On Facebook, I am part of several communities focused on freelance writing and editing. Most days, these groups focus on job postings and advice on navigating issues that arise with clients. However, something more out of the box was posted a little while ago in one of my Upwork groups.
The poster asked how often we Google the content in our profiles to see who is plagiarizing us.
Up until that moment, my answer was never. I had never once considered that someone would be stealing my profile information and passing it off as their own. But you can bet that I instantly set about Googling, and what I saw shocked me.
It wasn’t just one freelancer who had stolen my profile. Not even just a handful. No, my results filled three Google pages, all of other freelancers around the world who had taken the text from my profile and were passing it off as their own.
In in some cases, they didn’t just stick to the text. I found profiles with my portfolio samples, my name, and even my photo.
Emily W. here is just one of the many freelancers who plagiarized my profile.
I wasn’t the only person in my group who had this revelation on that morning. Nearly every freelancer who took part in the discussion found at least one person who had stolen their profile.
So, what did I do? Well, most of the Upwork profiles were already changed when I clicked on the profiles themselves, indicating that sometime between the last Google crawl and my viewing, the users were told by Upwork to change their text. Big points to Upwork for being on top of that.
As for those on other platforms, I reached out to some of the companies. A couple removed the profiles and apologized, but most never replied.
This may have you wondering what you should do if you find yourself in the same situation. Honestly, beyond the steps I took, I’m not sure there is much recourse. On your website, if you have one, list the platforms you are active on and link directly to your profiles, making it clear that if your profile is found on a site not listed, it isn’t yours. This will at least make it easier for people directly seeking you out not to be fooled by imitators.
Have you had your freelancer profile plagiarized? Tell me about your reaction.
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Freelance writer and editor with an education background, working from home and living abroad.