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Are fraud freelancers invading Upwork?

versailles
Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
1 of 57

Everybody who read those forums have already noticed the surge of fake freelancers’ profiles. Those who read the Clients forum haven’t missed the alarming rise in the number of clients who were scammed by fraud contractors. Recently, Upwork has initiated a profile verification procedure that only scammers can complain about, but it seems that despite the company’s efforts, dishonest people are taking over the whole platform.

 

Yes, scammers target freelancers as well. They prey on the naïve ones that don’t spend a minute to learn how this platform works and on the desperate ones. But this is a different matter. Freelancers who are scammed because they can’t bother to read the help section before starting to work, or who jump on the occasion to get paid off-platform and end up scammed, are only displaying bad professional behavior. If they decide to leave Upwork after they are burned, they will be replaced in a snap.

 

Deceived clients pose a different problem. Mainly because clients are those who bring money. Contrary to the freelancers to whom Upwork is a working tool, if not a virtual working place, which they are supposed to explore and know in depth, clients are not expected to spend all their time on the platform. They need to enjoy a seamless hiring experience. If they get burned, they will leave and go spend their money someplace else, and not only this, they will also spread the word.

 

Upwork’s official answer is, and will be, that their team is working continuously to improve the quality and the safety of the platform and blah, blah. But the harsh reality is different.

 

Upwork receives a constant stream of new profiles, many of them created by people who live in rough economies. Some of them see Upwork as the last chance to earn the few pennies that they need badly to survive. While most of them don’t do anything but add white noise, which Upwork is trying to address by closing the accounts of those who are sending proposals without ever being hired, a fraction of them try different schemes to milk as much clients they can before getting caught.

 

They create fake profiles, steal overviews and portfolios from others to the extent where literally no profile may be trusted anymore. The JSS system is the last bastion somehow helping the system to protect itself from the rating manipulation. Yes, you may complain about how unfair it is and I’m not saying that in some cases freelancers cannot get burned, especially in their earliest stage of existence on Upwork, but the JSS has mechanisms to detect bad professional behavior, that are hidden to protect it from all those scammers.

 

However, if Upwork doesn’t seriously invest in house cleaning and stronger vetting of its freelancers, if it continues to accept everybody and their cousin and simply slap the hands of those who steal whole profiles, this may have long-term consequences that we all may not be aware of right now.

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
gerrys
Community Guru
Gerry S Member Since: Nov 23, 2014
2 of 57

Considering that it only costs UpWork some bandwidth and cpu cycles while this whole "sub culture" continues to thrive and evolve, I wouldn't expect much.

 

I haven't seen anybody here yet ask for "credit card numbers", but just about anything else goes: cracking commercial software; spamming; generating fake content; ripping off other web sites; fake credentials; etc.

 

It's like being a "juvenile offender": do the crime and do NO time.

 

In the old days, it was: "let's steal some apples from Farmer Jones". Now it's: let's go to UpWork...

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
3 of 57

They've opened the floodgates, haven't they? They're all from the same place too. It's ridiculous.

 

The video verification is basically just tell them some data like address, so I mean if my info is fake I just make sure to have that info in front of me. From what I hear, those people are low paid and barely speak english, so they probably only catch the really terribe of the bunch.

mtngigi
Community Guru
Virginia F Member Since: Feb 15, 2016
4 of 57

Rene -  you have just stated very well what I have been feeling lately. It seems there are many more client complaints about being ripped off. It's embarrassing.

 

And even though I feel we sometimes get the short end of the stick, I believe Upwork should be doing much more than saying "sorry for your bad experience" to these burned clients.

 

I know they're trying, but the fact of the matter is, every single new freelancer should be vetted up front, before they can start bidding  -  it may be more work, but factoring in the loss of clients fleeing Upwork because of being scammed, I would think the time spent checking profiles more thoroughly would be well worth it.

mwiggenhorn
Community Guru
Mary W Member Since: Nov 10, 2014
5 of 57

I agree.  Part of profile approval should be searching their picture and googling part of their profile.  It only takes a couple of minutes - probably less time than removing an offending profile after the fact.

 

And I still believe that requiring freelancers to pass a test on how Upwork works should be required before bidding.  I think it would weed out a lot of phonies.  And it would give Upwork the strength to then ban forever freelancers who "ignorantly" receive payment off of the platform.

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6 of 57
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It is horrible which profiles appear if one does a search. Moreover, it is amazing how many freelancers claim native English on their profile and everything on their profile shows that this is not true. However, most fake profiles come back after a review with new pictures, new qualifications, new names, they just try everything until they are accepted and we even help them to achieve their goals by making suggestions how they could improve the profile. Are they better qualified or more honest now? I do not think so.

 

Other freelancers obviously make fun of Upwork and are posing with fake profiles and their comments in the community reflect their lies. However, often they disappear for a while and come back with the same profile again.

mtngigi
Community Guru
Virginia F Member Since: Feb 15, 2016
7 of 57

@Margarete M wrote:

It is horrible which profiles appear if one does a search. Moreover, it is amazing how many freelancers claim native English on their profile and everything on their profile shows that this is not true. However, most fake profiles come back after a review with new pictures, new qualifications, new names, they just try everything until they are accepted and we even help them to achieve their goals by making suggestions how they could improve the profile. Are they better qualified or more honest now? I do not think so.

 

Other freelancers obviously make fun of Upwork and are posing with fake profiles and their comments in the community reflect their lies. However, often they disappear for a while and come back with the same profile again.


Perhaps if we all stop helping them ...

versailles
Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
8 of 57

@Margarete M wrote:

we even help them to achieve their goals by making suggestions how they could improve the profile.


I'm always amazed by how much time some people here in the community can spend to thoroughly review and comment on fake profiles, politely providing tips and improvement suggestions.

 

What is the point really? What kind of satisfaction one gets from this? What the frak are those people trying to achieve?

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
9 of 57

LOL that "review my profile" thread is basically 99% fraud profiles. It's a fun thread to read.

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10 of 57
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@Rene K wrote:

I'm always amazed by how much time some people here in the community can spend to thoroughly review and comment on fake profiles, politely providing tips and improvement suggestions.

 

What is the point really? What kind of satisfaction one gets from this? What the frak are those people trying to achieve?


 The original idea was to help other (honest) freelancers but it is used in an abusive way. We even help fraudsters if we demask them, because we provide them hints what should be improved. The whole "profile review thing" should disappear.

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