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renata101
Community Member

Is there a way can I flag these without flagging all of them individually?

I just found nine posts with Whatsapp or Telegram contact information. All of them are from different accounts in Ukraine and all of them contain the same opening message.

The ones that especially worry me are the ones with 20 plus invites. And the one that says " 50% compensation for workplace equipment costs."

https://www.upwork.com/nx/jobs/search/?q=%22Can%20we%20cooperate%20with%20you%253F%22


Is there a way I can include the link to the search with the flagging information so I don't have to flag each of them individually?  I think there must be some sort of quota system of tickets that Trust & Safety agents need to complete per hour because I notice whenever I've included a link to a search showing multiple posts with the same problem, only the post I've flagged is taken down and the others remain.

Is there a way to make flagging of scam posts more efficient for us?


Edited to add:

Here are some others:
https://www.upwork.com/nx/jobs/search/?q=%22Hello,%20how%20are%20you%20doing%20%3F%20Can%20we%20talk...


https://www.upwork.com/nx/jobs/search/?q=%22Greetings%21%20We%20need%20to%20talk%22&sort=recency

 

23 REPLIES 23
c4e453ac
Community Member

The way you flagged them  - a few lines of code could flag them automatically without you wasting your time.  When a scammer tries to send a URL outside of this platform that is one of the many popular platforms they use (even if it's obfuscated like "t dot me") UW could automatically close the job offer down, refund all applicants, suspend or outright ban the "employer".  It's trivial to do.

Hi Andrew,

I've mentioned that to them before. Actually, a number of people have probably mentioned the same thing. I saw the first posting and thought it sounded weird. Then I searched for the greeting and found there were postings from different accounts with the same wording.

If I'm able to do that using simple search tools to find them, it seems like filtering for jobs with contact information would be feasible. The trouble is, Upwork doesn't screen ads before they're posted. And they seem to rely on them being flagged to take them down.

They automatically censor this very forum way more than the messages that can be sent by completely unverified employers. Think about that.  And despite being verified, I can't say **Edited for Community Guidelines** - as in **Edited for Community Guidelines** on this forum (remove the "s" off the first word to see what the censored word is) - but as an unverified  "employer" (scammer), I can easily redirect unsuspecting new people to "Telegram interviews" when sending them a message.  In IT security, the less credentials you have, the less privileges you have.  In UW, people with zero credentials can send new freelancers anywhere and perpetuate their scam.  The usual reply is "people shouldn't click on the link".  It's such a clunky way of dealing with things that encourage and enable scammers to on a daily basis scam unsuspecting people ... when there's a simple coding solution they already use on these very forums. 

 

I think the problem is - these bogus jobs inflate activity.  Remove them and reports that detail UW activity will fall off a cliff.  It will gain negative publicity.  Like if Twitter didn't include bot traffic (as was requested by Musk) as their own network activity, reports would show a sharp drop in activity and it would only create negative press.  That's the only reason I can think of as to why they don't utilize the same censorship measures on scammer messages that they use on these forums.  Legit users on this forum are more censored than actual scammers.

jeremiah-brown
Community Member

By using "invites" scammers are able to partially circumvent the freelancer's ability to flag and alert Upwork of the post.

The next time you receive an invite for an interview, look at the buttons in the righthand side.  You should be able to accept or decline the interview, but there are no options to "flag as inappropriate".  I can only speculate but I believe the scammers are banking on the probability that freelancers are less likely to flag their posts than to continue into the interview process far enough to finally see the "flag as inappropriate" option.  Its a numbers game and they are definitely playing it.

The first image is of a regular job posting.  The second is an image of an invite to interview.  Note the differences.  One potential solution that would help reduce these posts is simply including the "flag as inappropriate" button right there at the invite to interview dashboard.


jeremiahbrown_1-1662311533883.png

 

jeremiahbrown_0-1662311449699.png

 

What we are seeing indicates a lack of urgency on Upwork's part.

 

This is more of a leadership issue than a technical issue.

Theres enough time to change location preferences...

LuiggiR
Moderator
Moderator

Hi Renata,

 

Thanks for flagging this.  I shared your report with our team to investigate and take action based on our internal processes. In addition, regarding the ability to share a link to a search on your report, you can use the "Tell us more" field when flagging a specific job. Whenever you share a report like that (a search link or search terms) we make sure to forward it to the team as well, even if the team is already aware.

~ Luiggi
Upwork

Thanks, Luiggi. I do that when I can, but I've noticed only the post I flag directly is normally the only one that is taken down. If I add a link to additional posts containing the same information, they usually remain in the feed unless they are flagged individually. This makes me wonder if Trust & Safety agents work with some sort of quota system where they have to attend to a specified number of posts per hour.

Those posts all have the same "signature" in terms of wording, location, zero client hiring history, and inclusion of Whatsapp details. It's also weird that you would have 9 individual clients all using the same wording in their greetings. Sometimes I find details like that are very difficult to communicate to whoever is looking at them.

That particular set is worrisome because the location might be something the scammers are using to play on people's emotions.

Edited to add:

Actually, I looked at it again and the first set is already down.
Thanks for sending them the message!

These might be included in that list. I clicked to select the clients that had never hired. Then I found 47 jobs that all contained the same sentence:

https://www.upwork.com/nx/jobs/search/?q=%22Need%20active%20freelancers%20to%20retype%20my%20screens...

Hi Maria and Renata,

 

Thank you for bringing these to our attention. I shared your reports with our team for further investigation and appropriate actions will be taken according to our internal processes.

 

~ Nikola
Upwork
Anonymous-User
Not applicable

Could you be more vague?

Here's a concrete problem, reported many times in many threads. The issue is clearly depicted by different freelancers. All the response they'll get from Upwork is yours. A boiler plate statement, effortlessly crammed in two sentences.

What is "our team"? What does that team do?
Why is a further investigation is needed while the problem is clear and well defined?
What are the appropriate actions?

What are your internal processes?

Reading your message reminds me  top secret documents with black bars drawn upon words. It's impossible to understand what Upwork does in situations like these.

Further, appropriate, internal... How comforting!

Hi Mehmetcan,

 

Nikola and other members of Community team may note and follow up on specific reports shared here. However, their responses cannot and will not include all the details about what happens behind the scenes when a job is flagged and all the Trust & Safety team's efforts around addressing scam and spam on the platform. For that, I encourage you to check out the Announcement section of the Community and this post by Caitlyn specifically. Thanks!

~ Valeria
Upwork

Hi Mehmetcan,

Unfortunately, you can't see the progress that's happened to get here. It used to be an uphill battle to get "the team" to look at more than one post at a time (I always wondered if the agents at Trust & Safety were working with some sort of quota system). Now, if I locate a lot of similar posts that can be combined in a single search, it's possible to send the search link, and sometimes the posts are all taken down. Up until recently, they only came down one at a time, and it seemed like people had to flag them individually before anything happened.

No, it's still not confidence inspiring, but it is a little more efficient.

Anonymous-User
Not applicable

Hi Renata,

Thank you for your effort. You came up with a smart solution to efficiently group spam posts. I try to do my part whenever I come accross a fishy job post or receive an invitation with Whatsapp info. That said, it can be frustrating to take time to flag posts, while it already takes too much time to find genuine jobs from dependable clients.  Frankly, in it's current state, the system looks a bit broken.

I wish it was possible to see Upwork find & implement smart solutions like the ones that freelancers come up with. If I knew more about their actual process, I'd feel much more at ease. 

 

"The team" is getting paid for the job. The freelancers are not. On top of that, they're charged to apply 
to jobs with diminishing quality. I believe that freelancers must be paid for their effort in flagging/reporting spam. If not with actual money, maybe with connects. If connects can be spent with turning on or off a simple availability notification, they can be earned with flagging spam post to help Upwork.

Again, thank you for taking time to read my comment. I really appreciate your input.

M.


Mehmetcan S wrote:

 

"The team" is getting paid for the job. The freelancers are not. On top of that, they're charged to apply 
to jobs with diminishing quality. I believe that freelancers must be paid for their effort in flagging/reporting spam. If not with actual money, maybe with connects. If connects can be spent with turning on or off a simple availability notification, they can be earned with flagging spam post to help Upwork.

Again, thank you for taking time to read my comment. I really appreciate your input.

M.


Yeah, that's what bothers me most about it too. Upwork's attitude towards freelancers tends to overlook the fact that people who earn money here are paying to use the service. As someone who does pay to use the platform, I find that their customer service often leaves a lot to be desired.

This is difficult because they don't use the platform as frequently as we do for the same reasons.

I think the painfully slow approach to finding solutions to the ongoing spam and scam problems has probably encouraged scammers to get better at what they do. And it seems that adding some sort of filtering would be possible.

For example, I am going to write the name of a famous English language novel about a whale obsessed sea captain, and you can see what the system does to it:

Moby Dick Van Dyke Van Dick Van Dyke Van Dyke.

So, I am not allow to talk about works of literary fiction without filtering on the forum, but scamming clients are permitted to break a lot of Upwork's rules in their posts (what's even more comical is that I will get additional Van Dykes if I edit this post). 

Thanks, Nikola.

I think they may need to look at those a second time. It looks like at least 30 more have gone up since yesterday.

The jobs in question are also mentioned on this thread:
https://community.upwork.com/t5/Freelancers/Quick-translation-job-from-English-to-20-languages/m-p/1...

 

To moderators. I posted the link above in September. There were 47 jobs at that time.

Today I clicked the link and there are now 21 jobs using the same text.

Hi Renata,

 

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I have forwarded your report to the team.

 

~Andrea
Upwork
Anonymous-User
Not applicable

Hi Andrea,

 

Here's what Nikola wrote in 9-21-2020:

 

Hi Maria and Renata,

 

Thank you for bringing these to our attention. I shared your reports with our team for further investigation and appropriate actions will be taken according to our internal processes.

 

~ Nikola
 
It looks like the problem persists. Have you forwarded the report to the same team that Nikola informed about two weeks ago? If so, does that mean reporting the same issue to the same team proves to be ineffective? If not, how's so? Have the "appropriate actions" were taken, as announced  by Nikola earlier? If so,  will the team find new actions to take about the persisting problem?

It looks like Upwork really should take a moment to work on it's transparency and the communication model that various "teams" employ while representing the Upwork brand.  Upwork may be the leader workplace for now but you're losing the confidence of freelancers fast (including me) about various, well documented and unsolved issues of this platform. Freelancers PAY for this platform. Upwork is a PRODUCT. Paying customers  are entitled to a product without defect. If they can't get what they pay for, they would abandon ship, as soon as the opportunity arises.

Just a feedback, based on personal experiences. 

I'm sure you'd share this with the team.

Best,
 
M.


Mehmetcan S wrote:

Hi Andrea,

 

Here's what Nikola wrote in 9-21-2020:

 

Hi Maria and Renata,

 

Thank you for bringing these to our attention. I shared your reports with our team for further investigation and appropriate actions will be taken according to our internal processes.

 

~ Nikola
 
It looks like the problem persists. Have you forwarded the report to the same team that Nikola informed about two weeks ago? If so, does that mean reporting the same issue to the same team proves to be ineffective? If not, how's so? Have the "appropriate actions" were taken, as announced  by Nikola earlier? If so,  will the team find new actions to take about the persisting problem?

Hey Mehmetcan,

The problem has been around for years. I have no idea what goes on in any of Upwork's teams. I do know the people at Trust & Safety tell us they can't reveal their processes. So we're left to speculate about why we see the things we see and why flagged posts don't appear to come down faster. I do know that they're now going up as fast as they come down, but I also notice that the ones people flag are not all taken down.  Flagging sometimes accomplishes something, but like many aspects of Upwork, it does not work consistently.




It looks like Upwork really should take a moment to work on it's transparency and the communication model that various "teams" employ while representing the Upwork brand.  Upwork may be the leader workplace for now but you're losing the confidence of freelancers fast (including me) about various, well documented and unsolved issues of this platform. Freelancers PAY for this platform. Upwork is a PRODUCT. Paying customers  are entitled to a product without defect. If they can't get what they pay for, they would abandon ship, as soon as the opportunity arises.




Something that's initially hard to grasp because we are paying fees for using the platform is that Upwork doesn't view freelancers as  their clients (and surprisingly, this might actually apply to Upwork clients as well, even though they bring in the money that pays us all). The people Upwork cares about are their shareholders. But, even if they eventually become profitable (which they not at present), the problems we're seeing appear to be so deeply entrenched in Upwork's culture that it's unlikely to change (Stan mentioned this in another thread in which no one from Upwork was apologizing for what many freelancers see as a rather large gaffe).

Unfortunately, the only option you realistically have is to take Upwork as is if it works for you or leave Upwork if it no longer works for you. Customer service isn't a priority in the sense you're suggesting.


Anonymous-User
Not applicable

Hi Renata,

 

Thank you for taking time to write this reply.  I'm aware of Upwork's workings and I mostly agree with you. In the meantime, you keep prodding Upwork to make a change, even if in the smallest scale. You inform Upwork about an issue, follow the course of events and nudge the team in the right direction, even if "the problems we're seeing appear to be deeply entrenched in Upwork's culture".  You wrote that my options are basically limited to "take it or leave it" but deep down, I think you believe that the change is possible. If you didn't, you wouldn't bother reporting the issues right?

Lately Upwork's downsides have been weighing more than it's redeeming qualities for me. It's likely that I'll take a hike soon. So I guess I'll take the second option. Life is short.

Again, thanks for your reply. It's nice to read a well thought message, instead of a canned reply.

Take care,

 

M.

Hi Mehmetcan,

I get the sense you're an idealist (I suffer from this too, less so as time goes on and I realize the way much of the world actually functions). I think you're reading your own ideas into my actions. I don't hold out a lot of hope that they'll do anything. I just need to do something with the energy so that I keep it directed to the proper channel.

The thing I care about, for whatever personal reason drives it, is unwitting people getting screwed out of their money. Plus I think it's a waste of freelancers' time to have to wade through all this crap every time they're looking for new work.

I can put out a better idea about how to prevent people from being endangered in this way, but I can't make anyone at Upwork value my values. Upwork clearly values other things ahead of unwitting freelancers being screwed out of their money and freelancers who are looking for jobs wasting a lot of time wading through scam ads (it seems to be getting worse because now scammers are getting better at what they do. They DM freelancers directly and make them go back and forth discussing a project before they get into the real idea behind their request).

What I'm saying is that I still get work on the platform, so it still works for me. If at some point in time the things that Upwork does severely hamper my efforts to get work, I will have to find another source of jobs. Yes, I would like to see them presenting a better platform to freelancer and clients (especially clients). But Upwork's value is with presenting a good face to their shareholders (so in a weird way, they might view freelancers and clients as being beside the point). Unfortunately, that often gets in the way of what clients and freelancers need from the platform.

I would love it if things worked differently and it felt like a less frustrating arrangement, but I recognize that this is the relationship I am in with Upwork.

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