessarily a sign of high moral standards. If that was the case, such a client would just eat the loss and learn the lesson, which is far more important.

 

--

 

Andrei,

Thank you so much for your reply.  Even though it wasn't helpful, it's still good to know that people can freely express their opinions regardless of incorrect they are.

 

As far as factoring in offline tasks for the freelancer, that would be a valid point.  Except our contract and our disucssions were only set for approved online, recorded activity.  Of which, they logged on (as shown in their work diary), and had a bot click a static google search screen every hour to keep the window active so that the time would continue recording.

 

I referenced the total amount I've spent, not to present a high moral standard but to show the amount of account activity.  The intent was to give perspective in how $75-80 fraudulent charges went undedected for a longer period of time, as they were buried within $80,000 worth of account activity.

 

Please explain to me how accepting almost $5,000 in fraudulent billings would show that I have a high moral standard?

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Andrei T Member Since: Aug 30, 2016
10 of 18

The proper perspective is you've been spending $400 per week on average.

Fraudulent or not, $80 is hardly "under the radar" at this level. 

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