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Re: Upwork getting flooded with fake freelancer profiles

Ace Contributor
John S Member Since: Jun 26, 2015
1 of 19

What's up with Upwork getting flooded with fake freelancer profiles?! There used to be some in the past, but now it's getting flooded with profiles stating they're based in North America, stating ludicrous credentials (such as Harvard education, which of course they can't prove) when their writing reveals it's obviously not true. Not to mention the fake profile pictures stolen from stock photography sites. It's becoming a serious waste of time sifting through these profiles. I wish Upwork would come up with a more efficient method of reporting these - right now I have to open a support ticket and describe why I believe it's a fake profile. And on top of that Upwork doesn't seem to impose any sanctions on these profiles as they continue being live.

Bottom line is - fake freelancer profiles are at the very minimum a waste of the client's time.

When I state I want to work with someone from North America with English being their native language I have a reason for that - I don't need to waste my time wondering whether the freelancers Upwork shows me are truly meeting these criteria or not.

Moderator
Vladimir G Moderator Member Since: Oct 31, 2014
2 of 19

Hi John,

 

Thanks for sharing your feedback and I'm sorry about your experience with a freelancer whose profile you reported yesterday. Our team will investigate and take action based on the information you've shared, and please feel free to flag any other profile you suspect is violating our ToS by using the link on the freelancer's profile page.

 

We do regularly review and address profiles that are found to be using false information, and user reports do help flag details our team or system didn't detect, like the credentials discrepancy you noted.

Ace Contributor
John S Member Since: Jun 26, 2015
3 of 19

Would it be possible to add a text field to the "flag" menu so that a client can describe the problem with the profile. I've also flagged another fake profile a few hours ago.

Even though reporting is nice there a bunch of automated solutions Upwork could implement to spot these fake profiles:

- Like using a service such as http://tineye.com/ to check whether the profile image isn't taken from a stock photography site;

- Checking the profile resume and even the application letter for grammatical, stylistic issues that would be typical for a non-US freelancer;

- Asking them to submit proof of their credentials when stating these;

- Checking the IP address, and the payment method that they use with Upwork - do they match their stated location?

I'm sure there are many more things that can be done automatically, that when combined can give some serious red flags.

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
4 of 19

You will like this new initiative then......

 

Hopefully it will go a long way to weed out a lot of fakes and scare off a few more.....

Moderator
Vladimir G Moderator Member Since: Oct 31, 2014
5 of 19

Thanks a lot for sharing these suggestions John. Our team is actively looking for ways to improve further the review processes we have in place and I'll share your feedback with our team. We'll keep updating the Community regarding new features that are being implemented, like the one recently Garnor announced, so keep checking our Announcements forum for further updates.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
6 of 19

LOL. Yeah...

 

I actually hired one of these fake profile freelancers earlier this week.

 

I posted a job for a very technical, complicated server configuration need, and said I wanted to hire somebody who will work with me immediately via TeamViewer.

 

I hired the first person who applied. Usually when I hire for jobs like that, only people who absolutely know how to do the work apply because my job description is very specific.

 

But this time the first person who applied had job skills that were only about writing. His photo was of a successful American business executive. The photo turned out to be a stock photo. He used a first name as a last name, and a last name as a first name. Claimed to live in Los Angeles. His English was clearly that of somebody who was not a native English speaker.

 

One of the best parts of his pofile was that he claimed to have a Masters Degree in Copy Writing from Yale University, but the English language usage, puncuation, grammar on his profile page was really bad.

 

(Maybe Yale is overrated?)

 

But I didn't really pay attention to all that at first. I just hired him because he applied. I thought it was odd that his profile mentioned nothing about networking, server configuration, programming, etc... just writing. But I figured if he knows how to do the job, that's fine.

 

After I hired him I said, okay, let's get started, and I sent him the TeamViewer credentials for connecting to my computer.

 

And I waited, and waited, and waited... And many minutes go by, and he still has not connected. He kept saying he's "checking something." ??

 

Well, that wasn't the job. Finally I got another proposal, from a freelancer in Eastern Europe (thank goodness!). I hired that person and put the first freelancer's contract on hold.

 

With the second freelancer I was able to get the work done.

 

After the work was done, I looked at the first freelancer's pofile some more. And realized it was totally fake.

 

I closed the job, without him having logged any time.


Later he messaged me and said that he hoped I would give him good feedback, because he had not had a chance to show me what he can do. I told him not to worry, that all the feedback I'd given him was good. I think he was too new at Upwork (no job history yet) to realize that if no time is logged and no money is paid, there's no way for any feedback to show up.

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
7 of 19

@Preston H wrote:

I actually hired one of these fake profile freelancers earlier this week.

 

I posted a job for a very technical, complicated server configuration need, and said I wanted to hire somebody who will work with me immediately via TeamViewer.

 

I hired the first person who applied.

 

But this time the first person who applied had job skills that were only about writing. His photo was of a successful American business executive. The photo turned out to be a stock photo. He used a first name as a last name, and a last name as a first name. Claimed to live in Los Angeles. His English was clearly that of somebody who was not a native English speaker.



Well, at least the above explains why you need to hire a whole bunch of people for every contract, if you hire clearly unqualified fakes simply because they were the first to apply.

 

Highlighted
Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
8 of 19

Petra:

Yours is a legitimate question.


But actually, these are two different hiring strategies: "hiring the first contractor to apply" and "hiring multiple contractors for the same job."

 

When I hire freelancers to perform highly speciailzed, very technical tasks "right now", and hire the first person who applies... usually this strategy works. And I typically only hire one person to do the job.

 

It is rare that somebody who isn't qualified will apply to these jobs, because the job description is very clear.

 

I don't blame you if it strikes you as an odd hiring strategy to hire the first person who applies, but it is a statistically very successful strategy.

 

It allows me to accomplish a task quickly, without waiting a long time for many freelancers to apply. And it allows me to completely skip the interview process.

Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
9 of 19

@Preston H wrote:

 

 

One of the best parts of his pofile was that he claimed to have a Masters Degree in Copy Writing from Yale University, but the English language usage, puncuation, grammar on his profile page was really bad.

 

(Maybe Yale is overrated?)


 FWIW, Yale offers no such degree.

Ace Contributor
Nedra W Member Since: Jan 17, 2017
10 of 19

LOL - a master's degree in "copywriting" from Yale? Smiley LOL

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