I am writing a follow-up blog regarding my post on 7/19, The Data Revolution – My Battle Lines Are Drawn. I have removed the name of the platform, but would like some feedback on how things are shaking out.
A Brief History…
I have been working as a freelancer for almost two years. I discovered last week that my entire profile had been copied by two freelancers, the one I am showing here took it to the limit, plagiarizing my work history, my teaching certificates, my overview, and the 11 portfolio items he posted as his were all my transcripts – 8 of those were from one single client of mine that I am still working with.
I filed a help ticket, and both freelancers had their profiles “cleaned” of any of these fraudulent claims, but both are still active service providers on this site, still applying for new jobs to buyers who are unaware of their ethics, and still working.
You Be The Judge…
I would like some help from those who have taken an interest in this issue, due to the fact that there are so many of us these days who are working virtually as freelancers. To help you “see” the picture, I have copied screen shots of both the offender’s and my public profiles. You be the judge. If need be, I can verify all items on mine.
- Would this be considered fraud?
- If yes, then what should be the company policy when someone has been caught doing this?
- Is being asked to remove such fraudulent claims enough?
I don’t believe it is.
- I think it hurts the integrity of the platform to allow such behavior to go on with a mere slap on the wrist and to be “reviewed”.
- There should be a trust factor between these platforms and those who both offer their services as well as those who are paying this platform to find service providers.
- How does the potential client know they are truly getting the professional they think they are?
I requested that both of the offenders be removed from this platform as providers. As I’ve been told they will not inform me of their decision, the only way I will know the outcome is by checking to see if they’re still active from time to time.
I have to admit, that when I received the most recent response (as of 7/21/09) from this platform, and read the cautionary statement to not claim “fraud” I was floored. “Please be careful about calling this fraud… this does not rise to fraudulent – it’s unethical to be certain.”
Okay, does anyone know the definition of fraud?
Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th ed., by Henry Campbell Black, West Publishing Co., St. Paul, Minnesota, 1979 states that fraud is:
All multifarious means which human ingenuity can devise, and which are resorted to by one individual to get an advantage over another by false suggestions or suppression of the truth. It includes all surprises, tricks, cunning or dissembling, and any unfair way which another is cheated.
USLegal Definitions, http://definitions.uslegal.com/f/fraud/ defines fraud as:
Fraud is generally defined in the law as an intentional misrepresentation of material existing fact made by one person to another with knowledge of its falsity and for the purpose of inducing the other person to act, and upon which the other person relies with resulting injury or damage. Fraud may also be made by an omission or purposeful failure to state material facts, which nondisclosure makes other statements misleading.
So the question may be; was the fraud committed against me, or the prospective clients Shiraz was lying to about his education, employment history, and sample work in order to get hired unwittingly by them? I really don’t care, either way; I know at this point in time it would not be worth it to pursue a legal remedy, so whether or not the full definition of fraud against me is accurate or not is moot. It was DEFINITELY committed against unsuspecting potential and/or current clients gained through this willing deception.
- Below are two screen shots of Shiraz’s employment history and education. (The worst offender.)
- The bottom two are screen shots of mine.
- Please notice the Company names/title/descriptions.
- They are verbatim, copied from mine.
- As I stated earlier, I can verify everything in my profile as true and accurate.
Shiraz A. “Employment History” Notice the claim of “Owner/Executive” for Outsource Transcription Services
Shiraz A. “Employment and Education” Notice Bentzur Enterprises and Global English teaching certificates, along with grades received.
Tamara Bentzur (“My Profile”) My Employment #1. Shiraz’s employment and education are copied from me, word-for-word.
My Employment #2 – Notice Outsource Transcription Services (my current website/company) at www.outsourcetranscriptionservices.com, and Bentzur Enterprises, my former teaching business (as well as my family name).
Here is the latest response I received to my last message to the help center on 7/21/09. My comments are in blue, and her responses are in black:
Dear tamara bentzur,
I apologize for the delay in responding:
I understand you calling me on the unprofessional behavior I displayed but what I said was not untrue. It has been documented and can be verified. Why are they allowed to remain providers?
We have noted their accounts and our manager has been made aware of this and is reviewing the case. It is immaterial that what you said was true – it was still against policy to do what you did.
I am really happy with [removed] , and in almost 2 years have never really had anything to complain about but I have to say that this fraud should be dealt with in the most severe manner because it does nothing but harm the good reputation [removed] has, which hurts buyers and providers alike.
Please be very cautious about calling this fraud. I understand that this is not good business practice nor is it acceptable. But this does not rise to fraudulent – it’s unethical to be certain.
I know it’s not just [removed], and have been sure to mention that in my posts. I know this is the sign of the times in our information age. It’s too easy to copy/paste information, and I’m sure this is happening on all the other platforms as well. But that doesn’t make it any easier since it happened to me not once, but twice in the same day. (I’m not talking about J.[removed] who actually got this all started. She merely copied my overview but nothing else and has since reworded it.)
It does not make it any easier and we aplogize that you were the one who was the brunt of this.
I would appreciate knowing how this matter is finally resolved with both the [removed] and [removed] providers.
We will not avise you of any actions that are taken regarding these providers in an attempt to protect their privacy as we would protect yours were the situation different.
What constitutes fraud?
How Should a company handle
plagiarism when discovered, and
I appreciate any comments and/or suggestions about this topic.