Fake Verified Profiles on Upwork

About a month ago, I ran into a fake profile that came up as verified:

This freelancer’s identity has been verified through a government ID check and a video call. You will see their verified name if you enter into a contract together.

I've been outsourcing via Upwork for years. Check out my Upwork street cred:

It's USD

So I know a tiny bit about how to hire. What to look for. And I can sense a scammer from 200km away. I've been scammed quite a few times in my life so that's helped increased my Scam IQ over time as well.

I just don't want you to get scammed.

Here's our trusty Jon H from Maroochy River. I've never even heard of the place.

I am paying homage to Parasite & Bong Joon Ho here

I smelled something fishy with this profile. He was not available until 5PM Melbourne time for a call. Weird. So I asked him if he is working a 9 to 5 and doing his Upwork on the side - he said no.

So I requested a Skype chat via voice. He didn't call me until 5:30PM. I could tell the guy on the other end of the line wasn't an Aussie. He almost felt like he was faking his voice as well, a lower tone.

The dead giveaway was when I asked him, "hey we're both Aussies, what do you normally charge your clients in Australian dollars?". This really threw him off. He was confused and didn't know how to answer it, repeating multiple that he accepts USD only.

His accent was way off. His Skype ID was nice.man something something, his email was something tiger something. I mean, nothing really matched and it was really poorly done.

Another dead giveaway was, at the start of the Skype call, I pretended the call quality was really bad, and I asked him for a mobile number that I could call on - which he couldn't give me. He said his mobile was broken or something to that effect.

Anyway, I needed to figure out how this profile could be verified. Upwork did say there was a government ID check. I won't disclose the full name but when you are interviewing, you are able to see the full name on Upwork - I looked him up on LinkedIn. He had the same profile photo but was working a different type of a job that had nothing to do with software development.

So what I figure is there are 2 people in on this and someone has lent his identity to someone else. The person identified did the video call, sent in the government ID (I assume Australian Driving License or passport) but it's a totally different person using that account now, doing the dev work.

I reported this to Upwork however they have not done anything - I complained twice but both times the response was similar:

Hello Francis,

Thank you for getting back to us.

In response to your concerns, I regret to inform you that we cannot share the outcome of our investigation for privacy and security purposes.

Please be informed that these rules and policy are observed and implemented to protect both clients and contractors on the Upwork marketplace.

We hope to have cleared this matter with you. If there are other issues we may assist you with, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Name hidden | Policy Enforcement Team
Upwork Trust and Safety

Our trusty Jon H is still happily making his 50 USD an hour from Maroochi River, Australia and the last message he sent came through at 1:30AM:

Hi Francis
How are you doing?


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