** Rant Post **
I came to Upwork about 6 years ago after working for years at Fiverr, and I immediately realized after working for a few months that it was the best decision. I could easily find quality clients and faced no problem when it came to finances and getting paid (the reason why I moved from Fiverr was due to payment issues). I still say Upwork has the best payment solutions, but sadly I can't say the same for the former, quality of clients and posts.
Upwork's excellent post system, in my opinion, set it apart from other freelancing platforms. If you have the necessary skills, you should have no trouble finding the right client. I don't recall ever seeing a bot or a fake post. I didn't have to scroll through my feed for hours to find genuine posts. But now I'm forced to. For the past few months, I've had the impression that Upwork has abandoned its post-monitoring system. 6/10 of the posts in my feed are fake bot posts that direct you to their Telegram or Youtube accounts. Another thing that irritates me is how simple it is to set up a client account on Upwork. When we send proposals to them, we get no response 80% of the time, wasting our valuable connections. Even if some people connect with you, they'll ask for samples of your work and then disappear. However, this is a problem that the freelancer's own intuition can easily solve, but the bot problem is serious. Upwork was supposed to connect clients with freelancers, but instead, we're getting connected with bots. Upwork has improved and added many new features, but it has sadly overlooked the most important one: post quality.
At the same time, I understand that keeping track of all newly created posts is difficult, so instead make account creation a little more difficult. Rather than allowing anyone to post, make it mandatory to connect your payment method first, or set a condition that your account must be X days/weeks old before you can make a post. The best method, in my opinion, is the first one I mentioned; simply make it mandatory that no 'client' can make a post until his or her payment details have been confirmed. I'm confident that it will significantly improve the platform's quality. I'm sure many freelancers are frustrated by this issue; in fact, a few of my friends have left the platform just because of it, and everyone knows that gaining new users for a platform is much more difficult than retaining existing ones, so at the very least try to address it. (I have attached a few images of what I meant by bots or bogus posts).
**Edited for Community Guidelines**
I understand your frustration. I want to assure you that our teams are aware of this feedback and working on opportunities to address these issues. Trust & Safety team detects and rejects hundreds of scam posts each day, but, unfortunately, scam accounts constantly change their methods. The team continues to update and run multiple machine learning models and reports to address that. We will be sharing updates on these initiatives with the Community.
"Work on opportunities to address these issues" is a very pompous way to make an empty promise... There are so many posts with solid advice now (some are even from IT experts), I can consolidate that and email it to you.
Even if Upwork is hesitant to add a step for client verification in case it deters them, there are so many ways to do it. For starters, if the post has received 3 reports, they will be archived or deleted. If it catches an actual non-scamming client, they would open a ticket. To refine this further (to minimise abuse), only count the posts flagged by freelancers with more than 6 months' history on the site. I'll happily report the posts because right now, the situation is out of control.
Or crowdsource the moderation. Build a page for freelancers to submit phrases they observe the scammers using in their posts, since the job posts use fairly standard phrases that are repeated over and over. Then take our submissions and build that into regex, filter them and archive them. If it catches an actual non-scamming client, they would open a ticket.
I am sure you have figures on your end to see the attrition rate of freelancers. I have been on Upwork since 2014. I don't actually mind paying the high platform fees, if the platform actually functions properly.
I agree with most of your concerns 100%. However, many of us have discovered that the scammers can even exploit the 'verified payment method' by linking their account to a stolen credit card number or bank account number, 'hacked' paypal account, etc. They then 'hire' somebody, and when it's time for the freelancer to be paid, the payment 'bounces' because the credit card issuer, bank, or owner of the card, bank account, or paypal account detects fraud, causing the payment method to be shutdown. The payment gets 'reversed' through Upwork, and the freelancer never gets paid.
My solution is simple: Before anybody can 'post' a job, ALL clients should be required to complete a Photo ID check, the same requirement freelancers have to meet. It's very easy for scammers to create new fake email addresses to create new UW accounts, and even to find new bank/credit card numbers to steal. However, I am certain that very few scammers will be able to create legitimate looking photo IDs fast enough to keep 'opening' new Upwork accounts so rapidly.
How many people do you know that have special printers in their homes readily available and capable of printing hologram-laminated ID cards?
In addition, a Photo ID requirement for clients creates accountability: If they 'post' a job that is illegal (like a scam, or a job requesting somebody to do something illegal), their IDENTITY is known and they can be reported to law enforcement. There are also plenty of 'posts' from people that are most likely under 18: Little teenagers running video game currency scams, etc. A Photo ID requirement is a good way to help kick the little kiddies OFF the platform.
I see many job posts in the "IT Security and Compliance" section where the poster is literally asking somebody to break the law: Steal bitcoin, break into somebody's phone/computer, take down a network, launch a virus, cyber 'stalk' somebody, electronically launder money, etc. Not only should those posts be taken down, but Upwork should have their photo ID card on file so law enforcement can be notified because the people posting requests for help to commit crimes need to be locked up on conspiracy charges and sent to jail.
Photo ID scan is indeed an excellent solution. To go one step further, they can confirm the person through a bot automated video call. Many crypto exchanges do this; they ask you to first take the picture of your face, while holding your photo ID and then confirm that through a 5-10 sec video call with a bot. It can't be that hard. But, the whole question is whether Upwork wants to do this or not?
Overall job post quality and client quality is getting worse on Upwork but we can't make things harder for clients to open an account. UI experience is terrible for not tech-savvy people, they have a hard time figuring out to set up a job, hire, or interview freelancers. I helped a lot of my clients to set up their job posts, payment, and other stuff.
My suggestion would be for you to create a custom job filter and get an RSS feed, use discord or any other RSS feed app to check job match your skill. It saves a lot of time and mostly filters out all scam jobs.
Well, this is not the ideal solution, but for now, we will have to make do with this. If we apply the payment method verified filter, it will indubitably filter the scam jobs, but most of the time we also miss on the actual new users who are genuinely looking for solutions.