Gaming the system
Dani K. 40 posts - United States
I just busted someone trying to game the system again. Here is what I did to catch him and what they do to try and scam you.
BTW This is the problem with the rule on why you can't dispute based on quality of work or missed deadlines. It leaves an opening for people to game the system.
Here is what usually seems to happen:
They apply for all jobs any job regardless of whether they can do it.
They start their clock and do things like look at your site, login to it, google some stuff, basically a bunch of screenshots that don't really ever show them actually doing anything. (check your logs and you can see they made no changes, or they have done something that is totally not related to the job)
The point is to make it look to odesk like they were doing something so you can't dispute it.
My postings make it clear that they are supposed to take a look, then give me a game plan before they start working and that they must be available on skype to answer my questions and give me updates.
This is usually where I can catch them the first time. If you get them on skype and get the run around it is a red flag. Good contractors can assess something right away, tell you what they are going to do, give you updated and have no problem being available while they are working to answer questions.
These contractors usually develop communication problems. Like They seemed to not have language issues when you interviewed them but suddenly, you are talking to a martian and they can't answer any simple questions and basic stuff will drag on and on.
Then there are the excuses. Their internet is down, computer down, they got sick, their wife had a baby. It is always something big.
After so many hours of this people usually figure out something isn't right BUT At this point they now have you for a days worth of work or more. The good ones can string you along for days and days before a trusting contractor will finally get it.
And because of the rule, you have to pay them for this.
Here is what I just did to bust a guy:
He failed the skype test, claimed his computer was broken, so I immediately made it so his access level would not allow him to do the things he needed to do. So if he was really trying he would have noticed right away and told me he couldn't make changes. Yet he still was working and had not said anything.
Then I tell him to stop working all together and totally remove his access he starts logging manual hours for work that he would have needed access for. When I pointed out that he was logging time with no access he claims it was for work done before. When I told him he didn't have sufficient access then either, he finally admitted defeat and credited the hours.
It sucks you have to go through this to test people but it is the only way to avoid paying for nothing. I have met some awesome contractors here and treat them very well. I really don't like playing these games.
Odesk needs to make changes to their rules to stop these people. Odesk says that in the real world if someone comes and works for your company, you can fire them at the end of the day but you still have to pay them for the day and that doing a better job at interviewing people will reduce risk.
The problem is, In the real world, people show up and you meet them face to face, get a resume and references who you can call, you can do background checks, etc etc. It is too hard and time consuming to scam someone this way all for a days worth of work, it can be done regularly enough to make it worth it.
As we know, online scammers are lazy and online scams only require a little preparation/foot work, then they can collect over and over without leaving their house. So the logic doesn't really apply to the real world.
On odesk, because of this rule, they can make an entire business model of applying to jobs with a little effort and do quite well.
Of course that flat rates reduce this, and I am pretty much always doing this except for the people I have worked with before.
But there are still a lot of people new to odesk who are getting taken advantage of this way.
I don't think there is a 100% way to stop scammers, but contractors should have more recourse to not pay for work like this. We don't have all the tools necessary to really check someone out and I think if we can prove they did NO work or made something worse, you shouldn't have to pay.
anyone else have different opinions or experiences?
Score: 7.8, Votes: 4