LogoBee posts for October

31 10 2013

It’s been a busy month for me this month, so only 4 LogoBee posts published for October, but here they are!





Beware the fake Freelancers

30 10 2013

Update 12 February 2014: This account has now FINALLY been closed! Only took 4 months! 

If you’ve read my last few posts, you’ll know that I’ve got a bit of a bee in my bonnet at the moment about users on Freelancer.com who aren’t quite what they seem. You can view or add to my growing list of suspicious profiles by going here.

But there’s one particular finding from my research that I want to share with you today: the Freelancer user ‘Jilimo987‘.

I was immediately suspicious of Jilimo987. For starters, the smiling brunette’s hometown and country was given as ‘Mirpur-1, United States’. I noticed just today that this has now been changed to ‘Mirp’, but no matter – Mirpur is in Bangladesh not America.

Secondly, Jilimo987’s English is terrible and she has that tell-tale Asian accent to her writing, particularly in her responses to some of the negative feedbacks she has received.

Thirdly, and most tellingly, Jilimo987 links to the EZine author page of someone called Christa O’Conner, claiming that this is evidence of her writing portfolio. If Jilimo987 = Christa O’Conner, why then does she spell her name on the Freelancer profile as ‘Christia O Corner’? Bit weird, don’t you think?

So, I googled Christa O’ Conner, the owner of the EZine page, to see if I could find out more about her. It didn’t take long for me to track her down on social media.

So I messaged her and let her know about my suspicions.

The real Christa was NOT happy, as you can imagine!! As it happens, the real Christa does dabble in freelance writing and while she has profiles on oDesk and ELance, she confirmed for me that she has NEVER set up a profile on Freelancer.com. It seems that someone, somewhere (Bangladesh, perhaps?!), has stolen photos from Christa’s Facebook page (including one of her and her baby son!), is linking to her EZine articles and claiming they are theirs, and using Christa’s identity in order to win projects on Freelancer.com. And they have been doing it since May 2012.

This could be incredibly damaging to the real Christa’s reputation as a genuine freelancer, and I suspect this is not the only example of this scam on Freelancer.com. I have informed a member of Freelancer.com staff who visits this blog, so I sincerely hope that the person behind ‘Jilimo987’ is brought to justice. I’m no legal expert, but surely this identity theft is illegal??

It’s also really creepy. Happy Halloween, y’all.

Update November 5: This profile is still online, still has a photo of Christa on the front page, and still links to Christa’s EZine author page. One small mercy is that the photograph of Christa’s baby son has been removed (to be replaced by a screen shot of the EZine page…). I have reported a violation again!

Update November 20: This profile is STILL online. The photos of the real Christa have all now been removed and replaced with logos, and the user no longer misspells ‘Christia O Corner’. BUT the profile still links to the real Christa’s EZine author page and now has a certificate (fake?), bearing Christa’s name, claiming to have reached platinum author level. The profile text has changed, but a quick Google search reveals that it has been copied and pasted word-for-word from the LinkedIn profile of someone called Amy Covington. Reported again!





Arabidopsis Research Round-Ups

29 10 2013

Here’s a catch-up on the Arabidopsis Research Round-ups I’ve written since my last update.





Journalism Week 2: Profile of an inspirational person

28 10 2013

This is the homework from Week 2 of my Journalism course. I haven’t had the feedback back from my tutor yet, but I don’t think it’s going to be good! 😦 For starters, I got the word count totally wrong – it should have been only 250 words, but I wrote over 550 (oops!). I also feel a bit like a naughty schoolgirl as I must confess to doing it in a rush! The task this week was to write a profile of someone I admire, so I wrote about the wheelchair basketball player, Ade Adepitan.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

If, like me, you were engrossed in last year’s Paralympic Games, you will not be unfamiliar with Adedoyin “Ade” Adepitan, the former wheelchair basketball champion who has become one of the ‘faces’ of British paralympic sport.

Nigerian-born Ade was just 6 months old when he contracted poliomyelitis, an incurable infectious viral disease that can cause muscle weakness and paralysis. In Ade’s case, he was left completely unable to use his left leg, and had limited use of his right leg.

Having made the difficult decision to leave friends, family and their home town of Lagos behind, the Adepitan family emigrated to the UK, settling in London where they believed the opportunities for Ade’s care and development would be far better than in Nigeria. Sure enough, rather than being resigned to a life of wheeling the streets on a makeshift skateboard like his fellow polio sufferers in Africa, in London Ade learned to walk with the use of leg calipers, and at twelve years old he was introduced by his physiotherapist to wheelchair basketball.

Ade’s story would be incredible even if I left it there. The uprooting of a whole family – one with a disabled young child, no less – from troubled, dictator-led Nigeria to the East End of London is quite something, but for that young disabled boy to go on to discover sport, and be exceptionally good at it, is a truly heartwarming tale.

Ade travelled to Zaragoza in Spain where he played professional wheelchair basketball for two years. He was then selected to play for Great Britain in the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, and again at the 2004 Athens Games, where he achieved his dream of winning a gold medal.

As incredible as these achievements are, there is more to Ade Adepitan than a wheelchair and a paralympic gold. He has also been able to leverage his disability and celebrity status to provide valued support for a number of charities, including Go Kids Go, Scope, the NSPCC and WheelPower. Far from being simply a figurehead, his passion and commitment to improving the lives of disabled children goes beyond just putting his name to a charity – he actively takes part in awareness campaigns and fundraising. In a recent television documentary, “Journey of my Lifetime”, Ade travelled back to his native Nigeria to help raise awareness of the sadly increasing problem of polio infection.

Along with Afghanistan and Pakistan, Nigeria remains one of only three countries in the world where polio has not been eradicated. In the heartbreaking programme, Ade explained that although the disease is entirely preventable and an effective vaccine is widely and freely available, Nigeria hosts a number of influential and often violent Islamic extremist groups who perpetuate a conspiracy theory that “white medicine” is dangerous and anti-Muslim. Rallying together with Nigerian polio sufferers, Ade led a potentially life-threatening march through the streets of some of the towns and villages where vaccine uptake is lowest and successfully encouraged a number of families to vaccinate their children. In doing so, he instantly saved those children from a potential life of disability and difficulty, and no doubt helped many others to realise that polio vaccination is the only way to guarantee prevention of the disease.

Ade Adepitan is a truly remarkable man who thoroughly deserves the MBE he was awarded in 2005 in recognition of not only his sporting endeavours, but his humantarian ones too.

~~~

During the last Journalism lesson, we were tasked to rewrite our homework articles (which should have been less than 250 words!) in half as many words. I didn’t quite get down to 125 words, but didn’t think I did too bad a job to cut my article down from 550+ to just over 200! Here’s version two: 

Nigerian-born wheelchair basketballer Ade Adepitan was six months old when he contracted the incurable virus poliomyelitis and lost the use of his legs.

The Adepitan family left Nigeria and settled in London. Here, instead of using a makeshift skateboard like many polio sufferers in Africa, Ade had the opportunity to play professional wheelchair basketball.

He was selected to play for Great Britain in the 2000 Sydney Paralympics and went on to win a gold medal at the 2004 Athens Games.

Leveraging his disability and celebrity status, Ade supports charities for disabled children. In the documentary, “Journey of my Lifetime”, he helped raise awareness of the increasing polio infections in Nigeria.

Despite the availability of a free and effective vaccine,Nigeria remains one of only three countries where polio has not been eradicated. In the documentary, Ade explained that Nigeria hosts influential extremist groups who perpetuate a theory that “white medicine” is dangerous.

He led a march through some areas where vaccine uptake is lowest and encouraged families to vaccinate their children. In doing so, he saved those children from potential disability and helped dispel myths about polio.

Ade Adepitan is a remarkable man who deserves his 2005 MBE awarded in recognition of his sporting and humanitarian endeavours.





The Fake Freelancer Profile Watch List

24 10 2013

Updated 29 April 2017.

I previously wrote a blog post about the problem of fake accounts on Freelancer.com. Below, you will find a list I am compiling that gives the usernames of Freelancer accounts that I suspect to be fake – and the reasons why. This list has been going since October 24, 2013.

Please also check the second list at the end of this post – these are user profiles who have previously appeared on my “watch” list but which have now been corrected. “Mud sticks,” so they say, so be wary! Some profiles have been known to jump between the two lists on more than occasion! I have also added closed accounts to this list, for posterity.

If there is a user whom you suspect is fake, misleading, or who is deliberately acting outside of Freelancer’s terms and conditions, please comment below along with your reasons, and I will add to this list. Maybe we won’t catch every rotten apple, but perhaps we can make a small difference!

THE FREELANCER.COM FAKE PROFILE LIST (sorted A-Z):

  1. A2Design – Account has a Canadian flag but previously mentioned in overview: “A2 Design is a professional web design and web development company based in Omsk, Russia.” This has now been changed to a “Russian-Canadian web design and development company”. I guess it could be run by Russians living in Canada, but this is not clear given the previous statement about being based in Russia. 
  2. academicmania – Although the user claims to be based in London in the UK,  their profile text is copied and not-so-subtley altered from the profile of someone called Carol, from the US, at Editfast.com. I contacted Carol, and she said she found the news that her profile has been stolen, albeit with some minor changes, “interesting and disconcerting”. I have contacted Freelancer and asked them to specifically close this account – surprise surprise it’s still active. This user seems to happily take part in unethical projects such as posting fake Tripadvisor reviews as well as “academic writing” (aka plagiarism) so doesn’t seem too trustworthy to me!
  3. anchalspecial – False information. Profile states user is from ‘Ghaziabad, United States’, but Ghaziabad is in India. The user’s resume also states that he/she is a student at Delhi University.
  4. ARTICLEYOUWANT – This user, based in Pakistan, previously had plagiarised profile content from that of an American on Elance. Despite the user’s assertion that “I’m your man”, the profile photograph is of a young woman taken from a “desi girls” website. The profile text has now changed and makes claims that the profile is operated by a brother and sister team. I don’t think I would trust anyone who says they can “guarantee…”grammatically errors free content” though! As well as this, the user seems to bid on projects only to re-outsource them, and seems comfortable taking part in really unethical projects such as writing fake Amazon reviews and plagiarising content.
  5. ataamb – there are quite a few things that don’t add up about this user. For starters, it’s clear he runs a team, so despite the fact he once claimed to be the head of a translation team certified by the American Translation Association, that doesn’t mean he really is, or that the members of his team are certified. He has plenty of negative feedback complaining about the spelling and grammar mistakes in the articles he has provided, and doesn’t help himself in his responses to these feedback comments, which are themselves riddled with grammatical errors (and there’s that familiar Asian tone to his writing, too). Next, I googled some of his profile text and found “Dr. Ataamb” online in several places. On one of his online profiles, where he claims to be called Gregory L John, he links to an Ezine author page belonging to a Gregory John, but when I googled the profile picture, it matches the photo on a Linked In account belonging to an Erik Allebest from San Francisco. Suspicious.
  6. barata – False information. Profile displays US flag but user states in profile that he/she is based in Brazil.
  7. Bellathomas – alarm bells started ringing the moment I saw a review in her feedback list from ‘writingpool’ (see below). Writing does not seem native English and her real name is not Bella Thomas, it’s Maryam Nasir.
  8. BusinessWriting – profile text was previously plagiarised from the Elance profile of someone called Alexandar Vasiley from Dubai; now it is plagiarised from someone called Tom Fenton.  Real name according to Freelancer profile is apparently Mohammed Nurnnabi Sarker. Profile picture is now a logo but was previously taken from a ‘Pakistani Girls’ website.
  9. cheeku1234ACCOUNT SUSPENDED. Not only did this user claim to be Hugh Laurie (!), he/she also has plenty of negative feedback to suggest he/she is not a native English speaker and/or outsources to non-native ‘team members’. Feedback also suggests that at some point in the past his country flag has been British. Now it is Australian, but I’m not sure that’s accurate either! Real name is apparently Atiq ur Rehman.
  10. Consultingfirm – location is Pakistan but the profile picture (a young, blonde white woman) is very misleading given that the profile is owned by someone called Asim Kaleem (an Asian man’s name). The photo is in fact taken from this Hungarian webpage. User had previously updated the profile to say that they are running a team, but this has now been removed to suggest the user is an individual again.
  11. eaglesseotech – claimed to be based in Houston, Texas (now Dallas), but profile information matches exactly with two Elance profiles – adeelrk and aakhanz – both based in Pakistan, as well as an Odesk profile belonging to Usman Akhtar (also Pakistani), and the Elance profile of an American woman called Marisa.
  12. emeracsolutions – this Pakistani user (who is also on oDesk) appears to have plagiarised his profile text from another oDesk user’s profile, so I would be cautious in hiring him! (See also the user Writing24x7x363 below)
  13. eringkelly – Though generally good, this user has received some negative feedback criticising her English skills – one outright accuses her of being Bangladeshi. Her responses to these negative comments are also written in extremely poor English, which – if she really did major in English and Shakespearian Literature, is somewhat surprising…
  14. erinkennedy – location is given as Pakistan but the user’s profile name is misleading. Claims to be called “Erin Kennedy”, and the profile picture shows a Muslim woman in a hijab, but the profile actually belongs to Aqib Asif Siddiqui (a man’s name, I believe). She also thinks she has trademarked ‘Masha Allah’, a common Arabic phrase. I like her poem though: “Do or die, never feel shy, think high boy, as high as sky”. Catchy.
  15. Gillianreynolds – Feedback from this user says it all really: ” This freelancer has very poor writing skills not to mention has a fraudulent profile, they are clearly working offshore and are not American, but trying to charge US rates, and conversation would also suggest this person is of foreign decent unlike profile photo.” Profile information was previously copied and pasted from the Fiverr profile of someone called Susanne Bayes (though this has now been changed), and the photograph was pinched from here – the real Gillian Reynolds in that photo is a Canadian school psychologist! The current profile picture is of a completely different woman. Profile links to the EZine page of someone called Gillian Reynolds, but the photograph is of a completely different woman and is located in Canada, not the US.
  16. hash500 – BACK ON THE WATCH LIST! User’s location was previously given as “Karachi, Canada” but this was corrected to ‘Karachi, Pakistan’ so I moved the user to the ‘Fixed’ list. However, I’ve just checked and the user’s location is now showing as ‘Missisauga, Pakistan’ (Missisauga is in Canada).
  17. HelenaReimer – This profile now has a photograph of a different woman posing with a snowman, but previously photos were stolen from the Facebook page of a real Helena Reimer, but she lives in Calgary, not Montreal. Profile text was previously plagiarised from the Yahoo Contributor’s profile of someone named Kim Remesch, then from the Fourerr profile of a British (male) user called Cyprian. The current text matches with this Fiverr profile, belonging to a Sri Lankan male.
  18. Hotline69 –BACK ON THE WATCH LIST! Account had been suspended based on my complaints, but came back online and STILL claimed to be from the UK. The profile used to have a picture of a young brunette girl, then a young, blonde white girl whom I discovered is a Hollywood-based based singer/actress called Lauren Chavez. Then it was a logo, now it’s an Asian woman. Interestingly, at one point, this profile had exactly the same profile photo used by ‘Consultingfirm‘ (who, funnily enough, is also on this list – see above). Profile actually belongs to Mohammed Tamoor Khan (a man’s name, I believe). Location was given as ‘LR, United Kingdom’, which I strongly suspected to be an attempt to disguise ‘Lahore, Pakistan’. Now the user is allegedly located in “Bay Shore, Pakistan” – there is a Bay Shore in New York in the US, but I don’t think there is one in Pakistan.
  19. indrecoleman – claims to be from ‘Marbella, United Kingdom’, but Marbella is in Spain.
  20. JanetWriter – Despite having an American country flag, the username ‘JanetWriter’ and a profile picture of a young woman, this Freelancer introduces himself as Pritom Roy who studied at Khulna University and Dhaka University in Bangladesh. All the Pritom Roys I can find online are Bangladeshi men, so go figure.
  21. juzerfakhri – Previously suspended, now back online, yet user’s location is still given as ‘Mumbai, Kenya’ – Mumbai is in India.
  22. leader3838BACK ON THE WATCH LIST! Previously, the user claimed to be called Sherlin Lindsay from New York in the US and used a stolen photo of an American family lawyer called Alexis Martin Neely. Terrible English was a dead giveaway, as was the fact that there is a People Per Hour profile with the same name, which had the location “Dhaka, United States” (Dhaka is in Bangladesh). The profile text also used to match the Guru profile of someone called Bella Martin, located in India (which I also suspect is a fake profile as the photograph is taken from a “beautiful and young girls” website.) After many violation reports, this account was eventually suspended and the location was changed to Bangladesh. BUT, it’s now showing as the US again. Come on, who are you kidding!?
  23. lizabrown234 – User’s location is given as “Chicago, China” and “her” English is appalling. I found ‘Liza’ on Twitter, asked her whether she really was from the US and had a bit of a conversation with her… needless to say she did not convince me that she’s a native English speaker! She even posted about our exchange on her Facebook page saying, “I have to admit that i ruined my “Writer” reputation sometimes here. You know status on social account is different from article. Articles are my work, but status i just want to share some “status”. Therefore someone may challenge my expertise just because of my “status” but ignore my expertise in other professional sites. I don’t want to explain because yes, i never proofreading my status here.” So I *think* what she’s trying to argue is that she sometimes makes grammatical mistakes on her social media pages because these statuses are informal, quick thoughts that she doesn’t proofread, but she’s *definitely* really good at articles. Hmm…Oh, also her photo is used on the website of this Canadian college site – I think it’s probably a stock photo.
  24. marywalker – Her profile icon is now a different woman, but previously it was a Shutterstock stock image showing a “young woman with great smile” used on various dentistry websites as an illustration. There is an eZine page for someone called Mary Walker, but it uses the same stock photo so I highly doubt that the woman in the photo is Mary! Some of the profile text is plagiarised from the Elance profile of someone called Paul Cook. Sort “Mary’s” feedback from low to high and you will also find negative reviews from a couple of people questioning her work ethic and ability to speak/write English. In fact, one of the most recent feedback comments is from an employer who says “Mary” provided him with plagiarised content straight from the Internet.
  25. medchamp – User claims to be a Dr Saurabh Gupta from Australia and gives reference to a journal article that he has authored on. Indeed, the profile picture matches with a Dr Saurabh Gupta that I found online, but that Saurabh Gupta is based in Bangalore, India, not Sydney, Australia. You’d think an eminent dental surgeon would have some kind of online presence if indeed he did live in Australia, but I haven’t found anything…I’ve also seen him outsourcing academic projects to other people on Freelancer and this REALLY annoys me. If he does indeed have a PhD, why oh why oh why would you help other students to cheat!?
  26. milleriren – All the hallmarks of a fake account. User claims to be called Irene Miller from New York, but her profile picture is of someone called Alyse Speyer, from California. The photo has changed several times, between various logos and faces. Negative feedback questioning ‘her’ nationality, and below-par English (especially in responses to negative feedback). There is an Elance account with the same name, which used to have a different photo of Alyse on it – this photo appears and reappears from time to time, and the location on that profile also seems to switch between US and Bangladesh. Currently it’s showing as New York, United States.
  27. misra1 – profile location is given as ‘Udaipur, United States’, but Udaipur is in India. Resume information lists Indian companies, too.
  28. nukapallysandya – profile location is given as “pune, United Kingdom”, but Pune is in India.
  29. Passion5W6 – At first I thought this might have been a genuine profile plagiarised by alungak (see above), but I’ve since discovered that although this profile claims to be owned by a “Marie Catherine”, the photo is actually of a Canadian girl guide called Bryanna Thiel – I’ve contacted her via Twitter to let her know! Parts of the profile description also match exactly with two Elance profiles: Marie D from the UK and Fatima Khan from Pakistan (whose username also has the word “passion” in it – coincidence?), and with an ODesk user going by the name of Marie Catherine. However, the photograph from the latter profile is actually of Angela Comer, who also has an ODesk profile with that same photo. I’ve contacted Angela via Twitter too!
  30. PinkStart – Check out this user’s resume…all listed educational establishments and places of work are based in India. What’s the betting this user is also based in India, not New York, USA as stated?
  31. Playwright07 – whether this user lives in the US or not, there is no way they are a native English speaker. Only 2 feedback comments so far, one which is less-than-stellar review, and the other is from desiredproject7, an account that has previously appeared on this list and is now closed.
  32. rebeccaspurple – User’s profile text had been copied from the website of a professional writer called Lisa Mason but thanks to my whistleblowing this has now been changed – sadly it’s now plagiarised from someone else; a Yahoo contributor called Marilisa Sachteleben. There is also a Rebecca S Purple on Facebook, with the same profile picture, but is it just me who thinks it’s weird that she only has two Facebook friends? One of those is a guy who owns an Indian advertising company, and the other claims to work at Freelancer. Hmm. Contrary to the Facebook Rebecca, the Rebecca Purple on LinkedIn went to Northeastern University, not the University of Virginia, and works as a legal administrator, not a freelance writer. Recent feedback questions her English language skills. She also has a presence on Ezine, and a little-used Twitter account where she writes about skincare. Will the real Rebecca Purple please stand up?
  33. riazahmed75 and riazahmed1975 – duplicated accounts owned by the same person. This was really obvious when I first posted these users to this list (same profile info, same photos) but now the profiles have completely changed – one is based in Malaysia, the other in Pakistan – although both have the same catchy strapline “Quality Work”.
  34. riazahmed1975 and riazahmed75 – duplicated accounts owned by the same person. This was really obvious when I first posted these users to this list (same profile info, same photos) but now the profiles have completely changed.
  35. rossar – User’s location is given as ‘Tallinn, United Kingdom’, but Tallinn is in Estonia. Googling the profile picture led me to a website and a LinkedIn profile owned by a Mr Risto Rossar, from Estonia, funnily enough!
  36. silverhorse73 – Despite that the profile is registered to a Fatima Zarief, ‘silverhorse73’ once claimed to be called “Julie” from Canada. She also has plenty of negative feedback suggesting she is not native or outsources. Location is given as ‘Lhr, Canada’ – suspect that this is an attempt to disguise ‘Lahore’ (Pakistan). Oh no wait, now they’ve moved to “Lre, Canada”. Hmm.
  37. SEOTop10Ranking – Negative feedback suggests this freelancer is either not from the UK as stated, or that ‘he’ outsources to others who are not native English. Profile picture was previously a photo of professional snooker player Mark Williams, posing with former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson! It has also been a random logo, but now is another man. User also links to the Ezine author page of someone called Mark-Andrew Williams, which has an American flag, not a British one.
  38. streamedWriter – This user has made a half-hearted attempt at honesty and now mentions in their profile text that “this account is operated from Asia”. Despite this, the flag location is given as London, UK. The English in his or her profile is terrible. The profile is registered to someone called Somine Zer, who claims, in their resume, to be studying at ‘UVAS’, which is a veterinary college in Lahore, Pakistan. A new photo of a white woman  appeared on this profile, although I couldn’t find a Google match, but this photo has now disappeared again. Now we have a homemade logo which brazenly asserts: “Quality with reliablitly [sic]”. Hmm.
  39. VirtualBrainInc – BACK ON THE WATCH LIST. I can’t believe this profile is still online after I blatantly caught them out! I’ve been reporting this profile for months and thought I’d finally got ’em, but no… This account has hopped back and forth between the ‘fixed’ and ‘watch’ lists a few times as it’s been suspended, then reactivated, and suspended and reactivated… Previously gave location as Chelmsford in the UK, but this was changed to Nairobi, Kenya, then Nyeri, Kenya, now it’s Keroka, Kenya. The user has a tendency to nick photos without permission from wherever he/she likes. Previous images have included one taken from a website called http://www.textbroker.co.uk, based in Germany, and the logo of the British university Anglia Ruskin. Then there was a picture of the British flag, which I suppose was an attempt to make themselves look British even though they are based in Kenya. Recently the photograph was stolen from this blog post by ‘The Rebel Chick’. The Rebel Chick is on Twitter so I contacted her (cc’ing @freelancer) to let her know that someone was using her identity! She was NOT happy, as you can imagine! Freelancer assured us that action would be taken, but it seems all they’ve done is made VirtualBrainInc change their profile picture. Again. *bangs head against brick wall*
  40. writemedown – False information, though “Karin Hopper” is going to a lot of trouble to cover her back. Googling the profile image reveals that it has been previously used on any number of websites advertising Indian girls, yet the same profile picture appears on various freelancing and social media sites, so she’s clearly trying to create an impenetrable false presence. Sort feedback from low to high and you will see the first three pages are all ratings of less than 1 star, with multiple reports that English does not seem native. Also, would you trust someone who claims, “I won the contest of writing which were held under B.A.C. and holds the certification of excellence in writing.”???
  41. Writer075 – User Manik Shil claims to be from Fort Wayne in the US, but his profile information text matches exactly with this Elance profile, belonging to someone in India.
  42. Writer24x7x363 – wow, finding this profile has opened up a whole can of worms! I googled the profile text for this user, allegedly based in the US, and found exact matches with not one, not, two but SEVEN other freelancing profiles. The profile is registered to Ashikur Rahaman (an Asian man’s name), yet calls himself “Kimberley Michelle”! So is he really from Piscataway in the US, or is he Juli Kate on oDesk from London, UK? Or VJChick on this Wickedfire post? Or Hieral from India at Virtueteam? Or Ali Shah from Pakistan on oDesk? Or is Ali Shah also ‘emeracsolutions‘ on Freelancer? Maybe she’s EllaJane from Canada (now closed), or lyannatujang01 from Malaysia (now closed)? The most believable profile out of all these, in my opinion, is Juli Kate on oDesk – seems as though she has such a good profile, everyone wants to copy her!
  43. Writersdreams – flag indicates that this person is from the US, however in his portfolio he mentions that he is a recent graduate of the Bradford University School of Management – this is in the UK. He may well be a British citizen, or have studied in the UK, but English is not that great and there is plenty of negative feedback to that effect.
  44. WriterSheila – This seems to be a classic fake account, with the added confusion that this user once actually asserted that they are genuine while another user on Elance profile has ripped them off! “Sheila” once said in her profile info: “SOMEBODY USES MY PERSONAL DETAILS ON ELANCE. HE/SHE IS FAKE. BE AWARE OF HIM/HER. PERHAPS, HE/SHE USES MY FREELANCE ACCOUNT LINK AS A REFERENCE. I ASSURE THAT I DON’T HAVE ANY ELACE ACCOUNT. MY FRIEND INFORMS ME ABOUT IT AND I MAKE YOU ALL NOTICED ON IT. THANK YOU ALL!!!!!” – yeah, that excellent command of the English language really confirms a native Texan… The photo on this account is a picture of a make-up artist called Sheila Davis Curtis (from Nashville, Tennessee). This same photo appears on the Elance profile mentioned (apparently from New York), and a PPH profile (apparently from Phoenix, Arizona). Yet while the photo is of Sheila Davis Curtis, the Freelancer/PPH/Elance profiles all reference the Ezine portfolio of someone called Sheila Dollarsby. There is a Sheila Dollarsby from Texas on Facebook, but the photo is of a completely different woman. There is also a Google+ account in the name of Sheila Dollarsby (using the photo of the real Sheila Davis Curtis) – is it just me who thinks it’s weird that her only connections are 4 men from Kenya? Oh yeah, Sheila Davis Curtis’ photo also appears on the Ezine portfolio of someone called Ava Taylor Williams, and there’s this other Elance profile in the name of ‘WriterSheila2015‘.
  45. Writingisland – This profile was flagged up by a reader of my blog in the comments below. The profile picture (which, at the time of writing, shows a young brunette woman wearing a Union flag t-shirt) is a stock photo that has been used on other websites. Belying the UK profile flag, the profile text matches precisely with that of an Upwork profile belonging to a Pakistani man named Imran Anwar. The user who reported this account says that he discovered that work he had produced for this person had later been sold to a student as an academic assignment.
  46. WritingsArmy – User claims to be from the US but previously, the profile text has been plagiarized from the Elance profile of someone named Alison Aldridge who is based in Canada. User is likely from neither of those countries! A previous photograph was stolen from the website of Macquarie University in Australia; current pic is a logo. Account is registered to someone called “Steven Mithchell” (sic). Update: WritingsArmy is now, allegedly, called Raymond Manley from California – the profile text and photograph match exactly with yet another Elance profile, that of a Raymond Manley from Nashville. Ray’s on Twitter, so I’ve contacted him to confirm if he has a Freelancer profile.
  47. Writingspirit – Profile picture has changed to a logo but profile STILL displays a UK country flag. Profile is registered to an Asian man called Muhammad Abu Zafar Subhani.

Previously faked but now fixed or closed (sorted A-Z): (Worth keeping an eye on this list because some profiles have been known to falsify details again after a little while! Also bear in mind that while user’s may have corrected their profiles, much of their feedback may have been generated falsely or based on the fraudulent profile information).

  1. AgathaGMaiti – FIXED. The user behind this profile was a persistent offender I reported many times. Her profile picture has at times been of American fiction writer Jodi Picoult, the logo of a design agency based in Houston, US (which I contacted and they confirmed they did not know Agatha and had not authorised her use of this logo), the photo of Australian writer Freya Wright-Brough (whom I contacted on Twitter to alert), and any number of random photos from the internet. Though the profile text has now been improved, previously it was copied-and-pasted from this ‘How To Write a Personal Biography‘ article written by someone called Mike de Sousa. I have moved the profile to the ‘Fixed or Closed’ list based on a request from Agatha herself. She contacted me via my website, explaining that she lives in Ontario, Canada, and blamed her previous indiscretions on inexperience. She said, and I quote, “Perhaps your judge makes me stunned and embarrassing. I believe this is a misunderstanding. All your highlighted info was 2013 based, and frankly, I was new in freelancer, so profile info, picture overall presentation was rough even I was confused about freelancer.com site too (possible to earn and still confused lolz)”. All I can say is that if you hire her as a copywriter, make sure you have a damned good copy editor, too.
  2. ahsangardeziCLOSED. This chap may well have been a geologist from Pakistan, but he copied his profile information verbatim from the Freelancer profile of Linda Price (a geologist in New Zealand).
  3. ajfmony – FIXED – Location corrected to India. Previously claimed to be from “Chennai, United States.” (Chennai is in India.)
  4. alecmceachernCLOSED. It’s a shame that this user falsified their profile, as according to their feedback they seemed to be doing quite well. I previously spotted that the overview text on this profile was previously 100% plagiarised from this Yahoo contributor, Kim Blakesley. A recent feedback comment also mentioned that ‘Alec’ provided a poorly written article – his response to this negative comment is written in abysmal English, so go figure. Alec’s profile location was ‘Atlanta, Bangladesh’. The text was changed so that it was no longer plagiarised but was written in absolutely appalling English. I love it when I’m right 🙂
  5. alungak – This user has exactly the same profile information as Passion5W6, which is a fake account (see below). However, I’ve taken him off the Fake list as I no longer have evidence to suggest this account is false.
  6. Annawoodward04CLOSED. Profile previously said: “If you need the articles for optimize your website in the search engine, and then I will provide you keyword optimized articles” – native New Yorker? I don’t think so. User’s profile picture changed many times to show different women.
  7. AsaffronCLOSED. My most disturbing fake profile find to date. Not only had ‘Asaffron’ plagiarised the bio from the genuine Elance profile of a lady called Caroline Ryan from the United States, the profile picture was that of a young Canadian woman who went missing in 2011. See more here: https://lisaamartin.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/fake-freelancer-profile-uses-photograph-of-missing-woman/.
  8. crispwriter – FIXED. Watch out for this as they frequently hop from the ‘fake’ list to the ‘fixed’ list. Location is currently showing as Bahawalnagar, Pakistan, but it has flitted between Pakistan and the UK on several occasions. I suspect that the user (whose name is Rao Waqar Mehboob) is the same guy as this Pakistani profile on Elance.  SUCCESS! User has now removed false photos and has changed their country flag to Pakistan 🙂 Suspected duplicated account and false information given. crispwriter has only 9 reviews so far, but 3 of them are from one Pakistani buyer (sarawriter), who has that very familiar profile pattern of a white-girl profile picture (this time a young blonde child – weird!) and a mixture of very negative feedback and very positive feedback (some of which comes from one of my ‘favourite’ fraudsters, hotline69…). crispwriter also claims to be from ‘Illford’ – does she mean ‘Ilford’ in Essex? Surely you should know how to spell the name of your home town?!
  9. desiredproject7CLOSED – reported this user (real name Imran Khan) for plagiarising their account information from the genuine Elance profile of a lady called Kelly Harbaugh. The profile info also matched exactly with two other suspicious looking online profiles, one called Chris Rogers at Wikinut, and one called Jacob Daniel at LivePerson. I contacted Kelly via Twitter and she confirmed the account was fake, yet Freelancer only closed it down when I chased up my report after 3 weeks!
  10. chyconsl FIXED – Location corrected to Nigeria. Previously claimed to be from London, UK, but all her education and employment history was in Nigeria. Other online profiles of the same person at People Per Hour and Outsource XP were also Nigerian. 
  11. debars123CLOSED. I was drawn to this user by the appalling standard of English. Profile claimed to be located in Kenya, but has taken the profile picture of someone called Tylor Sherman who lives in Canada.
  12. elizabethouseCLOSED.
  13. EllaJane – CLOSED. Profile had previously been plagiarised from this genuine oDesk user.
  14. EverYouth – CLOSED. This profile, belonging to Mohammed Farhad Hossein, followed a familiar pattern to Jilimo987‘s. Location was given as ‘rU, United States’, whatever that means, but then changed to ‘Salinas, United States’. Plenty of negative feedback suggests that this user is not American at all. Like Jilimo987, it linked to an EZine page that is probably not ‘hers’. Article samples in portfolio were terrible!
  15. FlyingBird37 – CLOSED. Photograph changed regularly, but most frequently depicted a woman called Kim Richter, a lecturer in Business Management at a Canadian university. However, profile matched with the LinkedIn profile of a man called GM Abdullah-Al Mamun from Bangladesh.
  16. freelancermadhav CLOSED. This was a duplicated account held by the same person behind kasmiratech, who was awarding himself projects and giving himself positive feedback. Tut tut.
  17. IBArenaFIXED. This account originally claimed to be operating from the UK, but the extensive negative feedback suggested that article writing is outsourced to non-native English speakers who don’t do a very good job. Profile now shows the user’s location as Pune, India. Still, be careful.
  18. Jilimo987 – CLOSED. Profile and photographs had been plagiarised from a genuine freelancer. See my blog post here for the background story: https://lisaamartin.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/beware-the-fake-freelancers/.
  19. kasmiratechCLOSED. This was a duplicated account held by the same person behind freelancermadhav, who was awarding himself projects and giving himself positive feedback. Tut tut.
  20. lyannatujang01 – CLOSED. Profile had previously been plagiarised from this genuine oDesk user.
  21. MasterEssayCLOSED. A portion of this user’s profile text matched an Elance account belonging to Melissa Knight. Now, I can’t be 100% sure that Melissa Knight wasn’t also MasterEssay, but a few things don’t add up, which is why I listed the account here. Firstly, and most tellingly, MasterEssay had some less-than-glowing feedback suggesting that he/she has some trouble with English. Secondly, their location is given as ‘Ashburn, United States’, and while there’s an Ashburn in either Georgia or Virginia, neither are anywhere near Murfreesboro in Tennessee, which is where Melissa is from. Finally, whereas MasterEssay is pitching him/herself as an academic writer (grr….), Melissa doesn’t mention this at all – she’s into far more ethical projects including SEO, ebooks and blogging.
  22. MehreenAliFIXED. This Pakistani user’s profile information was plagiarised verbatim from American Gerri Espino’s Elance and ODesk profiles, and the photo was of a Pakistani model called Mehreen Raheel. Both issues have now been fixed.
  23. Mexy14 – CLOSED. User’s location previously given as “Enugu, United States.” (Enugu is in Nigeria.)
  24. mmuhasan CLOSED. I moved Monjur ul-Hasan to the ‘fixed’ list but the account is now closed.
  25. nswapsj CLOSED. Profile text was partly copied from the website of an Australian lawyer called Katherine Hawes and partly copied from the CV of a man called John, which I found online at an Australian legal recruitment firm. The freelancer is neither Katherine nor John, as she was referred to in feedback comments as ‘Alex’ or ‘Alexandra and had a fake profile picture, which was actually of a Russian singer.
  26. OwnersPride1 – FIXED – location corrected to Pakistan and false photo removed. Previously claimed to be from the US. They are still claiming to have gone to Harvard Business School though…
  27. PHDConsultantCLOSED. Despite claiming to be based in the US, the profile information for this used to be partly copied from the Elance profile of this British writer called Teresa – if you read through the profile overview you could very clearly discern the point at which the copied text ends and the faker’s own writing starts! Profile picture was previously of a smiling couple, stolen from the work of an American wedding photographer, then it was a picture of Robb Heineman, a marketing executive associated with Harmon College (in Missouri) and based in Kansas City, then it was another stolen photo from a photography website. User’s location was previously given as Georgia in the US, then it was cryptically stated as ‘Ph, United States’, whatever that means. The last text online matched exactly with this Bangladeshi Elance profile
  28. platinum075 –  CLOSED. I googled the profile text for this Freelancer, and found an identical profile on Elance belonging to a Janet Joyce. The profile photos of the two women on these accounts did look kind of similar, so I almost conceded that platinum075 might be genuine. However, it troubled me that in one of platinum075’s feedback comments, the user refers to her as Maria, not Janet. So the next step was to google the profile picture – and I was stunned to learn that the picture was actually of an Ana Maria Cordoba, a 47 year old woman from Arlington, US, who died in a train crash in Spain in 2012. Since platinum075 had been bidding on very recent projects, one could assume that this was not the defunct account of a dead woman, and was in fact an imposter. I also found some more pictures of Janet (Joyce) Basilone online, and it’s clear they were two different women. Another faker busted – Freelancer shut this one down very quickly, I must say.
  29. PremshanksCLOSED. User’s location was previously given as “Chennai, United Kingdom” (Chennai is in India), but then ‘Mac, United Kingdom’ – if he meant Macclesfield then this could have been a genuine profile, as his profile photo showed him by Blackpool Tower. He may have moved to the UK, but nevertheless the switching location is suspicious.
  30. procreativewriteCLOSED. Not necessarily fake but just plain inappropriate. Pornographic profile picture and vulgar ‘description’.
  31. rachel902CLOSED. Profile picture had been stolen from a news article. See here for more.
  32. sarahmolly83CLOSED.
  33. sarasmithCLOSED. Location was given as Pakistan but the profile picture (a white, blonde-haired child!) is misleading.
  34. satyabratapal1FIXED. Despite the user providing a web address that confirmed he lived in India, his location was given as ‘Pune, United Kingdom’. This has now been corrected.
  35. Silverhope – CLOSED.
  36. shani252CLOSED. The terrible English used in this profile, along with several negative comments doubting the user’s alleged American origin, prompted me to google the profile picture of a smiling couple. Ouch. The couple is Eric Beaudry and Deb Rogers-Beaudry who died in a plane crash in 2009.
  37. steinonCLOSED. I campaigned to get this profile shut down for months – hurrah! Part of the profile text was plagiarised from a “how to write your intro” article. User gave the name Megan Dykeman from Canada, yet was using the photograph an American professor of communications called Gemma Puglisi. There is also an Elance profile under the name Megan Dykeman (but in one review the client refers to her as Amy?!) but the photograph is of a different woman. The Freelancer profile was suspended and later cleaned up – funnily enough, the location was changed to Khulna, Bangladesh, but the account has now been closed.
  38. stuart001CLOSED. This user was flagged up by one of my blog readers and was suspended at the time I checked. It’s now closed. No smoke without fire, eh?
  39. thealchemist21CLOSED. The owner of this profile was someone called Anusha Saravanan, who is allegedly based in Santa Clara in the US. Of course, as with all profiles that have doubtful flags denoting country of residence, it’s entirely possible that this freelancer has moved or works for overseas companies, however, despite the US flag on this profile, the resume section states that they are a graduate of Anna University, which is in Chennai, India, and all Anusha Saravanan’s I can find on the internet are based in India. I did find the LinkedIn profile of one Anbumalar Saravanan (relative? same person?) who did indeed live (or at least work) in Santa Clara for several years, but only until 2004 (now in India). This user did have pretty good feedback, but it all seemed to be for low quality and academic writing projects (my pet peeve!!) and there is never any excuse for falsifying your details!
  40. ThesisPaperCLOSED. This account was fixed after being plagiarised from various other freelancer’s accounts, and having incorrect location information, but has now been closed. Probably for the best!
  41. Universalwriter8 – CLOSED.
  42. uvocorpCLOSED. user claimed to be from “London, Ukraine” but of course London is in the UK (also Canada). I have also reported this user for posting contact details in his project listing, and the project listing was highly suspicious. Under the auspices of recruiting freelancers for an academic writing company (GRRRR!), users are asked to email uvocorp to receive a topic to write a sample on. What’s the betting those free samples get resold?
  43. waqar21081974 – FIXED – Location updated to Pakistan. Originally claimed to be from ‘Rawalpindi, United Kingdom’, but has now corrected country flag to Pakistan.
  44. WordsAlchemyFIXED (sort of). Location now corrected to ‘Lahore, Pakistan’, although the photograph (a stock photo) and the fact that the user calls herself ‘Cheryl Twisp’ is rather misleading. She claims to be “Pakistani by blood and Canadian by law” – not sure what this means exactly, but if her resume is accurate, this apparently just means she studied in Canada but now lives back in Pakistan. The only other online evidence I can find of this person is a Google+ account that has only 2 followers. She claims to be a lecturer and Associate Professor of English at Lahore University of Management Studies, yet does not appear on the Faculty list on the University’s website. Hmm.
  45. Writingpool – FIXED – Location corrected to Pakistan. Jahanzaeb Khan’s profile originally had a photo of a young white woman and claimed to be based in “Lahore, United Kingdom” (Lahore is in Pakistan).
  46. xainishhuxxainCLOSED. Xainish Huxxain is from Islamabad, Pakistan, not Brooklyn, New York. While he was rather careful to disguise his nationality on Freelancer.com, he hasn’t been so careful on his multitude of other social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+…




Journalism Week 1: Comment article

21 10 2013

A perk of my new job at a university is that I am given a certain number of vouchers that I may redeem against a variety of educational or sporting courses. I have decided to take an Open Studies Certificate in Journalism, a 25-week course that I hope will help me in both my full time job and in my freelance endeavours. The first term is on the subject of media writing, and we are given an assignment each week. My first week’s homework was to write a comment article on a topic that I feel strongly about, in 250 words – so here it is! This hasn’t been marked by my tutor yet, but I appreciate any feedback or comments!

Facebook chain letterOctober is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – a fact that this Facebook chain letter (left) brought to my attention.

Breast cancer affects approximately 1 in 8 women in the UK, as well as a few hundred men each year, and countless families are devastated by this disease. Although advances in diagnostics and treatments have reduced the number of people dying from breast cancer, charities such as Breast Cancer Care, Breakthrough and Cancer Research UK still play a vital role in funding research into the disease and supporting its victims.

Which is why this chain letter annoyed me.

Given the high prevalence of breast cancer, it is not breast cancer per se for which we need to raise awareness, but rather raising the profile of charities and encouraging fundraising, the importance of checking our breasts for lumps, and of visiting the doctor with concerns. Simply making someone aware of a disease that we already know about isn’t enough – we need to encourage positive actions. Posting a Facebook status that does little except to confuse the few people who aren’t in on the joke isn’t, in my view, a great way to make a stand.

This October, might I suggest that you donate to a cancer charity, take part in a fundraising event, or even encourage your friends to check their breasts? This will raise far more awareness and do far more good than posting a Facebook status about where you leave your handbag.

Edit: Thanks to Matt Kaiser (@marvel_matt) who spotted that I’d misquoted a statistic. In a previous version of this post, I erroneously stated that breast cancer affects around 1% of men, when in fact this should have said that less than 1% of all breast cancers are in men. I have updated the article above. 

Update October 28: Had good feedback from my tutor, who said I was “developing a great journalistic style”. He advised me to break my paragraphs down a bit more to make the article easier to read, and also to try and avoid repetition of key phrases; in this case ‘breast cancer’.








%d bloggers like this: