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There's scamming, and then there's this.

Community Leader

This isn't the first time I've seen this on here - a man who wants strangers to write character references in a custody battle or similar. The latest one is by a man who wants 'friends' from around the world to write references to the courts/child services to show he will, indeed, return his children to their home country after a visit to Africa (or somewhere, I can't remember the specifics).


This is wrong on so many levels! If he can't get real life people to write favourable references then surely there is a reason for that, and that could put the children in danger.


I've flagged the posting and hopefully it will be removed before he gets anyone to agree to help him. 

Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Ailish,


Thanks for the link. I checked the job post and found that the description and the request is a little different from the account you shared, and is in line with our ToS. Please check the job post again and let me know if you see their request from a different aspect.


View solution in original post


@Ela K wrote:


In a Family Court proceeding (in DE), it doesn't matter one bit how such a statement is worded or phrased.

It needs to be personal & genuine no matter what.

Same in French courts. I don't imagine a judge taking this sort of documents into consideration.


"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless

@Valeria K wrote:

Ailish and others,


We will have the job reviewed once again by the Marketplace Quality team. However, if the client is looking for a freelance writer to help with writing a text for recommendation letters based on research and real facts, it may not violate Upwork ToS. A lot of clients on Upwork hire professionals to write quality texts the clients couldn't produce themselves. 

 Valeria, I think that the key difference here would be that in a  case of legitimate assistance with the letter, it would be the letter writer seeking help, and that person would provide the information about what he/she wanted to say and just be looking for help with phrasing and formatting. When the letter originates with an outside writer, it isn't drawing on the alleged author's actual experiences with the person they're vouching for, nor expressing what a real person would want to convey.

The problem with that is, how do we know the information he supplies to any freelancer who takes on the job is legit? He will give the information pertaining to his behaviour as a father and wants the freelancer to write it up in a good format. BUT...if there are concerns by the mother (as I imagine there are or he wouldn't be needing these letters) he is never going to give the freelancer the real facts, is he? So only the 'good' parts will be put in the letters. 


If this were for a job I would just shrug and say let him get on with it, but it's not - it's children, and worse case scenario is that their lives could be in danger. That is not an over exaggeration, I have been in a similar situation myself (which is probably why this makes me so uncomfortable). 

Lets try the most logical scenarios:



Transportation to a 'less-than-safe' country



There is NOTHING to check with any department, Valeria.  Imagine if it were you're children ...

I bet the job has 50 proposals lol. Somalia is so lovely this time of year.

Community Guru

Vladimir - Sometimes, rules are made to be broken. Although you work for Upwork, and adhere strickly to the TOS of Upwork, when something isn't quite right in rare situations you need to look beyond how the word of the job are orginized and look at the bigger picture.  It's better to delete that one job when it deals with deceptive letters of recommendations involving CHILDREN. It's one thing when there's fraud and fake reviews involving products, it's another when innocent children are involved.


Letters of recommendation from friends, neighbors, co-workers are one thing but when someone posts a job and PAYS strangers and it involves taking children out of the country, that's another matter. Once a child is taken out of the country it's almost impossible to get them back. They are hidden and protected and the U.S. doesn't have juristriction in many countries.


Would it really really hurt Upwork to delete this ONE job?

It appears that Upwork needs to revise their TOS to address these sorts of situations.

Kathy, while Upwork is mandated by US law as it is based here, I believe your statement holds true for most countries and certainly within any and all international laws - beginning with the UN and The Hague.


@ Pat, I completely understand what you are saying - but IMHO - NO amount of money should be worth it to U.  In other words - forget ToS and try using common sense. Delete the job.

I wouldn't accept any of the job postings that ask for someone to write a letter of recommendation for a professor who is "too busy" to write one himself or herself. Usually, I suspect that the "professor" in question doesn't exist. Or, at best, exists, but has no idea that his or her name will be applied to a letter of recommendation written for hire. Even under the best of circumstances, it is a lazy, unprofessional, and unethical professor who would KNOWINGLY allow his or her name to be attached to opinions written by a hack from Upwork. (I am assuming that only the hacks take this sort of work.) In any case, such an endeavor is, at its heart, fraudulent in nature.


I wouldn't accept any of the job postings that ask for someone to review this or that product without actually using the product. Such an endeavor is, at its heart, fraudulent in nature.


Would I write the letters described in this thread?  Upwork seems to think that such a job is just dandy.


In my opinion, the endeavor is fraudulent, and that is the BEST I can say of it. The range of mischief that might be accomplished if these letters were mis-used by an unscrupulous individual (father? uncle? child molester/kidnapper? sex-trafficker?) is... both breathtaking and nauseating.


I am horrified.


Just my opinion.

Community Guru

Read Not Without My Daughter or anything similar and you'd never be able to justify this job post. Upwork must decide which it is more willing to risk: losing a few dollars from removing this job, or having a hand in the potential endangerment of children.

Community Manager
Community Manager



As I've mentioned before, I've escalated the concerns many of you expressed here. The job will be reviewed by appropriate teams and the decision will be made.


We appreciate the discussion but will be closing this thread from further replies. We don't allow identifying jobs and users in accusation of misconduct in the Community and don't want any assumptions to be made based on very little information that's available.


Thank you.

~ Valeria